Ian Somerhalder: 'The Vampire Diaries' Will Go Back to Its 'Volatile, Sexy' Roots in Season 7

The actor tells PEOPLE that the final scenes of the TVD finale will be reminiscent of the show "we all fell in love with"

Photo: The CW

For those already mourning the loss of Nina Dobrev from The Vampire Diaries, all is not yet lost – the departure of Elena just might breathe new (un)life into the series.

“The last two scenes of the finale truly depict where the show is going,” Ian Somerhalder told PEOPLE on the red carpet at the CW Upfronts on Thursday.

The actor promised that the series will return to the “volatile, sexy” days of yore – “stuff that we all fell in love with. Season 1 and 2 of the show were so dark. It was awesome.”

To illustrate, Somerhalder, 36, described a time he watched an early episode of TVD at costar Paul Wesley’s house back in season 1. It was episode 5 – “the one where Damon turns Vicki and they’re dancing around in their underwear” – and Wesley and Somerhalder “turned to each other and said, ‘Holy s—, man. This is happening. This is real.’ That was an amazing piece of television. I want to get back to that!

“I want to get back to seeing an episode of the show and saying, ‘Wow. That is a very well-crafted, put-together piece of material that is really going to affect people.’ ”

At the time, he thought, “If I f— this up, not only am I going to feel terrible but I’ve let the team down that has given me this life and all these opportunities.”

Of course, “The Downward Spiral” ended up being one of the strongest episodes of the season, and it looks like things are only looking up in the writers’ room at TVD – even without Mystic Falls’ resident diarist.

RELATED VIDEO: What Does Paul Wesley Really Think of Ian Somerhalder?

The finale of The Vampire Diaries airs Thursday (8 p.m. ET) on The CW.

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