Credit: The CW
Best Starting Point: ''Growing Pains'' (401) — A lot changed in last season's lead-up. It's probably best not to miss this season opener, which shows…

For Vampire Diaries fans, the Damon-centric concept episode was all about discovering more about this character we’ve followed for seven seasons. And the same can be said for star Ian Somerhalder.

“You see why this man is this way,” Somerhalder tells EW. “There’s this thing that’s inside of him that has been holding him down his whole life. And this is where it came from, this is why it happened. It’s cool to be able to see that after so many years of knowing the character.”

But in terms of what Damon has to deal with emotionally now that he’s back in the real world, Somerhalder says, “He’s f—ed. The PTSD of what has happened to this man outside of the stone is I think more harmful than what was actually in the stone. This is going to be a very, very, very trying thing for this man.”

Step one of the process involves figuring out what’s real and what’s not. “He has a few mountains to climb to really understand what’s real, what’s happening and where it’s going to lead him — what he’s going to get out of it, what he’s going to have to do to stop living it.”

And yes, fans can expect him to “spiral out of control,” which is a phrase that’s been used to describe Damon more than once during the show. Although, Somerhalder thinks this time is different.

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“Throughout the course of this show you’ve been seeing this character blow up. There’s some big thing that’s so monumentally important to him that it causes him to spiral out of control,” he says. “This one I think though is different. Now, you see what really happened to him and then you realize this is why he is who he is. That I think is very unique in and of itself. It begs the argument I think this is probably one of the most important things you could ever know about this man.”

Furthermore, Somerhalder says this experience is going to add a “very different notion” to Damon. “He’s experienced something that you can’t change,” he says.

And without Elena, it’s up to Stefan to bring his brother back from the edge. Well that, or “suffer greatly as a result of those actions,” Somerhalder says before admitting that their experiences in the stone will bring the brothers closer together.

“It’s going to force Stefan to be much more involved with his brother. And it does bring them closer, honestly. Adversity brings you closer. There’s some cool stuff coming, but ultimately I just think Stefan’s gonna pay over and over again for Damon’s s—.”

The Vampire Diaries airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.

Episode Recaps

Best Starting Point: ''Growing Pains'' (401) — A lot changed in last season's lead-up. It's probably best not to miss this season opener, which shows…
The Vampire Diaries

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

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