The Departed

Annette Brown/The CW

We would tell fans of The Vampire Diaries to prepare for a death in tonight's finale, but you guys already know that. That'd be like us telling you, hey, the sky's blue. Obvious statement is obvious.

Seriously, by now we all know it's not really a Vampire Diaries finale without the threat of death looming, and fans will be saying goodbye to yet another character when the CW hit closes out its third season tonight. How do we know this? We chatted with Nina Dobrev about the "crazy" and "sad" finale, which she says even shocked the actors!

Plus, she talks about Elijah's (Daniel Gillies) return, the finale's final moments and Elena's choice between Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder)...

Way back at the beginning of season three, Nina told us she'd love to see flashbacks to Elena's life before her parents died and before her life became a way more awesome version of Twilight. So now that the show has actually filmed those flashbacks, what was the experience like?

"I really liked doing that. I liked going into Elena's world when she was carefree, happy, smiling and not running from vampires trying to save her life every day," she tells us. "It was nice. It was refreshing. I got to do scenes with Zach Roerig as Matt when they were dating. We got to do some flashbacks with my parents, which was fun. It's just nice to see that world and meet the family and meet these people that we've heard so much about."

According to Nina, fans can expect  "The Departed"  to combine the crazy cliffhangers from the season one finale with the emotional punch of the season two finale to create one super-intense and sad hybrid finale (our phrase, not Nina's). "The stakes are really high in this one. Somebody has to die, if not more than one person has to die for the others to survive, so there's suspense and everyone's on their toes," she explains. "At the same time, with the family, seeing all the flashbacks and how everything went down is very emotional and sad. Once someone dies, it's sad, too. It's a crazy one."

Someone who may be causing the death (or, you know, becoming yet another casualty)? Fan favorite Elijah, who returns to, as Daniel puts it, "restore some order."

"Everyone's running around trying to save each other and trying to not to die. The forces are divided, and it's the Originals vs. the regular vampires and the humans," Nina teases. "The humans are trying to save the vampires and the Originals are trying to survive, but someone has to die. A couple people might have to die. Elijah's representing his family and trying to keep them alive."

When we spoke with Michael Trevino, he teased that fans will be blown away by the finale's final minute, a statement Nina completely supports. "Even for us, reading it was really intense, and then afterwards as we were shooting, they decided to completely change it and they threw in an extra cliffhanger," she says. "It was a twist to us, and we were all like, 'Wow! That was so cool!' Shooting it was so cool. There were a lot of stunts, and not visual effects but practical effects, on the day that we were shooting that are really cool, and I got to be on set to watch it."

Finally, we had to ask Nina about that tiny, inconsequential decision Elena will be making between Stefan and Damon. No big deal or anything. "I respect her decision, and I think that the audience will understand where she's coming from and how she formulated this choice and they'll understand as well," she says of her reaction to Elena's choice. "Some people will be happy and some people will be very mad. I'm already anticipating a Twitter explosion."

The Vampire Diaries finale airs tonight at 8 p.m. on the CW.

Not enough Nina for you? Watch this exclusive and adorable behind-the-scenes video of Nina's Got Milk? campaign. Yes, she sports a milk mustache...with her mom!

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