Post Mortems
Vampire Diaries Damon Hell

Vampire Diaries EP Talks Damon's New 'Hell on Earth,' Other Premiere Twists

Damon put up a hell of a fight on Friday’s winter premiere of The Vampire Diaries — I just think he forgot which side he’s supposed to be fighting.

Executive producer Caroline Dries spoke with reporters about this week’s game-changers, but first, let’s make sure we’re all caught up:

Getting Stefan out of the Phoenix Stone was easy, but Bonnie struggled to free Damon, who refused to submit to the pain of his own personal hell. After reliving the same nightmarish day over and over until he finally confessed his true feelings to “Lily,” Damon was released, only to go totally bonkers on Bonnie, Stefan, Caroline and Matt. Cut to black!

Now, here’s what’s in store for Mystic Falls’ finest moving forward…

DAMON & STEFAN | “Even though Damon has escaped hell … [when] you exit that Phoenix Stone, you’re a changed person,” Dries explains. “What we get to see in the next episode is Damon really really mess things up. Stefan, who had his own journey that we didn’t see — and we’re not going to see the way we saw with Damon — has been through that. We’re trying to create a bit of intrigue; Stefan has survived it and learned some lessons from it, but can Stefan warn Damon in time of what it means to actually get out of there? It’s sort of Damon’s hell on earth now, moving forward.” As for Stefan’s love life, his friendship with Valerie will “evolve,” leaving Caroline to wonder, “Where did my boyfriend go?”

CAROLINE | Here’s my advice: Enjoy your time with television’s most pregnant vampire while you can, because Caroline Forbes is about to be in short supply. Due to Candice King’s real life pregnancy, the actress was written out of five episodes, and Dries says her return date depends on when she’s willing and able to come back to work. (Dries guesses she’ll be seen again in Episode 20 or 21.) That said, Caroline “still feels like she’s in the ether in that five episode chunk she’s gone.”

BONNIE | In addition to continuing her “bickersome” relationship with Enzo, Bonnie will also keep exploiting the “fissure” between Nora and Mary Louise — particularly when “they become interested in the same thing.”

ENZO | Damon’s former best friend will remain in the shadows for a short while longer — he was last seen being thrown into the back of a van by one Matt Donovan — but Dries insists that his absence is not in vain. “Enzo’s universe is going to broaden the scope of the show towards the end of the season,” she says. “It’s going to enlighten us about Enzo’s backstory. We’ll get to know him and that’s what’ll help bring him closer to Bonnie.” (Bonus scoop: As TVLine exclusively reported, Enzo’s storyline will be tied to a new character named Alex, the head of a mysterious organization.)

And here’s a fun little kicker, courtesy of Dries: “One of my favorite scenes is coming up in an episode directed by Paul Wesley. It involves three men, three babies and blindfolds. That’s all I’ll say.”

Your thoughts on TVD‘s winter premiere? Grade it below, then drop a comment with your hopes for the rest of Season 7.