'Vampire Diaries' EP, Ian Somerhalder on Romantic 'Purgatory' and 'Giant' Finale

Vampire Diaries Damon Elena Still - H 2014
Bob Mahoney/The CW

Damon and Elena are off again on The Vampire Diaries -- and it's not going to get any better.

"One of the best scenes [last week] was when Damon said, 'I don't want to look at you, I don't want to hear your voice and I definitely don't want to be your friend.' It was just so heartbreaking," said executive producer Caroline Dries at a recent screening.

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The volatile (off-again) couple has significantly less interaction in Thursday's flashback-heavy episode, "Man on Fire," which centers on Enzo, desperate to avenge the death of his only love, who died Game of Thrones style. Following Damon's decision to part ways with Elena, at least for the time being, having Damon and Elena apart was the natural next step and the writers saw it as a welcome challenge. "Let's try to do a whole episode where Damon doesn't look at Elena," she hinted.

In contrast, next week's episode -- deemed as the Cabin in the Woods hour by Dries -- sees Damon and Elena in tight quarters, prompting them to deal with their bubbling feelings.

"We purposefully threw them into a world together where they can't help but be literally on top of each other. They can't be away from each other. They can't be close to each other," Dries said. "We're trying to play into the drama of them now being in this weird purgatory in the relationship where it's like, how can we act when we can't escape each other?"

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As Ian Somerhalder tells it, what makes Damon and Elena -- who may not be the best match on paper -- fascinating to watch is their physical and emotional pull toward each other. (Forget the doppelganger faux-prophecy!)

"It's always been that way with Elena. There's always this pushing and pulling," said Somerhalder. "It really does make it a very dynamic component to their relationship that creates tension, chemistry. It's pretty evident and it's there to stay for a while. It's always uncomfortable. It's like someone running your hands on a chalkboard sometimes."

"Every time one of them is in the room with the other, it's like they don't have to say anything but their tension or chemistry exists," added Dries. "I think that's what makes them as a couple so powerful. Even if the storyline is them not dating, it's still a love story."

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Speaking of Enzo, Damon's only friend is put front and center in this week's installment when he believes Stefan (as the Ripper in the 1960s) is responsible for killing his old flame. "Enzo takes matters into his own hands when the love of his life who he's been looking for is actually the person who killed him and is supposedly the hero of the series," Dries previewed. But Enzo may be surprised to discover the ultimate truth. "I think he wished he never found out what happened to Maggie because he becomes a different person," she added.

Five nuggets from the rest of the season:

- Death means something different on Vampire Diaries, with those who have died often returning in visions or as ghosts, but Dries revealed that there will "definitely" be permanent death. At least three characters will die, for real.

- Dries revealed that the writers are already plotting season six and promised that as a lead-up to the finale, "this giant thing happens" that brings Elena, Damon, Stefan and Co. to a different place than they were before. "Season six will be a lot of bringing people back together," she teased, "and picking up the pieces."

- The love is not lost between Damon and Jeremy, who gets some of Damon's verbal zingers in Wednesday's episode. "When Damon looks at Jeremy, it's the source of so much annoyance by virtue of having to protect him. If he hurt him, he wasn't going to get laid or breakfast in the morning, so there was that little-brother annoyance," Somerhalder said.

- Caroline has her eye on someone new in the romance department. "She's got a little relationship/crush/feelings for someone that will creep up to the surface and that is going to cause potential rifts between her and and one of her friends," Dries teased, prompting Caroline to push that aside. "It's a little under the surface, and moving into season six, we're going to see her actually set her sights on someone and make the move."

- Dries revealed that there is "definitely" a chance for familiar faces to pop up again. "It's basically a storage facility for all of our friends," she joked of the Other Side.

The Vampire Diaries airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.

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