Warning: Do not read the following article if you have yet to watch tonight's game-changing episode of The Vampire Diaries. Seriously, if you choose to read on and then complain about spoilers in the comments, you are the opposite of Batman.
That's the only way to describe tonight's outing of The Vampire Diaries. Viewers (as well as the characters) of the CW drama said goodbye to a beloved character (all the feelings!) and were introduced to the show's new big bad (Watch out, Klaus!). If that wasn't enough, two love triangles became a hell of a lot more complicated.
We chatted with executive producer Julie Plec about what fans can expect from the final two "hardcore" episodes of the season, the love triangle and more...
Alaric Is the New Big Bad: Yes, our dear sweet, slightly alcoholic history teacher/vampire hunter Alaric (Matt Davis, who completely dominated tonight's episode, no?) is gone forever and is now replaced with the ultimate Original vampire who has the ultimate weapon that can wipe out the entire vampire race. "We knew he needed to be stronger, or as strong, resilient, immortal, fast, furious, fierce," Plec says of the "ironic" decision to turn a vampire-hater into an Original vampire.
"He's very clearly a badass vampire killer with a pretty magnificent, deadly and unburnable stake. He's definitely going to be a conflict-provider, not to make an understatement. He's not going to be the friendliest version of Alaric we've ever met. He's going to be hardcore, which is going to be equally exciting and devastating because he's one of our heroes who is no longer one of our heroes."
Next week will be all about the showdown between newly minted Original Alaric and Klaus (Joseph Morgan) and the episode will kick off with Alaric paying a little visit to Caroline (Candice Accola) and Rebekah (Claire Holt) while they are cleaning up the gym after the decade dance. "Things only get worse from there," Plec teases. "They start hot, they stay hot. It's a very, very extreme, hardcore of Alaric on a tear and no one is safe."
Bonnie's Fed Up: If Bonnie (Kat Graham) had a Twitter account, we imagine it would be called Witch Girl Problems. Girl cannot catch a break. Not only was her lovely date with Jamie (Robert Ri'chard) interrupted by vampires, she is now being possessed by her sister witches who are dead-set on having Bonnie finish out their plan to rid the world of vampires and forced Mystic Falls resident witch to feed Alaric her blood to complete his transition. "Bonnie's issue now is "'What the hell? I've got vampires telling me what to do, I've got other people telling me what to do and now I've got my freaking sisters, the witches, telling me what to do. Where's my free will and where's my choice and that's going to impact her character moving forward," Plec says.
Elena's Choice: After losing yet another person she loves, Elena's choice between Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Stefan (Paul Wesley) will only become more difficult. "She has no one and she's lost everyone that ever mattered to her, almost everyone. How do you choose in a moment like that?" Plec explains. "The last two episodes are really going to be about asking herself that question and really trying to understand how she could possibly let one of them go when she's already lost so much."
"In this moment, seeing her at her most vulnerable and needing to give her the support she's been trying to give him all season, it's him finally saying it is OK to feel and I heard you all those times that you told me that it's OK to feel and it's OK to have hope. I heard you and now let me give that back to you."
While most love triangles tear the two suitors apart, TVD's will actually bring the Salvatore brothers closer together. "One of the things that we set out to do during this whole year, as Damon found himself more and more deeply in love with his brother's girl, was make sure that the brothers found their way back to each other," Plec explains. "[We made sure that] they would get stronger instead of weaker as brothers, in spite of this looming conflict. There's a really nice scene in next week's episode that shows us that they might survive this no matter how this plays out. When all is said and done, bros before hoes, man." She adds that their bond will only make Elena's decision that much harder.
Season Finale Tease: In season two, the penultimate episode felt more like the finale while the actual finale felt more like an epilogue. Plec says that's definitely not the case for season three: "Our story path kept us going at high octane all the way to the end. Definitely, I would say the penultimate episode is very, very adrenaline-infused and there's some big, big mythology moves that happen and it's a pretty big deal, where the finale is definitely more emotional, but it is by no means the epilogue to the season. If anything, it's half closing the door to one year and blowing the lid off the freaking door to the next."
Make sure to check out our Spoiler Chat tomorrow for scoop on what's next for Klaus, Caroline and Tyler's love triangle now that Tyler (Michael Trevino) has broken the sire bond!
What did you think of tonight's episode? Did Alaric's human death gut you as much as it gutted us? Sound off in the comments!