The Vampire Diaries, Ian Somerhalder, Paul Wesley, TVD


Is everyone on The Vampire Diaries dead?!

Well, technically half of them are already, since half of the show's major characters are vampires. But you're probably wondering WTF is happening after the brutal ending to the show's first Friday episode, "Hell Is Other People," in which Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder) finally escaped his personal hell after being trapped in the Phoenix Stone for three months—and then proceeded to kill all of his friends. Oops!

You can't really blame him, since he thought it was another reset of the horrible Groundhog Day-esque experience he had while reliving the worst day of his life repeatedly until he was reduced to the most raw, vulnerable state he's ever been in. Plus, we most likely shouldn't worry about how Bonnie (Kat Graham), Caroline (Candice King), Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Matt (Zach Roerig) will fare.

"If they did [die], the show would pretty much be cancelled with that last scene," jokes showrunner Caroline Dries of the brutal moment. "What that means is…that even though Damon has escaped hell, so to speak, figuratively, he's left emotionally and psychologically…a changed person. The decisions that you make as a result of that don't necessarily reflect the decisions you would have made before you go in there."

In next week's episode, we'll see the fallout from said brutal moment and how seriously Damon has screwed things up—and we'll also see his brother try to help him through the transition. "Stefan has survived it, and Stefan's learned some lessons from it," says Dries, "but can Stefan warn Damon in time with what it means to actually get out of there? And so it's sort of like Damon's hell on Earth now."

And wait a second, should we worry about Matt? He is still the token human, after all. "There is a character that we haven't seen yet in the flash-forwards: Matt Donovan," teases Dries. "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."

Aside from a traumatized Damon, there's another, bigger threat to our crew: the mysterious vampire hunter, who we'll meet in episode 12. "She comes in and is introduced via the Heretics as somebody who is very scary to them, and in my opinion if the Heretics are shaking in their boots it must be pretty bad. We will introduce her officially in episode 712 and you will understand her story—and I will say she is not what we are expecting!"

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

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