It’s been a tough season for Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder). The Vampire Diaries stud went from happily ensconced in a relationship with the woman of his dreams to single, sad, and entirely unable to curb his serial-killing habits. He’s made some progress as of late, but Damon still has much to make up for. Will he be able to redeem himself? His turn in the Season 5 finale does sound promising.

According to executive producer Julie Plec, Damon will be playing the hero in the season-ender: "There's quite a lot of suffering and celebration in the last two episodes," Julie teased. "Because of Markos' efforts to make the town of Mystic Falls a magic-free zone and the imminent destruction of the Other Side, lots of lives are in jeopardy and Damon has to, as he says, 'strap on his hero hair.'"

We’re excited to see this go down. Damon has much to make up for — i.e. killing Aaron Whitmore, kidnapping Jeremy with Enzo, and generally being a jerk — but we’re not sure if it will earn his redemption. Redemption isn’t an act; it’s a process. Though any sacrifice Damon may make in the Season 5 finale could be an important step in Damon’s road to being a moral person able to be in a healthy relationship with Elena, we don’t think it will magically make him redeemed.

One of the reasons we like TVD so much (and were so disappointed with Damon’s seemingly random character arc this season) is because the show (usually) treats its fans as intelligent viewers when it comes to character development. Characters don’t change quickly or without struggle, but we fans are rewarded for our patience in moments that feel true to the characters. We hope Damon’s actions in the Season 5 finale are part of a longer arc, rather than a redemption forced upon us because of the importance of a season finale.

That being said, we’re not sure what Damon’s arc should look like moving forward. Perhaps, his actions in the Season 5 finale will forever change his fate and put him on a path to redemption whether he likes it or not — i.e. he will make a sacrifice that is not a one-time action but a choice he has to live with everyday. We’re thinking specifically of the fate of the Other Side. Paul Wesley told TV Guide: "[The finale] definitely establishes new parameters in the environment we'll be shooting in Season 6. They reset things in a way, and the writers have the ability to now change the circumstances and locations of where the show takes place." Will this change in environment effect Damon, and perhaps be part of his redemption? Hard to say. We just know, whatever goes on in the Season 5 finale and beyond, we think Damon’s redemption is possible if done right.

Do you think Damon can be redeemed? Why or why not? 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+!