Our hearts were nearly thumping out of our chests during The Vampire Diaries Season 4, Episode 5: “The Killer.” Wetpaint Entertainment was lucky enough to attend an early screening, where executive producer Julie Plec and writer Michael Narducci answered all our burning questions following the jaw-dropping episode. We got all the answers on Elena’s (Nina Dobrev) consequences, her relationship with both Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Stefan (Paul Wesley), and poor Jeremy’s (Steven R. McQueen) hand issue. 

Why bring back the good old vampire diaries?
Julie Plec: Well, it is the title of the show. So we always kind of knew that we wanted it to exist out there in the ether; and what we’ve said since Season 1 is that a diary is your most personal place to give your most personal messages. When you’re in a functional friendship, a functional relationship, when you feel like you’ve got something to share, you can share it with a friend, a lover, whatever. And Elena has always had that in Stefan or Damon, and now she feels more lost and alone than she ever has and it felt like the right time for her to need to have a voice for that. Because she doesn’t feel like she can admit this to her friends and loved ones, that she hates who she’s become. So it felt like the right time.

Will there be more of it then?
Julie Plec: No, I mean, it’s not going to be part of the week-to-week format. I think we’ll visit it at time when we feel they need to have a private thought that we need to be invited into more so than it being part of the narrative.

Will she be able to forgive Stefan?
Julie Plec: She’s mad at him. And she definitely starts next week super mad at him. And so, forgiveness and understanding and learning the truth of what he was up to and is up to, I think, all those things are up ahead and we’ll see how she handles it.

Elena would have a first kill eventually, why was it important that it was poor Connor [Todd Williams]?
Michael Narducci: We talked in April about what it would be like to have Elena become a vampire and that very question: What would her first kill be? And we knew it would happen in [Episode] 5 and that it would be Connor and I really wanted to write this episode because I’d been on the show for a while and something that I struggle with is, I wanted Elena to do more things. I want her to not be a damsel in distress. I want her to go out and protect her brother. So there were all these things. If Jeremy is in jeopardy, it is very important to have Matt, who’s her high school sweetheart in jeopardy... and what’s Elena going to do? Is she going to wait for all these people to get involved and save everyone for her, or will she get involved and do something. There are some key moments that I really loved in this episode, like when she turns to Damon and says, “I’m a monster too.” And she is now. She is dangerous. 

And I don’t think she goes into those tunnels with the intention of killing Connor. I think she goes in with the intention of saying, “Stay the hell away from my family” and Connor never gives up. Connor’s ready to kill a vampire at any moment and when he stakes her she loses it in that moment. So there’s something about vampires. They do go off, and Elena is one of them, and we have to show that dark side of what it is to be a vampire.

Julie Plec: We also liked the idea of giving the first glimpse of hope for Elena’s predicament and situation and she herself was the one that broke that. She literally and metaphorically killed her hope without realizing it. So the consequences of that first kill are pretty profound.

We already saw the after-effects of her first kill. Can you talk about what she’s going to go through in the coming weeks?
Julie Plec: Whoever sees the preview for next week’s episode will get a little glimmer of the episode, which is essentially that we learn for the first time that killing a hunter comes with a price. So there’s a great weird Dostoyevski consequence to it all that she is going to have to deal with that takes her to some really dark, dark, dark places.

Regarding the tattoo, are there supernatural Buffy abilities that come with it?
Julie Plec: Well, right now it’s just the beginning of him being awakened. Connor told him that he is a potential, and this is a hint that perhaps Connor was speaking the truth. So we’ll see where that goes next.

Is it something he is actively going to pursue right away?
Julie Plec: It continues immediately and in that there’s the question: “What does it mean that he now has this mark on his hand, and what does it mean for the mythology of The Five and what that mark leads to?”

Have we seen the last of Connor?
Julie Plec: Actually, believe it or not, we have not seen completely, totally, the last of Connor.

Do you think Elena and Jeremy would ever turn against each other?
Julie Plec: Well, I think now, they are supernaturally predisposed to be in conflict. So that's going to make Sunday dinner a little awkward.

Can you talk about the Caroline [Candice Accola], Tyler [Michael Trevino], Hayley [Phoebe Tonkin], Klaus [Joseph Morgan] situation and how that's moving forward?
Julie Plec: Yeah. We like to do this every now and then, and maybe it's obnoxious. Maybe we should stop, but what we like to do is introduce a trope that you think you know where it's going, and everyone gets all up in arms because, “Oh, here comes the slutty little vixen into the show, and Tyler's a cheater. And that's how they're going to break up Caroline to get Caroline to Klaus, and hack, hack, hack.” We like to do that and fight that sort of attack because we're masochists. No, because we like to feel badly about ourselves, and then we like to basically be like, “No, that's not at all what we're doing.” 

Hayley is a character — not to say that she doesn't have her own strong attachment to Tyler — but she is there for a reason. It's about Tyler's story, and what, as a hybrid free of Klaus, he wants to accomplish. And if anything, it will give Klaus this kind of gleeful perverse little power thing he thinks he holds over Caroline and Tyler, and will allow him to be emboldened to try to squeeze in there and maybe make a move or two. But when all's said and done, they're currently pulling one over his eyes a little bit. So it will be interesting to see how that goes.

What does Matt [Zach Roerig] have going on?
Michael Narducci: Well, Matt and Jeremy are going to become closer as [Matt] kind of takes on an older brother role to help his buddy who's going through these difficult problems with what happens with Jeremy's little mark on his hand.

Julie Plec: Matt, as the last standing human, is going to come in really handy in Jeremy's struggle with supernatural urges to kill vampires. Elena's going down this sort of rabbit hole of the consequences of having killed someone in the next episode. And Matt's just going to, as always, be that kind of good, reliable voice of reason which some people might find boring, but I find beautifully reassuring and good.

Vampire Elena seems to have a lot more in common with Damon as opposed to human Elena, who was more like Stefan. How is that going to impact the triangle down the road? If she really loses control, will she be really drawn towards Damon?
Julie Plec: I think when you say, how's it going to impact the triangle down the road, you just ask how it impacts the triangle next week? I'm just going to leave it at that. Everything's about to change in some way or another. Those changes will have a ripple effect through the entire season. I'm not saying it's all going to change next Thursday at 8 o'clock, but there's some pretty big moves next week as a result of this.

Does that include Stefan and Damon's relationship? Because that was a very touching little moment?
Julie Plec: I love that moment. That moment makes me so happy. I love when those boys are together, and when they're working on the same team. And we will continue to hope and pray that they'll be able to find those moments with each other all season long. But there is going to be a lot conspiring against them as really all of the aftershocks of the events of this episode start to do their damage.

So my extrapolation from what happened to Jeremy would be that Connor died, and we would assume that Jeremy took his place, but it’s called the Brotherhood of the Five. Might we be meeting four other characters in the not too distant future?
Julie Plec: Well, not in the very near future. But, never say never as far as the distant future goes.

Are they all men?
Julie Plec: That's a good question.

We saw Elijah for three seconds in the flashback episode, but are there plans to have him back soonish?
Julie Plec: Soonish for us in that we're already talking episode 16 and 17 in the room right now, and Elijah's name is all over the board. So the scripts aren't written yet. The stories aren't broken yet, but that's our game plan is to have him kind of come in as we get closer to the last chapter of the air.

We know that obviously Matt's going to be Jeremy's go-to guy for having the hunter's mark, but how is everyone else going to find out that maybe he has that mark?
Julie Plec: Pretty much, things start to get revealed to our characters, to each other, starting next week. Our brains tend to work its best when they're all on a singular goal, and they have the same information. So we don't linger in this secret land much longer.