[Warning: Spoilers from Thursday's episode, "The Walking Dead."]
Graduation is just around the corner but to get there, Elena (Nina Dobrev) and company had more pressing matters to deal with on The Vampire Diaries -- one that may have jeopardized the life of one of Mystic Falls' longtime residents.
With the season finale just a week away, Elena may have found her humanity, but she's now channeling all her feelings into killing Katherine for good. What she doesn't realize until much later, with the Salvatores' help of course, is that that mission is a mere distraction from the real issue: properly grieving her brother Jeremy's (Steven R. McQueen) fiery death.
It's in "The Walking Dead" (appropriately titled) that Bonnie (Kat Graham) successfully brings down the veil to the other side, bringing back a slew of familiar characters who have died over the course of four seasons. From Alaric (Matt Davis) and Grams (Jasmine Guy) to Kol (Nathaniel Buzolic) and Lexi (Arielle Kebbel), their re-appearances in Mystic Falls come at a price. Are they really their true selves or is it actually Silas assuming their bodies? The biggest return, perhaps, comes in the second half of the hour -- and it comes at a pivotal time for Elena, who at that particular moment is emotionally breaking down.
What may be the biggest shocker of all, however, is Bonnie's fate. Was her unwillingness to bring the veil back up for Elena's well-being the ultimate sacrifice? THR highlights the top moments from Thursday's penultimate season four episode:
8:05 p.m.: Bonnie and Katherine's dysfunctional team-up starts off on shaky ground, with Katherine wanting one thing and Bonnie wanting another. But with Bonnie's witchy powers, she bonds the two together: Guess Katherine's stuck!
8:07 p.m.: Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Stefan (Paul Wesley) discover that some shady dealings are going on in Mystic Falls, with five bodies completely drained of blood. Someone's fueling up, and even Sheriff Forbes thinks it's all Silas' doing. Damon puts two and two together: It just so happens that the following evening is a full moon, when Silas is likely to make his big move.
8:14 p.m.: "Don't you realize the end-of-the-world crap going on?" Damon's one-liners are still gold after four seasons.
8:17 p.m.: "Behind your rage there is a tidal wave of emotions," Damon alerts Elena, who followed Stefan's advice to fuel everything into one feeling. When Elena asks Damon to help her get to Katherine, who's busy with Bonnie, he isn't budging from his stance of "You're going to die if you do this." What does Elena do? She buys herself some time by injuring Damon so significantly that he keels over.
8:18 p.m.: And ... the veil's down! And guess who the first "ghost" is: Alaric!
8:24 p.m.: It's been a long time since Alaric and Damon have had a significant moment together, but Damon puts his former drinking buddy through a test to prove it's really him -- and not the all-powerful Silas. Fortunately, Alaric passes the test when he brings up locker no. 42, which Damon concludes to mean that Bonnie successfully dropped the veil. Can the two have their own show?
8:25 p.m.: The next "ghost" returning is Kol, as teased in the preview The CW released earlier. Rebekah (Claire Holt) is not happy. At least Matt's there as her knight in shining armor. Kol is set on finding Elena so he can kill her. The clock's ticking. Before he leaves, he stabs Matt in the shoulder. Why must the only human always get injured?
8:28 p.m.: Elena vs. Katherine. This isn't going to end well. Unfortunately for Bonnie, that link is proving to be incredibly painful.
8:30 p.m.: Rebekah bumps into Caroline (Candice Accola), who's cutting herself; she's hallucinating. Shudder. Rebekah slaps Caroline back into her normal self. "Bitch!" Caroline exclaims. And she's back!
8:34 p.m.: Stefan tells Elena that she's gone mental, and it's easy to side with him: He has more than a century of experiences and loss than she does.
8:38 p.m.: Turns out, that really wasn't Alaric?
8:40 p.m.: It's taken Elena a few weeks but finally, she's dealing with the loss of her brother Jeremy. As she breaks down at his grave site, she admits that "she doesn't want to move on" anymore. "I can't handle you being gone. I can't handle feeling like this anymore." Unfortunately, Kol has to ruin Elena's heartfelt moment.
8:45 p.m.: Another familiar face returns: Grams, who tells her granddaughter Bonnie that she can overpower Silas. Moments later: "Did you find Silas?" "Alaric" asks. "Yup!" Damon then smacks "Alaric" in the head. Bonnie prevails over Silas -- finally -- and his body is turned into stone.
8:48 p.m.: Is that really Jeremy?! It's fitting that it's Elena's brother who saves Elena from dying at Kol's hand -- and it comes at an emotional time for Elena, as she's struggling to pick up the pieces post-Jeremy.
8:52 p.m.: Stefan says to Elena, "Welcome back."
8:54 p.m.: Nice to see Stefan reunited with Lexi.
8:56 p.m.: Damon and Alaric, the real one this time, have one last hurrah before Alaric gives him an idea. "What the hell am I supposed to do with this?" Damon asks. "Get the girl."
8:57 p.m.: Bonnie is so desperate to keep Jeremy around that she ignores Grams' warnings that she really should be putting the veil up. Before you know it, Rebekah sees an ex of hers, a powerful vampire hunter, in Mystic Falls. Guess the veil didn't go back up. Unfortunately for her, vampire hunters who have recently passed like Connor (Todd Williams) are back. What did Bonnie do, or rather, what didn't she do?
8:59 p.m.: Here's a shocker: Is Bonnie dead?
What are your thoughts on the penultimate episode? Are the likes of Alaric, Connor, Grams, Lexi, Kol and Jeremy sticking around?
The Vampire Diaries wraps up season four at 8 p.m. Thursday on The CW.