By Sandra Gonzalez
April 10, 2013 at 10:02 PM EDT
Mike Yarish/Fox; Justin Stephens/The CW; Craig Sjodin/ABC

Get ready to read the word “finale” a lot. But ’tis the season, folks!

And as our favorite shows begin signing off (Go On) and others film their final installments before summer vacay, make sure you send in your burning questions! (SpoilerRoom@ew.com is still the best way. I can’t always comb the comments!)

Also (shameless self promotion time): Please make sure you pick up this amazing issue of EW, featuring Scandal on the cover. There’s lots of great scoop on the season to come — and I wrote it!

‘THE VAMPIRE DIARIES’: PAUL WESLEY DISHES ON STEFAN’S FUTURE

In the last new episode of The Vampire Diaries, Stefan (Paul Wesley) told Damon it was time they break their cycle of loving the same woman. To that end, Stefan said his plan is to 1.) Help Damon shove the cure down Elena’s throat and 2.) Get her out of his life so he can find a new one for himself. That last bit sounds pretty good to Wesley as he looks ahead to season 5. “I think that Stefan should go off and explore another town,” he tells EW. “I think Stefan is really interesting when he separates from the pack and explores his own demons. I think it’s time for him to maybe go off, and then come back later to Mystic Falls and see how that impacts the relationships that he has with Elena and Damon. I could just be saying that selfishly because I’d love a different storyline, but I also think just objectively it would be good for the show.”

Executive producer Julie Plec confirms that someone will take the cure in the May 16 season finale, which Wesley would love to see be one of the core TVD players. “I like to think [next season] will maybe get a little less hectic and go back to some of the less complex days of just building character,” he says. “Maybe one of us ends up being a human, and we see how we all have to deal with that on a much more grounded level.” Plec also says that we will get an answer to whether the love Elena expressed for Damon is real. Is Wesley ready for that? “God, yes,” he says with a laugh. “I can’t imagine Elena ever definitively saying, ‘Oh, I’m not in love with you; it’s just Stefan,’ because then I think, where does the show go from there? But her intense feelings for Damon during the sire bond — I can’t imagine that they were true 110 percent. I’m curious myself what’s going to happen.”

After sharing a dance in the April 18 prom episode, Stefan will continue to ask himself for the rest of the season whether, if Elena were to want to come back to him, he’d say yes. “That’s not to say that it’s Who will she choose? all over again,” Plec says. “But there is the question of, where does her heart really lie? What is the truth? And what direction is the next phase of this love triangle going to go in?” The answer could be love square.

Even though Rebekah (Claire Holt) would leave Mystic Falls for New Orleans if the Originals spin-off gets picked up for The CW’s fall schedule, there’s still Candice Accola’s Caroline, who even No Humanity Elena has started shipping with Stefan. (She’s on Stefan’s dance card at the prom, too.) “I do think that when an audience vocalizes their like or dislike for something, it usually has an impact — in general, but specifically for this show,” Wesley says. “The audience is very loyal. We don’t necessarily give them what they want, but I notice that we definitely take things into consideration and toy with them, keep them on the hook,” he adds, laughing again. Plec doesn’t exactly rule it out: “All I’ll say on the matter is I’ve been shipping them since episode 2 of season 2, when Stefan took her in the bathroom and told her she is going to be okay. So if I’M shipping them,” Plec says, laughing herself, “then maybe one day it’s a road that we can travel down.” — Mandi Bierly

Related: 11 ‘Originals’ photos

‘CRIMINAL MINDS’ RAMPING UP TO THE FINALE

The Replicator is going to rear his ugly head in the season finale of Criminal Minds, and, with a two-hour finale in store, you know it’s going to be big. Shemar Moore tells me he’s excited about the upcoming clash.

“I think the idea that there’s somebody out there who watched our every move and can imitate us and has the audacity and the boldness to reenact these crimes to make us look vulnerable, I think that’s interesting,” he says. “We are the super team, we are the heroes — we got the guns and the badges — and even though we’re saving lives, somebody’s playing us at our own game. And I think that’s pretty creative.”

The show is currently filming episode 23, the first part of the finale, titled “Brothers Hotchner,” which brings back Hotch’s (Thomas Gibson) brother Sean (Eric Johnson). “It’s a Hotch-centric episode,” previews Moore, who last week had his own shining hour. “I know it’s going to have some depth [and] we’re going to delve into Hotch’s psyche. It’s going to be an opportunity for Thomas to do his thing, and all the while we’re going to build up to the Replicator, which we’ve been teasing the audience with all season.” (Possibly related casting: Mark Hamill is set to guest star in the finale. Hmm..)

‘THE FOLLOWING’: ‘HORRIFIC’ THINGS IN STORE

I can already hear your response to the above headline: ‘No s–t, Sandra.’ And yes, we should expect lots of horror and carnage as The Following cruises toward its finale episodes of the season. But for better teases, let’s turn to some of the show’s stars:

* ON DEATH “There is something that happens in the season finale to one of the characters that is so horrific, I think it’s the worst way to die,” teases James Purefoy. “It’s really, really awful, and it makes me nervous and slightly sweaty just to even think about it.”

* ON THE FUTURE “What I felt when I read the last episode is that it’s really satisfying. It leaves a season 2 wide open to go in a million different directions. It’s the cliffhanger everyone wants,” says Shawn Ashmore. “But the thing that’s sometimes tough with season finales is that it’s so open you don’t feel like there’s any closure — you just want something satisfying to happen — and there are certainly those moments for certain storylines and certain characters.”

* ON POSSIBLE FAREWELLS Asked if any of the finale carnage will claim any of our favorites, Ashmore admits there was at least one death that was hard to read. “[There are] huge consequences in the finale. Huge, huge events happen.”

* ON CRYING Okay, this isn’t a tease. But THIS VIDEO is definitely the cutest thing you’ll watch this month.

NEXT: Side Dishes on Glee, Revolution, HIMYM, and more!

SIDE DISHES

Am I the only one still watching Go On? I was shocked when I read the finale was this week. It’s really snuck up on me! I hope you have some quick scoop in store? — Meg

Ryan King and his merry band of misfits have a solid sign-off in tomorrow’s season finale. For his part, Ryan finds himself a healthy dose of closure that’s almost the perfect end to his story should there not be a second season. (For what it’s worth, EW predicts a second season in our annual Death Watch.) The comedy highlight of the half-hour is this season’s most underused asset, John Cho, who shows off Steven’s (lack of) singing skills.

Truth time: Am I going to be able to watch this week’s Glee? — Teri

Yes. But I recommend doing so while expecting one of the most intense hours the show has ever delivered as they tackle the subject of school violence. Glee has never shied away from taking on sensitive subjects, but I think there will be a lot of mixed feelings about this one. One thing probably everyone will love, however? The song performed FOR Lord Tubbington and the scene where Brittany receives a precious gift from Sam.

I’m hearing mixed reports: Who would you say is the focus of this week’s Glee? I already know that no one from NYC appears… — Janet

My personal feeling is that you won’t know the true star of this hour until the end of the episode. But trust me when I say that every one of the McKinley crew has an important moment or two — like Artie, who shows his director skills in the most poignant way yet; Kitty, who makes the biggest leap toward redemption we’ve seen all season; and even Mr. Schuester, who has a single line at the height of the tension that will give you chills. Also, Blake Jenner fans will enjoy Ryder’s catfishing storyline, which takes a really big turn at an unexpected moment. (Just don’t expect a definitive end to Ryder’s mystery-caller storyline by the end of this hour.)

Any Revolution finale scoop? — Sara

There’s a cliffhanger! Before you pelt me with tomatoes of dissatisfaction let co-executive producer David Rambo elaborate: “It’s a very unsafe world. It’s a very dangerous place. No one is safe, and I would expect that there will be some losses and some gains,” he says. As far as whether any of the new people we’ll be meeting later this season will pop up in season 2, Rambo says we’ll “definitely meet some people beyond the borders of the Monroe Republic that we’ll get to know in the second half of the season and maybe into season 2.”

The #Scandal fandom thanks you for all the pics, sneak peeks and BTS. One request- WE WANT MORE! Whatever you can give us! — @SabiaCoruja

First, make sure you’ve seen the latest script tease from the April 25 episode! Also, if you’ve picked up the magazine, you know there’s a ton of juicy little teases about the end of the season. But let me emphasize one: “Fitz is going to do something that’s going to really, I think, alter the course of what’s coming,” executive producer Betsy Beers tells me. “I think what you can honestly say is that every single character is going to be impacted by [it].”

Any new scoop on either the penultimate episode or season finale of How I Met Your Mother? — Babar Suhail

I’ll tell you who we won’t be seeing: Sandy Rivers. (Insert crying here.) But Alexis Denisof, who as you know is married to Alyson Hannigan, hopes to be back next season. “I love that character. He’s such a goofball,” he tells us. “I feel like from what they were saying that maybe you haven’t seen the end of Sandy Rivers.” Thank goodness. And in fact, Denisof sees a bright future for Sandy, however his story should end in next season’s series finale. “I feel like Sandy Rivers could go out and conquer his own network given a chance. He should be reading the news for NBC, don’t you think?,” he adds with a laugh. “But that’s obviously a fantastic show. My favorite actress is on that show, so I’m always happy when I get the chance to do a spot on her show.” All together now: D’awww.

Wow that NCIS ending was such a twist and for us to wait two more weeks is just cruel. What can you tell us about the next episode? Obviously Tony felt hurt and betrayed by Ziva, how does that play out? — Cheryl

Um, me thinks they’ll be just fine. Also, there’s a big scene in a *** that’s going to leave your jaw on the floor.

I’m so excited for Nurse Jackie and The Big C to come back. Any scoop for me? — Lisa S.

The penultimate episode of one of these is going to feature an off-screen death that’s going to hit the main character hard. And if you’re like me, it will bum you out, too.

I have no idea when @HappyEndingsabc airs but when I check my DVR to see episodes waiting I am more than ecstatic. #underratedtv — @adriennedsouza

ME too! And I know you didn’t ask for scoop but you’re going to get some: In the first of two new episodes on Friday, Dave is going to get a big career opportunity that would require him to give up Steak Me Home Tonight. For guidance, he and Alex head to a psychic, with a surprising outcome.

Hi Sandra! In your last Teen Wolf article (AMAZING PICTURES!) you mentioned Allison getting a new love interest. I was wondering if it’s going to be someone Scott knows or someone new and if you know how he’s going to react. Thanks! — Cassie

I had the same questions for executive producer Jeff Davis. And while I can’t tell you WHO it is, this is what he told me about Scott’s surprising reaction. “Last season he said, ‘I’ll wait for you. I know we’re meant to be together,’ but he’s going to have to wonder if that’s the hope of a teenage boy and not the reality of a man,” he says.

Sandra, I’m on the fence about Hannibal. Any clues about where it’s headed? — Josh

I think Hannibal finds itself around episode 3, so I’d watch AT LEAST up to there. In that episode, the case of the copycat really takes flight, with Lecter showing his true twisted powers of persuasion, and it ends on a note so juicy, I think you’ll coming back for more. Note: I didn’t intend on having a cannibal pun, but I’m actually quite pleased that it just happened.

Should I totally give up on anything good happening to Elizabeth and Phillip on the Americans? — Val

It’s not easy out there for a spy, that’s for sure. And Elizabeth in particular is going to be pretty broken up by the end of tonight’s episode after someone make a big sacrifice. And by broken up I mean she wears her poker face and remains internally in shambles. IT’S IN THE EYES, GUYS.

Hi Sandra. The latest episode of 1600 Penn (which is really funny and everyone should give it a chance) felt like it could be a series finale if needed… any chance it’s coming back? Thanks! — Jen

I’m going to vote on no. Sorry, Jen. More predictions here.

Sandra, there’s been NO love for Hawaii Five-0. PLEASE change that. — Maria

Finale intel: We’re used to seeing the team chase after the bad guys, but in the final episode of the season, I’m hearing someone on the team is going to be running from the good guys.

(Mandi Bierly, Emily Rome, and Nuzhat Naoreen contributed to this report.)

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