Camille’s Descent – A Look at the Importance of Camille’s Choices in “You Hung the Moon”

I just finished the most recent episode of  The Originals,  You Hung the Moon, and I’ve decided that instead of doing any sort of review of the whole thing, I’m going to simply comment on something which I think was an episode highlight:  Camille. 

Camille talking to Klaus

Now, many fans I think overlook Camille as a character, as anything more than a romantic interest for  Klaus, but I’ve always found her and her position quite fascinating. This episode I felt like was the first episode to start truly acknowledging some of what I think isinteresting about her character. Allow me to explain…

Camille is in essence one of the few purely good characters on the show. She’s never killed anyone and instead of opting for shows of force she usually tries to get people to opt for mercy. In addition while she’s human, and thus lacks supernatural powers, and that might make people think she’s comparatively weak, she’s arguably one of the most powerful characters in the series simply because she’s good at talking and she has a positive relation, and some sway, with nearly every powerful character in the series. Chief among them, of course, Klaus Mikaelson.

There’s almost an inherent contradiction in her goodness and humanity and the people she surrounds herself with and the power she now holds to cause death and destruction. In this episode, this seems to have been adresed for the first time ever with Camille asking Klaus to make Lucien stop the killings.

As you all well know, Camille suspects Lucien of being the town’s new serial killer but believes, probably rightfully so, that no police officer will have any chance against a 1000 year old  vampire. So she decides to exercise her social power over Klaus Mikaelson instead. Now obviously she’s doing it to accomplish a clearly good goal, stopping more humans from getting killed, but she’s just set something in motion too. In exercising this power, for the first time she’s directly opted to potentially cause violence and destruction through him. And as shows like The Sopranos and Breaking Bad illustrate quite clearly, violence tends to breed violence and that in turn tends to corrupt people. With this one decision Camille has stepped unto a slippery slope, and while Klaus didn’t end up killing Lucien she has now put him in a position where he might if Camille’s desire is not fulfilled. In other words, a big step.
It really rather reminds of a The Sopranos episode called “Employee of the Month” where doctor Melphi, also a psychiatrist, has the chance to call upon Tony Soprano, the mobster who’s the series’ protagonist, to avenge a great personal wrong. Now, spoiler alert for The Sopranos, but unlike Camille she doesn’t take that opportunity. But it’s implied that if she had, she’d be setting out for a path of violence and destruction, a path that I think Camille very well could now be headed down.

In addition to this, there’s the implication that the detective makes that her family is always at the centre of killings like this and that he suspects that she may have something to do with the killings. Now, he sadly dismisses this later in the episode, but I wish he hadn’t. Because this would’ve been a very interesting situation for Camille to have been in.

Camille looking defiantShe would’ve been confronted with the fact that maybe, although she isn’t directly causing death yet, she has become an enabler for killers like Klaus Mikaelson. In fact in this episode, before this happens, she asks Klaus Mikaelson to threaten Lucien with violence. It’s for a good cause, but it’s violence nonetheless. This combined with her fears that she may be in danger of becoming a monster, like her brother did, in her very desire to heal people like Klaus (because she needs to believe everyone is essentially good to not fear becoming a monster herself) would’ve been very interesting indeed. She’d have to work against this police officer, essentially obstructing justice and covering for killers directly, to maintain her own innocence but all the while thinking that maybe she isn’t innocent. In addition at any point she could’ve had the detective killed by Klaus by alerting him to a possible danger of exposure. A tempting possibility when the detective is endangering her very freedom and even threatening to set the town ablaze with suspicion against its supernatural community. In other words, some serious potential drama.

Lastly, I’d like to address the throwaway line that the detective also throws her way: “But you haven’t.” She didn’t report him for what he did, even though he stole her stuff. Any normal person would probably have done this, but she did not. Instead, she chose to enable this illegal behaviour. It’s a small thing, but it suggests a change of mindset and accepting illegal behaviour as the status quo and fairly normal. Something that, coupled with the previous stuff, implies far more than you’d think one tiny line would.

In conclusion, while I think they abandoned the detective suspecting her too quickly, I’m quite intrigued by the possibility of seeing more of this internal conflict in future episodes. Let’s hope it lives up to its potential!

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Copyright: The images used in this article are screenshots taken from the episodes of the show. We are allowed to use them under section 107 of the US Copyright Act of 1976. The Originals belongs to the CW and Alloy Entertainment.

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