'The Vampire Diaries': Alaric's fate revealed plus 10 things to know

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matt-davis-alaric-tvd.jpgFirst off: Please don't read this article if you haven't yet seen this week's decade dance episode of "The Vampire Diaries." Go watch it, then come back, and we can all hold hands and share our feelings in the comments section. There will be spoilers after this paragraph.

The show always delivers when it comes to the dance episodes; they're always packed with romance and death and drama and trauma. "Do Not Go Gentle" was no exception to that as we said an emotional goodbye to Alaric ( Matt Davis) -- and then were abruptly introduced to his darkest, most violent alter-ego.

The Alaric we knew and loved is dead and gone, unfortunately -- "The Vampire Diaries" producers aren't the type to give him such a powerful, emotional send-off only to bring him back a few episodes later. We're going to have to get used to the twisted, Original vampire version of him that we saw in the final moments of tonight's hour.

He will be an important part of the next two episodes. Despite having been filming his pilot, "Cult," in Vancouver during filming, Davis managed to get back in time to complete all of his scenes for Season 3.

"He's pretty clearly a badass vampire killer with a pretty magnificent, deadly, and unburnable stake," executive producer Julie Plec says. "I definitely think he's going to be a conflict-provider; not to make it an understatement. He's not going to be the friendliest version of Alaric we've ever met. He's pretty hardcore, which is going to be equally exciting and devastating, because he's one of our heroes who is no longer one of our heroes."

Esther revealed that though Original Alaric is technically a vampire, he's not immortal. He'll die after he killed off the Originals. That said, Esther is no longer a factor, and Alaric's fate could change over the course of the next two episodes. So where does that leave the chances for Davis to return in Season 4?

Obviously, if "Cult" is picked up, that will be Davis's first priority, but we're told that Alaric's fate in the finale is ambiguous enough that he could possibly return for guest appearances in Season 4. Additionally, sources at The CW tell us that "Cult" is in contention for mid-season, not a fall premiere, which may leave Davis more time to travel to Atlanta.

The potential for a return shouldn't reduce the impact of tonight's incredible quasi-funeral scene, though. We didn't think "The Vampire Diaries" would ever be able to top last year's funeral for Jenna and letter from John, but that rare scene with most of the series regulars, without any dialogue, was one of the most moving sequences of the series.

"I love those scenes, I really do," Michael Trevino says. "Even when there's scenes with that many people with dialogue, it's just awesome to be on, because we barely are [in scenes all together]. We just see each other in hair and makeup or in our dressing rooms. That was very emotional."

"You could feel it," adds Zach Roerig. "You could really feel it."

matt-davis-ian-somerhalder-tvd.jpg"That one scene was the most important scene in the entire episode for me," Plec says. She tells us that the producers in Atlanta wanted it cut, because it had no dialogue, but required a lot of money and work (and some acrobatic scheduling) to get everyone into play. "I don't do this very often, where I pitch the 'I'm the boss; shut up' fit, but I was just like, 'Guys, I'm telling you, this is the heart and soul of this episode, and one of the heart and soul moments of the season, and it's going to stand, so figure it out.' And they did. They always do."

As for the rest of the season... here are ten things to expect going into the next two episodes.

1. No one is safe. Plec added "if they're lucky enough to survive the season" when discussing the future of every single character.

2. Meredith isn't going to disappear just because Alaric is gone. "I think that every town needs a nice pretty doctor, and Damon might need a new drinking buddy," Plec says. In the books, Meredith and Elena were close, so there's potential there, too. "I do think that as a caretaker and as a compassionate human being, she and Elena will probably have a bond that could develop into a nice friendship."

3. We will discover which Original sired "Scary Mary" and is thus the bloodline ancestor of the Salvatores, Katherine, and Caroline.

4. Expect some fireworks between Tyler and Klaus when Tyler reveals that the sire bond is broken. "Tyler finally sticks up for himself," says Michael Trevino. "He's tired of getting bitched around and he acts on it. It gets messy."

5. Last season, the big sacrifice happened in Episode 21, and the season finale was about emotional fall-out. This year, the action continues straight on through to the end. "Our story path kept us going at high-octane all the way to the end," says Plec. "Definitely I would say the penultimate is very, very adrenaline-infused. There are some big mythology moves that happen and it's a pretty big deal, whereas the finale is definitely more emotional, but it is by no means the epilogue to the season. It's half closing the door to one season and half blowing the lid off the next."

6. Stefan and Damon will continue to grow closer to each other even as Elena makes her choice between them. "They will get stronger instead of weaker as brothers in spite of this looming conflict, this looming decision," Plec says. "There's a really nice scene in next week's episode that shows that they might just survive this no matter how it plays out, and that when all is said and done... bros before hos. The cliche is that the girl tears them apart, so how can we let the girl bring them even closer together?"

7. Having lost Alaric, Elena will have even more trouble choosing between the brothers. She feels she's choosing which one of them to let go, not which one of them to hold onto. "She has no one, and she's lost everyone that ever mattered to her -- almost everyone -- and how do you choose, in a moment like that?" Plec says. "For the last two episodes of the season, the fall out is going to be about her asking herself that question and really trying to understand how she could possibly let one of them go when she's already lost so much."

8. Season 4 will chronicle the second half of the kids' senior year, so in addition to our usual vampire adventures, they'll be making choices about college and moving on from Mystic Falls. Though Plec tells us they won't all go to "Mystic University," she reminds us that Jenna attended school nearby, so there is a college within a reasonable distance.

9. Even though Esther was manipulating Alaric on the other side every time he died, that doesn't mean that Jeremy is now safe from his ring. "There's always going to be a concern of consequences for cheating death one too many times," Plec says. "The ring's going to stay in play for a while, because ultimately it's that coin toss of 'I can't be in the fray, fighting the good fight, if I can be killed, so you roll the dice.'"

10. Our girl Katherine will not return to Mystic Falls until Klaus is dead. Period.

Okay, now take it to the comments! Do you think Klaus will actually die this season? Who do you think sired Scary Mary? How will Alaric's fate play out?
Photo/Video credit: The CW