Is Katherine’s time up, or will the survivor rise again? At the end of The Vampire Diaries Season 5 midseason finale (“Fifty Shades of Grayson”), Katherine Pierce seemingly suffered a heart attack — and while we know she’ll survive long enough to be the center of attention in the 100th episode, her days are pretty much numbered.

It seems like an odd choice for TVD to kill off Katherine. She’s been the saving grace of Season 5, her redemption arc was only just beginning, and her connection to Stefan was one of the most magnetic storylines The Vampire Diaries has produced since Klaroline (OK, so maybe I really like redemption arcs). And let’s be real: I’d much rather have Katherine come to terms with her demons and move on and not try to deflect them like another vampire we know — [cough, cough] Damon.

However, playing two characters is probably exhausting for Nina Dobrev, who once again gave two stunning performances — as Katherine painstakingly seeks redemption from Stefan, Elena becomes Dr. Wes’ new test subject, Subject 83182.

Through Dr. Wes, Elena learns that her father was one of Augustine’s head scientists, which meant he experimented on vampires regularly. He also was the one who taught Dr. Wes — or, Dr. Creepy Ken Doll — everything he knows. However, Augustine isn’t in the business of torturing vampire for sick pleasure. In fact, Grayson Gilbert used his research on vampires to help people. He wanted to use vampire blood to cure cancer and other types of diseases; he wanted to save people.

Grayson Gilbert did save people using vampire blood, and one of his first successes was curing Megan — yes, Caroline and Elena’s now-deceased roommate — of her heart disease when she was a child. This explains why Megan had a photo with Grayson on her phone. He was the one who saved her life. But as she got older, Megan started to have more questions about the miracle drug that cured her, which eventually led her to Whitmore House the night she died. She was looking for answers, and when she got too close to blood-thirsty Enzo in his cell, he killed her.

So what did Dr. Wes want with Elena? To turn her into a vampire killing machine, obviously! Luckily, Stefan was able to save Elena before Dr. Wes could fully inject her with the serum. It turns out Aaron Whitmore is actually a pretty cool dude. In fact, can we replace Bonnie with Aaron? Elena and Caroline totally need a male bestie on campus, and he’s shown that he’s a pretty stand-up guy — he gave Stefan his Augustine journals! Plus, now that he’s denounced Dr. Wes as his family (sorry ‘bout it Creepy Ken!), he’s pretty much in need of a new group of friends.

Elena may have escaped her time as an Augustine vampire unscathed, but she ended up losing her boyfriend in the process.

Damon was confronted with his worst fear in “Fifty Shades of Grayson” — Enzo, his former friend who he left for dead back at Whitmore House in 1958. Seeing Enzo again reminded Damon of all his past failures, and how, in the end, he really is just a monster. So when he confronts Elena back at the Salvatore mansion, he tells her that he’s “letting her go.”

SAY WHAT?!  Excuse me, Damon, but you worked HOW HARD for Elena to love you, and now you’re just going to let her go because YOU’VE DECIDED that you’re a bad guy who’s not good enough for her? I’m sorry, but when did you turn into such a pathetic character? Elena wasn’t trying to change you Damon — you were doing that all on your own because YOU THOUGHT that’s what she wanted. Ugh, this is so frustrating. And so disappointing.

So it seems like Delena are dunzo (for now), but I’m pretty sure there’s a reconciliation in their future.

Katherine and Stefan, however, are another story. Despite their steamy one night stand, Stefan can’t seem to erase the past 140 years — and we can’t blame him. However, faced with her own mortality, Katherine turns to kale diets and daily workouts to help prolong her life. She’s convinced that the only way she can get redemption for her past sins is through Stefan. (Sorry, Nadia, it looks like Kat wasn’t cut out to be a mom.)

But when he rejects her advances, he awakens something else inside Katherine — survival. Katherine Pierce is a lot of things, but first and foremost, she’s a survivor.

Just when it looks like hope is lost for Katherine Pierce, Nadia has a plan. Being part Traveler, Katherine can use the Traveler’s dagger to transfer her soul into another body, similar to how Gregor transferred his into Matt. At first, Katherine rejects the idea; she’d much rather die than not be her. But after she has a little talk with Stefan, she decides she wants to go forward with the plan. There’s only one problem: Nadia has already skipped town. Oh, and then Katherine suffers a heart attack during their call.

Is there enough time for Nadia to save Katherine’s soul? And if they are able to complete the Travelers’ spell, whose body would they cast her spirit into? Elena’s? (It seems like the obvious choice, given Nina Dobrev’s talent for playing the Petrova trickster.) Now, that would be interesting. Elena loves Damon, and Katherine loves Stefan… so it’s a win-win for everyone, right? Wrong! This is totally going to be the world’s most awkward love square.

$#*! Vampire Say

“Why what were you thinking? That our hot, naked bodies collided in one incredible night of passion?”

“Which leads me to believe that Dr. Creepy Ken Doll has her.”

“Everything I’m doing to you, I learned from him.”

“Or he’s in front of me imagining what my kidney would taste like.”

“I don’t remember saying you could talk.”

“Kidding. I don’t have any friends.”

“Yes, he lived on… in a bus boy!”

“You know, not all of us are like my brother.”

“I don’t know if I should hate her for giving up, or be at her side when she dies.”

“You were the most important person in my life, and you ruined me. That’s just who you are — a monster.”  

“I’m bad, Elena. I’m bad for you!”

“What does someone have to go through to get a little redemption around here?”

Catch the next episode of The Vampire Diaries on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8 p.m. ET on the CW, followed by an all-new episode of Reign.

Crystal Bell is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and our resident fangirl for all things The Vampire Diaries. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!