The Vampire Diaries with Stefan, Elena and Damon

EXCLUSIVE: Want some juicy Vampire Diaries secrets from the 100th ep? Read on...

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Jan 23, 2014, 1:46 PM EST (Updated)

When The Vampire Diaries returns tonight from its winter break with a very special, game-changing 100th episode, get ready for a fan tribute with some familiar faces, said co-executive producer Caroline Dries in an exclusive interview with Blastr. Diaries' midseason premiere airs tonight on the CW at 8 p.m. ET.

[Spoiler alert!]

“It's such an epic moment for the show, for the crew and everyone,” said Dries. “We wanted to honor the fans a bit, too, because they've been so loyal and rabid. So it's really kind of a fan episode. If I had been watching the show from the first episode, I would be like, 'Oh, I really appreciate what they're doing here.' But it's not just pandering to fans. It's also going to be a huge game-changer for a few of the characters. What happens in the hundredth episode will have ripple effects for about the next five episodes in a couple storylines. We really tried to give it the real Vampire Diaries treatment. So that will be a biggie. The fallout from that is going to have effects on all the different love triangles on the show ... It's really a tribute to the series so far.”

“Poor Katherine.”

Before the break, Damon decided he was too evil to stay with Elena, and Katherine collapsed as her human mortality got the best of her.

“Poor Katherine,” Dries joked. “She really took a bad fall down those steps. So the hundredth episode is called '500 Years of Solitude,' and we're going to explore Katherine on a very deep and, hopefully, interesting level.”

In the episode, as Katherine lies dying, we get a flashback of that traumatic night in 1490 when she gave birth to her daughter, while the gang remembers in the present all the nasty things she did to them over the years.

Well, surely Katherine, the ultimate villainous bitch of all villainous bitches, won't get taken out by a heart attack. Will she?

“I think there's actually a line in the show that's just 'Katherine Pierce is not going to die of a heart attack.' But she will have a very interesting episode. The hundredth episode is very much about her, because all of our characters stem from things that she did. She's kind of the origin of all of them, in a weird way,” Dries said.

And bad girl that she is, Katherine's been a major trouble maker throughout the series.

“She's been so fun to write, because she's such a villain, and you don't want it to be too broad, but at the same time, it's like, Nina [Dobrev] has natural comedic timing. But Katherine, for her to be aging makes her so vulnerable. Just this unlikely dichotomy of this villain who has this vanity issue.”

Elena and Damon break up? Shippers unite!

As for Damon, when he broke up with Elena you could almost hear the shipper outcry around the world . Well, except for the shippers who wanted Elena and Stefan to get back together, that is. They were all like, "Yay!"

After all, Damon and Elena were finally together and happy. She even forgave him for all the nasty things he did to her and her friends, and the fact he killed her brother way back when. OK, Jeremy came back to life, but still.

One thing Dries promises: “This isn't over for Damon and Elena. They had a fight. It was a big blowup, but we're halfway through the season. The show lives and breathes on their love triangle. We're not going to end the Damon/Elena relationship halfway through season five.”

So while there will eventually be more Elena/Damon in our future, at least in one way or another, “in this chunk of the season, we delve into Damon's history a little more in a way that we focused in season three about Stefan's Ripper days. We got to know the backstory with Stefan and Klaus. We're going to get to learn a little history from Damon's side, which will affect present-day storylines for him, too. Which will be cool. We get to kind of peel back some of the onion layers of Damon's personality. Ian [Somerhalder's] been really fun to watch as he's going into this dark place and then dealing with it in present day,” she said.

“And it will be interesting because it's not necessarily a backstory with Elena or Stefan. It's more of like his own personal journey ... Even the writers are learning more about Damon. So it's been a fun process.”

What you won't see it coming

The 100th episode was written by Dries and executive producer Julie Plec. While working on the episode, “We were going down a different route, and then one of the writers and I were thinking about something, and we both had the idea at the exact same time, and we kind of both just got chills. And I was like, 'We have to do this. They won't see it coming.' I couldn't believe it when Julie approved it. She was like, 'That's brilliant,' and I was like, 'Yes!' We were so scared that she was still going to change her mind, but no. We sold her on it. I'm really excited about that,” she said.

“I think, thematically, the show has always been about the gray area of morality and stuff like that. Elena loving these two men that have had really dark periods in their life, and she still finds reasons to love them, and she still sees their good side,” said Dries.

Oh, but how long can the Elena/Damon/Stefan love triangle go on?

“I believe that we're capable of having this go on for a long time. The fact that the love triangle has existed ... We're halfway through season five right now, and it's still feeling as potent as ever. There is just something about these characters, between the acting and the casting, just the layers of their characters, they work. It helps too to have the doppelgängers,” she said. Indeed.

Here's a look at "500 Years of Solitude":

Should they kill off Katherine? Should Elena and Damon get back together? Let us know what you think!