I’m going to try something new in doing a (character-centred) review of an episode of The Originals, so be gentle with the comments, it’s my first time. Here goes nothing…
We all know that at its heart The Originals is a show about family so I knew once I saw Finn’s return that this episode would be good. But to my surprise Finn’s return and the changes it entailed were not the only things that made this an interesting episode. In fact, perhaps I’d even go so far as to say that it wasn’t even the highlight of the episode. But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s take this one story arc at a time.
Let’s start with what I had already expected would be good: Finn’s return.
Finn’s return had been a cliffhanger since the last episode, and as I expected it caused quite a bit of uproar in the family. Quarrels were had, deals were made and tensions ran high but what I liked about it most perhaps is the welcome shading to some of these things. Because in the end, after all the posturing and threats and insults, Finn pleads with Elijah, quite genuinely, to spare the white oak bullet and Elijah obliges him. Despite the fact that it puts him in great danger. Now, it seems that not only does Elijah think that Finn may be right and he may want to die at some point, which is interesting all on its own, but it was clear that it was more than that. Elijah was moved by Finn’s pleas to his brother. Despite all of the hatred and all of the insults and all of the pain, somehow he couldn’t help but be moved by his big brother’s pain. If Finn’s going to stay, which I hope he does, it’s important that this sort of thing is brought to the foreground. A simple “I hate you, I hate you” relationship is boring. But this, this is much more interesting.
Now on to Davina and Kol. This is perhaps the part of the episode that I liked least. Not so much because I’m not particularly into ships, though I’m sure that’s a contributing factor, but because I still don’t really buy it. The idea that Kol would want to change centuries worth of behaviour for Davina, a girl he hasn’t even known for that long, just doesn’t make any sense to me. Klaus and Camille make sense because we’ve seen their relationship develop over time and Camille clearly represents something to Klaus. Not only does she fit his “blonde-with-blue-eyes” mould, but she sees the good in him even when he’s showing him his worst aspects. That’s something that Klaus is an absolutely sucker for all around. But what makes Davina so special to Kol? I can’t say that I think it’s clear what that is. So unless Kol gets like this with women all the time until he gets bored (which is possible), I don’t buy it at all. I’m also not so sure I buy Kol’s struggle with his bloodlust. Partially because 1000 year old vampires tend to be very in control of it (which isn’t a rule, but it’s certainly a very common tendency) but more importantly because it’s not something that was ever even hinted at as being part of his character before. When he slaughtered an entire church full of people in The Awakening it wasn’t because he was hungry and it didn’t cause him to mentally suffer for it (much like Stefan would) but it was because, well it was just practical. All in a day’s work. Though what I did like, as a bit of shading to this, is the implication that it’s not so much the bloodlust which caused this behaviour, but his lack of self-control in general. Not only because quite frankly a person with control issues getting enhanced emotions is more interesting on a character level, but because that actually could make a lot more sense with what we already know of Kol’s past behaviour. Plus, it would be a somewhat tragic story. A man who is just fun, spontaneous and somewhat impulsive (but in a normal way) gains superpowers and enhanced emotions. All of a sudden that lack of discipline and that impulsivity are something far darker.
As for Davina’s part in it, well what she did to Finn does make sense. Davina has gotten into a rather warped mindset over the seasons, no doubt because of the abuse she suffered at the hands of the witches and her continued involvement with the Mikaelsons and witches, so her buying into Kol’s desire to “make Finn suffer” is… believable. Especially because she has a crush on him. Finn approaching her was interesting too. He was a bit smug about it, but I do think he genuinely wanted her to get away from Kol for her own good. Saw someone inexperienced and not necessarily immoral that could be getting herself in danger. Of course, that all changed once she basically fulfilled his worst fear by binding him into his body. Speaking of that, I quite like that plot twist. Because it makes sense that Davina would do it, having witchy powers and a desire to make Finn suffer with the one thing he hates most, and it does give the writers a plausible excuse to keep Finn around and inside of his original body (which I am a huge fan of).
But let’s go to what I perhaps liked the most about this episode, to my surprise this was Hayley and Klaus. Now, I’ve gone on record several times on this very site as saying that I don’t hate Hayley like some people do, but I’ve always thought she didn’t live up to the potential she had as a character and was frankly… a little one-dimensional sometimes. In fact, in an article I recently wrote I described one reason for this: a lack of background. We were told that she was this teenager on the run, kicked out of her parents’ house, who never had a family. But we have never been shown how this affected her, what life she lead, etc. Not until this episode, that is. Because on the run from Klaus’ enemies, Hayley passes through a place where she clearly spent a lot of time. Aside from the familiarity, the reaction the people have to her there is quite illuminating. She’s well-liked, depended on and with a large social network, friends of hers are everywhere. So when she hears of a girl she used to babysit in trouble, her first impulse is to help. And this makes perfect sense. Because as a child, alone on the street, you’d have to develop an impulse like this. You’d have to find a way to make friends, establish a social network that you can depend on and that can depend on you. It’s also what gives her such a different perspective from Klaus, and here we can find the second interesting thing about their scenes.
A clash between world-views, with both characters having their worldviews clearly shaped by their own experiences with the world. Hayley’s emphasis on kindness and trust and reciprocity, all of the things she needed to build a social network to survive as a teenager on the streets, vs. Klaus’ distrust and selfishness, something that was shaped in him both by being a powerful original who can do whatever he wants and by the fact that most of the time when he has trusted people it has blown up in his face. This is then tied in quite well with why they’re on the run, because of how Klaus acts due to his world view. It’s emotional, it’s complex and it’s thematically tied in to the plot. As a writer, though granted a novice one, I can assure you that that is an example of good writing. As a little sidenote, I also liked how Hayley pointed out why Klaus’ worldview doesn’t work and that she didn’t want Hope to grow up to be like him. Klaus doesn’t admit it at the time, and that makes complete sense for him as a character, but this is exactly the fear he’s had ever since season 1 of The Originals and it’s nice to see them come back to that. Continuity after all, especially when it comes to characterization, is important.
As for the plot, it was just fine. I do quite like how Klaus ended up stumbling on kingmaker land development, because of Hayley’s kind act, and I liked the detail of the auction lady holding the auction (on video) in Lucien’s appartment. Good attention to detail but subtle enough so that I’m sure it’d slip by a lot of people. And this “coming beast” well, if the ancestors are siding with him, he can’t be good news.
What are your comments on this episode? Any highlights of your own? Write them in the comment section below. 😉
- The Originals’ Deadliest Sin – Behind the Black Horizon Review
- Of Monsters & Men – How The Originals See Themselves
- Daggers & Doppelgangers – How Klaus Knew Elena Existed
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.