'Vampire Diaries': Kendrick Sampson on Jesse's 'Ulterior Motives,' Romancing Caroline

The actor talks to THR about the mystery surrounding Dr. Maxfield and Whitmore College.
The CW
"The Vampire Diaries"

Is Caroline moving on from Tyler?

On the Oct. 24 episode of The CW's The Vampire Diaries, Caroline (Candice Accola) makes a move to put her Mystic Falls past behind her by closing in on Whitmore College upperclassman Jesse, who's made his attraction to the college freshman quite clear.

"The first thing that attracts him is she's beautiful and he sees that," actor Kendrick Sampson, who plays Jesse, tells The Hollywood Reporter. "She's a real challenge for him. He's used to getting what he wants and this is a good challenge."

It helps that Jesse has a fan in Elena (Nina Dobrev), and she's made her preferences known to Caroline, aggressively pushing for the two to become friends -- and possibly more. As Sampson tells it, Elena has the right intentions in doing so.

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"I think it's a great idea! She's on the right track," says Sampson, who describes his alter ego as "genuine." "Whether something is hidden about Jesse or not, Caroline needs to break away from the funk. She's still caught up in [a relationship] that's not panning out well for her and she's got this new life. We can all relate to that. She isn't able to enjoy it and experience it in its full glory because she's still stuck on this other guy."

He adds with a laugh: "She wants to have new experiences and I think Jesse is the perfect experience."

It's taken a bit of time for Caroline and Jesse to get on the same page, but the intimate moment the two shared following Damon's (Ian Somerhalder) ill-advised knockout at Jesse's expense earlier this season certainly played a role.

"[Jesse] believes she's good, he just has to fight to get it. We'll see a little bit more in this coming episode that his efforts are not in vain," Sampson says, revealing that the two go on a "possible study date that Caroline may or may not have agreed to."

"You'll see some good bonding. A little bit more vulnerability on both sides," he says of the Thursday hour.

But Sampson warns that there may be more to Jesse than meets the eye. Not much is known at the moment about his backstory, but Sampson notes that there may be "ulterior motives" behind why he has "chosen" to help Caroline and Elena on their quest to figure out Professor Maxfield's (Rick Cosnett) "teacher facade" and the events surrounding the mysterious Whitmore College. Sampson hints that Jesse is "instrumental" in their mission, however, "Dr. Maxfield puts a plan into action that changes some things."

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There will be more shades of Jesse that will be unveiled as the season progresses. "You'll see a different side to him," Sampson promises. "I'm not sure if it's anything people will be expecting, but it's definitely different."

Sampson is open to the idea of seeing Jesse make his way to Mystic Falls in the future, though didn't offer any idea whether that would actually happen. "That would be cool," he coyly says.

For the actor, who was on a plane to the Atlanta set a mere 10 hours after getting cast, transitioning to a supernatural show like Vampire Diaries has been an adjustment. But, as Sampson assures, it's of the best kind.

"The craziest thing is getting used to people walking around in their supernatural costume; their wardrobe, fangs. It's a little freaky," he says with a laugh. "And the blood. There's so much blood!"

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

E-mail: Philiana.Ng@THR.com
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