[WARNING: Spoilers ahead from Thursday’s episode of The Vampire Diaries, “Man on Fire”]
A fan favorite was the latest to bite the dust on The Vampire Diaries.
Thursday’s episode centered on Enzo’s desire to avenge the death of his only love, Maggie, whose head was ripped from her body the night of John F. Kennedy‘s election in 1960. After falsely believing that Stefan the Ripper was responsible, Enzo learns it’s Damon. Stefan and Enzo have their own deadly showdown, while Damon brings Elena to safety, resulting in Stefan unintentionally (and we mean unintentionally) killing Damon’s friend in a cruel twist. Turns out Enzo saw more value in sacrificing his life (he forces Stefan to rip his heart out), setting off impending turmoil between the brothers. He’s about to get his wish: Stefan and Elena make a pact to lie to Damon about Enzo’s fate, who returns at the end in ghost form (humanity off) ready for revenge.
“Ian pulled me aside one day and he goes, ‘If you kill Enzo, I’m going to quit,'” recalled executive producer Caroline Dries. “We purposefully had him show up at the end as a ghost to imply that his story isn’t over. He is going to become a ghost villain moving forward. We’ll see him all the way through to the finale as the bad guy.”
But how much damage can Enzo actually do as a ghost? Quite a lot, it seems, due in part to the continued disintegration of the Other Side.
“You just wait and see,” Dries said of Enzo’s plan. “You can do a lot from the Other Side it turns out. He’s determined to make Damon’s life and Stefan’s life a living hell. We realize why and how he’s able to do that, and it’s because of what’s happening on the Other Side that is giving him more liberties than some of the other ghosts have had.”
Enzo crossing over also serves a dual purpose, Dries said: “His story isn’t just about him being the villain; it’s also about us seeing a new set of eyes in this Other Side world.”
Stefan and Elena’s decision to keep Enzo’s death a secret from Damon plays into the next episode pretty significantly. Hailed as the “Cabin in the Woods” hour, Damon picks up on the fact that the two are hiding something big, prompting them to play a game of truth. “He’s definitely not very happy,” said Ian Somerhalder of Damon’s mindset, hypothesizing that Enzo “would have done the same thing” had he been in Damon’s shoes in 1960.
With Damon in the dark regarding Enzo’s true whereabouts (six feet under), he makes it his mission to get his friend back in any way he can — and that includes blanket promises, something Enzo won’t be forgetting any time soon. “Enzo’s pissed that he’s dead but amplified around him, people are being sucked out of the ether just like Vicki was. His concern is, ‘I want out,’ ” Dries said. “Damon’s going to promise Enzo [in the next episode] that he’s going to help him get out of there. He has a very clear drive of what he needs. As they’re trying to help Enzo, they’re also trying to help Bonnie and solve that problem of the Other Side and getting their friends out while they can.”
But there’s a twist. “Damon makes [the] promise under extreme duress, and Damon has no idea what he’s talking about, which just adds to the complication,” Dries later added. “He has no clue how to get [Enzo]. Nobody’s ever come out of the Other Side successfully without massive consequences. Damon says it to get out of a moment.”
For Somerhalder, it was the scene where Damon admits he had a hand in Maggie’s death that was most memorable. “When Damon says ‘Dude it was me. Leave it alone. Deal with me and not them,’ I was watching [actor] Michael Malarkey. Every time he hits it, and you see this wave of real heartbreak happen,” Somerhalder said of the moment. “This guy has been through so much shit in his life and to find out that it’s really the man in front of him [responsible for the death of his love], who is his only friend in the world, it’s heartbreaking.”
Enzo’s journey to the Other Side runs parallel to the Travelers’ quest to find a home, Dries said, even though the two trajectories utilize the Other Side in their story arcs. “They don’t fold. They’re two separate things,” she said. “If we were slightly more clever, we would have found a way to make it all happen.”
As the May 15 finale nears, Dries said priority for Elena, Damon, Stefan and the others will be ensuring the Travelers aren’t successful in their mission to rid the supernatural in Mystic Falls. “They have a united cause because the Travelers are trying to rip away their home, and it’s something they rally around,” she hinted. “In the meantime, the Other Side is falling apart. The question is, what’s going to happen to Bonnie and our friends over there, who we occasionally check in with — do they go away?”
Other nuggets from the aftermath of Thursday’s episode and beyond:
– Bonnie lied to Jeremy about her being destined to die, ultimately deciding not to break the news. The decision to keep that to herself will have repercussions. “How can we play this out? What would Jeremy’s reaction be when he finds out she’s destined to die basically? And we decided what if Jeremy doesn’t find out? Is that a nicer gift for him to have since he’s gone through Bonnie almost dying or dying a couple of times,” she said. “She’s been through this before. What if she changes it up and it’s like, ‘You know what, ‘I’m living on borrowed time anyway. I’m not supposed to be back here, so why don’t I treat every day as a gift and not a burden to people.’ This is her way of coping [with her situation].”
– Naturally, the Travelers’ plan will see unexpected hiccups. “Their unexpected consequence is thinking they can go up against vampires like Damon Salvatore, and thinking they can stand a chance,” Dries said. “You see these guns?” joked Somerhalder.
– Fun fact: Maggie was originally supposed to be a vampire “and was supposed to come back,” but “earning her to be a vampire was going to be hard,” Dries admitted. The actress, Heather Hemmens, originally auditioned for Quetsiyah/Tessa.
The Vampire Diaries airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.