Poor Matty Blue Eyes can't ever catch a break.
Ever since The Vampire Diaries began, Matt (Zach Roerig) has been swimming upstream, not only taking care of himself but doing everything he can do take care of the countless innocent humans who made the mistake of settling down in Mystic Falls.
At times, Matt's desire to ensure humanity is protected from the supernatural puts him at direct odds with the rest of the Mystic Falls Gang - particularly in Friday's episode, in which Damon (Ian Somerhalder) wants to trade the Maxwell journal to Cade in exchange for Stefan's (Paul Wesley) soul. It's no surprise that Matt gives a big thumbs down to that idea, which we doubt Damon takes too well.
Zach Roerig spoke with TVGuide.com about how far Matt will go to save his friends, what to expect of the reunion-filled series finale and what it's like to say goodbye after eight seasons.
You get to play Matt's ancestor Ethan Maxwell this week! What can you say about who Ethan is and his role in the episode?
Zach Roerig: We found out that Matt's family, they were bell makers and Ethan has made this bell. Basically, Matt is teaming up with Alaric and Dorian trying to find the Maxwell journal and trying to figure out how to kill Cade. And during these flashbacks, Matt is able to tap into Ethan's subconscious and reveal the secrets that are needed to destroy Cade.
Matt doesn't want to give the Maxwell journal to Cade (Wole Parks) to save Stefan's soul, and this isn't the first time Matt has questioned the lengths people go to for the Salvatores. Where is Matt's head at when it comes to how far he'd go to save his friends and where he draws the line?
Roerig: I think when it comes to the Salvatores, often times he's pinned between his principles and his morals, being Caroline, his good friend, is in love with Stefan. And before it was Elena in love with Damon. And so he's always been kind of pinned.
There seems to be growing tension between Matt and Caroline (Candice King). Do you think this is something they can work through, or have they both changed too much over the years to ever be as close as they used to be?
Roerig: I don't think so. I think this is kind of one of those cases where, say that your sister or your brother that you've been very close to for years is marrying someone that you don't exactly like. You may say things that are harsh or true, but that doesn't mean that that changes your allegiance to them. And I think that that will be revealed. And I think it's actually been kind of a given, almost. You know, the original gang of Mystic Falls.
Matt only recently learned that his family is as much a part of Mystic Falls' legacy as the Bennetts, Salvatores and Gilberts. What does that knowledge mean to him?
Roerig: I think it's very interesting for Matt looking back at ... all those moments where he felt like an outcast, maybe, or kind of a charity case by the Gilberts who took it upon themselves to take him in. I think that's also why he feels so sure about what he's doing — about being sheriff and following through on this compulsion where he's always felt this need to protect the town and do what was right and wondering to himself, "Why? Why is he doing this?" I think it's nice to finally be reassured that what he's been doing is for the right reasons.
What role does Matt play in stopping Cade in the episodes ahead?
Roerig: Through his relationship with his ancestor and knowledge to be gained there, he's very integral in the plans to kill Cade. And also, Matt physically threatens Cade. He's still a force to be reckoned with, whether he be a human or not. And we'll get to see Matt step up to Cade as if he's a mortal, the same as Matt. Again, Matt doesn't have his ring anymore, plus, the Devil — like what is he doing? Those are the the kinds of things Matt Donovan doesn't run away from.
You filmed your final scene of the series earlier this week! What was that like for you on set?
Roerig: It was surreal. [To be with] a group like that, a lot of whom have been there from the very beginning, a lot has changed in big ways. It was very emotional. It was very full — a very full moment with all sorts of emotions. And today is a very surreal day, packing up, heading out, going to head back to L.A. for a little while. So it's been an amazing ride. I'm starting to feel the descent of that rollercoaster.
When you look back at how much Matt has grown since the pilot, what's been your favorite aspect of his character evolution?
Roerig: I just think it's interesting to see a human being with a pure heart can still be a very powerful force in a supernatural world. In the beginning, it seemed like these efforts were very futile or a waste of time. Matt was a charity case for not being killed by the vampires. Over the course of the years, he just seemed to mature as an adult and use his wit to become very integral in the greater good of Mystic Falls. I think it's nice to see if you believe in something and stick with it and continue on the same course, eventually you'll get to what you want.
It was so exciting to see Nina Dobrev back on the set. What was it like having her back, and did you get to work with her at all?
Roerig: I did work with her in one scene. It was great having her back. We remained friends over the years. It was just really nice to have everyone back together to say the final farewell. It was interesting to look around the group thinking about how much we've all grown, physically and spiritually. It was very fitting, I think, to have her back.
There seems to be a lot of evidence suggesting Kayla Ewell will be back for the series finale. What would it mean for Matt to get to see Vicki one last time?
Roerig: I think this is the only time we could say it was the last time, because everyone keeps coming back in Mystic Falls. I think it will be an emotionally charged moment, especially [given] the fact that his father's around — that feeling of having an actual family, the feelings of what could have been and the way things are now. But also feeling grateful for his father being around. It will be a very full moment.
What can you tease about the series finale and the role Matt plays in it?
Roerig: Mystic Falls lives to see another day, so don't rule out a spin-off. Matt's still the sheriff. And everyone lives happily ever after.
The Vampire Diaries airs Fridays at 8/7c on the CW.
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS, one of the CW's parent companies.)