'The Vampire Diaries': Who came back? Who's sticking around? Is Bonnie really dead?

vampire-diaries-423-graduation-caroline-elena-bonnie.jpg"The Vampire Diaries" has developed a reputation for heartbreaking penultimate episodes, and this season's "The Walking Dead" was no exception to the rule. As we've been building to all season, Bonnie ( Kat Graham) dropped the veil between the living world, and the mysterious world of dead supernatural creatures. Fortunately, it was only dropped within a small triangle in Mystic Falls, so there was no global hysteria... but there was certainly trouble.

As Julie Plec told us earlier, Bonnie thought she'd beaten Silas. She thought he had no more psychic power over her, because she could see his "true" face. But she was wrong again. Silas's mental hold on Bonnie was stronger than ever, and he came close to defeating her, but ultimately, she returned him to his true form -- and then she turned that true stone back into a shriveled fossil, his face hidden behind his hands. Of course, if he gets one drop of blood, he'll spring back to life. And doesn't the worst always happen in Mystic Falls?

Bonnie gave herself over to the mysterious black magic that has gripped her all season. In the final moments of the episode, Bonnie collapsed while trying to get Jeremy back in a more permanent form, whispering, "I have the darkness." But the expression, as her Grams said, was "just too much." Bonnie got up from the floor -- and looked down at her body.

Yes, "Vampire Diaries" fans, it's true -- Bonnie is, indeed, dead. The photos of her at graduation next week are actually pics of her in her ghostly form, attending the ceremony with her friends, since the veil is still open. As for whether she'll stay dead? Let's just say there are still some tricks up her sleeve, and some twists in the plot.

Speaking of that open veil ... we've still got some ghostly familiar faces roaming around town. 

We were thrilled to see Matt Davis return to reprise his role as the most beloved, boozed-up history teacher in... well, history: Alaric Saltzman. He showed up to have a few broments with Damon (and for Davis to flex his acting muscles with a turn as Silas!). But most importantly, Alaric got the cure for Damon. The question is, what will Damon choose to do with it?

Jeremy returned, of course, just in time to save Elena from a murderous Kol, who died... again. Grams was there to help Bonnie with her spell -- not that Bonnie listened -- and Lexi stopped by to give Stefan some much-needed love (and a potential nudge toward Caroline). The trio of furious vampire hunters descended on Matt and Rebekah in the final moments of the episode as well.

We know that one of these people will be permanently resurrected next week. Drop us a line in the comments and let us know who you hope it is!

The finale, "Graduation," airs next Thursday night at 8 p.m. EST.

Photo/Video credit: The CW
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