04/26/2012 11:27 pm ET Updated Jun 26, 2012

'The Vampire Diaries' Recap: A Devastating Goodbye

Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 3, Episode 20 of The CW's "The Vampire Diaries," entitled, "Do Not Go Gentle."

Another decade dance, another drama. As "Vampire Diaries" fans know, death is always around the corner, but no one could have predicted what went down during tonight's episode -- when we had to bid farewell to a favorite character.

Alaric's fate on the series has always been in question, especially because he's already died three times this season, but that didn't make it any easier to say goodbye. That's right "TVD" fans. Tonight, we said goodbye to Mystic Falls most lovable history teacher in one of the most heartbreaking scenes in the show's history. There were candles ... in a graveyard ... it was all very emotional.

Now before you grab for that box of tissues, I should clarify: Alaric didn't physically die, but it looks like his spirit did. Esther turned Evil Alaric into a super vampire in order to use him as the ultimate vampire-killing machine. However, that means that the Alaric we all love is gone. Now, he's the ultimate monster.

See? These decade dances always end in heartbreak. Last year, Alaric was possessed by Klaus and compelled Stefan to leave Elena. This year, psycho Esther possessed Rebekah, and her mission to kill every last vampire totally ruined everyone's Charleston.

Yet, amidst all of the drama, there were still a few tender moments for make Stelena fans happy. Despite Delena's steamy motel make out last week, Stefan totally steals Damon's thunder at the dance. Stelena fans, if you didn't already think Caroline was the greatest, you're really going to love her now.

When she finds herself without a date to the decade dance -- because Bonnie didn't really want to be Elena's date anymore, and Caroline is way too #TeamStelena for her own good -- Elena asks Stefan to be her date. Despite the '20s being one of his least favorite decades (for obvious Ripper reasons), he gladly accepts Elena's offer. Yes, Damon is jealous. His eyebrows say it all.

At the dance, the two share a slow dance and Elena tries to tell Stefan about what happened in Denver, but he doesn't want to hear it. He just wants to share this moment with her. Elena spent the entire season not giving up on Stefan, and now it's his turn to not give up on her. He'll be there for her when she needs him, and he just wants to make sure that she knows that.

Sure, there's no steamy kiss, but that's OK with me.

I wouldn't be upset if at the end of Season 3, Elena chose herself over Damon and Stefan. I think she needs to figure things out for herself, and the only way she's going to do that is by spending some time alone.

Meanwhile, Mystic Falls other super hot threesome -- Tyler, Caroline and Klaus -- heats up. Tyler is jealous of Klaus, and despite breaking his sire bond, he still has to act like he'll do whatever Klaus says. When Klaus asks Caroline for a dance, Tyler has to begrudgingly walk away.

Caroline still wants nothing to do with Klaus, but it looks like his offer to show her the world is starting to sink in. I'm not saying that Caroline is going to leave Tyler and run away with Klaus, but she wouldn't have kept his pretty horse portrait, or accepted his offer to dance, if she didn't feel something for him.

I've been pretty vocal when it comes to my love of Caroline and Klaus, and while I don't think this is a relationship that will happen in the near future, I do think that two would work really well together. Caroline has let Mystic Falls define her for too long. I mean, she's Miss Mystical Falls. She could use a bit of adventure and excitement. And Klaus? Well, he could use someone to listen to him, and Caroline is a natural caretaker.

But that doesn't mean she's ready to say goodbye to Tyler just yet. The two really do love each other, but your first love isn't necessarily your only love. In the school gym, she promises that she won't let him die, regardless of what Damon wants.

Speaking of Klaus, he's not particularly happy with his mother. First, she possesses Rebekah, then she uses Alaric to stake his beloved sister to transfer her spirit back into her own body, then she uses a binding spell to keep everyone trapped in the school while she once again tries to kill him. Klaus has some serious mommy issues.

Also, is anyone else a little sad that we didn't get to see Rebekah and Matt share a moment at the dance? I kind of liked where those two were heading. However, this week, it looks like Matt has moved on ... to Jeremy. These two are totally having a bromance, and after losing Alaric, I think Jeremy could use a positive (human) influence in his life.

Bonnie is also moving on. After her fall-out with Elena, Bonnie asked farm boy Jesse to be her date to the dance. Why do I have a feeling that Jesse is up to no good? He adapted a little too well to the gang's supernatural activities. Shouldn't a normal person be a little more wary? Suspicions aside, that didn't stop Bonnie from initiating a steamy kiss in an empty classroom.

That is, until Damon barged in on her make out to tell her that Esther has Elena and they need to use her magic to break the binding spell she placed on them.

Unfortunately, Bonnie can't break the spell, so she uses a locator spell to find Elena. Esther resists Bonnie's spell because she's channeling a strong energy -- meaning that she has to be at the cemetery because that's where Klaus ripped out Esther's heart.

Before turning Alaric into a vampire, Esther tells Elena that her and Ric have met before. In fact, every time Alaric died and started to cross over to the other side, she communicated with him. Esther has also used the magical Gilbert ring to meld into the last white oak stake to make an indestructible weapon. However, now the real Ric is hidden by his evil side, and even though Elena swears she won't help Esther, the witch uses magic to release her magical doppelganger blood and gives it to Ric to drink.

After he's done, the Original witch stabs him. But don't worry Elena. When he wakes, he'll be his old self for a bit before transforming into a vampire-hunting vampire.

Meanwhile, Matt and Jeremy, the only two that can go past the binding spell, head to the graveyard with guns to save Elena. But Esther's stronger than they think, and she uses her power to make the two point their guns at each other. Luckily, before she can make them shoot, she's staked ... by Alaric, who seems to have woken up on the right side of the bed.

Once again, Bonnie uses her power to save Elena -- she obviously didn't do it for Stefan -- but she couldn't save Alaric. He decides not to take his first bite, and therefore, he chooses to die instead.

And even though he wants to be alone, they're not going to let him go without giving him a proper send off. When he walks outside, he sees everyone standing, holding candles, and ready to bid him goodbye. Despite it feeling a bit awkward to have an outsider attend such a deeply personal moment, even Doctor Fell was there.

While the gang mourns, Klaus seizes the opportunity to scream at his frozen mother's body. It went something like this: "YOU WILL NEVER DESTROY ME." I almost thought she was going to wake up and stake him.

Alaric is alone in the crypt, waiting to die, until Damon comes in with a bottle of whiskey. The two enjoy one last drink before Ric falls into a sleep he'll seemingly never wake up from.

As Damon leaves the crypt, he's surprised by Bonnie. After Esther appears in her in a dream to tell her to finish what she's started, Bonnie seemingly sleepwalks into the tomb with the indestructible white oak stake.

Bonnie goes to Ric and stabs her hand with the stake. Then she feeds him her blood. Seconds later, he comes to life, breaks out his fangs and bites her neck.

From the looks of it, the Alaric we all loved is dead. Now, he's a super blood-sucking, vampire-hunting, killing machine -- and he's out for Elena's blood.

Notable Quotables:

Damon: "I don't know if right now is the best time to go on a spirit quest."

Caroline: "Stefan is your epic love."

Tyler: "What's he gonna do? Draw you another picture?"

Stefan: "I blacked out most of this decade."

Damon: "Sorry to interrupt your seven minutes in heaven, but we have a problem."

Klaus: "I don't have to prove anything, love. I am the alpha male."

Elena: "This is all my fault." (YEAH, IT IS ALL YOUR FAULT)

Klaus: "You will never destroy me."

"The Vampire Diaries" airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.