Every week, fans have been entertained by a new “Monster of the Week,” but episode five is taking things to a new level with the return of one important character. Aptly titled “Mombie Dearest,” Thursday’s story sees Jodi Lyn O'Keefe reprising her role of Josette "Jo" Laughlin, Josie and Lizzie’s biological mother who was killed on her and Alaric’s wedding day, on The Vampire Diaries.
The guest appearance is one that fans are anxious to see, while wondering what this means for the twin witches and their father. Ahead of the new episode, ET spoke with Kaylee Bryantabout how her character, Josie, deals with the return of her deceased mother and answers whether she thinks Josie is finally ready to come into her own, and step out from Lizzie’s shadow.
ET: How was your experience working with Jodi who was an integral part of TVD for multiple seasons, especially when it comes to developing a dynamic between your character and hers?
Kaylee Bryant: It was amazing working with Jodi. I actually watched her episodes of The Vampire Diaries while I was auditioning for Josie, and I modeled a lot of Josie after Jo just because I felt that connection. Meeting her, I immediately geeked out and was like, ‘I completely modeled my whole character after you!’ And she was like, ‘What are you talking about?!’ But she was so cool and so sweet, one of the most interesting people you could ever talk to. She has a story about everything and was such a fantastic actress to work with. I loved doing my scenes with her!
In the trailer, Josie and Lizzie both have very different reactions to their biological mom returning. How does this affect their relationship?
Lizzie [Jenny Boyd] has always taken on Caroline [Candice King] as her mother and has pushed the Gemini Coven away as much as possible, just because she feels that it’s one of the biggest reasons why she has so many issues in her life. Whereas Josie has felt connected to Caroline, she loves Caroline, but she’s never felt like she truly identifies with anybody within her family. I think the reason is because she is so similar to Jo, and Jo hasn't been there. So when Jo does show up, it's a huge click for Josie of, ‘Oh, this is where I come from. This is who I am.’ The twins definitely come from a different point of view on things, which is no shock.
I’d like to say that episode six is where Josie starts to understand that her voice matters and so you will see that Lizzie is very against having this connection with Jo. And you’ll really start to see things take a turn this episode where Josie hears Lizzie and says, “Actually, I don’t think that I have to have the same opinion,” and that really catapults the episode into what it is. I think it really starts the whole season arc for Josie, of her really having her opinions on things and sticking to it.
What was it like getting to explore Josie meeting her biological mother and becoming more confident in herself?
It was one of the most fulfilling episodes that I have shot for this season. It was just so exciting to have a conversation where Josie is asked how she feels about certain things, because so much of what Josie feels goes unsaid. Shooting this episode, and having her voice her opinion, having these moments where she lets herself be upset and honest, was so exciting for me to play. I’m really excited to see how everybody else reacts.
How will Josie feel if Jo isn’t her mother, but a monster? How heartbroken will she be?
It’s a difficult question because that is really the whole episode. It’s about really trying to figure out what the monster is and how bad can it possibly be if it’s someone that loves and cares about you. It’s a big part of the episode and it’s something that will come to a peak. Fans will have to watch the episode to find out.
Switching gears. Last week’s episode saw Penelope calling out Lizzie for holding back her sister and taking advantage of her. Will Josie find out what Penelope told Lizzie?
I don’t think that she needs to find out because I think a big part of the reason why they broke up was Penelope [Lulu Antariksa] saying that it was because of Lizzie. It’s really easy to say that, but the reality is that Josie doesn’t speak her mind around Lizzie and lets Lizzie walk all over her. Penelope attacking Lizzie is a different way of saying that Josie needs to stand up for herself.
“Posie” (Penelope and Josie) has become one of the most popular ships this season. How has the response to that couple been for you?
It’s so interesting to watch! Every single week with a new episode, like, episode three, I got so many people saying, “Posie is end game.” Then episode four comes out and everybody is aggressively fighting for Rosie [Rafael and Josie], and then suddenly now everybody is really fighting for Posie. It’s just so amazing that people are really invested in the show and really caring about our characters. We read the scripts, and we make sense of it, and we love these characters, and they have their drama that they are going through. But to have somebody watch it and a massive group of people feel so passionately about our characters, and the story we are telling, is so gratifying and we love it.
What are your thoughts on Penelope because some see her as a “mean girl” and others see her as standing up for Josie?
It’s so fun because [creator] Julie Plec has this amazing way of writing a character that you think is meant to be hated when you first start watching the show. Then you get this curveball, like in episode five where you can clearly see that she is not a bad person. She just has her own vendetta that she needs to get across. How she goes about that can be very vindictive and very “mean girl,” but Julie Plec has a very great way of making any person have something good about them that makes you just want to root for them. Like any character on the show, you can root for Penelope or you can root for Lizzie, you can root for Hope because Julie Plec has written some very likable characters. Lulu has also done a fantastic job in playing Penelope as the very dynamic person that she is.
Will we ever see Josie and Penelope getting back together?
I don’t know. It’s interesting because we started this season right after their really difficult breakup. I think that Penelope breaking up with Josie, in regards to her family -- and you see in episode five that Josie would do anything for her family -- that is just a sore subject for Josie. They can have as much tension between them, and Josie will give and take this season, but it’s still a very sore subject for Josie that I think she is still working on. Whether they come to a conclusion about who is right or wrong is up in the air still, and I don’t really quite know what is going to happen. I guess we will all find out together.
You previously said that Josie's discovery of her own individuality will be a main thread this season, so does that mean that a relationship will not be an option?
I feel like episode six is really where Josie starts to voice her opinion. You will see throughout the following episodes, Josie speaks up on the things that she likes and wants, and it’s surprising. I think that fans will be really surprised by what she has to say and by what she wants. Whether that leads to a relationship, or whatever it is, it’s definitely going to be a healthier standing than what it could’ve been before she started to come into herself. But me as Kaylee, I love doing scenes with Lulu, as much as I love doing scenes with Peyton [Alex Smith] and Danielle [Rose Russell]. Whoever I get shipped with just means I get to do more scenes with them and I’m happy no matter what.
How is Hope and Josie's relationship going forward? Fans haven’t seen them interact that much because of Lizzie.
[Lizzie is] a big part of why their relationship is still not as perfect as it could be. The only thing that stands in the way of them truly connecting again is Lizzie, and that is something that you will see throughout the season. Josie and Hope don’t really have anything against each other, other than Lizzie. Lizzie coming to terms with Hope is something that needs to happen for [Josie and Hope] to be close. That is something to look forward to this season.
Legacies airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.