For its eighth and final season, The Vampire Diaries is going back to its roots: suspense, romance, and, well, vampires. With Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Enzo (Michael Malarkey) currently under the control of an enigmatic evil, the Brothers Grim have been wreaking havoc all along the West Coast — and they’re leaving a trail of bodies in their wake.
“There’s definitely been more blood that I’ve had to deal with this season, whether my own or somebody else’s,” Malarkey told MTV News ahead of the Season 8 premiere. “Ian and I do love being bad, and it is a vampire show at the end of the day, so it’s fun to get back to it.” Malarkey and the cast are currently halfway through filming the 16-episode final season — a season that he described as having “a lot more romance” than previous seasons.
As for what that means for Bonnie (Kat Graham) and Enzo’s relationship, or lack thereof at this point, Malarkey said that “all is not lost” but that the couple’s future is definitely at risk. (“If he makes it home, he should probably cook her a nice risotto,” Malarkey joked.)
“He has not taken for granted what their relationship is,” he said. “For him, they’re in love. But circumstances have made it impossible for him to be able to reach out directly to her.” (Don’t worry: Those circumstances will be addressed in the premiere episode.) “We see more Bonnie and Enzo immediately,” Malarkey added, before hinting: “It might be in flashback form.”
But at least Enzo has Damon to keep him company, right? Wrong. Damon and Enzo have always had one of the more compelling, and complicated, relationships on the show. The onetime best friends have a knack for bringing out each other’s dark sides. However, Season 8 finds them once again imprisoned and stripped of their agency — and Enzo isn’t going to take it anymore.
“They’re puppets for this thing,” Malarkey said. “But Enzo is a fighter and he’s resistant to anyone telling him what to do, so he’s fighting it more than Damon is.”
Meanwhile, Damon is perfectly content killing people for this “thing” as long as he gets to enjoy some recreational activities during his downtime — a.k.a. Fifty Shades of Grey. When asked if Enzo shares Damon’s excitement for Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele’s sexual exploits, Malarkey joked, “Sometimes when Damon’s tired, Enzo will read a chapter while he’s falling asleep. It calms him down.”
OK, so maybe Enzo and Damon aren’t that close — even Enzo has his limits — but the bounds of their friendship are certainly tested by this recent threat. “It exposes the cracks in their friendship,” Malarkey said, adding that a significant part of their conflict will be Damon’s ne’er-do-well attitude. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t find some common ground.
“There’s quite a sweet moment coming up,” he said. “It pays homage to something I remember watching when I first started on the show, when I was catching up on old episodes.”
At the end of the day, Malarkey, who joined the cast in Season 5, is just happy to be part of The Vampire Diaries’ final season. “I’m honored that they’ve kept me around here until the end and that they appreciate my work enough that they want me to be part of their family — and now it gives me a chance to focus on the future.”