By Mandi Bierly
May 15, 2014 at 12:00 PM EDT
Annette Brown/The CW
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Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched the season 5 finale of The Vampire Diaries, stop reading now. While our full recap is in the works, here’s our instant reaction. UPDATE: The recap is now live.

In short, noooo. The plan to kill the Travelers en masse with a gas leak at the Grill required someone to light a match — or rather, to crash his car into the building. Damon volunteered, believing he’d come back through anchor Bonnie with the others as Liv cast the spell to help return them to the land of the living. Elena wanted to be with Damon, no matter what, and hopped in the car, too. They got separated on the Other Side.

Luke, who Caroline had killed earlier to ensure Liv would help them with the spell that Bonnie had learned from Silas, came back through first. Then Enzo, followed by Tyler. Elena didn’t want to leave without Damon, but Bonnie grabbed her and forced her back. Bonnie started to collapse, and Stefan went to catch her, so he came back, too. Realizing that every body brought Bonnie closer to death, Lexi refused to go. “What kind of best friend would I be if you died before Stefan got his brother back?” she asked Bonnie. (Pause for tears.) After Lexi sent Markos flying into the abyss (bye!), she held out her arms and said, “You’re not gonna get me.” She found peace. (Pause for more tears.)

Damon and Alaric finally found Bonnie after saving Sheriff Forbes, who’d been caught in the Grill wreckage. Alaric went through first and then… Luke stopped the spell because it was clearly killing Liv. Damon didn’t make it back.

After a truly heartbreaking scene of Damon saying goodbye to a sobbing Elena that we’ll cover in-depth in the recap, Bonnie phoned Jeremy and admitted she’d been lying when she’d said there was a way for her to no longer be the anchor. The Other Side was crumbling and she was going with it. Jeremy came running through the woods to see her, and when he got there, we saw her and Damon on the Other Side. It began to shake. Bonnie said she knew they’d both rather be with a million other people at that moment — a couple thousand at most, Damon said. But then they held hands. (Crying again.)

“Do you think it will hurt?” Bonnie asked him, as the background began to fade to white as though it was disappearing.

“I don’t kno-” — and that was it. He was cut off. The screen went completely white.

In my mind, they found peace. The question is: Are they gone for good? Having Bonnie with Damon makes it tricky. We’ve been ready for her to leave the show for seasons, really. Can they bring her back yet again? Grams did tell Bonnie that she’d find peace because she had Bonnie’s back. So did Grams secure Bonnie a spot in heaven (or wherever is next), or did she do something else?

UPDATE: The CW confirms that Matt Davis (Alaric) will once again be a series regular in season 6, as first reported by TV Guide. You can’t have Alaric without Damon. Right?

The other big twist: When Tyler came back through, he hugged Caroline and realized it felt different. He cut himself and didn’t heal. He’s no longer a hybrid. Does that mean everyone else who came back from the Other Side — Enzo, Alaric, STEFAN AND ELENA — are human now? We’ll be asking exec producer Julie Plec that question when we chat with her Friday afternoon. Stay tuned…

Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev, and Paul Wesley star in the CW’s romance-infused vampire soap opera.
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