Spoilers below for the most recent episodes of Legacies, so be sure to catch up before reading on!
Grab some tissues, Legacies fans. Josie Saltzman actress Kaylee Bryant said Episode 6, "Mombie Dearest," is the most emotional one yet for her character. But it's also a great episode for OG fans of The Vampire Diaries, with plenty of nods to that show. That makes sense when you consider the "Mombie" of the title is the seemingly revived Josette "Jo" Laughlin.
Jo isn't just a familiar character from The Vampire Diaries, she is Josie and Lizzie's biological mother, pregnant when killed by her twin brother on her wedding day to Alaric Saltzman. Kaylee Bryant told CinemaBlend it's a big deal for Josie to kinda sorta "meet" her mom for the first time ... even if she's also the Monster of the Week.
Episode 6 was honestly the most emotional episode that Josie has had this entire season. It was one of the most fulfilling things to do as an actor. It was a lot. I think all of us -- Jenny, Matt, and I kind of walked away from Episode 6 needing a bit of a vacation. It is a heavy episode. It is not something to play around with when your dead biological mother comes back to life. There's going to be a lot of tears.
No doubt! The Episode 6 promo shows that Jo returns still wearing her bloody wedding gown, as Alaric points a crossbow at the love of his life. That's heavy stuff. Kaylee Bryant explained why it's especially poignant for her character to connect with Jo. Josie -- technically Josette -- was named after Jo, and resembles her the way fraternal twin Lizzie resembles their other mother Caroline.
As Kaylee Bryant explained it to me, Josie and Jo have quite a special connection.
Lizzie identifies a lot with Caroline, and I think Josie watched that her entire life. So she's always felt a little bit like an outsider. So when Jo comes back, it's almost like something clicks within Josie like 'Oh, this is where a lot of my character comes from and I had no idea.' So it was really fun for me to play a really beautiful mother and daughter relationship that Josie almost felt like she -- she didn't not have that with Caroline. She felt really connected with Caroline and loved Caroline. But a mother-daughter relationship where they are so similar.
Kaylee Bryant said she loved working with "fun" and "fantastic" Jo actress Jodi Lyn O'Keefe. She tweeted a photo with O'Keefe, along with screen twin Jenny Boyd:
As a Vampire Diaries superfan, Kaylee Bryant joked that Jodi Lyn O'Keefe was probably sick of her endless TVD questions by the end of filming. Still, it was very special for her to meet the actress who informed so many of her own character choices for the spinoff. Bryant spoke about looking to O'Keefe for inspiration.
When I initially started auditioning for Josie, I read the breakdown and was reading the sides and immediately went back and started watching some episodes that Jodi was in, because I saw the correlation [between Josie and Jo] before I was even told that. So I modeled a lot of my audition and who Josie was on Jodi's acting from The Vampire Diaries. So I had very long conversations with Jodi on her take of the character, and how she personally handled being part of The Vampire Diaries.
As part of her acting process, Kaylee Bryant said she likes to write letters to various characters that Josie interacts with. Her letter to Jo led to something of a character breakthrough:
It's really interesting how it worked out. A lot of these letters are to Caroline and to her father and to all these people [Josie] feels she can't say enough to. And I started writing my letter to Jo during the episode, and I kind of realized that throughout Episode 6 she really does tell Jo the things that she really does need to tell her. That was a really exciting thing for my character to go through, because there's so much that she doesn't say to so many people. I really think that Josie kind of felt in a comfortable position with Jo, so she could speak her mind.
Josie Saltzman is known for being kind and selfless and always putting others -- especially twin sister Lizzie -- ahead of herself. So Episode 6 is going to give her some major moments in being able to speak up for herself.
That should be very satisfying for the fans to see, and Kaylee Bryant said she's definitely looking forward to the feedback:
There's a really beautiful scene between Jo and Josie that I'm really excited to see the fans' reaction to. You can just really see Josie kind of feel comfortable talking about what's going on in her life, and somebody actually caring to ask - which isn't as common as you might think.
The heavy emotional moments of the December 6 episode will be balanced by both TV nostalgia and some romance 'shipping. Kaylee Bryant said this will be a great episode for longtime fans of The Vampire Diaries, but also for fans who just want more from their Legacies favorites. Apparently there are some big moments ahead for Kaylee Bryant's own favorite pairing -- Lizzie and MG (Quincy Fouse). After all, this episode is meant to be set during the twins' long-awaited Sweet Sixteen party.
I have been talking about it the entire time the show has been on, but my favorite 'ship throughout the entire show is MG and Lizzie, and you get so many MG and Lizzie moments at the dance. It is beautifully shot and so much fun. So you have that really fun lighthearted kind of Legacies feel in this episode as much as you kind of have the nod to The Vampire Diaries and The Originals in that heaviness. So I'm excited for fans to see it.
Yes to MG and Lizzie news, but what about Lizzie's surprise Episode 5 hookup with Peyton Alex Smith's Rafael? Check back later this week for Kaylee Bryant's scoop on Josie's reaction to that hookup, and her thoughts on the various #Hosie, #Rosie, and #Posie 'ships for her character.