In Episode 710 of The CW series The Vampire Diaries, called “Hell Is Other People,” Damon (Ian Somerhalder) awakens to find himself trapped inside the Phoenix stone, tormented by a traumatic experience from his time in the Civil War and forced to face his darkest demon in order to get out. Meanwhile, on the outside, Bonnie (Kat Graham) is doing everything she can to get Damon out before the effects of the Phoenix stone take over and leave him irrevocably changed forever.
After a screening of the episode at The CW offices, executive producer Caroline Dries talked to a handful of press outlets about the show’s move to Fridays, Damon having to face his unresolved emotional issues, the upcoming The Vampire Diaries/The Originals cross-over, Klaroline, the flash-forwards, time jumps, and learning about Enzo’s backstory. Be aware that there are some spoilers, and stay tuned for Pt. 2 of the interview, which will discuss the shocking events of the episode.
Question: How would you tease this episode, “Hell Is Other People”?
CAROLINE DRIES: It’s Damon’s story of the chickens coming home to roost. He has unresolved emotional issues with his mom. He basically spat on her grave while she was dying, and now it’s time for him to have a mirror held up to him that says, “This is what happens when you don’t have remorse.” It’s his journey into a custom-made Hell.
Do you think the move to Fridays will change anything with the show?
DRIES: My first reaction was, “Oh, okay.” But we’ve been on for a million seasons, so of course, we have fewer viewers now than when we started. Of course, it’s a little humbling because low-level shows go to Friday. However, I feel like The CW is the exception because Supernatural did so well on Fridays. Who knows what will happen. I think we’re not really in it for getting new viewers. The fans that we have now are the people who will watch it any day of the week. So, my first instinct was a little bit of an ego tap, but the second I processed it, I was fine. The only weird thing will be maybe not having as many people live tweeting because they’re actually out doing something more interesting on Friday night. I’m not going to sit at home, reading Twitter on Friday night. It’s just fun on Thursdays when you can go away from the writers’ room for a little while and check Twitter. It’s a nice little break. By Friday, you’re all ready checked out.
Do you think it could be an advantage to move away from The Big Bang Theory and the ShondaLand shows?
DRIES: Exactly! Of course, they’re going to put Legends of Tomorrow on Thursdays. I get it. It’s cool.
We know that Stefan will be heading to New Orleans. Will you also be touching on Klaus and Caroline?
DRIES: We were going to have a Klaroline scene, and then we decided that the script was getting too long, so we just cut it out. Just kidding! No. We knew that we wanted to see Joseph [Morgan] and Paul Wesley together on screen because they’ve had the longest history on our show, maybe apart from Elijah and Katherine. Now they have an interesting conversation over some bourbon. So, Stefan is forced into exile because of his story, which won’t be for a few more episodes, and he ends up going to New Orleans for protection. And when you’re in New Orleans, of course, you’re going to run into your mortal enemy, or immortal enemy. It’s a pretty rich, fun, interesting story that starts in The Vampire Diaries and seamlessly transitions into The Originals. We made the plot work out.
How will Klaus react to Caroline being pregnant?
DRIES: In a very Klaus-like way.
What can we expect to see from the coming flash-forwards?
DRIES: There’s a character that we haven’t seen yet in the flash-forwards – Matt Donovan. We’ll start to understand why we haven’t seen him yet and what’s going on with him, three years in the future. We will start to get little peaks at this force that’s been after Stefan, all of this time, and we’ll slowly but surely start to piece together this mythology that we’ve been building with that sword and the stone, and why that’s the spine of the season.
When will we start to learn about who the female Hunter is and what she’s really up to?
DRIES: We’ll really start to put all of the pieces together, starting in about three episodes from now. She’ll continue to be somebody that we’re scared of. At the end of Episode 711, there starts to be this introduction of the Hunter. She comes in and is introduced via the Heretics as somebody who is very scary to them. In my opinion, if the Heretics are shaking in their boots, it’s probably pretty bad. So, we’ll introduce her officially in Episode 712. That’s where you’ll start to understand her story, and I will say that she’s not what we are expecting when we meet her.
At what point will the two timelines catch up? Will it be this season?
DRIES: It will be this season, yeah. I won’t say when because I want it to be a surprise. I hope everyone is still enjoying the flash-forwards, but I understand that, at some point, you need a reprieve and what to know what the hell is going on. So, I promise that it will start to make sense soon. We’ll have a time jump, but there may be some gaps that need to be filled in still.
What excites you about the rest of the season of The Vampire Diaries?
DRIES: I’m excited about a lot. One thing we haven’t talked about is where the heck Enzo is. You won’t see him in Episode 711. We’ll be wondering where he’s been taken and what’s going on. Enzo’s new universe is going to broaden the scope of the show, in the second half of the season. That’s going to give us more stories, but it’s also going to enlighten us into Enzo’s backstory a little bit, besides how he turned into a vampire. We’ll get to know him. We are also going to see Tyler again, and I’m excited about that. Caroline is getting more and more pregnant, so those babies have to come out, at some point, and that’s something I’m very excited about. One of my favorite scenes is coming up in Episode 711, directed by Paul Wesley, and it involves three men, three babies and blindfolds. That’s all I’ll say.
The Vampire Diaries airs on Friday nights on The CW.