Stefan phones Elena: I love that moment so much, because when Kevin and I got started at the beginning of the season, we were talking about the episode and what Stefan’s point of view was — was he completely lost to the ripper dark side or was there still hope? And we talked about: Oh, it would be so nice if we think he’s totally gone, but then we see him outside Elena’s birthday party or something. He’s come to Mystic Falls to just check in on her, and then she has no idea. And then Kevin, in his infinite brilliance, just said, “No, she should get home. It’s the end of the night. We think all hope is lost. And then the phone should ring. And she should almost miss the call. And then when she picks up, he’s there, but he doesn’t say anything because he just needs to hear her voice, because it’s the one thing keeping him from completely falling apart.” And I started to cry. I was like [in weeping voice], “That’s the best thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life.” And then he started to cry. Because that’s what we do, we get each other going, because we’re complete saps. And honestly, it didn’t even matter to us what the rest of the episode was about when all was said and done, because we knew we had that moment. And that Ron Pope song “A Drop in the Ocean,” which our director John Behring and our music supervisor Chris Mollere and the editor Sean Albertson all kind of picked and put in there — it’s like this perfect storm of emotional awesomeness. And then Paul Wesley… My favorite Paul Wesley moment of the show prior to this was last year, when he and Elena realized they had to break up because it was just too dangerous for the two of them to be together and he’s trying to hold back tears and trying not to cry. There’s something about seeing Paul Wesley trying not to cry that is so sad. So he just nailed it. That’s one of my all-time favorite moments emotionally.
I think that our most successful emotional moments on the show — I go back and look at Rose’s death, when Damon has to put her out of her misery — they’re all very human, real moments. It’s a guy who just needs to hear the voice of his touchstone, of the love of his life, to let him have a better day. It’s about a girl wanting to be reunited with her mother who she was lost from. It’s about a woman admitting at first she’s afraid, but then that she’s okay to die, and a guy who has intimacy issues being willing to end it for her so she can have peace. It’s all rooted in very simple and very primal human emotional instincts, which I think is why it strikes people in their gut a little.
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