The last episode of The Vampire Diaries was a regular ghost parade. We caught up with Grams, Vicki, and Kol, prompting us to wonder which other dead characters might grace us with their presence in the final episodes of Season 5. Yes, we’re thinking in particular of Alaric Saltzman (Matt Davis). Will the history teacher/vampire hunter be making a return to The Vampire Diaries?

Yes, he will be back as emotional leverage. We think there’s a good chance that Alaric will make an appearance before the season is out. In fact, his fellow ghost characters have already made subtle references to the fact. In the last episode, Kol told Matt that he should care about the Other Side’s destruction because he wasn’t the only ghost over there — i.e. there are people you all care about over here. Yes, that theme was realized within the episode with the return of Vicki, but we think Alaric might not be far behind.

After all, he meant a great deal to almost everyone of the main characters. That’s some powerful emotional leverage to be used against the characters (and the viewers). There’s also this snapshot Matt took with former co-stars Zach Roerig and Michael Trevino only a few weeks ago. It didn’t confirm that Matt had been back on the TVD set, but it certainly implied it was a good possibility given that Matt was hanging with a bunch of TVDers (including some crew members). Was this shot taken on a night out after a long day on set? We can dream!

No, he is gone for good. On the other hand, there’s only so much that can be done with characters who have already left the show. By relying on the sentiments attached to characters who are no longer a part of the show, TVD takes the risk of never forming new ones with the viewers. Will they continue to use Alaric as a sure-fire, but safe way of eliciting emotion from the characters and fan — or will they use the end of Season 5 as a way to explore new themes and character, dynamics that will carry on into Season 6?

As much as we love Alaric, we’re kind of hoping for the latter. TVD has introduced a host of new characters in Season 5 — Enzo, Liv, Luke, Markos, etc. — might their loved ones be the ones who serve as a reminder of just what the Other Side means to the characters still living on this mortal plane? We could see The Vampire Diaries taking this choice as Season 5 closes.

Do you think Alaric will return in Season 5? Do you want him to? Sound off 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+!