With The Vampire Diaries inching ever nearer to its ultimate conclusion, we just had to know that the Cade (Wolé Parks) problem would resolve itself sooner than later for logistics' sake, but who could've expected such a twist to be associated with the Devil's demise?

Looks like Nina Dobrev's triumphant return to the show is gonna be about so much more than just gushy feel times with Damon guys, and I am here for it. Here's what went down on this week's new installment of The Vampire Diaries.

Kai (Chris Wood) "killing" Damon (Ian Somerhalder) in last week's final moments was, in classic Vampire Diaries style, just a moment of cliffhanger drama because of course that wasn't the end of our steely-eyed antihero. Of course it wasn't. Instead, he wakes up trapped in Limbo as Cade toys with his emotions. Damon invites Cade to go ahead and finish things by dragging him onto Hell after Kai siphoned his body dry, but Cade's got some leverage to play with in getting Damon back onto the earthly plane of the living to retrieve that dangerous dagger. He's got Elena now, a.k.a. the golden ticket to getting his way from Damon and everyone else for that matter.

<em>The Vampire Diaries</em>, The CWThe Vampire Diaries, The CW

He's taken Elena's body and soul hostage and is happy to trade her back if and only if Damon can deliver the only weapon that can destroy the Devil over to him pronto. Trouble is, the dagger is now in the possession of Kai, who's back to his old selfish self again after securing his own second life by way of turning over Elena to Cade.

It's only a speed bump to the Salvatore Brothers taking possession of it, of course. Even with Stefan (Paul Wesley) now a mere mortal, their combination of wits and that ever-present surprise factor are enough to outwit Kai. Stefan tries to play to his sensibilities at first, offering kill Cade and resolve both of their problems, but Kai's vision is too tunnelled to see the benefit in that so he stabs Stefan in the hand upon discovering that he's a human now instead. Ouch. That had to hurt. Damon shows up in the nick of time to crack his neck and take him and the dagger hostage ... temporarily, at least.

They throw Kai in a holding cell over where Alaric (Matthew Davis) and Caroline (Candice King) are arguing about who's to blame for the girls being so out of control — and kicked out of their preschool, to boot — which gives Kai an opportunity to taunt Caroline about her newly complicated relationship with Stefan (pronounced Stefahhhn by him for some obnoxious reason) and the fact that he'd love nothing more than a second shot at killing her Gemini twin daughters.

Somewhere during the course of their conversation, Kai realizes that the whole house is made of magic, and it's literally in the walls, which means the glass that separates him from his freedom (to maim and murder the twins) is absolutely useless. He easily breaks out of his cage, snaps Caroline's neck so that she's in a "next-step nap" whilst he roams the halls looking for the girls who are in hiding.

He makes the grave mistake of answering Caroline's phone and thus tipping the girls' overprotective father as to their danger, though, so it doesn't take Alaric long to best Kai in a game of wits (he's evil as the day is long but totally wanting for intelligence or foresight) and trap him with the classic fake wall and audio recording trick. Who's the idiot now, Kai? 'Ric can't do it all by his lonesome, of course, since Kai's still stronger than him, but Caroline's zzz's didn't last as long as he might've hoped, and she arrives in time to take Kai out mid-sentence. He's not dead yet, but they'll certainly look for a stronger cell for him to rot in next time ...

Meanwhile, Bonnie (Kat Graham)'s on the fence about whether to forgive Stefan for his misdeeds against Enzo (Michael Malarkey). Now that Enzo's around in this psychic connection form, it's probably a little easier for her to consider the mercy route, especially since Enzo's suddenly an empathetic source of grace and wisdom anymore and encourages her to let it go. But she's still not completely ready to make nice with Stefan, try as he might to earn it.

Speaking of Stefan, now that he's got the dagger in hand, he and Damon decide to meet up with Cade at the woodsy spot the Devil has chosen for them. Cade's late, as he often tends to be, which means that they get a moment to chat about how Damon has always been a drag on Stefan's soul and yada yada brother stuff. Damon wants Stefan to back down from his intention to go human toe-to-immortal hellbeast toe with Cade, but Stefan's already been ready for that bossy protector chat and injects Damon in the neck with something that'll buy him a little time.

<em>The Vampire Diaries</em>, The CWThe Vampire Diaries, The CW

Stefan made arrangements with Alaric, see, to ring the Maxwell Bell at eight o'clock sharp to weaken him and create a window of opportunity to stab him, and at first, it looks like it'll work. But once Alaric got called away to do daddy duty against Kai, the plan fell through. Thankfully, Damon wakes up and says that Stefan's little suicide mission doesn't invalidate his agreement with Cade anyway, before he can execute his brother. He has the dagger now, which means it's time to set Elena free.

Cade being Cade, though, it can't be that simple. Oh no. Instead, he wants to play a new game, wherein Damon has to choose which of his beloved souls he wants to save — Elena's or Stefan's — and lights Elena's coffin on fire just to ramp up the theatrics a bit. Damon chooses the self-sacrificial route behind door number three, however, and offers his own soul in trade for both his brother and lady and, slowly and terribly, stakes himself to make it so.

All the while, Bonnie's witchy senses are going haywire because she's connected to Elena and can sense the fire that's engulfing her during this little test. She arrives just in time to find Damon in Limbo, seconds from being dragged to Hell by Cade, and decides to put up a fight the only way she can. And Cade was right to worry about her because she's stronger than even he might've expected as the two engage in what Damon cheekily calls and "anti-climatic" showdown of stares and grunts with their telekinetic forces crossing unseen.

In the end, though, it's the little engine that could who manages to end Cade once and for all. Stefan shows up all of a sudden and uses the dreaded dagger to make the Devil explode.

As far as they know, this means Cade and Hell have both been wiped from existence. Hip hip hooray!

The celebrations are aplenty, too, as 'Ric and Caroline decide they're not the world's worst witch parents after all and want to open a school for special children like their daughters, and Stefan's finally ready to get out of his self-deprecating funk and move forward with his wedding to Caroline. Meanwhile Damon's happily looking over Elena's unscathed body (which we finally get to see — eep!).

It's all very happy — too happy, even.

But you know what they say about things that seem too good to be true, right?

As punishment for Kai, Bonnie makes him a special prison plane where he's forced to listen to the Spin Doctors' "Two Princes" for the rest of eternity, which might as well be Hell 2.0 for him, but before she can leave him to his endless misery, he informs her that Hell hasn't been scratched from existence after all. It's merely under new management ... and the person who's taken over might be worse than Cade, where the Salvatore fam is concerned at least.

The newly minted Queen of the Underworld is none other than Katherine. As in Katherine Pierce a.k.a. Katarina Petrova, the doppelganger devil-ess herself who tormented these fellas for centuries on end. We should've seen it coming. This is gonna be GOOD.

The Vampire Diaries airs Friday nights at 8/7c on The CW.

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