Emily VanCamp and Madeleine Stowe
05/11/2014 AT 11:15 PM EDT
's showrunner Sunil Nayar wants to take a moment to explain the shocking twist in Sunday night's season three
finale. No, not that one … Not that one either. The other one.
Caution, spoilers ahead!
"For the first time we wanted the audience to know a little bit more than anybody in the show does," Nayar tells PEOPLE of the return of the character of David Clarke (James Tupper), whose supposed death was a motivating factor in his daughter's mission for revenge. "I'm interested to see how polarizing his reveal is to the audience, because I know there are people who love the idea and people who hate the idea, but the concept of family is a huge part of our show and this is a game changer in telling these dark family stories."
But don't expect for an instant happy reunion when the show returns for a fourth season.
"David Clarke is alive, but he is not at all the man that Emily or Victoria thinks they knew," says Nayar. "The question of, 'Is Amanda still alive?' will be shocking enough, but the audience is also going to have to ask themselves, 'What happened to David over the last 20 years? Who is he and what is going to happen when he shows up?' He will have a ripple effect across the lives of everyone."
Two characters who will not be affected by David's return are Aiden Mathis (Barry Sloane) and Conrad Grayson (Henry Czerny), both of whom died in Sunday's finale.
"I felt it was something that should happen. I think we made the right choice [to have Victoria kill Aiden,] says Sloane, who will soon be back on ABC in the upcoming alien drama The Visitors
. "We were starting to have a little bit of sympathy for Victoria but now we are back to a very dark woman that Emily can go after next season,"
Not that everyone was eager to see Sloane and Czerny leave the show.
"Saying goodbye to those characters and the actors who play them was a very hard decision, but the creative demands of the show make us take big swings to reenergize and reinvigorate the motivations of revenge," Nayar says. "And we needed to lose somebody very, very dear to Emily to witness her pain and anguish as an adult as opposed to as a kid who lost her dad."
And Nayar hopes fans enjoyed the final scene between Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) and Victoria Grayson (Madeline Stowe), but don't think their epic feud is over.
"We wanted Emily to have a little victory at the end of this third season because she needs it and she deserves it and I think the audience was thirsting for it," he says. "But while she won the battle, she most certainly has not won the war."