Legacies star Kaylee Bryant has been harboring a mother of a secret for months. Thursday’s episode (The CW, 9/8c) revives Josie and Lizzie’s birth mom — a role being reprised by The Vampire Diaries‘ Jodi Lyn O’Keefe — and while most fans learned of her arrival by watching last week’s promo, Bryant has known since before the season even began filming.
“I was still in Los Angeles at the time, and they invited Quincy [Fouse] and I to go to the writers’ room,” Bryant tells TVLine. “I walked in and they have this massive table with three whiteboards with a big plan for how the season is going to go. And all I saw is… well, “dragon,” first of all. But the next thing I saw was ‘Jo is back.’ And I looked at Julie [Plec], and I went, ‘Jo?’ And she said, ‘Yes.’ And I said, ‘Not me, Jo. The real Jo?’ And she said, ‘Yes.'” So this was something I’d been looking forward to since before I even moved out for the production. When they released the promo with her in it, I let out a huge breath. I could finally talk about it!”
Bryant describes Jo’s arrival as a “huge” moment for Josie, one that helps her feel a little less lost. “We’ve always said that Lizzie really identifies with Caroline, while Josie has always been more like Jo, who hasn’t been there for obvious reasons. So when she comes back, Josie can finally get the answers she’s wanted, and she can finally have the bond she watched Lizzie and Caroline share her whole life. It’s not that Josie doesn’t love Caroline, but they’re different.”
And Jo couldn’t have picked a more opportune moment to reenter her daughters’ lives — their sixteenth birthday, which is celebrated with an epic bash at the Salvatore School. “From the minute people started talking about the sweet sixteen episode, I thought about those iconic decade dances we saw on The Vampire Diaries,” says Bryant, who binged the franchise’s original series on Netflix with her mom when she was 15. “So that alone was just exciting to me — the sets and the dresses that so many people spent so much time on to look as beautiful as possible.”
As for Josie’s love life, which now includes a shady ex-girlfriend and a new crush whom her sister has freshly boned, Bryant says she’s loving the chaos of it all. “If you’ve been to high school, you know that everybody dates everybody. It’s a hot mess, so that’s refreshing to watch. And, sure, Josie and Lizzie have feelings for the same guy. But if Josie hasn’t spoken up, why wouldn’t Lizzie think she could just go for him? It’s messy, but it’s reality.”
Josie’s romantic prospects are essentially “endless,” Bryant says. She’s even given thought to the fans’ proposed ‘ship of “Hosie” (Hope and Josie). “It’s rare for the lead of a show to even be considered with a female, or considered that she could possibly be bi or pan or otherwise not identify as straight. The fact that that’s actually a conversation in the fanbase without the thought of it being strange is exciting to me. I think it’s fantastic.”
Your thoughts on Jo’s return, Josie’s romantic prospects, or anything else Bryant discussed? Drop ’em in a comment.