By Samantha Highfill
March 19, 2015 at 12:00 PM EDT
The CW
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Until this season of The Vampire Diaries, we all thought Lily Salvatore had died in the 1800s. And in a way, she did. But what Damon–and we—recently learned is that Lily only died to come back to life … as a vampire.

More specifically, she became a ripper, eventually killing so many people that the Gemini coven stepped in and created a prison world to keep Lily detained in 1903 forever, unable to harm anyone. And when Bonnie found her way into Lily’s prison world two episodes back, Damon realized his life was about to change.

In tonight’s episode, Mama Salvatore is making her big return. Because, as actress Annie Wersching, who plays Lily, revealed, Damon plans to use her to get Stefan to flip his humanity back on. “Damon’s whole reason to even go [to the prison world] to try to find Mama S is his thinking that maybe she can help snap Stefan back,” Wersching said, and added, “So that’s his plan, but as is the world of Vampire Diaries, plans don’t exactly always go as one would hope.”

Much like plans don’t always go as one would hope, neither do reunions. According to Wersching, fans shouldn’t expect a loving mother-son reunion for Lily and Damon. “It’s not like Damon is super sweet and warm and fuzzy normally, but then add in that he’s seeing his mother for the first time in X amount of years and he’s just learned this information about her, [so] he definitely has some resentment in their first little conversation,” Wersching said. “He’s trying to give her a little bit of attitude and a little bit of Damon sarcasm, [and] she’s trying to keep her prim and proper self together but she’s also a little bit like, ‘Honey, mama knows best,'” Wersching added with a laugh.

Adding that both boys got something from their mother—and in Stefan’s case, he probably wishes he hadn’t—Wersching talked about Lily’s two sides. “There’s nothing cookie cutter about her whatsoever,” she said. “She is this maternal woman from the 1800s, wearing corsets and all that. But at the same time, she obviously is a ripper or has been a ripper, and so she has a fierceness about her, yet also a quiet calm, which I think is a fun thing to play against each other.”

And yes, Wersching will get to play those two sides against each other in various time periods. Wersching teased that it won’t be long until we see Lily out of the prison world and “trying to make sense of computers and cell phones and pants for women in present day Mystic Falls.” But she also talked about another time in which we’ll get to see Lily: flashbacks.

“You do see some Lily flashbacks, which are really interesting and exciting,” she said. “They aren’t exactly [about her pre-ripper days], but you learn a little bit about that time just from the way she talks about it. There’s quite a bit of conversation between her and the boys just about that time and about when she got sick and exactly what they thought versus what her reality was. Although it appears to them that she abandoned them and faked her death, there are always two sides to a story.”

And Lily’s story comes with a shocking reveal. “There’s something that she reveals to Damon and Elena in this episode when they’re getting ready to leave this prison world that is very shocking to them and they don’t quite know what to do with it. Once she gets to present day Mystic Falls, there still is this thing that she reveals in the prison world that she needs to fix,” Wersching said, adding that fixing this “thing” will be Lily’s number one priority. “She really needs something from a lot of people in Mystic Falls in order to help her with this thing.”

In other words, viewers will get to see Lily interact with some of Mystic Falls’ other citizens, though most of her time will be spent with her boys. And considering that she’s a recurring character, Wersching added that Lily has more than one big episode coming up.

However, whether she’ll spend those hours bonding with her kids or ripping people’s throats out is yet to be determined. “She has an interesting balance to her between the ripper side of her and also trying to contain the ripper side,” Wersching said. Like mother, like son, right Stefan?

The Vampire Diaries airs tonight at 8 p.m. on The CW.

Episode Recaps

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