Credit: Bob Mahoney/The CW

The Vampire Diaries season 5 has been filled with doppelgangers, safes, experiments, mysterious pictures, and surprising romances. So what can viewers expect from Thursday night’s mid-season finale? Well, with the reappearance of Enzo, and a title like “50 Shades of Grayson,” Elena is bound to get some more answers about that secretive father of hers, and that’s not even mentioning Katherine and Stefan’s morning after.

We talked with executive producer Caroline Dries about Grayson, Enzo, and whether Aaron really is an innocent as he seems:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: With an episode titled “50 Shades of Grayson,” are we finally getting some answers about Elena’s dad?

CAROLINE DRIES: So we started at the premiere of this season teeing up this mystery at the Whitmore House. Megan, Elena’s roommate, was killed mysteriously by some mysterious vampire inside that house, and then all of the sudden Elena sees her dad’s picture with Megan. So we started this mystery and sprinkled it through episodes leading up to this, but in the mid-season finale, it all kind of wraps up.

What kind of man was he? I don’t know how much I’m supposed to read into the title, but if I’m in any way comparing him to Christian Grey, he’s very complicated and dark.

[Laughs] No, so it’s more of the idea that people are more than they seem and that nobody’s black and white, especially on this show. Elena has a vision of her dad, which we will see in little pops throughout the episode, of who this wonderful doctor is. If you think of a doctor, you think about somebody who cares about people, who wants to heal people. But then we discover this whole other shade, if you will, of Grayson that is not this warm kind man. And so as Elena’s like under the knife kind of with Wes, she’s starting to understand that the childhood she remembers was through one lens but now she’s seeing it through a different lens.

Speaking of her on the table, how much torture is going to be involved in this finale?

We saw a lot of torture with Damon at Augustine and technology has advanced, and Wes is much more sophisticated and Wes also has a different agenda than what the Augustine doctors had back in the 50’s. So there’s not really gratuitous torture, organs being pulled out. Wes is much more mechanical and has a much clearer drive of what he’s up to.

Let’s bring things to Enzo, because I’m so happy he’s alive. How is that reunion with Damon going to go?

That’s something that we want to build up to in the show is, “How is Damon going to react when he learns that Enzo is still alive?” And Enzo, being on that operating table for many, many years beyond what Damon went through is going to have some sort of chip on his shoulder and [is] holding some sort of grudge against Damon. At the same time, Enzo is kind of a great guy and was Damon’s only friend, and Damon was his only friend for that whole time so they have a very complicated relationship.

Will Enzo be sticking around for a little while?

Yes, we will. He’s going to kind of be, as Damon’s trying to figure out who he is post-Augustine and now that he’s come clean to Elena about what he was doing even at the beginning of their relationship, going off and killing Aaron’s whole family, Damon’s trying to figure out who he is, and all of a sudden he has this new kind of devil on his shoulder in Enzo.

In terms of Damon’s huge reveal, how are we going to see Elena react and maybe come to terms with what he just told her?

It is a very heavy thing to hear. She knew he was a killer, and people on Twitter love to remind me that Stefan is also a killer and killed whole towns of people when he was the Ripper of Monterey, so it’s something for Elena to live with, and she’s going to live with it through that whole episode. But through the course of this finale episode, she’s going to have an interesting revelation about Damon and kind of make this odd parallel to Damon and her father. She’ll have a surprising realization, and it’s not really the way people will guess.

Does this episode kind of bring us back around to the focus of the love triangle?

A little bit, but we have to remember that Stefan and Katherine just made out in the last episode, so Stefan is more dealing with the fall out of, “I just slept with Katherine Pierce,” and we’re not going to cut any corners in terms of him processing that. And he doesn’t even know what it means the whole episode. He comes to terms with it at the end in what I think is one of their most beautiful scenes together, but the whole episode is, when Damon finds out how does he react, and Stefan’s probably freaking out inside being like “What did I do” and “How do I feel about this person” and “What does it make me if I have feelings for her?”

We’ve seen the clip where Katherine is off with Matt trying to get hot again, but is she going through that same process? It’s hard for me to imagine her in such Stefan-like deep thought.

Oh she has deep thoughts. She’s spent her whole life calculating and trying to be one step ahead. But vanity is her core trait, and so she just spent this make-out session that we saw with Stefan and she wakes up with a little surprise in the morning, and so she realizes, “I need to look good,” and that’s her number one concern. And it might just be her subconsciously trying to avoid the notion that she’s dying, she’s aging. And so, it’s kind of like everyone, even normal people, it’s what we do to actually disguise the fact that we are dying a little bit every day. [Laughs]

I don’t know how to feel about Aaron. Is he really as innocent as he seems?

He is as innocent as he seems. He’s this tragic figure that was a victim of Damon and a victim of Augustine, a victim of his parent’s desire to get rid of vampires, so yeah, we’re not playing too much in terms of him having a mysterious agenda.

The Vampire Diaries‘ mid-season finale airs Thursday night at 8 p.m. on The CW.

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