SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t watched this week’s episode of The Vampire Diaries (our full recap), stop reading now. Tyler’s scheme to take out Klaus didn’t exactly go according to plan. Who paid the price?
Tyler’s mother, Mayor Carol Lockwood (Susan Walters), who viewers have known since season 1. After Hayley told Klaus about the unsired hybrids’ betrayal as part of her deal with Professor Shane, Klaus massacred the 12 of them to the tune of “O Holy Night.” Then, with blood still covering him, Klaus found tipsy Carol at the fountain in the town square. He wanted to hurt Tyler, and drowning his mother, while the soundtrack played “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” would do that. Walters spoke to EW after the East Coast airing.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did you find out Carol would die at the end of this holiday episode?
SUSAN WALTERS: Pascal [Verschooris], our line producer who actually ended up directing the episode, called me before the script came out and told me.
Did he tell you how it would play out?
No, it was definitely something I read for the first time in the script. In the original script, there was a lot more of them showing her being drunk. I guess because they’re gonna play it off that she was drinking and drown. There was a lot going on in that episode, so I can see why they weren’t able to show me kissing some man under the mistletoe and what not. [Laughs]
The drunk scenes must have been fun to film though.
It was definitely fun. The other two scenes I was in, the scene with Tyler and the scene with Klaus, they weren’t necessarily fun to film because they were both really sad scenes for me, but actually, the scene where they show me drowning underwater was a hoot because it was done in a tank on the stage.
Tell me about filming the scene with Joseph Morgan (pictured above with Walters in happier times).
We were in Covington, Georgia, and because there’s a lot of people in the town who always come out and watch and really participate in our show, we kinda had to wait till a lot of those people were gone, so it was pretty late at night. We just did our little scene several times, and there it was. And then the stunt girl jumped in and had her head stuck in the fountain, so I was really happy that I didn’t have to do that. [Laughs]
I was gonna ask at what point you were like, “And… double! Thank you!”
No, no, I am not the kind of actress who says, “Please, let me do my own stunts.” I’m like there are really highly qualified stunt people and it is their expertise to do it well, a lot better than I could. And actually, to me, they ended up showing a lot more of me struggling, where you saw my face. But when I watched the woman portraying me being drown by him — because they only did, like, one take of it because then she got soaken wet, of course — she held her breath for ever. She was amazing. It was creepy, actually. I got uncomfortable standing behind the camera watching that being filmed — that’s how long she held her breath. She was fantastic. And Joseph was great because he’s so committed. All of the actors on that show are just so great. I kinda joked around saying, “Well, I’m glad I wasn’t strung up in a tree in the town square in front of everybody to die like somebody was last year [in “Ghost World”].” I was like, “Ohmygod, that would be so brutal to be dying in front of everybody.” So I was happy that it was kind of a private little intimate death.
How does this compare to other death scenes in your career? With Carol drunk, Klaus all bloody, and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” playing, it was pretty fun and twisted.
Well, on Melrose Place, I died rather dramatically. That was pretty funny, actually, though. I hit my head on the car and died. But then [Lisa Rinna’s Taylor and Scott Plank’s Nick] also set me on train tracks, and I was decapitated or something like that. [Laughs] So that one was pretty crazy. I haven’t had too many deaths on-screen.
If you’re gonna have just a few, make them good ones. Make them count.
Yeah. This was good. It was absolutely beautifully shot. The whole episode was just gorgeous to look at.
Is there any chance of Carol coming back? We know Jeremy sees ghosts.
No, I don’t think so. No, no, no. Somebody asked me that, and I said, “I doubt the over 40 crowd becomes ghosts.” [Laughs]
Did the cast and crew do anything special when you wrapped?
So many members of the crew couldn’t even look at me that day, and then after I finished, they were really, really sweet. They all came up and hugged me, they were crying. It was a really nice sendoff, I have to say. It was lovely.
What was it like shooting your last scene with Michael Trevino?
What was hard about that scene was that I did not want Susan’s knowledge to get in the way of Carol’s knowledge. But, if you think about what Carol Lockwood’s going through, her son is basically saying he’s going away. For me, that just broke my heart because No. 1, I’m a mom, and I know how much I miss my daughters even when they’re gone at school for a week, or two weeks, a month. And then knowing that her son’s gonna be in harm’s way. And let’s be honest, I’m talking about the supernatural, so I had all that going on. And then the fact that she’s already lost her husband, which I’m referencing in the scene. They didn’t show it, which made perfect sense not to show it, but I would have to stop during that scene. Michael Trevino is such a great actor. He makes me cry so easily. I’m always like, “Can I just take you with me on my jobs?” So I just had to keep stopping and pulling it together to get through the scene. I was also feeling like, Ohmygod, Carol Lockwood has to go home to that giant house on that giant piece of property all alone. It really strikes a chord with me, but of course, it’s not something that everybody watching the Vampire Diaries is really thinking about. You know what I mean?
They’re not watching from a parent’s perspective.
Yeah. So really what was on my mind was this poor woman, and the fact that she’s saying goodbye to this kid, and I’m a nervous wreck when my kids leave to drive to downtown Atlanta. So it was a really sweet scene. And I just love Michael. We haven’t worked together that much, which is interesting because I play his mother, but a lot of times, I’m working with other people in the town. But the times we’ve gotten to work together, it’s very easy to relate to him. I don’t have sons, so it was so much fun for me to have a son.
What’s next for you?
I’m just enjoying the holidays. Last year and the year before, I had a small part on Teen Wolf. I play one of the girls’ mom. They filmed in Atlanta, which is why I got the part. And now they’re filming in Los Angeles, and my husband [Linden Ashby] has become a regular on the show [playing Sheriff Stilinski]. So, I’m able to go out there now with him and spend a week in L.A., and I’ll probably go back for an extended length of time. So it’s a drag because I would obviously have loved to have stayed on Vampire Diaries forever, but it’s kinda fun now that I can travel with my husband when he goes to work in L.A. and see old friends because I spent 20 years there.
The funny thing about Vampire Diaries is, I remember when I first got on the show, probably the first or second season, I’d read scripts where I got pitched off the stairway or something, and I’d be like, Ohmygod, I hope I don’t die, and I’d quickly read to the end and then it’s like, Whew, I’m not dead. Because at that point, I’m like, I love the show, I don’t want to stop watching the show because they kill me. Now, at this point, I’m enough of a fan that I’ll continue to watch this show [Laughs] because when I watch it, I buy it hook, like, and sinker. That’s just so funny to me: I sit there and I see the people at work, and then when I’m watching the show, I absolutely believe all of it. I’m definitely a fan of the show. There’s not a lot of adults left on the show, and they seem to be doing fine without us. [Laughs]
Where has Liz Forbes (Marguerite MacIntyre) been?! Why wasn’t she patrolling this Winter Wonderland party tonight?
I think she’s in the next episode, because we just missed each other. Marguerite and I had such a nice time working together. We would hang out on the set, and then we always made plans to hang out when she was in town. We just missed each other because I was done with the show when she was coming in, so I was a little bit bummed about that. But I’m sure I’ll run into her again.
I just loved being part of something that’s kind of pop culture. It’s fun that I get recognized as the mayor on Vampire Diaries. I really enjoyed it. And on a show like that, you’re pretty lucky if you can last three or four seasons. So I feel good about that at least.