[Warning: The following contains spoilers from Thursday's episode of Legacies. Read at your own risk!]
The tribrid has arrived, and nothing will ever be the same on The CW's Legacies. In what was originally supposed to be the Season 3 finale, Hope Mikaelson (Danielle Rose Russell) officially completed her transition to vampire, meaning she's now part witch, part werewolf, part vampire, and all terrifying. That last part is no joke. With her humanity switch turned off, there's no telling what Tribrid Hope is capable of. But I'm getting ahead of myself!
Hope's transition was slightly stalled due to the fact that Kaleb (Chris Lee), a minion of Malivore, had stolen her dead body and Malivore had imprisoned it in a train depot. A delirious and starving Hope escaped through the glass window pretty easily, knocked out Kaleb, saved Alaric (Matthew Davis) from more Malivore minions, and fed off of her mentor/adopted dad, which was the last piece of the vampire puzzle. Then, Malivore dared to show his Landon-y face, only to suddenly become Landon (Aria Shahghasemi) for real. He and Hope shared one last kiss before she stabbed him through the heart, Buffy Summers-style. Landon/Malivore died, all the minions snapped out of it, and Hope's humanity switch flipped right off.
Elsewhere, the squad was handling some other Malivore-related business. Josie (Kaylee Bryant) broke out the black magic to pull Cleo (Omono Okojie) out of the mud pit, and Finch (Courtney Bandeko) pulled Josie out of the darkness with a kiss (followed by a bit more than a kiss). Lizzie (Jenny Boyd), meanwhile, worked with MG (Quincy Fouse) to save Ethan (Leo Howard) from Malivore, and now Lizzie's got two supernatural boys in love with her.
It was a hell of an episode and certainly felt like a season finale. Luckily for all of us, Legacies continues in just a week, and showrunner Brett Matthews tells TV Guide that while the timing of this episode changed, the story did not. "We're rolling into the new season kind of as we would have," he says. "Little things may [change] here and there, but it's really the culmination of a three-season story, so it's weird to call it Season 4. But our fans are smart enough to figure it out."
Matthews confirms that this really is the end of the first three seasons and the beginning of a new era for Legacies. There will still be monsters, but they are no longer the focus. Malivore is really gone, and while Landon is definitely dead, he's probably not gone. Unless you're brand new to the Vampire Diaries universe, you know that death is often/usually not the end. Most of the time, it's actually just the beginning.
Hope, for example, has now died and come back to life as a creature never before seen, and that means things are changing at the Salvatore School. "I think you will certainly see next week that [Hope becoming the tribrid] is going to have very major implications for the show and obviously for Hope's character, and as a result ripples through all of her friends," Matthews promises. "It is very much a tidal change, and it is going to affect the entire world. Legacies will always be the most optimistic of the three canon shows, but there's no question that the show will be a little darker in Season 4, and will grow up as our actors grow up."
Relationships will be "radically altered" as everyone deals with the fallout from this episode. In fact, the nature of relationships on the show will be altered. "I would say it's probably going to be our least romantic season of Legacies ever," Matthews says. "This is a bomb that has dropped in the universe of the show and it is going to really affect the future of things. Characters are going to be faced with very hard decisions, and characters are going to make decisions that they don't necessarily like and people may not like, but it's challenging. The kids are growing up, and the scale of their problems is growing up, and it will be interesting to see that journey from high schooler to young adult that we all face. They will be dealing with some very real problems with some very real-world implications."
Fears of the tribrid go back to Hope's birth on The Originals, and now that this terrible, terrifying fate has happened, Matthews says everyone has "good reason" to be concerned, especially with Hope's humanity switched off.
"I think that's the promise of Season 4. What does that version of Hope look like, and what happens as a result?" Matthews teases. "It's obviously a frightening thing because she is the most powerful person in our universe to this point, so what does that look like? Hope was a person who was so driven by her emotions and her love and her intelligence, so taking away the thing that has kept the power in check...you know, great power, great responsibility. She's been a person who has always managed both, and with that filter gone, it's obviously not a great thing."
So is Hope the new Malivore? "That's gonna be the story of the season," says Matthews. "Hope is going to be top of mind and a primary concern. I think she's coming off three seasons of being at the center of everything, of fighting fate, of just being responsible to all things, all people, the universe, and to see her unburdened by all of those things will be really exciting for us."
And now for a few updates on some other Salvatore students:
Landon is dead, but what that means is yet to be seen. "It was just the only way this story was going to end. And yes, he is dead," Matthews says (because, of course, I asked – multiple times). "What that means in our world is obviously a confusing thing and spools out more story, but yeah, absolutely, he is. This is what we always said the trbrid would do to Malivore, and Landon is the son of Malivore, and her blood is absolutely fatal to him and to Malivore proper. So Malivore is dead and Landon Kirby is dead."
However, "There will certainly be a story that exists beyond that, but at the same time, it will be a different story than we've ever told in a really good way. But bringing people back from the finality of this is not going to be top of mind for our characters given everything else that is going on."
Josie was quickly pulled out of Dark Josie by a kiss from her girlfriend, and Matthews says it's less about "fixing" Dark Josie than it is about "evolving" her. "It's making peace with the good side of yourself and the darker impulses of yourself, and I think she's doing it in a really healthy way," he says. "It's exciting for that character to embrace her full power, so that's really what that was about. Josie's story is one of coming into her own and figuring out what he wants and what she wants for her life and what that looks like. That is really her journey to independence."
Lizzie is now in a sort of love triangle, but it's "very complicated," and not just because this season is focusing less on the romance. "Lizzie is definitely soon going to have bigger fish to fry," Matthews promises. "Lizzie is going to have a lot on her plate, and I think for the two young men in her life, it's going to be how do we support this person we care about through this in the best way that we can? Lizzie's journey is about far more than that this season."
You may recall Lizzie floating an idea to Alaric about stopping the merge by turning one of the twins into a vampire, and while there's been a lot of talk about the merge lately, Matthews says that particular problem might be going on the backburner and is "frankly not a huge thing for us this year." Lizzie's Season 4 story, or "conundrum," as Matthews put it, will become very clear in the next episode, and she and Josie might have "differing opinions on how to manage it."
All in all, the Salvatore School is in crisis, and big things are happening in Season 4 of Legacies.