By Mandi Bierly
Updated May 09, 2012 at 10:20 PM EDT

It may be difficult to believe, but Thursday’s Vampire Diaries season finale isn’t just about Elena (Nina Dobrev) making a decision, finally, between Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder). As EP Julie Plec says, “There’s definitely some murder and mayhem, and if all goes well, there will be some epic tears, too.” As a result of Alaric outing them to the Council in last week’s episode, Caroline (Candice Accola) and Tyler (Michael Trevino) will learn there’s a target on their backs and have to decide whether they stay and fight, or leave Mystic Falls. And Bonnie (Kat Graham), who was used by Esther to complete Alaric’s transformation into the ultimate killer and often finds herself doing magic to aid vampires (good or bad), is tired of being pushed around. “She is done taking orders from anybody else, and she’s making decisions based on what it is that she wants, what’s right for her and the people that she loves,” Plec says. Adds Graham, “That’s definitely the overall tone of Bonnie in the season finale. She has got to make decisions for herself versus constantly bending over backwards for whoever might need her.”

The synopsis for the finale says that Bonnie will make a secret deal with heartbreaking consequences. Of course, Graham can’t tell us with whom Bonnie negotiates (Alaric? Rebekah? Elijah?) or what she bargains with (Klaus’ freedom? her life? someone else’s life?), but she does offer this: “Reading the script, I didn’t even expect that she would do this, but I can totally understand why she has to, and I think it’s a solid decision.” She also says that we’ll begin to see what happens to Bonnie as a result of using dark magic to stop Klaus’ heart and desiccate his body. “I don’t think that she was necessarily expecting to enjoy it. It’s very rare that you see Bonnie smiling, if ever, during a spell,” she says. “It could go one of two ways: It could be a situation where it’s in and out — she experienced it, and she realized this is something that she should stay away from. Or, it could get a little deeper and darker and harder for her to control and escape, and it could become a bit of an addiction.” We’ll found out which direction Bonnie is leaning. “It’s a little bit more surprising than anyone is expecting,” she teases.

Graham also confirms we’ll see Bonnie in the flashbacks to Elena’s life before the loss of her parents and her introduction to the Salvatore Brothers. “So many things have happened since the pilot episode that certain memories of where they might have been at the time all this started might not have been explored,” she says. “So these flashbacks are a really great way of doing that and reminding people of how far all these characters have come.” And, she cautions viewers not to make predictions about how the hour will unfold from the promos and clips the network has released. “When they put out those CW previews, they always show you guys enough to make you think something is one way, and then when you watch it, it’s completely different, or they’re having you not focus on something else that’s even bigger in the episode. Like that scene [with Damon showing Bonnie where he’s storing Klaus’ coffin] is a great scene, but there are way huger scenes than that,” she says with a laugh. “I guess my advice would be that things are very different than they seem in those previews. They are a little manipulated, in a great way, for your entertainment. But by all means, they’re absolutely manipulated.”

The CW has already renewed The Vampire Diaries for a fourth season. During the finale, fans will see a Bing docu-commercial that hints at what Graham will be doing over her hiatus: focusing on her music career, which she began before TVD, full-time. Her first single as a signed artist, “Put Your Graffiti on Me” (watch her perform it at SXSW), is available on iTunes. Look for club dates and more appearances to be added to her official site. “I think it’s so important as a new artist to be a good live performer and to do all these shows, so it’s not like, ‘Oh, well, I’ve got a song and video out,’ but you can just never watch me perform and I’m missing in action,” she says. “I really want to dedicate a lot of my time to working on my live show and being a solid artist.”

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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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