Vampire Diaries EP Talks Damon's Lily Spiral, a Bonnie/Nora Pairing and More

Vampire Diaries Spoilers

Christmas is a time for family togetherness, and on The Vampire Diaries, what better way is there to bond with your kin than by uniting to destroy your dead mother’s murderous lover?

That’s where Stefan and Damon find themselves in Thursday’s fall finale (The CW, 8/7c), which executive producer Caroline Dries promises to be full of new possibilities — and new heartbreak.

Below, Dries discusses the fallout from Lily’s suicide, a surprising — and bewitching! — new pairing and when we can expect Stefan and Caroline’s relationship to begin its great-and-terrible unraveling.

TVLINE | Lily’s death was pretty gut-wrenching. What went into your decision to kill her off? And why now?
We thought of Lily as our first-chapter villain, the emotional catalyst for the first part of the season. She was the third point in the Stefan/Damon triangle; when we lost Elena, we replaced her with someone else they could fight over in a way. She was just trying to get both families together, and the culmination of that was when Julian made her choose. She finally realized her selfishness destroyed a lot of people by trying to have everything. We originally had her dying in this next episode, but I was just like, “No. This story has to end here.” Even though we love Annie [Wersching], it had to happen.

TVLINE | I imagine Enzo won’t handle Lily’s death all too well, especially after that big kiss.
Well, when last we saw Enzo, he was being thrown in the back of a van and kidnapped. We don’t see him in the finale, so we won’t catch up with him until after the break.

TVLINE | And what’s next for the heretics, now that their “mother” is gone and they’re stuck with an evil “father”?
In addition to being their emotional compass, Lily also kept them on a tight leash. The heretics dissipate a little bit and go their own way, which is fun for us as storytellers, because now they can enter stories they wouldn’t have entered before. For example, in the winter finale, Nora and Bonnie get to have interactions. She’s tip-toeing out of the bell jar that Lily’s been keeping her in, and asking things like, “What’s college like?”

TVLINE | Speaking of Bonnie, she had a pretty crappy Christmas last year. Can we hope for something better in 2015?
[Laughs] Yes, this year, Bonnie’s doing fundraising for Toys for Tots. She’s having a much different Christmas, where she’s helping children and being a normal college student. Nora eases her way into that storyline and stirs up Bonnie’s world a little bit. [Editor’s note: Remember when Kat Graham said she wants Bonnie to bisexual? Just saying!]

TVLINE | We’re in a unique — and unfortunate — position, knowing that Stefan and Caroline will eventually break up. When will we see their relationship start to unravel, or has it already started?
I don’t think we’ve seen it yet. We have a lot more story to tell with them. This episode doesn’t really focus on Stefan and Caroline as much as it focuses on Caroline, Alaric and their babies. The babies aren’t what ultimately break them up; it will be a confluence of many little things that lead to their demise.

TVLINE | Back to Lily for a minute, we saw that Damon eventually realizes the error of his goodbye. Will we see that start to eat him up in the present?
For sure. In this next episode, Stefan is continuing his drive to kill Julian, and he manages to recruit Damon. But as the brothers start working together, Stefan starts to wonder, “What’s going through your head, Damon? Are you starting to resent basically spitting on mom’s grave when you had 10 seconds to tell her anything?” Damon initially tries to blow that off, but as the episode climaxes, he realizes that it’s not going to go away. … He needs to go through something big in order to come to that emotional catharsis.

Vampire Diaries, what are your hopes for the fall finale (and beyond)? Drop ’em in a comment below.