Credit: Bob Mahoney/The CW
Best Starting Point: ''Growing Pains'' (401) — A lot changed in last season's lead-up. It's probably best not to miss this season opener, which shows…
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Vampire Diaries exec producer Julie Plec told fans that by the end of the season 2 finale, they’d know this show has no shortage of directions it can go in — and she wasn’t lying. EW caught up with her after tonight’s East Coast airing to talk about the hour’s big twists and where we’re headed come fall. If you haven’t yet watched the finale, come back to us when you’re ready. We cover it all.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So I guessed that Klaus’ blood would be the cure for Damon’s werewolf bite, because I knew Damon couldn’t die. But it never occurred to me that Stefan would end up becoming Klaus’ wingman in exchange. How long have you known the season would end with Klaus and Stefan teaming up?

JULIE PLEC: Quite a long time. Look, in the same way that the last two seasons have been a very thick Damon journey as he’s come to terms with his humanity and the things that he hates most about himself, now Stefan, who has been struggling against the thing he hates most about himself from his past, is confronted with that. He’s sort of bitch-slapped by his own addiction, so to speak. And now he sacrificed the thing that he needed the most, which was his sense of strength and free will and will power over this problem that he has.

He had been drinking Elena’s blood to build up a tolerance to human blood, but clearly not enough.

There is moderation, and then there is sustained abuse. I think we just watched the beginnings of Stefan crossing over into that.

I loved that scene of him on the floor. It was like he was a bad dog who’d just devoured five entire bags of treats.

Probably Paul Wesley’s happiest day on set was getting to dive back into that side of Stefan and know that it is the beginning of a big journey for him and for that character to start really returning to the road that has caused him the most grief in his heart and in his mind for 145 years.

I was going to ask you what Paul’s reaction was to that twist.

It’s so funny. He sat down with me [earlier this season] and said, “I need to have a really serious conversation with you.” And I was like, “Uh huh.” And he said, “Stefan’s great as the hero, and he’s so admirable and he’s so honorable, and I love that about him. But as an actor, I feel like it would be great if we could dirty him up a little.” And I was like, “Uh huh.” And he looked at me, and he’s like, “You’re already doing this, aren’t you?” And I said, “Uh huh.” [Laughs] It was so great. Just as he was starting to feel like Stefan can do no wrong, we had been creating this almost heightened sense of heroism for Stefan for months knowing where we were going with it.

Katherine was trying to make Elena feel bad there at the end, like Stefan had given up his life with her to save Damon. But Elena can’t be angry, right, because she’d spent all season trying to sacrifice herself — and her future with Stefan — to save her family and friends?

Katherine was just being a little naughty bitch and stirring the pot. I love the look on Katherine’s face when she’s like, “Are you sure you care?” It’s so deliciously amused by the predicament, like the cat that ate the canary. She’s loving this. Elena, my god, if anything it won’t be anger — it will be guilt.

Katherine delivering the cure to Damon — we’re supposed to believe she did love him, on some level, as she said?

I think on whatever level Katherine is capable of caring about anyone other than herself. In her own way — more overtly and deeply with Stefan, but quietly with Damon — she let both of those boys into her heart just a tiny bit. One more than the other, obviously. Giving Damon his chance at life, that’s a very unKatherine-like thing to do. I love that she did it. While by no means is she a good girl now — she’s still looking out for No. 1 — she took a detour off her escape route to give him back what she took from him at the beginning of the season when she said to him, “It’s always been Stefan, I never loved you.” She was fixing that wound a little bit, which I think is pretty great.

So we know Katherine is a runner, and that Klaus told Stefan he’s going to help him catch her. Does that mean some of season 3 will take place outside of Mystic Falls?

I have no idea. That is a question to be discussed ad nauseam once we get back into [the writers room]. But definitely, she’s got her freedom, which she’s wanted for awhile, and we’ll see how long it lasts.

Moving on to the Damon deathbed scene — that was beautiful not only because it harkened back to Damon holding Rose in his bed as she lay dying, but also because, at least in my mind, you let Elena and Damon have a real moment without her going as far as saying “I love you, too.”

Elena, as we know, is one of the most compassionate people on the show — if not the most compassionate. It’s her own Achilles’ heel, how much she cares about others. So the extent to which she cares about certain people is always going to be a struggle for her. In that moment, Damon needed her forgiveness and her love, and she needed to give it to him. It was very pure for her. There’s a lot that happened in that moment, and season 3 is gonna be about exploring what it means to her, what it means to Damon, and certainly what it means to the Damon-Elena-Stefan relationship.

Will Joseph Morgan (Klaus) and Daniel Gillies (Elijah) be upgraded to regular cast members next season?

All I can say to you is, as I’ve said before, these two actors are extraordinary, and the story of the Originals is probably longer than the Bible and we can’t wait to dig into it.

I’m thinking that Damon and Elena will have to try to find Elijah so he can help them get to Klaus and Stefan. It is safe to say, at least, that we’ll see Elijah again?

I personally think that the world would be a very sad place if The Vampire Diaries never saw Daniel Gillies as Elijah again. I love him. He’s amazing. Until we start talking creatively about season 3, that’s the best I can do.

On to Jeremy… So he can see dead people now? Or is it just his past girlfriends because Bonnie told the witch spirits she loved him so they’d help resurrect him?

All I can say about that is: As Bonnie was told when she was tapping into that kind of magic to do something that goes against the laws of nature, there will be consequences. We’re just getting a slight tease of what those consequences are. For her, the unimagined consequences were worth it. Now if Vicki and Anna end up sticking around and remaining in Jeremy’s world in whatever way it is that they’re appearing, then in addition to supernatural consequences, obviously, there’s gonna be some romantic consequences as well. We’re taking the love triangle to a whole ‘nother level. Without a doubt, this is a story that is teeing up for our audience a whole new element of what we’re going to be doing on this show.

I know how upset you and Kevin Williamson were to lose Anna in last year’s finale. I love that you found a way to bring both those characters back that was totally unexpected. Was that an idea that just came to someone as you were breaking the story for this episode?

No, we had that in our back pocket pretty much the whole year long.

Will Alaric move in with Jeremy and Elena now? That’s what I’m hoping.

I think that what we were saying at the end of the episode is, we’re teeing up a new dynamic that is a family dynamic between Alaric and Jeremy and Elena. I don’t know that he himself is ready for that as a character. He might say yes out of obligation, or yes out of an emotional attachment, or he might run for the hills. Who knows? But definitely it is a question that will be asked when we come back, which is, “Are you our new daddy?” [Laughs]

How long ago did you come up with that idea? Because we all thought when Alaric’s body was taken over by Klaus that it was Matt Davis’ great exit. It’s awesome that he survived that, of all things, and now he is, theoretically, hopefully, becoming a more integral part of the story.

In our heads, we wanted to start building that dynamic at the beginning of this season. As Alaric and Jenna’s relationship got stronger, we wanted to see a friendship brew between Alaric and Jeremy at least, if not the whole family. And then it was just one of the story lines that, unfortunately, each time we had to add a werewolf or a hybrid into the mix got shoved aside. We didn’t get to do it the way we wanted to. So this is like a new beginning for Alaric and a launching platform for his character going forward that will finally make use of the character in as many ways as we can — not just this one — because Matt Davis is so important to us and his portrayal of Alaric is so great. We really want to try to give him what he deserves, which is the character’s strong point of view and great journey, however it plays itself out.

Since Klaus’ blood can cure a werewolf bite on a vampire, I’m wondering what it can do for a werewolf. Is that something we’ll find out in season 3? Is there more to Klaus’ blood?

There’s got to be, I’m sure. The rules of the hybrid and all that comes with being the hybrid, we’ve just scratched the surface.

When did the idea for the hybrid come up?

Before we wrote a single page of season 2.

[EW laughs in amazement.]

Yeah. That was always the plan.

I’m assuming we’ll see Tyler next season.

Absolutely. The series regular family is returning in full effect. Hopefully, we’ll be able to really dig deeply into Tyler’s friendship and blossoming romantic interest in Caroline and her potential interest in him — and also the conflict maybe between the sheriff and the mayor once the mayor comes into the loop, and the lengths they’ll each go to protect their children and possibly try to keep their children away from each other.

Final question: Is there anything more you can tease about where Stefan and Klaus are headed?

The direct road to awesomeness. [Laughs] That’s all I can say. We all couldn’t be more excited — Joseph and Paul Wesley included — to tell those stories. It is exciting to us as writers. It’s exciting to them as actors. We’re very energized about Stefan’s new journey and how Klaus plays into that and how that’s all gonna turn out.

Episode Recaps

Best Starting Point: ''Growing Pains'' (401) — A lot changed in last season's lead-up. It's probably best not to miss this season opener, which shows…
The Vampire Diaries

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

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