[Warning: The following contains spoilers forThe Vampire Diaries' "Things We Lost in the Fire."]
Are you sitting down? Because you're going to want to be sitting down for this, since The Vampire Diaries may have just pulled off its most shocking death yet.
In Friday's episode "Things We Lost in the Fire," Damon (Ian Somerhalder) continues to struggle with the repercussions of his time in the Phoenix Stone. Everywhere Damon looks he sees his Civil War comrade Henry, with each appearance further weakening Damon's already fragile mental state. Damon decides the only thing to do is to see Elena (Nina Dobrev) to remind him that everything is going to be okay. And after a few murderous threats to Tyler (Michael Trevino), Damon finally convinces Tyler to lead him to Elena. But upon opening the coffin, all Damon sees is Henry.
When Damon turns around in shock, Tyler pulls out a gun, but his were-senses aren't fast enough. Damon bashes Tyler's head against the pavement multiple times and leaves him unconscious, possibly even dead, before returning to the coffin.
"You're still denying your nature. You haven't let go of what's holding you back," Henry tells Damon. "[The Phoenix Stone] doesn't trap you. It frees you to be reborn as your true self."
Damon listens to his old war buddy and decides to show Henry his "true self," aka a ruthless killer. Damon douses Henry's body with gasoline and lights the coffin on fire. But Damon's victory is short-lived, as Henry immediately pops up behind Damon and reveals that he isn't the one inside the coffin.
Yeah. That's right. Damon just burned Elena's body.
"I promised you liberation," Henry teases. "This was necessary, Damon. She held you back from being the monster you really are."
Damon rushes over to the coffin that is now completely engulfed in flames, only to see the body of his true love burning up in the fire.
We next see Damon drinking his sorrows away at home, telling Stefan (Paul Wesley) that he only stops Damon from being who he really is: manipulative, selfish and dark. But Stefan refuses to indulge in Damon's pity party and promises to never give up on him. Upon hearing this declaration of brotherly love, Damon just can't bring himself to tell Stefan what happened with Elena.
So what exactly did happen with Elena? Did The Vampire Diaries really just kill off its original star? Even if Elena has been in an off-screen magical coma all season, many fans - myself included - were still holding out for Dobrev to eventually return to give Damon and Elena their happy ending. Technically, no one has said that Elena's dead yet, but Damon is clearly devastated by what went down and I see no way Elena could have possibly survived that fire.
What do you think: Is Elena really dead?
The Vampire Diaries airs Fridays at 8/7c on The CW.
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