Warning: Major spoilers below. Do not continue reading unless you have seen “The Vampire Diaries” Season 5, episode 19, “Man on Fire,” aired on Thursday (April 24). Everyone else, read on …
Before we even start this “The Vampire Diaries” post mortem, let’s all lay down our pitchforks and put out our torches and stop writing death threats to the “TVD” writers. Even though Enzo (Michael Malarkey) is now dead, he’s not gone from the show. Far from it, in fact.
After an advance screening of the episode, executive producer Caroline Dries and series star Ian Somerhalder spoke to a small group of reporters at The CW and put everyone’s worries about fan-favorite vampire Enzo to rest right away.
Enzo, a ghost villain? That sounds like the perfect opportunity to show off more snark than ever before — “with a great accent,” Somerhalder quips.
So now that you know that Enzo (and Malarkey) are still going to be a big part of the rest of Season 5 (and the mobs have cleared and the lives of our favorite “TVD” writers and showrunners are no longer at risk) let’s continue on with this post mortem, shall we? Check out what Dries and Somerhalder had to say about everything that went down in “Man on Fire” below.
Enzo’s new status: Ghost villain
So how much damage can Enzo really inflict on Damon and Stefan from the Other Side as revenge for killing his love Maggie back in the ’60s? A lot more than you might expect.
Enzo’s death won’t be the only major one before this season is over. Dries was able to think of three (three!) major deaths that will happen in the next few episodes, and she says they are permanent deaths. Gulp. Of course, she wouldn’t say who was going to die, so start preparing for the worst.
Stefan’s big secret
Since Stefan is the one responsible for Enzo’s death (even though it was clearly suicide on Enzo’s part as the first step of his revenge plan: Get Stefan and Damon to turn on each other), he’s going to do everything in his power to keep that and Enzo’s death a secret from his brother. He also enlisted the help of Bonnie and Elena in lying to Damon about his BFF’s fate. So how will Damon react when he finds out how deep this betrayal goes?
After Damon and Elena’s emotional breakup, where is this clearly-still-in-love couple going to go next?
Damon won’t be able to keep that up going forward, however. “In the next episode, we’ll purposefully throw them in a world together where they can’t help but literally be on top of each other, a cabin in the woods story,” Dries says. “They can’t be away from each other, they can’t be close to each other, so we’re playing into the drama of that now, this weird purgatory in their relationship. How will they act when they can’t escape each other?”
Somerhalder loves the “push and pull” of Elena and Damon’s relationship and how it translates onscreen. “It really does make a dynamic component to their relationship. It creates tension, it creates chemistry, all this cool stuff,” Somerhalder says. “It’s pretty evident and it’s there to stay for a while. It’s always uncomfortable when you watch it. Like someone running their hands on a chalkboard.”
Dries agrees, adding that the writers love being able to play around with that. “Every time one of them is in a room with the other, they don’t even have to say anything but the tension or chemistry exists,” Dries says. “That’s what makes them as a couple so powerful. Even if the storyline is them not dating, it’s actually still a love story.”
The Travelers’ agenda
The two major issues going on now — the Other Side disintegrating and the Travelers’ ultimate goal — are two separate storylines that don’t really coincide with each other. “They’re two separate things. If we were slightly more clever we would have found a way to make it all happen together,” Dries says with a laugh. “What we’re trying to do is give the Traveler’s the simplest goal in the world. They just want a place to call home. They’re not trying to be bad guys about it but here’s what they have to do.”
Dries elaborates, “We always get criticized for being so confusing with all this mythology so we tried to make it as simple as possible without all of these rules. The Other Side component is really more our desire to get rid of the Other Side. We want it so that moving forward, when characters do die, it’s death. Dead is dead.”
So what exactly is the spell that the Travelers are trying to do? “It literally undoes magic,” Dries explains. “Like what we saw with Sloane, it strips away her vampirism and leaves her in the state she was before she was a vampire and that state was dead.”
“Which is a bummer because she was hot,” Somerhalder interjects.
“So if you were to do that to Damon, the same thing would happen,” Dries continues. “If they can do this globally, then will it get rid of all the vampires? That’s the threat. They care less about vampires and more about undoing the curse that was put on them.”
Of course, if the Travelers succeed, then bye-bye everyone on “TVD,” right? “It’s an unintended consequence, and very welcomed by them,” Somerhalder says. “That’s one of the biggest bases of the audacity of life. Everything needs a place to live, whether you’re coral or a squirrel or you’re a person. That need or desire is more powerful than anything other than to survive. So they’re determined. There are some really cool scenes coming up with lots of Travelers where you’re almost sympathetic for them.”
And another unintended consequence is that if the Travelers succeed, all the Passengers they’ve been putting into innocent people will also die, but according to Dries, that’s worth it to the Travelers if they can finally get a place to call home.
Tyler’s starring in his own version of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” at the moment, with a Passenger riding in his noggin permanently, and the writers are excited to give him a story that doesn’t revolve around a relationship.