The CW series The Vampire Diaries is back for its eighth and final season, which finds Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Enzo (Michael Malarkey) still gone and wreaking murderous havoc, after falling under the sway of an evil creature, while Stefan (Paul Wesley) tirelessly pushes forward with their search and Bonnie (Kat Graham) questions whether they’ll ever be found. As they realize that whatever has a hold of them may have a more damaging grip than they could have ever imagined, they will have to decide what drastic measures they’re willing to use to break them free.
During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, actor Michael Malarkey talked about the show’s twisted final season, that Enzo doesn’t like being told what to do, how this situation will affect the dynamic between Enzo and Damon, whether he can find redemption, that he’s rooting for Enzo and Bonnie, what it’s like to know that they’re shooting the final season, and what he’ll remember most about this experience. He also talked about the music he’s currently writing and recording for the album he’s working on, due out in 2017.
Collider: Your character took a really interesting journey last season, which set up a dark and crazy final season. Will it be as twisted as it looks?
MICHAEL MALARKEY: It definitely starts out pretty damn twisted. We end where we left off, at the end of last season. Damon and Enzo are on their no good murder path. We find out a bit more about that and why they’re doing what they’re doing. We find out that they’ve basically been overtaken by this evil spirit who’s kind of the puppet master, although Enzo is fighting it a bit more than Damon is. In the first episode, you’ll find out that Damon is very much his malicious old Season 1 self.
Is it fair to say that Enzo does not necessarily want to be doing what he’s doing?
MALARKEY: If we’ve learned anything about Enzo it’s that he doesn’t like being told what to do. He doesn’t like being someone’s henchman, just for the sake of it. He needs to know why things are happening. He has a really strong moral code. He doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty, at all, but he wants to be doing it for his own reasons and for a reason, in general, as opposed to some wishy-washy thing where he’s like, “What the hell is even going on?!” He’s also been succumbed to 70 years of torture, so he has a hardened skin, as far as fighting things goes.
Enzo hasn’t been in this kind of situation with Damon before, so how is this going to change their dynamic?
MALARKEY: Also, Enzo is accustomed to being a solo operator. He’s a bit of a lone wolf. Having to work with somebody else, especially somebody who isn’t quite on the same wavelength as him, can be maddening. So many movies are made about that. That’s the issue that Enzo is dealing with. Also, Damon is his pal, so the conflict of, “Do I stay by his side? And if he becomes even more of an overlord, when do I cut my ties?” It delves into finding the cracks in their friendship, a little bit.
We’ve seen Enzo be a bit of a villain, at times, or at least do some villainous things, but he’s also been a sympathetic enough character to come back from it. Can he come back from this?
MALARKEY: The big question that a lot of people have been asking is, what is redemption? That’s a question that a show like this oftentimes asks because it does touch on points of good and evil. Does pure evil and pure good even exist? I don’t know exactly what will happen, as far as that goes, but I think they’re going to touch on that nerve, a little bit more, throughout the season. Who’s truly going to be saved and who’s going to meet their maker?
On a scale of bad, really bad, and really, really bad things that have happened on this show, where does all of this fall? Is it the worst that it’s been?
MALARKEY: It’s pretty gruesome, the things that they’re doing. I don’t know how to say it without giving something away, so I’ll just say that it’s about a 7, and then move on.