‘Vampire Diaries’ recap: Who will survive the new spell in the season finale?

Okay, everyone.  Deep breaths. Don't freak out, not yet. This is “The Vampire Diaries,” and if we have learned anything from this show it's that dead isn't necessarily forever dead. It might be; I won't sugar coat it. But I won't absolutely believe it until… well, when I hear casting news that suggests a degree of permanence. 

We knew everyone couldn't make it, right? Even though I think this episode of “The Vampire Diaries” fell into the realm of wildly overcomplicated (not that I have any idea how it could have been simplified — this is some twisty mythology, yo), it did accomplish several things. One, it brought back old characters I had thought we might not see again (hey, Lexie!). Two, it neatly wrapped up the Travelers storyline. Three, it made me worried for just about everyone, as spells criss-crossed and overlapped and no one seemed to have an easy out. Overly complex, yes, but intense, terrifying and not the least bit predictable. And, finally, horribly, horribly sad. 

Everyone had already gone into a tailspin last week believing Stefan was dead as a doornail, so what a cruel (and clever) twist for it to be the other Salvatore brother who doesn't make it back through the anchor after he and Elena (with a little help from their friends) have blown themselves, the Mystic Falls Grill and the Travelers inside it to bits. 

It was dizzying trying to keep track of who was alive, who was dead but coming back, and who was throwing in the towel and embracing “peace.” I'm still wondering exactly what Grams has done to ensure Bonnie finds her peace, but it doesn't matter. I'm thinking that, no matter what, Bonnie is gone for good. Maybe. I'd be truly sorry to see Kat Graham go, but I do wonder how many times she can be killed on this show before it strains the limits of what we can accept. 

I'm pretty sure no one wants to accept Damon being not only gone forever but not even having Elena along for the ride. I'm waiting to go onto Twitter to read all the semi-hysterical tweets about how people are boycotting the show unless Damon comes back (which I get, trust me). Now that he and Elena have finally decided they belong together and have set aside the sometimes arbitrary obstacles that kept them apart, it seems patently unfair to kill him off. More than that, Ian Somerhalder's portrayal of Damon has been the lynchpin of the show, the funny, dark heart to balance Stefan's nice guy side. I can't imagine how that could be replaced, and I suspect fans wouldn't accept the change even if it was. So, I seriously doubt Damon is dead-dead. I just can't sort out how he could come back. 

Still, it was crushing to watch Elena fall apart as the reality set in. That Alaric could be there to offer some comfort was a wonderful moment. Elena will need that paternal reassurance that Alaric can provide when next season begins, no matter how everything plays out. 

In other news, Alaric is back (yay!), though not Lexie (though she did helpfully suggest Stefan ask out Caroline). Silas almost came back, but thankfully he didn't. Markos died, then tried to come back, and Lexie took care of that problem. Bonnie tried to get Grams to come back, but she refused. Enzo is back, and Sheriff Forbes looked dead until she wasn't. That's part of the reason Damon didn't make it through the anchor in time. Just looking at the list of spins of the revolving door that was Bonnie (and, to an extent, Crazylocks — that has to be Liv's forever name if you ask me), it boggles the mind. Remember what I said about wildly overcomplicated?

Still, it was a whiz bang season finale, one that will keep us guessing and rewinding and positing ways to keep Damon and Bonnie (and maybe even Lexie and Grams) on the show. I'm wondering if the writers are doing the same thing. Maybe they're just bracing themselves for the inevitable backlash. 

Do you think Damon is really gone? What about Bonnie? What did you think of the episode?