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‘Vampire Diaries’ Sneak Peek: Who Is Damon’s New Mystery Girl In ‘The Descent’?

With just a little less than three weeks until the return of “The Vampire Diaries,” (we know, it still feels like forever), we’re finally starting to get a sense of what the first episode back (a.k.a. “The Descent”) will look like…and it’s intense!

According to The CW’s official description, “The Descent” is all about “doom, gloom and personal growth” (as if we expected anything less from our favorite show!). Judging from the summary and new episode stills, there’s a lot of good stuff coming up for Stefan (Paul Wesley), Elena (Nina Dobrev) and Caroline (Candice Accola), but what really made us do a double take was the picture below of Damon (Ian Somerhalder) looking all angst ridden with a NEW WOMAN.

Yes, that’s right, there’s a new girl in Mystic Falls! Her name is Jessica, and she’s played by Ahna O’Reilly, who  is apparently James Franco’s girlfriend (we know, it just gets better and better…). As if that wasn’t a big enough deal, it looks like Jessica’s got a serious connection with Damon. The stills show the two on the side of the road, with Damon’s arms grasping Jessica tightly. In one of the photos, it looks like he’s wiping away her tears and in another, it looks like he’s the one about to cry. So who is this mystery woman? We’re going out on a limb here, but we’re going to say it’s someone from Damon’s past, perhaps an old love he lost? Maybe even a ghost or hallucination? Your guess is really as good as ours (please share your theories after the jump!).

Dalena fans need not despair though. Jessica isn’t the only woman Damon’s getting close to in “The Descent.” The episode stills also show Damon and Elena sharing a hug, albeit after a seemingly tense moment. The official episode description provides some hints as to what transpires. We know that Damon entrusts Elena to watch after Rose (Lauren Cohan), as he goes to get the truth from Jules (Michaela McManus), and as a result, Elena ends up in danger. We also know that “Damon struggles to hide his true feelings when a life-and-death crisis hits him harder than he expected.” Putting those two things together, our theory is that the “hug” takes place after Elena is safe and sound. Damon probably returns to the mansion—frustrated he can’t save Rose—and takes his anger out on Elena, who sees that he’s hurting and goes to comfort him. Again, that’s just our theory, but here’s one thing we do know, the stills of the hug are totally reminiscent of the one they shared during season one, in “Fool Me Once.” Either that, or these two just don’t hug enough.

Anyway, the new promo poster for this season warns, “Careful Damon, your emotions are showing,” and it looks like they’re certainly going to deliver.

Of course, while there’s a ton of Damon-centric drama to discuss, our other fave characters will also have their plates full. Stefan will have some ideas about Elena’s new plan for the future (yes, she apparently has another plan!). As for Caroline, well, she finds herself dealing with both Matt (Zach Roerig) and Tyler (Michael Trevino). Apparently, she and Matt finally have some real-talk about their feelings. While, on the other hand, she does something generous for Tyler, who has an unexpected reaction.

Love triangles can be so difficult.

Now that you’ve got the complete lowdown…we want to know, what are your theories for “The Descent”?! Who do you think the new woman is in Damon’s life, and is she here to stay?