By Samantha Highfill
Updated January 07, 2016 at 05:25 PM EST
Credit: Annette Brown/The CW

During the Vampire Diaries‘ seven seasons, the Salvatore brothers have dealt with their fair share of talismans. But never before have they found themselves trapped inside the Phoenix Stone … until now. What that means, we’re not entirely sure, other than that the stone holds vampire souls and forces its inhabitants to relive every bad thing they’ve ever done. And for Damon Salvatore, that’s a lengthy list.

The good news is that this particular talisman allows the show to do something it’s never done before: A concept episode. “We’ve never really done anything like it in that it it very focused on Damon,” executive producer Caroline Dries tells EW of “Hell Is Other People.” “I think he’s in every single scene. Maybe not every single scene but a lot of scenes.”

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EW has an exclusive first look at the hour, and in particular, a flashback that takes Damon back to his days fighting in the Civil War. “The episode plunges the audience head first into a not-so-typical Damon mess. It’s a grueling, frustrating, at times even a little hilarious examination of one of our favorite and most damaged characters,” Dries says. “Turns out that in the murk of Damon Salvatore’s psyche, redemption isn’t easy to find.”

From now until our winter TV preview hits newsstands Jan. 15, EW is bringing you 25 scoops in 25 days. Follow the hashtag #25Scoops25Days on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the latest, and check for all the news and surprises.

The Vampire Diaries will return on a new night on Friday, Jan. 29 at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.

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