I can't write about the 100th episode of "The Vampire Diaries" without launching into spoilers. Sorry, but that's just the way it is. If you haven't watched, don't click through. If you do, you can't say I didn't warn you.

For a red hot minute, I thought this episode might be something we don't see so often on this show -- a wrenching, tearful farewell to a character who actually, you know, really dies. Sure, a lot of people really do die on "The Vampire Diaries," but many of them make a come back (Bonnie, Jeremy, Elena, the list goes on) or the death is such an awful shock it's like pulling off a Band-Aid. It hurts, but we're more surprised than upset, and as quickly as it happens we're reeling into another plot twist. Dead is rarely dead on this show, unless the actor has another gig.

Yes, sucker that I am, I thought this episode might be like our last, agonizing episodes with Alaric, who hasn't come back (well, not often, though he's ghosty) and Caroline's dad William (who wasn't exactly a beloved character in any case). I know there are plenty more examples of tearful "TVD" farewells, but those two just come most readily to mind for some reason, so don't flame me if you can resist the urge. Anyway, the 100th episode seemed like a fitting send-off to a flawed and interesting character we've grown to, if not love, appreciate as a reliable troublemaker. Best of all, lots of dearly departed characters popped in, either as Katherine's hallucinations or courtesy of Bonnie's anchor status. 

Did it start to feel like a class reunion of a 1970s Christmas special? Sure, okay, but it was still so, so great to see David Anders, Matthew Davis and Kayla Ewell, even briefly (Vicki had, what, two lines at the most and still managed to make me tear up). Somehow we even got Elijah, Rebekah and Klaus back for the episode and it all managed to mostly make sense. We even got that Klaus and Caroline (Klaroline? Carolaus?) hot sex that we'd been wanting. It was all kind of a perfect 100th episode, and a tear jerker at that. 

But when Nadia stopped by to tell Katherine exactly how to do the transfer spell, I suspected our favorite bad girl wasn't going to go gently into that good night. And guess what? She didn't. Instead, she went into Elena, which seemed like a very "TVD" kind of twist and, yes, potentially a lot of fun. It was exactly the kind of sucker punch that makes sense for Katherine. After we let down our defenses, like Stefan, and fall in love with her a little, her survive-at-all-costs side comes out and screws everyone over. 

Still, the last minute save took nothing away from the sadness of Katherine's story, which we all knew but was far more poignant as it played out here, as she dreamt of the bad old days on her death bed. Watching Damon and Stefan take control of her memories like a cartoon devil and angel sitting on her shoulders gave some heft to Katherine's inner battle -- a desire to let go of her pain by embracing death and a desperate need to keep going. I loved that Stefan wiped away Katherine's blood-soaked memories of her mother and father, reminding her that she was just 17 and didn't deserve Klaus' cruelty. Of course, I have to wonder if he'll feel so soft hearted when/if he finds out what she's done with Elena. 

What we saw of Katherine's story in 1490 Bulgaria was, of course, horrible enough to make anyone feel for Katherine. Nina Dobrev really did give it her all as the young mother whose daughter is ripped from her arms -- and later, when Stefan returned the baby to her in the revised memory. You'd have to have a heart of stone (or be Damon) for those scenes not to rip you apart. Katherine as a primal mama bear adds a human aspect to her character that makes us want to forgive her -- which should add an awfully interesting twist to future episodes.

But, even though this episode was a lot about Katherine, let's not overlook that hot Klaus/Caroline sex. At first, it seemed she was just going to let him go yet again. She's a college student! She has things she wants to do! So, you know, let's ignore this hot, feral attraction we have to one another! I guess this was a one shot deal (after all, the ratings for "The Originals" are just ducky, so Joseph Morgan is busy), but it's likely enough to mess up Caroline's off-again relationship with Tyler, though who knows what state that's in given that he picked revenge over her, anyway. It was a lovely payoff, though, that after bitching she was the only one not having scandalous sex, she gets it, big time.

There was plenty of dark humor in this episode, from everyone drinking shots in honor of Katherine's impending death according to what crappy thing she did to them to Sheriff Forbes nonchalantly warning Damon not to kill Katherine lest she have to take him in, blah blah blah. Could I complain that Elena put herself in danger all too readily? I mean, when Nadia gets two volunteers to go with her who just happen to be doppelgängers, I would think Elena might find something else to do (though, granted, nothing all that bad happened with the travelers… then, at least). Deciding to go mutter words of forgiveness over a hopefully unconscious Katherine? Bad idea. But hey, we can forgive her for feeling sentimental. After this episode, so packed with fond memories, beloved characters and ghoulish humor (and, you know, the Klaus/Caroline sex! Finally!), I'm feeling a little sentimental, too. 

Were you happy to see Klaus and Caroline get together? Were you surprised Katherine survived? What did you think of all the cameos?