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Vampire Rose (Lauren Cohan) got bit by werewolf Jules (Michaela McManus), and Damon (Ian Somerhalder)...cares?
Jules attacked Damon in his home, biting Rose in the process. At first Rose healed, and she and Damon, who she knows loves Elena despite his best efforts to remain a heartless bloodsucker, agreed to continue being ''special friends.'' But then the wound returned and started spreading. We'll learn Jules' fate by the end of the Jan. 27 episode, but regardless of whether Damon can save her, this is the beginning of a long, difficult journey for him: ''Damon's a character who makes a big show out of not really giving a s---,'' exec producer Julie Plec says. ''What Rose is going through is about holding a mirror up to Damon — who he is, how he feels, what he cares about or doesn't care about — and him looking at his own mortality, or his immortality as the case may be, and asking himself a lot of questions.'' How does Somerhalder feel about playing that vulnerable side of Damon? ''You know, I obviously prefer just getting him back to kicking some major ass, simply because it's so much fun,'' he says. ''But you have to have colors. There's a tone that I definitely want to play: At the end of the day, every bully has a certain vulnerability to him if you just get him at the right angle. And that's the same with Damon. He's starting to feel. '' But that doesn't mean he's not up to some of his old tricks...
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How long can Damon bury his feelings for Elena (Nina Dobrev)?
Elijah (Daniel Gillies), one of the Original vampires, entered the picture, and everyone assumed he wanted to hand Elena over to Klaus, the oldest, baddest bloodsucker of them all. (More on them later.) Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon realized the only way they could keep Elena safe was by working together and not letting her come between them like Katherine (Elena's vampire doppelganger) had. That led to Stefan apologizing for essentially turning his brother into a vampire 145 years ago by bringing him a woman to feed on during his transformation, when Damon had intended to die a true death instead. (Damon thought Katherine, his reason for wanting to become a vampire, had burned to death, so what was the point?) Stefan admitted he'd been selfish: He hadn't wanted to be alone; he needed his brother. With that, Damon went to Elena and said what he needed her to hear just once: "I love you, Elena. And it's because I love you, I can't be selfish with you.... I don't deserve you. But my brother does? God, I wish you didn't have to forget this. But you do," he said. Then, through a single tear, he compelled her to not remember it. Says exec producer Kevin Williamson: ''He's gonna do everything he can to turn his feelings off of Elena. He's a hot, sexy vampire. It just makes no sense for him not to have little toys.''
In a series first, we'll get to see the bedroom and bathroom in which he plays with them. One woman who may end up in Damon's stacked stone rain shower or standalone tub: Andie Star (guest Dawn Olivieri), a sexy, smart local TV news reporter who meets Damon through her friend Jenna (Sara Canning). ''Remember that anyone not wearing or consuming vervain is completely susceptible to whatever Damon wants,'' Somerhalder says. ''There's no way he's not gonna have fun. It sounds sort of sadistic and strange, but whether he's ripping someone's head off, or whether he's saving a kitten, he's gonna do it in his own way.''
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Tyler (Michael Trevino) and Caroline (Candice Accola) grew close as she helped him through his first full moon transformation, but the secret she's been keeping could tear them apart.
Caroline has told Tyler she's the only vampire in Mystic Falls. But with Jules knowing differently, it won't be long until Tyler finds out Caroline's been lying to him. ''Caroline is about to get dumped so profoundly and painfully in the middle of this werewolf-vampire problem, that it's gonna be life-altering for her,'' Plec says. Teases Accola, ''Her well-being is compromised, and it's interesting to see who shows up and who doesn't.'' Stefan will try to make peace with Tyler and explain to him that vamps and wolves don't have to be sworn enemies. But that's a hard sell after a violent confrontation in the woods on Feb. 3, and then a retaliation on Feb. 10 during which, Plec says, ''Damon's past transgressions with Mason come back to haunt him.'' (''There's a lot of irony in the scene, for sure. LOTS of irony,'' Somerhalder says.) Ultimately, Tyler has a decision to make: ''Is he gonna accept what Stefan's telling him about how they can coexist?'' Trevino says. ''Or is he gonna decide, ?I don't want any part of this lifestyle' and do something about it?''
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Where does Tyler's loyalty lie?
Since wolves are pack animals, it's safe to assume Jules won't be the only new werewolf in town for long. Look for more to arrive by that Feb. 3 throwdown, which Williamson and Plec admit they had to tone down. ''Sometimes I forget, and I feel like I'm writing a horror movie,'' he says. ''We had so much blood and guts and carnage, it was a bloodbath.'' Tyler doesn't yet know about the ancient Aztec curse that limits the powers of vampire and werewolves. It's what keeps (most) vampires from walking in the sun and the wolves' transformations tied to the full moon. He also doesn't know that if a wolf breaks the curse before a vampire (cough, Klaus) does, wolves won't be forced to change every full moon. They could choose to change whenever they want to — or never again. ''Once he learns that bit of information, I think he's gonna fight to find a way to break that curse. I think he will,'' Trevino says. He's right: ''I don't think that spoils too much to say that yes, that becomes very appealing to him,'' Williamson says. ''He does not want to go through that again.''
Things to remember: If a vampire breaks the curse so all bloodsuckers can walk in the sun and not just the Originals or those with witch friends, wolves will forever transform on the full moon. If a wolf breaks the curse first, the vamps are eternally screwed during daylight. And yes, regardless of whether you're a vamp or a werewolf, the ritual must still be performed, which means Elena would still need to be sacrificed.
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Witch Bonnie (Katerina Graham) thinks Luka (Bryton James) helped her to destroy the moonstone, when actually, he just took it.
Now that Elena knows Luka and his father, Jonas (Randy J. Goodwin), are working with Elijah, she will no longer trust them. ''I can definitely say that Bonnie will be pissed,'' Graham says. ''Elena is her best friend, her family. She's going to do what she has to do to protect Elena, herself, and the people closest to her. She's gonna be pretty fearless in what she does. The thing that she would NEVER in a million years do before in season 1, she won't think twice about it now. That's a big hint. I think [the writers] are slowly making her into this really strong character that you don't want to mess with.'' (Somehow, we think she's talking about more than working with Damon.) Bonnie will try to learn more about Luka and Jonas — why they're helping Elijah, what they themselves are after — Plec says. And by Feb. 24, Bonnie's ready to rumble. ''If witches are fighting with each other, a lot of people can die, sort of accidentally, just because they're standing next to them,'' Williamson says.
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So this means Bonnie will finally realize that Elena's younger brother, Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen), is a better catch than Luka, right?
Graham reads everything fans say about the show, so she knows it took some a while to warm up to the idea that Jeremy was falling for Bonnie. ''If you look a little closer, you see these characters went through so much loneliness and had no one at certain points to turn to. So it really made sense that they would turn to each other, especially knowing each other for so long. And it wasn't like they just kissed overnight,'' she says. Indeed, she credits Williamson and Plec for giving fans time not only to adjust, but to root for them. ''They're tweeting me this stuff — ?If you don't kiss Jeremy, I will. Kiss him! KISS HIM!,'' she says, with a laugh. ''They forget that I'm not Bonnie.'' We have seen Jeremy almost kiss her, which was something McQueen improvised in one take, Graham says. Will they ever lock lips? ''Sooner rather than later,'' Williamson says. Adds Plec, ''Jeremy very much has his eye on the prize. He's decided he has an interest in Bonnie, and he doesn't want to let that go. Yet she's got this Luka problem to deal with, and she's very distracted by witch business. So we'll see how he man's up and tries to make a go of it with her.''
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Katherine is still in the tomb, and still scheming.
In the last episode, Stefan ended up in the tomb with Katherine — just long enough for her to invade his dreams and give us a hot sex scene. She's still trying to convince him that she never compelled him to love her and that she wants to play nice now. Elijah cut a deal with Elena (see next slide) and he used his witches to get Stefan out of the tomb. Katherine, he left there, because vindictive Klaus, who murdered Katherine's family centuries ago, would want to know where she was when he arrives. ''She's definitely plotting and figuring out a way to get out. She hasn't given up,'' Dobrev says. ''The whole first season, we were led to believe she was stuck in the tomb for 150 years, because that's what she wanted everyone to think, and now that she's actually there, she's beyond annoyed and beyond frustrated. She is a very proactive woman who will not just sit and sulk.'' Adds Plec, ''She's in a place where if we need information from her, if we need her to participate in a plan, then she's right there. She can't run, she can't hide, she can't escape. We haven't seen the last of her. She's our delicious favorite. We can't seal the tomb permanently.''
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Elena made a deal with Elijah, which Stefan and her friends think is bulls---.
In the last episode, Elijah showed up at Elena's house and revealed that he's not, actually, in Klaus' inner circle any longer and doesn't want to help him break the curse. Turns out, the vamps had a falling out, and Elijah claims he just wants to use Elena to lure out the reclusive Klaus so he can kill him. Elena agreed to help him, and he agreed to leave her and her friends alone. Dobrev likens Elena's mentality to someone with a drug dependency. ''When you get stuck with one idea and everyone else is going against you, people think it's everyone else who is wrong. They don't see who the common denominator is, and that it's them,'' she says. ''So she's made this deal with Elijah, and she's really stubborn. They're all trying to convince her to step outside of her bubble and see things the way they really are.'' The difference of opinion will complicate her happy reunion with Stefan, who doesn't want to follow the suicide plan she thinks will save her loved ones from Klaus' wrath one way or another. ''Stefan's just so protective of her. She's choosing to have blind faith in what this vampire says, and they sort of start not being honest with one another — which is not good in any relationship. I would know,'' Wesley says, with a laugh. ''We've all gotten caught in little lies and it's the worst thing ever.''
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Elijah may leave Elena alone (for now), but he's not leaving town.
Elijah has quickly become a fan favorite, both for Gillies' bemused yet reserved take on the character and for all the damage the Original vamp could do in Mystic Falls. ''He's always killing. Every week, I read [the script], and I think, Ohmygod, I'm Jaws,'' Gillies says. In addition to wondering what his history is with Klaus, how honorable his intentions are when it comes to using Elena, and why Jonas and Luka are helping him, you've got to wonder what his presence will do to Damon, who Elijah is counting on, along with Stefan, to help keep Elena safe. ''Elijah could off Damon in a heartbeat, but that's the guy that Damon wanted to be. That's the guy that Damon thought he was in season 1,'' Somerhalder says. ''We shot a scene where I'm watching Elijah kick some major ass, and in the middle of this scene, I kind of found myself nodding yeah. Like, wow. There's a certain respect that I think Damon has for him.'' Then, there's the fact that Elijah, who's posing as an author of a book on small towns, has already made contact with Elena's clueless Aunt Jenna (Sara Canning), who's acting as his historical society hostess. ''He kinda will be using Jenna,'' Gillies says. ''I'm playing that he's a little bit attracted to her. I think he thinks she's kinda cute, actually. But more than that, I think he's enjoying the fact that whenever he's around her, Alaric and everybody is kind of getting terrified.... I think that he enjoys the results of his attractions almost more than the attraction itself. I think he derives something sexual from the terror he instills from just being around people. If he's charming somebody, and somebody else is frightened, that's a particular turn on for him.''
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Desperate times will call for desperate measures, like working with Uncle John (David Anders).
By February, hungry for information on Elijah and Klaus, the Scrappy Gang (that's what we like to call Elena's crew) will — gulp! — work with Uncle John, who's actually Elena's biological father. He hates vampires but has unexplained ties to Katherine, who infamously cut off the magic ring that keeps him from perishing at the hand of someone or something supernatural and stabbed him in the season 1 finale. He lived, and gave that magic ring to his nephew Jeremy (which is the only thing that saved Jeremy in the season 2 premiere when a distraught Damon snapped his neck after finding out that Katherine never loved him). So, this should be tons of fun, not only because of what this means for Katherine and Elena, who will no doubt NOT be psyched to see him, but also for Damon. ''They have to figure out how to work together, unfortunately for both of them, and there's a lot of double-crossing that could go on,'' Somerhalder says. ''You never know what's around the corner. Uncle John is not wearing that ring, and Damon would love to do nothing more than just literally rip the guy's head off. But he can't, because that would pose even more problems.''
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Jenna and Alaric will get more screentime... thanks to Uncle John?
You may recall that Elena's aunt Jenna and Uncle John had a relationship — or at least sex — in the past, and that Alaric never knew that Isobel had a child with John when she was young. So neither of them will be happy to see him either. John knows the secrets that Alaric is keeping from Jenna. (He is a high school history teacher who came to Mystic Falls to find and kill the vampire Damon for turning Isobel but now works with the Salvatore Brothers to protect Elena.) Jenna has no idea vampires exist or that they've been in her house and niece's bed. ''I don't think John is going to make their relationship an easy thing,'' Canning says. ''He's got his own motives. He may need to use Alaric in some of those motives.'' Some good old-fashioned human blackmail maybe?
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Matt (Zach Roerig), like Jenna, will continue to be in the dark ? for now.
Judging from the Jan. 27 promo, Matt clearly wants to get back with his ex-girlfriend Caroline, who he doesn't know is a vampire. Is there a chance the truth about all that goes bump in the night in Mystic Falls could finally come out as the situation between Caroline and Tyler comes to a head? ''Matt will either be in episode 122 of the series going, ?Hey guys, what's going on?' and deliciously clueless to the end, or he'll find out next week. It changes in our minds on a week-to-week basis,'' Plec says. ''When we go there, we'll go there because it's time and because it's necessary.'' Canning says she and Roerig don't have a bet on whose character will be the last to know. ''But we were thinking of making T-shirts that said Team Oblivious Human,'' she says.
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How about some love for Team Stefan?
We all enjoyed Stefan's human blood bender after Elena made him drink from her to boost his strength. Well, in the Feb. 17 episode, we'll see Bad Stefan again. Not because he ODs on Elena (he's been tasting from her every day to build up his tolerance and strength), but because Elena finds a stash of old Johnathan Gilbert journals and we get another flashback to 1864. We see what happened after Stefan killed his father and turned Damon during his transformation. ''His guilt is so deep that he goes off the deep end,'' Wesley says of the flashback. ''We find out that he would have been Damon had it not been for this one character,'' he adds, careful not to reveal the character's identity. (His dead friend Lexi?) Dobrev only adds to the mystery: In addition to the point-of-view in the journals, ''We see Stefan's side of the story, and we see Damon's side of the story, and it's told by both of them, to two different people,'' she says. ''It has a lot of different meanings depending on who's telling the story and who it's being told to. It ends up hitting home with a lot of different people and affecting their decisions.'' Williamson says it does relate back to the Elijah-Klaus story somehow, giving us more to ponder. But here's one thing Wesley can tell you definitively: ''It's so much easier for me to play Bad Stefan,'' he says. ''I've played the alpha male jock [before] and it's just really easy to be devious and cunning. It's innately difficult to just be a really decent character who just has a good soul. Someone who chooses to be pacifist or isn't as showy, I think there's a silent power in that. It's definitely not something that you want to undermine or underestimate.''