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The Vampire Diaries

Bob Mahoney/The CW

The Vampire Diaries is going to hell—Damon Salvatore's personal hell, in fact—when it moves to its new Friday night time slot. The first episode back after the show's holiday break follows Damon's terrifying ordeal trapped in the Phoenix Stone, reliving the most traumatic moments of his life.

Showrunner Caroline Dries describes the episode, "Hell Is Other People," as "Damon's story of the chickens coming home to roost. He had unresolved emotional issues with his mom. He basically spat on her grave as she was dying, and now it's time for him to have a mirror held up to him and say, this is what happens when you don't have remorse. It's his journey. It's a custom-made hell for him."

Having seen the Groundhog Day-esque hour, E! News can confirm that Damon (Ian Somerhalder) really does have to dig deep into those unresolved issues. And the repercussions of Damon's time in the Stone will reverberate throughout the upcoming episodes.

The Vampire Diaries, Ian Somerhalder, Paul Wesley, TVD

CW

Something else we'll see (though not in this episode)? A resolution to all the threads still left hanging in the flash-forwards that have peppered each episode since the beginning of the seventh season.

"I hope that you guys are still liking the flash-forwards, but I understand at some point you kind of need a reprieve and want to know what the hell is going on because it is hard to remember a minute from last week to piece the timeline together," Dries says. "I promise it will start to make sense soon."

A major missing piece of the flash-forward puzzle is the absence of Matt Donovan, but Dries assures us we'll learn why.

"We'll start to understand why we haven't seen him yet and what's going on with him in three years, in the future," she says. "We start to get little peeks at this force that's been after Stefan all of this time, and we'll slowly but surely—I don't know if it's going to be 100 percent evident—but 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."

The Vampire Diaries now airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on The CW.