Vampire Diaries
Credit: Andrew Eccles/The CW

Last year’s Vampire Diaries season finale was widely recognized as one of 2010’s best. In EW’s inaugural fan-voted Season Finale Awards, the hour was runner-up in three categories including Single Most Clever Twist, Best NonRomantic Cliffhanger, and Best Death, with additional Top 5 finishes in Best Kiss, Most Rewound Moment, and Spookiest Image. As the show builds to its May 12 season 2 finale, expectations are running high. What lies ahead? Here’s what we can tell you. SPOILER ALERT!

• The April 28 episode is called “The Last Day,” because it takes place in the hours leading up to the full moon, which means it could be Elena’s (Nina Dobrev) last day alive. The tension between the Salvatore Brothers, who have different ideas of how to keep Elena safe from the impending sacrifice ritual, escalates. Werewolf Tyler (Michael Trevino) returns to Mystic Falls after receiving a disturbing phone call.

• The May 5 episode picks up as day turns to night and, with the exception of the very end, takes place entirely on the evening of the full moon. “The loss of life is significant and very, very, very tragic,” exec producer Julie Plec teases. “The fallout of it is really painful for a lot of characters. The episode is called ‘The Sun Also Rises,’ and it’s really meant to say that our characters, at the end of this very, very long night, need to find some glimmer of hope when morning comes because what they go through is really profoundly life-alteringly horrible for them.”

• You’d expect the season to end there, but, says Plec, “There was something that we wanted to do that we felt was a really important element of our story for the whole season. We knew that’s how we wanted to end our season. The sacrifice ritual gets us to that ending, but there’s still more story to tell. If the sacrifice is the mythology resolution, the finale is the emotional resolution.” The May 12 finale, “As I Lay Dying,” is centered around another event — A Gone With the Wind movie night in the town square. “Damon [Ian Somerhalder], who is desperately seeking forgiveness from Elena for something that he has done, starts to relive moments from past mistakes made with Katherine back in 1864,” Plec says. “As is always true with these events in Mystic Falls, things go horribly awry.” There’s a lot going on in the finale, she adds, but because so much of it hinges on things that we haven’t yet seen, that’s as far as she can go. “What we’re doing is telling the audience that when we hit season 3, there’s gonna be a lot of things changing for our characters and in their lives. We’re excited about it because it just shows that the show has directions that it can keep going in and going in and going in, and we’re never gonna get stuck or tired. We’re just gonna keep tellin’ stories.”

Any theories?

For more scoop on other season finales — including Fringe, Bones, Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS, Parks and Recreation, Community, and The Big Bang Theory — check out the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands now.

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The Vampire Diaries

Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev, and Paul Wesley star in the CW’s romance-infused vampire soap opera.

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