Tonight is the night! The Vampire Diaries finally returns from an extremely long and grueling holiday hiatus, and TV Guide, TVLine & E!Online had a chance to chat with Caroline Dries about what to expect. We also get some scoop on that highly anticipated crossover coming up on The Originals!
Via TV Guide:
Stefan and Damon are both trapped in the Phoenix Stone. What can you reveal about their different experiences inside?
Caroline Dries: Episode  will be primarily in Damon’s experience of the Phoenix Stone. Through the course of the season, Damon struggled with his relationship with his mom and his willingness to open up his heart to her, open up his heart to the concept of forgiveness. So the Phoenix Stone in our minds is like one’s own personal hell, handcrafted specifically for the person who gets stabbed with that sword. So for Damon, we get to explore the consequences of his inability to forgive people, and the mistakes he’s made in the past surface and he needs to deal with them.
“We knew we wanted to see Joseph [Morgan] and Paul Wesley together on screen; they’ve had the longest history on the shows, apart from Elijah and Katherine,” Dries says. “Now, they have some interesting conversation over some bourbon.”
Expanding on what we already know about the crossover, Dries explains that “Stefan is forced into exile because of his story, which won’t be for a few more episodes. He ends up going to New Orleans for protection, and when you’re in New Orleans … of course you’re going to run into your mortal enemy. It’s a fun, rich, interesting story that starts on The Vampire Diaries and successfully transitions into The Originals.”
Something else we’ll see (though not in this episode)? A resolution to all the threads still left hanging in the flash-forwards that have peppered each episode since the beginning of the seventh season.
“I hope that you guys are still liking the flash-forwards, but I understand at some point you kind of need a reprieve and want to know what the hell is going on because it is hard to remember a minute from last week to piece the timeline together,” Dries says. “I promise it will start to make sense soon.”
A major missing piece of the flash-forward puzzle is the absence of Matt Donovan, but Dries assures us we’ll learn why.