Credit: Annette Brown/The CW

Welcome to Julie’s Diary! Every week during the season, Vampire Diariesshowrunner Julie Plec will add an entry to her diary. From answering burning questions to giving behind-the-scenes stories and more, this is a place for fans to hear directly from Plec about the episode they just watched.

Thanks for watching “One Way or Another,” written by Rebecca Sonnenshine and brought to life by first-time TVD guest Rashaad Ernesto Green. This episode is big on firsts and lasts. It marks both the writing debut of writers’ assistant Penny Cox, and the final outing for longtime TVD Family member Sonnenshine.

Once a year, we like to reward the talent of the office support staff by letting them share a script with a seasoned writer. This year, Penny got the honors. When an assistant is granted a writing opportunity, they get to sit in the room and break the story with the rest of the writers, and then go through the entire process as a writer: they go to set to see the episode being shot, they weigh in during post-production, and they obsessively stalk Twitter for feedback just like the rest of us. It’s thrilling and harrowing and everything in between. Congratulations to Penny. And also a fond farewell to Rebecca, who after five years of excellent work on The Vampire Diaries has decided it’s time to move on. She will be missed.

Tidbits from set:

  • Valerie makes a reference to the Salvatore House’s “upstairs study” (she asks Stefan if he’d rather spin the old globe in the upstairs study). That is Rebecca’s in-joke. We used that set only once: in ep 507, for the three doppelganger blood-knot ceremony, and then the set was dismantled and carted away, never to be seen or spoken of again.
  • In order to execute the ambulance stunt, production had to buy two identical ambulances: one to flip, one to shoot inside of. Our stunt coordinator Paul Burke was cast to play EMT driver Sully, who meets a quick and horrible end.
  • This isn’t the first episode that Damon threatens to feed a victim’s body part to the squirrels. In 316, Damon mulls over chewing out Meredith Fell’s tongue and feeding it to the squirrels for accusing Ric of the Founders’ Council murders. It’s fun to see that this particular threat has been part of Damon’s lexicon for a long time.
  • The writers particularly loved Valerie’s goodbye. These characters live in a dangerous world, so it’s not often that all our great supporting characters get to survive their departure from the show. But since Valerie’s life was always controlled and manipulated by others — leaving her mostly hurt and alone — it seemed right that she get to walk away and have a chance to live her own life for the first time.
  • After a relatively balmy shoot for 717, nature got cruel for this episode, which involved a lot of outdoor location work. The cast and crew worked in temperatures in the low teens for an entire week, leading to some crankiness and some unwelcome intermittent snowflakes that you can spot throughout the episode.

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