'The Vampire Diaries' scoop: Will Tyler and Caroline pull through? Plus, where has Bonnie's mom been?

tvd-disturbing-tyler-caroline.jpgUsually around this time of year, we're counting down to the holidays. Presents! Time off of work! Parties! Other, less shallow things we pretend to care about! This year, though, we'd gladly skip the last two weeks of December if it would make January 5 come sooner. It's been a month without "The Vampire Diaries." We've suffered enough.

Zap2it has already given you the lowdown on what to expect moving forward from that perpetual Damon-Elena-Stefan love triangle. The short version? Damon and Elena get closer, while elsewhere, Stefan gets increasingly awesome.

Still, one of our favorite things about "The Vampire Diaries" is that the secondary characters are just as richly developed as the ones who show up on the billboards -- and we're just as invested in Tyler ( Michael Trevino) as we are in Damon. So, of course, when we caught up with E.P. Julie Plec last week, we made sure not to only focus on the Salvatore triangle. After all, when we last saw Tyler, things weren't looking good for him, though he may have disagreed.

The final scene between Tyler and Caroline ( Candice Accola) broke our hearts. He's accepted (and even welcomed) his transformation into being a hybrid, even given the fact that it essentially makes him a servant to Klaus, who has tried to kill pretty much everyone he knows. He no longer has to endure painful transitions when the moon is full, so as far as he's concerned, the worst is behind him.

He's wrong.

tvd-bonnie-vertical-solo-re.jpg"Tyler and Caroline have a lot to overcome," Julie says. "Because Tyler, on his own, has a lot to overcome. It's pretty bleak, right now, and it's only going to start to get bleaker before it gets better. "

We're going to focus on that "it gets better" part and tune out all the rest.

As far as Caroline is concerned, she doesn't know that she can love someone who is controlled by someone she hates so vehemently. " I loved what Tyler said to Caroline at the end of the last episode, which was 'I can't hate this, because it's better. Because I don't have to go through that pain. Because in a way, I feel free, so fight for me, and fight for us,'" Julie reminds us. "She doesn't know if she can, so when we come back, he's not happy with her. He's not happy with anything."

Without Caroline keeping him grounded, the worst parts of Tyler start to surface -- and he begins to understand that along with all the benefits of being a hybrid come great consequences. "He's got Klaus whispering in his ear saying 'I need you to do this for me. You need to 'serve your master,'" Julie explains. "Tyler is in a very, very bad situation that almost has catastrophic consequences. It's going to take him a while to earn his way back into the good graces of our heroes, his friends, and Caroline."

Meanwhile, we'll also be getting a little deeper into Bonnie's ( Kat Graham) emotional state. Yes, when we return from hiatus, Bonnie and Jeremy ( Stephen R. McQueen) are still dealing with the fall-out from the ghostly infidelity issue -- albeit in very different ways.

Unfortunately, Bonnie doesn't get much time to heal. "Bonnie gave herself over to the relationship with Jeremy and it ended badly," Julie says. "She's really been struggling. When we get back from the hiatus she gets pulled right back into the witch side of business. She's been helping deal with hiding the coffins and all the other things that are going on, being the only witch in town."

As if she didn't have enough to deal with... enter her absentee mother, Abby, played by Persia White. Though Abby and Bonnie have a rocky history, Bonnie finds some solace in her mother, simply given the fact that she's not involved with the Salvatores. Yet.

"I can't give away too much in terms of the catalyst that brings them together and in terms of the mythology," Julie says. "But I'll say that emotionally, Bonnie needs a touchstone that is disconnected from this vampire life. She finds that in the mother who, as we'll learn, abandoned her a long, long time ago -- and abandoned being a witch, too. There's some great conflict there, and we're just scratching the surface right now, but I'm very excited to dig into it."

tvd-torrey-mer-fell-alaric.jpgJeremy, on the other hand, is regressing a bit. After being (understandably) traumatized by losing Anna again, he's a little lost -- and he's a little reckless. Elena and Alaric ( Matt Davis) become seriously concerned about his behavior and his safety. Rightfully so, too -- because it's Jeremy who (indirectly) lands Alaric in the hospital, where he'll meet Dr. Fell ( Torrey DeVitto), a love interest with some surprising connections to Mystic Falls.

We've got more scoop for you -- particularly about the new doc -- but you'll have to wait. See, we can do a cliffhanger, too! (We might need Julie to give us some lessons, though... ours aren't as good as hers.)

We don't need to remind you, but we do it anyway: January 5. 8 p.m. EST. The CW. See you there.
Photo/Video credit: The CW