'The Vampire Diaries' fall finale: [SPOILER] breaks up while [SPOILER]'s days are numbered

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Well, that was unexpected. Actually, the outcome was what we all thought it would be after last week's "The Vampire Diaries" big reveal about Damon's murderous past, but the way we got to the destination was shocking to say the least.

Spoilers from "The Vampire Diaries" fall finale, "Fifty Shades of Grayson," below:

"Delena" is over. In one of the most heartbreaking scenes of Thursday (Dec. 12) night's episodes, Damon broke up with Elena -- not the other way around -- because he realized that while he would never change who he is, he couldn't bear to change who Elena is. You see, she was going to forgive and defend his revenge against the Augustines and the Whitmores because of his time spent captive in the Whitmore house dungeon being tortured, and Damon couldn't let her do that. It wasn't who she was, deep down. She was changing to suit him, so he let her go, and left her in tears.

This can't really be the end of "Delena" for good, right? There's still so much love between Damon and Elena that they can't just move on. It was clear even when Damon was yelling at Elena to stop defending him that they want to be together. And for all his talk about being selfish, Damon just can't stop pushing Elena away "for her own good." Raise your hand if you're over Damon "doing the right thing" when it comes to Elena? Just be happy together, people! It's not that hard!

Okay, let's get back on track here and go back to the beginning of the episode. Last we left off, Damon was still trapped in the cell, Elena woke up on Wes' operating table, and Stefan and Katherine hooked up (we're still cheering about this). Left all alone in his cell with no idea of what happened to his girlfriend, Damon desperately MacGyvered his way free. How bada** was he? He punched the stone wall until a chunk broke off, then he fished the bullet Aaron dropped just outside of the bars and stuck it in the lock, and smashed the stone into the bullet, setting off the gunpowder and breaking the lock. Smart boy.

Back at casa de Salvatore, Katherine is cutely excited about waking up naked next to Stefan (as anyone would be, let's be honest here). But after snuggling up for some morning cuddles, she sees a chunk of grey hair had fallen out overnight and starts to freak out. Then she acts like any normal girl embarrassed of how she looks the morning after a one-night stand: she wraps herself up in Stefan's comforter so he can't see her, grabs her clothes, and books it out of his room. On her way out of the the Salvatore mansion, she runs into newly-freed Damon and brags to him about how she spent her night. Damon, coming off days of captivity with little blood, says he's gonna barf. If he was at peak health, he probably would have come up with a better, more pithy and witty comeback, but we'll take it.

Damon fills Stefan in on his situation: Elena's held captive by Wes and he doesn't know where. Of course, Stefan has no idea who that is, and Damon gives him the spark notes version of the Augustine society, leaving off the part where he was once a subject. Stefan goes with Damon to confront Aaron. And here's where we get our brother bonding that we've been missing for so long. Watching Damon and Stefan menacingly gang up on Aaron is just too much fun. But while Aaron helps them get in touch with Wes -- not voluntarily, of course, since Damon and Stefan keep threatening his life -- Damon has to fill Stefan in on his history with the Augustine society begrudgingly. Stefan's pissed that Damon never told him about his days being tortured, but they put their fight on hold to deal with the Elena situation.

Too bad for them, though, because while they're busy searching Whitmore's campus, Wes actually took Elena back to Mystic Falls. He set up a lab in the basement of Elena's dad Grayson's old clinic, and drops a bomb on Elena: he actually learned all of his vampire research and tactics from Grayson. Elena has flashbacks to walking into her dad's clinic as a kid (baby Elena is adorable!) and hearing someone screaming. Turns out it was vampires that her dad was torturing/researching on. He was trying to use vampire blood to find a cure for all of humanity's illnesses and injuries ... like Elena's roommate Megan's heart condition when she was a little girl.

And that's when Megan's murder mystery is finally revealed. After getting cured so long ago by Elena's dad (that's why she had a photo with him on her phone: he saved her life), she started snooping around the Augustine society to figure out what they were doing. During the party at the Whitmore house at the beginning of the school year, she was snooping in the basement and got too close to a starving Enzo who killed her.

While dropping all this knowledge on Elena, Wes reveals what he's going to do to her: he is going to give her one shot of a formula he created that will make her crave vampire blood, making her the first Augustine vampire (not including Jesse since he's dead). She'll be a ripper, but one that hunts other vampires. That doesn't bode well for all her relationships, since she mostly hangs around vampires. Uh oh.

Aaron calls Wes to let him know that he's being held hostage by Damon and Stefan in exchange for Elena, and Wes tells Aaron to meet in his classroom on campus and he'll make the switch. But instead of meeting them, Wes frees Enzo to have a long overdue reunion with Damon. Before he sets the nutty vampire free, he injects him with "an insurance policy" that he'll come back to Wes, a.k.a. a poison that will stop his heart and desiccate him. The only way to get the antidote? He has to kill Damon.

Back in Mystic Falls, Katherine goes to Matt for help getting in shape. She's paying him "to make her hot again," but Matt calls Nadia for backup. Nadia first slaps Kat for trying to kill herself without saying goodbye to her daughter. Also, her live reading of Kat's suicide note is hilarious and we can totally see the Petrova resemblance. Later, the two have a heart-to-heart where Kat wants to know if Nadia thinks she can be forgiven after all she's done. Nadia tells her she can, and she has an idea on how to save her: Kat can tap into her traveler roots and put her spirit into someone else, thereby living longer in a healthier body. But Kat wants her body since Stefan likes it. She's okay with dying as long as she goes out knowing that Stefan wants her. That pisses Nadia off, since she realizes all of Kat's talk about forgiveness isn't regarding her, but Stefan.

In Wes' classroom, Enzo makes his grand entrance, and Damon's shocked to see Enzo alive. Enzo's a little pissy that no one wants to listen to his story of how he survived the fire, so Damon stays with him to play along while Stefan goes with Aaron to get all the files he has on Wes to find where he could be. Aaron agrees to help because he realized that Wes wasn't going to try to save him.

After Enzo tells Damon about the poison, he attacks Damon, and cue epic fight scene! But before either one of them could win, Enzo desiccates. Damon finds the antidote in Wes' lab and saves Enzo, presumably to make up for not being able to save him 70 years ago. He then confesses to Enzo that the only way he could leave him to die like that, betraying their friendship, was to turn off his humanity. He cared too much about him and it was the only way he could save himself. Enzo tells him before leaving that Damon ruined him by leaving him like that: Damon's a monster and that's all he'll ever be. Which brings Damon to his realization that he has to break up with Elena -- which he does as soon as he gets home.

But how did Elena escape Wes? While in his dorm room -- and after he tried to shoot Stefan, and Stefan was about to kill him -- Aaron tells Stefan about Damon's revenge against his family. Pitying Aaron, Stefan lets him live so he can learn that not all vampires are evil. Aaron then gives him the files, leading Stefan to the clinic in Mystic Falls. He saves Elena at the right moment, right as Wes was about to push down the plunger on the syringe making Elena an Augustine vampire. Seriously, nice timing, Stefan. They knock out Wes and head home.

On her way out of town, Nadia leaves the traveler knife with Matt in case Kat decides that she wants to live longer. Apparently, she'll need it to perform the body switching spell. That also gives Nadia and Matt a chance to have a nice talk about and bond over their crumby, absentee mothers. It was a nice moment between two people who met while drunkenly having a threesome.

At the Salvatore mansion, Stefan and Katherine finally talk about their hook up the night before, and while Stefan says they just got caught up in the moment, Kat says it meant more. She wants to know how she can get redemption in his eyes before she dies, and Stefan tells her that 147 years is a lot to forgive in one night. But ... as she's walking out the door, saying that she knows he'll never look at her like he looks at Elena, he grabs her hand! There's definitely potential here.

Spurred by Stefan's spontaneous hand-holding, Kat calls Nadia and says she's a go for the traveler spell. She does want to live longer! But before she can put her plan in motion, she has sudden pains in her arm, and clutches her heart. Katherine's having a heart attack. What?!? Based on the promos for when "TVD" returns in January, her days are numbered. Down to one day, specifically. We can't lose Kat, can we?

Also of note, Aaron went to the clinic and shook Wes awake, but not to help him. He tells Wes he never wants to see him again since he essentially sold him out to vampires, but before he leaves he takes the syringe filled with the Augustine compound. Is he going to go after Damon with it?

So what did you think of "The Vampire Diaries" fall finale? Are you gutted over the breakup of "Delena?" How sweet was Stefan with Katherine? Should we be worried about Aaron? Do you think Katherine will survive this? Surviving is her specialty!

"The Vampire Diaries" returns Thursday, Jan. 23 on The CW.

Photo/Video credit: The CW