First, he gets marked by Rayna (Leslie-Anne Huff) during an attempt to save Damon (Ian Somerhalder). He's subsequently forced to go on the run and abandon his girlfriend Caroline (Candice King). Then, right when you think Damon is stepping up to take Stefan's scar, he backs out and gets Stefan killed. And as if being trapped inside the Phoenix Stone wasn't enough, Stefan was thrust into an even more dangerous situation after Mary-Louise (Teresa Liane) and Nora (Scarlett Byrne) destroyed the stone by going full-on Thelma and Louise last week.
Talk about having a bad day.
TVGuide.com spoke to Wesley and creator Julie Plec, who also directed this week's episode, separately about where Stefan is now that the Phoenix Stone is destroyed, what he did to piss off Matt (Zach Roerig) in the past and whether there's any hope for a Steroline reunion in the future. Check out everything they revealed in the interview below.
What does the destruction for the Phoenix Stone mean for Stefan?
Paul Wesley: It's a really special episode for me. Damon had that Civil War episode that was kind of an actor's piece for him, and in a way this is similar for me. Stefan wakes up in a very disoriented state and he doesn't know where he is. He doesn't know if he's in Hell. He doesn't know what is going on. Everything is completely peculiar beyond belief.
What sort of dangers will Stefan face in his current predicament?
Julie Plec: He goes through a really extreme experience, where his survival is difficult. His strength of spirit and will is tested deeply, where he feels completely alone and abandoned and uncharacteristically vulnerable.
Wesley: It's the CW version of Stefan's Revenant. We see him survive, quite literally, in the wilderness under a very different set of circumstances than he normally has.
Everyone else is racing to find Stefan in the episode, so what ways will we see them try and track him down?
Plec: Everyone's got their own methods for looking for him. Valerie (Elizabeth Blackmore) ends up partnering up with Alaric (Matt Davis) and Rayna Cruz in an effort to see if they can work together to track him down. Damon's flying solo, knowing that this is his burden and his responsibility. His unwillingness to act quickly enough to keep Stefan from getting attacked by Rayna is really why Stefan is in this situation to begin with. So he really feels like he's got some amends to make and is working hard to get to the bottom of where his brother is and how he can help him.
Do you think this marks a real turning point for Damon?
Plec: I think this episode is the turning point. I think the shock is the result of his actions. Last episode made him realize that he needed to fix it, but I don't' think he's taken full responsibility for all the choices that he's made that got him here. But in this episode, Stefan really drills it in to him that he made a series of really self-destructive choices that are not so easily forgivable.
In the trailer, it appears that there's another vampire in Stefan's body. What was it like to explore this new character?
Wesley: We do these doppelganger things, [but] that's all done. But this is an interesting thing in the sense that it's a character that is 180 degrees from Stefan and even darker than Damon. And it was really fun to get to play around with a guy who has purely sadistic and entirely psychologically perverse behaviors.
Plec: When Paul gets challenges as an actor, he's in a really good mood and he's a really collaborative partner. We had a good time. He was willing to do some stunts and to suffer in the cold and to have to get literally and figuratively dirty in the scenes. It was great.
How have the events of the last episode affected Stefan's attitude towards his relationship with Damon?
Wesley: They have a real climactic conversation that is very much putting it out on the table where Stefan says, "I'm not going to do this anymore. You're the most selfish person that I've ever met in my life. And you hurt me because I care about you and I love you and you're my brother, but all you do is look out for yourself. You don't care about anyone else."
Stefan can't catch a break recently. Will we see him regain some stability or even happiness as we move towards the end of the season?
Plec: I think this episode, in addition to being a turning point for Damon, is a huge turning point for Stefan, in terms of, "How did I end up the guy in the dirt here? I'm just trying to survive and yet I'm the one who's at death's door and trapped and in pain. Why me?" And realizing, ultimately, that it is fallout from the choices that Damon's been making. So as we move forward, he's got to work his way back to forgiving his brother, but he's also going to have some of his own bad choices thrown in his face by Caroline when she eventually returns. Because ultimately, Damon's not the only one who made some bad decisions.
When will we see Stefan and Caroline confront those issues and what does their relationship look like moving forward?
Wesley: We'll see them confront those issues in an episode that I just directed that wrapped last week.. Stefan, in his mind, he made a sacrifice. He was marked and he went on the run because he wanted to protect her. He didn't want to hurt her. So he made that decision. But in her eyes, he betrayed her. He left her and she missed him and he broke her heart.
Plec: I think Stefan hopes that the minute he can come face-to-face with Caroline all will be forgiven and he can explain and they can pick up where they left off. Caroline, of course, as any woman whose had enough of being hurt by a man would feel, is like, "listen buddy. You made some choices based on what you thought and what you wanted. And the one person you forgot to consult with in the decision about our relationship is me." So she is not happy with the choice he made three years ago and she is not happy when she comes face-to-face with him today.
Stefan is with Valerie now, but do you think he still has feelings for Caroline?
Wesley: Oh yeah, absolutely. Yeah.
Matt really appears to hate Stefan and his former friends now. Is there any chance of repairing those relationships or has too much damage been done?
Plec: I think that's the big question for Matt going towards the end of the season and something we really explore. If he's going to take a stand against vampires, then where does that line have to be drawn? Is there flexibility to it? Can he still see these people as his friends, or is it a totally severed relationship? We'll see a lot of that moving forward.
I was really sad to see Mary-Louise and Nora die last week. Do you hope to introduce more gay, bi or queer characters next season?
Plec: Yeah, I think that's one of the big lessons that hopefully we all learned from the social media conversation about that specifically. We are, as a group, not yet doing our part collectively to have proper inclusion in our shows. I can't make any promises about when but I think absolutely, that's something that needs to happen.
The Vampire Diaries airs Fridays at 8/7c on The CW.
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PAUL WESLEY VIDEO