This hasn’t been the strongest season of The Vampire Diaries. Between doppelganger drama and crazy Travelers, TVD lost itself in its own angst. But when it came time to deliver in the Season 5 finale (“Home”), it really delivered — by killing off Damon Salvatore and Bonnie Bennett in the episode’s final seconds.

That’s right. Damon and Bonnie are dead. We’re going to let that one sink in for just a few moments. If you’re asking yourself how TVD can kill off Damon Salvatore — arguably the show’s favorite vamp — then you’re not alone. In many ways, Bonnie’s death was obvious. She was the anchor to the Other Side. If it does, she goes. And sure, Damon’s death was speculated, but we didn’t actually think TVD would kill off one of its two male leads, especially the one Elena finally chose in the end.

Honestly, the death of Damon Salvatore might just be what the show needs to revamp (no pun intended) Season 6. This season suffered from the endless, soul-sucking cycle that was Damon and Elena’s relationship. No, this doesn’t mean I’m not a Delena fan. I actually think they can be kind of cute. But this season, Damon and Elena made each other miserable — not because they didn’t love each other, but because they were too immature and took each other for granted.

Now, if Damon does find a way to come back in Season 6 — I’m still in denial that Ian Somerhalder is off the show for good, and let’s face it: Grams was totally working on a plan to save Bonnie — perhaps they’ll learn to appreciate one another more and not take their relationship for granted. Wouldn’t that be a nice lesson?

Speaking of Grams, it seems likely that the elder Bennett witch cooked up her own scheme to save the Other Side in the final moments of the season ender. Earlier in the episode, Grams told Bonnie that she couldn’t leave the Other Side because there was still something she needed to do. For Lexi, that something was to throw Markos into a blackhole. And for Grams, I think that something was to save Bonnie — and possibly, Damon.

But let’s rewind a bit and recall all of the drama that happened in the game-changing finale, but this episode was c-r-a-z-y.

Stefan arrives on the Other Side, only to find himself immediately in danger of being sucked into a blackhole. Thankfully, his BFF Lexi was there to save his butt — as she’s done so many times in the past — just in time. Lexi saves Stefan from the black hole, and then the two set off on a journey to find Alaric. Can we talk about how much we’ve missed Stefan and Lexie’s friendship? Seriously. Somebody get these two on #TrueDetectiveSeason2.

Over in Mystic Falls, Markos means business. To prove his point to Sheriff Forbes, he kills Julian/Tyler right in front of her eyes. (We’re only four minutes into the episode and they’ve already killed off Tyler.) Tyler (not Julian) then passes through Bonnie to the deteriorating Other Side, where things are looking suspiciously like a ghost town. (Side note: do you guys remember how great that Season 3 episode, “Ghost World,” was?)

Outside of Mystic Falls, the Wonder Twins are on the run… for approximately 10 seconds before Caroline and Elena stop them in their tracks. And to show that they mean business, Caroline kills Luke to motivate Liv into performing the spell to bring their friends back to the Other Side. Note to self: don’t mess with Vampire Barbie. So Liv does as she’s asks and performs the spell, which could very possibly kill her.


Meanwhile, Damon’s plan to rid Mystic Falls of the Travelers is to blow up the town. How convenient is it that Mystic Falls has a giant gas line under the town? Damon straps on the hero hair and elects himself to go on a suicide mission to blow up the town. Naturally, Elena is not OK with this plan. Cue the cutest Delena moment in the history of The Vampire Diaries. "Do you see a future with me?” she asks. “Because that's all I see!" It may have taken 22 episodes, but Damon and Elena are finally tolerable. For the majority of the season, these two seemed to excel at making each other miserable. And now, they’re able to actually talk about things — like adults!

Sadly, they reunite only to be ripped apart by death. Elena tells Damon she isn’t going to let him do this alone, so she hops in the car with him. This means both Damon and Elena die and go to the Other Side. Elena finds Stefan and Lexi and meets up with Bonnie. Damon, on the other hand, wakes up in a different location, where he finds Sheriff Forbes, who has unfortunately been injured in the attack. When he tries to save her from the rubble, ALARIC gives him a hand. The bromance is back! Well, for a fleeting moment at least.

Meanwhile, Bonnie is having trouble maintaining her presence in both worlds. So if Luke, Elena, Stefan, Tyler, Enzo, and Lexi want to return to the world of the living, they have to do it fast. Elena doesn’t want to go without Damon, but Bonnie all but forces her through to the real world. Sorry ‘bout it, Elena.

Luke and Enzo also make it back to the world of the living, followed by Stefan and Tyler. But when he goes to hug Caroline, Tyler notices something is wrong. He’s no longer a hybrid; he’s human! Whoa. Does this mean they’re all coming back from the Other Side as human, or is Tyler special because of his Passenger? Regardless, that’s going to be an interesting adjustment for Tyler in Season 6, but we’re so happy Matt has his human bro back!

All that’s left is Lexi, but when she sees how much this is taking a toll on Bonnie, Lexi decides that it’s better for Bonnie to save her strength for Damon. So instead of joining her bestie Stefan on the Other Side, Lexi sacrifices herself to the Other Side — but not before taking out Markos. We already miss you, Lexi! Damon and Alaric finally meet up with Bonnie, and Alaric is able to pass through back to the land of the living, which means that Matt Davis is officially back as a series regular for Season 6 of TVD! Seeing as Elena is about to suffer yet another traumatic loss, we're glad that Ric is going to be there to help her through it. 

And then there was one. Unfortunately for Damon, just as he was about to pass through Bonnie, Luke put an end to Liv's spell. We understand that he was trying to save his sister, but would five more seconds of chanting really killed her?! This effectively ruins Damon's chances of making it home. Elena is devastated. Seriously. Nina Dobrev deserves an Emmy for that cry-face. 

Damon comes to Elena for one final goodbye; unfortunately, she can't hear him when he says, "You are by far the greatest thing that's ever happened to me in my 173 years on this earth." ALL OF THE TEARS. But Damon isn't the only one headed into the abyss. As the anchor, Bonnie finds herself trapped on the Other Side in its final moments. "Do you think this will hurt?" she asks Damon, before taking his hand. And before Damon has the chance to finish his reply, the episode ends — Sopranos-style — in a flash of white. 

What did you think of the Season 5 finale? Do you think Damon and Bonnie are really dead? Sound off in the comments! 

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