There was a lot of process in this Season 5 promo for The Vampire Diaries, but perhaps nothing as unexpectedly awesome as the beautiful face of Kol Mikaelson (Nathaniel Buzolic). The character died in Season 4… twice. So, what is Kol doing back in Mystic Falls?

In the promo in question, we see Kol chatting it up with Matt (Zach Roerig) in what seems to be the place between life and death Matt goes to while the Gilbert ring is reviving him from death. This suggests that Kol is (unfortunately) not back from the dead, but is talking to Matt on the Other Side, aka the supernatural purgatory most of the characters who die on TVD go to hang until their next guest appearance.

But why is Matt talking to Kol? And was that his plan in dying? Kol isn’t exactly the TVDers’ biggest fan. In fact, last time he was visiting from the Other Side, he crashed their high school graduation to take them all out. (Rude.) Regardless of whether it was planned or not, Matt is probably on the Other Side looking for information about the Travelers’ latest scheme. In the aforementioned promo, Grams pays Bonnie her own visit, warning her that “Something’s wrong over here, Bonnie.” Yikes!

How cool would it be if Kol actually helped Matt and the other TVDers out? And it’s not entirely unlikely. Sure, Kol doesn’t like Elena and co., but perhaps he hates the Travelers more? Or, perhaps, whatever plan the Travelers have set into motion would be worse than any fate Kol is suffering on the Other Side? One of our theories is that the Travelers are planning to destroy the Other Side, sending the supernatural ghosts who are trapped there somewhere else. We know that something else exists, as Katherine was sucked into it following her death a few episodes ago. She was more or less rejected from the Other Side, swept into a hell of sorts presumably for all of the suffering she had knowingly caused during her time on this mortal plane. Might Kol help out Matt to save himself from a similar fate? And what might that help be? In the promo, we see Matt running through the Other Side’s woods with a woman in tow. Is that person Bonnie? Has she been trapped on the Other Side whilst trying to investigate the problem and/or as part of the Travelers’ plan?

If Kol isn’t helping the TVDers, then there’s a good chance he may be helping the Travelers, especially given this pic of Nathaniel hanging out with Rick Cosnett (Dr. Wes), a known Traveler ally. Have they promised him resurrection in exchange for his help in enacting their plan? We have mixed emotions concerning this theory. On the one hand, it would mean bad news for our beloved main characters. On the other hand, it might mean Kol could come back to the dead, which might mean he could go hang out with his brothers on The Originals. Yeah, we know Julie Plec said that wasn’t likely right now, but she didn’t say ever. And, we never expected to see Kol again on TVD so soon. Could this be the first step on his path to a guest or recurring role on The Originals?

Why do you think Kol is back on TVD? Do you think he is helping Matt or working against him? Share your theories in the comments below!

The Vampire Diaries airs Thursday nights at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.

Kayti Burt is a contributing writer for Wetpaint Entertainment with a penchant for all things pop culture. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!