It’s pretty hard to root for a relationship on a TV show when one of the two people in that relationship isn’t even on the dang show anymore (“Klaroline” fans know that pain all too well). But that hasn’t stopped “Delena” shippers from keeping the movement alive a full season after Nina Dobrev exited The Vampire Diaries.
Sure, Elena (Dobrev) is still alive, but Damon (Ian Somerhalder) is having to learn how to live without her for the foreseeable future, since she’s stuck in a “Sleeping Beauty” curse until Elena and Damon’s BFF Bonnie (Kat Graham) dies. Season one Damon would have selfishly just snapped Bonnie’s neck and brought Elena back instantly, but the century-and-a-half-old vampire has grown into a better, more empathetic person in the time he’s spent around Elena and Bonnie and even his younger brother Stefan (Paul Wesley). So now, he’s trying his best to keep living his life in a way that would make Elena proud when she finally does wake up and hear all about his exploits.
Elena’s presence remains a big part of the show: Her name is constantly brought up by her friends and loved ones, and her casket is shown on camera numerous times. Because, according to executive producer Caroline Dries, she means everything to Damon, even in her absence.
“It is a total challenge,” Dries says of keeping Elena’s spirit alive. “It helps that she is Damon’s touchstone for every choice he makes, even when she was on the show. It helps that our main character who we’re rooting for, Damon… that is why he’s making the decisions he is making. So yeah, I still think she does feel present.”
But for fans holding out hope that Dobrev will return before this season ends, Dries has some bad news for you.
“No, I would say if The CW called today and said, ‘By the way, season seven is the last season,’ then we would scramble to make sure she was in the finale,” Dries says. “But as of right now we are acting as if the show will go on. So, no, [Dobrev won’t return in season seven].”
The Vampire Diaries midseason premiere, “Hell Is Other People,” which airs tonight as the show moves to Fridays for the rest of the season (along with The Originals), will mention Elena’s name and return to her casket. But that’s pretty much where the good will ends for Damon, as he tries to escape his own “personal hell,” trapped in the Phoenix stone.
“This is Damon’s story of the chickens coming home to roost,” Dries says. “He had unresolved emotional issues with his mom. He basically spat on her grave as she was dying, and now it’s time for him to have a mirror held up to him and say, ‘This is what happens when you don’t have remorse.’ It’s his journey. It’s a custom-made hell for him.”
Nerdist got the chance to screen the episode early, so here are seven teases from the hour to hold you over until The Vampire Diaries returns tonight:
- Damon’s hell involves a memory from his time fighting for the Confederacy during the Civil War. He did something he’s not proud of, all in the name of his brother.
- Turns out, Damon doesn’t really understand what to do and what not to do when you’re pregnant. Lesson number one: Never offer a pregnant woman a glass of bourbon. Bad form, dude.
- Something we didn’t know about the Phoenix stone: The longer a soul is in it, the less humanity it will have when it finally comes out.
- We haven’t seen the last of Lily Salvatore (Annie Wersching). Take that however you’d like.
- There’s one line about a girl named Olive that you’re going to get stuck in your head. It has something to do with peaches. We’re sorry in advance.
- “I also love pie.” The Vampire Diaries throwaway line or Supernatural reference? You pick!
- Don’t believe everything you see in the episode.
What are you most excited to see from tonight’s midseason premiere? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @SydneyBucksbaum!
Images: The CW
The Vampire Diaries airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on The CW.