If you're not ugly sobbing after The Originals series finale, you clearly didn't properly invest your heart and soul in the Mikaelson family the way we did, because OH MY GOD, how do we go on after that?!

You may have been holding out hope that Klaus (Joseph Morgan) would pull off one final, great escape from the death sentence he gave himself by taking all that dark magic from Hope (Danielle Rose Russell), but sadly, it was not meant to be. Elijah (Daniel Gillies) did manage to take some of the magic into himself, giving Klaus one last coherent day with his family to say his goodbyes, which gave us quite a few heartbreaking — but also heartwarming! — moments. Klaus spent his last day with Caroline (Candice King), making good on his promise from the backdoor pilot to show her his favorite city, and he spent the evening with his family, indulging in a final celebration of his life as it came to an end.

When the sun finally set on New Orleans, Klaus and Elijah marched off toward death together, choosing to end both of their immortal lives (and the threat of the dark magic) once and for all. Klaus even arranged for Rebekah (Claire Holt) to receive the cure from Caroline in a few decades — presumably when Damon (Ian Somerhalder) dies — giving her an escape from immortality.

TV Guide spoke to The Originals creator and showrunner Julie Plec about that tragic ending and giving all of these immortal creatures the closure they deserved. Read on to see what she said!

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Joseph Morgan and Daniel Gillies, <em>The Originals</em>Joseph Morgan and Daniel Gillies, The Originals

When you first spun The Originals off from The Vampire Diaries, was this always the ending you had in mind, not only for Klaus but also for Elijah?
Julie Plec: When we started the series we knew that what we wanted to achieve by the end was a full completion to Klaus and Elijah's journey. Elijah was determined to help Klaus find his redemption and help him understand the power of unconditional love, and so we knew that along the way Elijah would take a dark turn as Klaus took a lighter turn and that the two of them would find themselves at the end, having completed that journey. We weren't sure how we would dramatize it at the end, but the choice to have them both decide to end life together was a decision that we made at the beginning of the final season.

Did it feel like a fitting end that the conclusion of the series was also the conclusion of the Originals' lives as immortals?
Plec:
I think that when you're thinking about creatures who were cursed to be immortal, the escape from that curse and the ultimate release from immortality is its own form of peace. I think, ultimately, every single one of our Original family will go down that road. We've sort of laid out the path for the three of them, but Kol (Nathaniel Buzolic), one day when he's done being a rake and a rogue, will reach a point where he feels like it's his time as well. And I think that that is the ultimate end of an immortal's journey.

We got a lot of really great emotional goodbyes in this episode. Which one was the hardest for you to write?
Plec:
Gosh, I think just being there in New Orleans, where we shot the pilot, at that bench in Jackson Square as those two brothers who had been in that spot upon learning of the existence of a baby and now are coming together to do what they could to save that child, having found all the love that they needed as a result of her having been born, just was so beautiful. And Elijah knowing that he had lived his full life many times over and wanting to be by his brother's side at the end was to me a really tragic but beautiful resolution for them.

How did you approach Hope and Klaus' goodbye, which essentially needed to pay off a relationship that was, in a lot of ways, the backbone of this entire series?
Plec: It was all driven by the line in the very first episode when Klaus said "every king needs an heir." He went into this journey of being a father rather selfishly, not really feeling like he needed this person in his life. He certainly spent a lot of years trying to avoid that emotional connection as often as he could and then ended up tragically as a single parent having to make the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that his daughter would live on. I loved watching that journey for him, I loved seeing how this crazy, mad king could be softened by a small child and how ultimately a teenage Hope could stand up to him and make him see the error of his ways as a parent and conquer his own remaining immaturities from his own damaged childhood. For me, it was a great relationship to be able to explore all season long.

Candice King and Joseph Morgan, <em>The Originals</em>Candice King and Joseph Morgan, The Originals

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There were so many losses this year. Was there ever a moment in which you debated whether this season was too death-heavy?
Plec:
I mean look, this is a show about ancient vampires — immortal vampires first and foremost — and I think that I wanted to give each of them their own form of closure, which was going to involve death for some. This particular season our villain was a villain of ideology, and the ideology was based in hate and intolerance and judgment and isolationism and a sort of a "our people are better than your people" kind of sentiment. In order to really drive home the point that that is not an ideology that can or should be supported, we needed the consequences of that ideology and that villainy to be extreme. That meant having some of its victims be some of our most popular characters.

I did notice there were a lot more nods to The Vampire Diaries this season than usual. Was that a conscious decision to drop in those callbacks as a last hurrah?
Plec:
I think every time you're bringing a show to a close there's this whimsy attached to the choices you make because you're feeling so nostalgic all the way through, and you're feeling like the history of everything that led you to this final season is there to be celebrated. So as writers, we just like to have a little bit of fun with that.

I'm sure a lot of fans were hoping Klaus and Caroline would end up together, which unfortunately was not the case. Knowing you were headed toward his death this year, why was it important to include her and give those two one last story arc together?
Plec:
The Klaus and Caroline relationship was something that always was a favorite of mine on The Vampire Diaries, and I felt like Caroline was, outside of his family, one of the only people that ever would make Klaus expose his vulnerabilities and show a side of himself that he didn't like to show people. As we got into the final season where he ultimately was struggling with a teenage daughter who was falling for all the wrong kind of men in the same way that Caroline Forbes used to, there was a great link there. She became a great support system for him. I think that Caroline and Klaus did get their closure. They were never going to dance off into the sunset together because she married Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley) and she's going to hold that in her heart forever, and Klaus, as much as she ever cared about him wasn't Stefan. So people can be upset about that, but I think them being able to find a purity in their own attraction and admiration for each other after everything they've been through before he went off to pull the ultimate move of fatherhood and sacrifice, and for her to be a witness to that, I think was really special for them.

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Joseph Morgan, <em>The Originals</em>Joseph Morgan, The Originals

The family dinner scene was so joyous and probably the most we ever saw these characters smile on The Originals. What do you think that happy little scene accomplished in the midst of a really sad goodbye?
Plec:
It was important for us to see that, even as Klaus was saying his goodbyes, the rest of this family would live on and Hope would have a support system around her.

Which storylines out of all five seasons were you most proud of?
Plec:
I really loved Marcel's (Charles Michael Davis) origin story and the journey that he had to face to combat not only his own history of having been abused both as a young boy but then ultimately being mentored and abused by Klaus, finding himself repeating those same habits as he became the king of New Orleans. And then coming to terms with his own culpability in that behavior — that he'd been recycling behavior that he shouldn't. I like that as a long run for him. I really loved Rebekah's desire in that first season to be free of her family and finally being able to have her brother grant her that freedom, which she had to fight so hard for, only to go out and kind of find her own wants and loves and desires and needs and to end up with the things she wanted most, things that we introduced all the way back as early as The Vampire Diaries. And I liked Elijah's storyline this year. Elijah, without all the trappings of the dysfunction of a thousand years of pain and abuse, being able to live a freer, lighter version of himself. Being able to fall in love without being encumbered by the damage that was done to him by being part of the Mikaelsons. I could go on, but I'll leave it there.

Was there anything you always wanted to do on the show but just never got around to?
Plec:
The only thing that I always wanted to do, and I wanted to do it both for the fans and for the show, because it was one of the things that the fans were always requesting that I just couldn't get to for many, many, many reasons, was to show Klaus in his wolf form. All those years, that was the one thing we never got to unfortunately.

(Full Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS, a parent company of The CW).

Danielle Rose Russell, <em>The Originals</em>Danielle Rose Russell, The Originals