Matt Davis Matt Davis

Did The Vampire Diaries' Alaric Saltzman just turn into the town's biggest threat?

For weeks, a mysterious serial killer has been targeting members of the original founding family. Thursday's episode revealed that a similar string of murders took place in the early 1912's and that one of the show's central characters, Alaric (Matt Davis), may be the culprit. Meredith initially suspected Alaric, which proved absurd to everyone else in Mystic Falls. However, after Elena read an old Gilbert journal, she deduced that Alaric could be the one unconsciously carrying out the murders because his ring could be cursed.

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"There's something really beautiful about this ring being responsible for a darkness to take hold," executive producer Julie Plec told PaleyFest attendees. "He tried to walk out the [Gilbert] house in the first episode of the season and in the second episode, he tried to refuse the ring, but Elena asked him to take it back to be part of her family. Now there's consequence to that."

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If Alaric's ring is causing him to commit crimes, what does that mean for fellow human ring-wearer Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen)? Dangerous repercussions, Plec says. Elena previously compelled her brother to go away to Denver so he'd be safe from the threat in Mystic Falls, and now must reevaluate; the ring not only can't be trusted to bring him back to life, but it could make him turn to the so-called dark side.

"Jeremy is now widely unprotected so Elena, who's a character all about saving and protecting the ones she holds the most dear, now has to deal with her guardian in a difficult place and potentially her brother," Plec says. Nina Dobrev adds, "[Elena is] completely caught off guard. Everything she depended on is now gone and she has to find a different way to save Alaric and also save Jeremy from obstacles they don't even know about."

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For Davis, it seems the trending topic #RIPAlaric may actually carry some weight very soon. The same week his character was revealed to be a killer, the actor was cast as the lead of a new pilot. While the role leaves room for Davis to still guest-star, it seems likely that this season's major death could be him. Fortunately for Davis, he likes the new turn of events. "It's a beautiful experience to watch unfold," he says. "I love seeing the evolution of the character [and] I love that we're at the tipping point of the consequence of all that."

Do you want Alaric to stick around?