Friday, March 14, 2014

The Originals, Season 1, Episode 16: Farewell to Storyville

Last week Klaus, an immortal, all powerful being was manipulated like a small child and now is on the warpath after his siblings while Celeste, who forgot that while her revenge is important, so are the people she’s supposed to be working for, ended up dead at Elijah’s hands

So this week we start with a flashback – waaaaaaaaay back to when the Originals were teeny tiny children (but no less mature) with little Rebekah afraid of thunder and little Klaus comforting her (British accented Vikings – now the adults you could claim developed the accent, not these). The little Viking boy gives her sister a little carving of a brave knight to give her courage (would it be cruel of me to pick at “American Viking knights”? Yes? Going to do it anyway!) Klaus promises always to stay with her

To the present and everyone is not happy and Elijah tells Rebekah to run so the Big Boys can Fight – and Rebekah, yet again forgetting she is as old and powerful as her brother, does so. Because the show never remembers her power. Elijah draws the evil witch torture dagger and begs for peace. They begin a game of cat and mouse to find the precious price!

Rebekah, you are now reduced to a McGuffin.

Rebekah calls Marcel (ughhh and now she’s crying for help from someone centuries her junior) and reminding us all that they’re trapped in the cemetery until moonrise (Elijah and Klaus have already been circling since dawn). Marcel is hopeful Davina can break down the spell though Rebekah isn’t eager to go back on the run. Of course he’s making promises that Davina may not be able to keep – she’s traumatised. While the other returned sacrifices apparently had a powerful and educational time while dead, she only had oblivion.

When Camille comes to visit Davina tells more – apparently it wasn’t entirely oblivion. The Ancestors were hellaciously pissed at Davina for using her magic against the witches and promise dire retribution if she does it again.

Marcel meanwhile is dropping in on Rev What-his-face who was hexed with the same hex that hexed his nephew (Camille’s brother) and sent him on that killing spree. Anyway, this excess character who will eventually be eaten is here to exposition Marcel’s fairly obvious plan in case you missed it: psycho-analyst Camille will help Davina with her issues (which, in TV land, always takes, at most, a couple of hours) and then she will use her magic to save Rebekah. Marcel also thinks Davina can save Marcel from Klaus (have we not covered this? Even if Davina can, that will last her life time. After which the immortal vampire will be free to seek his revenge which is why grudge-matches against Originals are a Bad Idea). Rev Whats-his-face agrees with me that everyone is doomed

Back to the brothers bickering away and Elijah says Klaus looks like their dad which outrages Klaus since he was Mikael’s victim, not Elijah and he considers himself much better motivated. Random flashback to Mikheals cruelty before back to the present and more moping sad eyes. More bickering and Rebekah reveals herself to demand – finally – that Klaus own up to his own actions that drove her. Which Klaus turns into a trial for her but at least it’s recognised as egotistical posturing.

Rebekah raises Klaus’s constant, cruel, patronising policing of her love life and Elijah reminds Klaus of when Rebekah defended him against their father (over a thousand years ago – which surely would make her calling for said father now seem even worse?). Klaus tries to give Rebekah an out – blaming Marcel for manipulating her to try and steal the city, but she refuses to take it. She accepts all the responsibility and adds that she did it because she hated Klaus and his control and threats more than Mikael. Klaus leaps at her in rage and Elijah intercepts him – grabbing the stake as he does

Elijah, again, sends Rebekah away so he can face off against Klaus.

Back to Davina and Camille with lots of psychological clichés including “no-one can control you unless you let them”. I hate that cliché – all kinds of people can control you because they have the power to do so; do not disrespect their victims by implying they consent when they are overwhelmed or have their choices removed. Davina has just been threatened with dire magical consequences, that’s not “consent” to being controlled. Davina accuses them of wanting to use him – Camille wants a cure for her uncle, Marcel wants to free Rebekah. Which is pretty accurate.

Back at the cemetery Klaus asks why Elijah defends Rebekah and Elijah is still holding onto memories of a past time when they were a family before they all changed; Klaus points out such memories make the betrayal even harder (told you). Elijah reveals a secret Klaus never knew – when Rebekah was willing to kill Mikael for him – but Elijah stopped her. Elijah reminds Klaus that Rebekah has damn good reason to hate him.

Klaus taunts Elijah to stake him and has an insight on Elijah’s redemption narrative – on seeking proof of his own redemption through redeeming Klaus – and then Klaus stabs Elijah with the agony dagger since Elijah stabbed him with it.

But that has given Rebekah chance to grab the White Oak stake. She challenges him on his actions, how he twists things to serve himself, how he drove them off and lays the blame very neatly at his feet. Excellent – before being turned round with her backing off in the face of Klaus’s rage and spite demanding Rebekah admit that she wanted Klaus dead until she finally says “maybe I did.” It sounds less like forced admission and more painful realisation. He grabs the stake and stabs her with it

Marcel has gone to see the new leader of the witches – Genevieve, offering her a treaty with the vampires if she helps lower the spell. But she demands Davina as well – to have her back with her people not twisted by vampires.

Klaus sits until nightfall with the bloodstained stake, watching Elijah. And Rebekah walks out – he didn’t kill her, he missed her heart. They talk again, accusations and emotion back and forth before they both admit their flaws. The centuries, Mikael, has broken them. “We are the strongest creatures in the world, but we are damaged beyond repair.” And the also excellent line “we live without hope but will never die. We are the very definition of cursed.”

Klaus then rips the agony knife out of Elijah, declares them even and walks off.

Back with Davina, Camille wants Davina to get professional help, maybe an institution which surprises me (normally TV has your issues closed in 2-3 hours, tops). And Marcel, who totally has no ulterior motive, honest, wants to hand her over to the witches. Camille objects but it’s not like Marcel has to listen to her. He returns to Genevieve and she agrees to lower Celeste’s barrier; but fixing the priest is impossible.

In the cemetery Klaus and Rebekah are still not killing each other – Klaus speculates if Mikael’s father ruined him the way he ruined them. He throws in another of the episode’s awesome lines – “what is done is never done, it remains within us, the story we tell ourselves so we know who we are.” But he thinks it’s time to tell a new story. He asks what she wants – she wants the same things she has always wanted: a home, a family, someone to love her and to live.

Klaus tells her to go – far away without coming back. They’re too damaged to remain together; while he remains to rule New Orleans and raise his child. He says she’s free.

Rebekah and Elijah meet to make their own goodbyes since he isn’t leaving, she apologises for bringing Mikael because it hurt him too. And they both agree that, deep inside of him, the old Klaus is still there – she asks Elijah to help Klaus.

Klaus returns home to find a crowd of vampires waiting for him and Marcel. Marcel has a big epic speech about confronting Klaus and Klaus just walks away. Emotional quota has been reached it seems.

Then there’s a blur and Marcel flies through the room and hits a pillar. Hello Elijah (what, you didn’t think Marcel would be allowed to get away with any shred of defiance? Nah). Elijah is pissed, he’s reclaiming his family home and only granting Marcel mercy because of Rebekah – but he exiles Marcel from the French Quarter. He tells the crowd to run along – they do because they’re not fools. Klaus complements him – Elijah’s beginning to sound just like him.

Rebekah and Marcel meet, Rebekah revels in her new freedom. But Marcel doesn’t accept Elijah and Klaus coming in and acting like they own the place and him. Rebekah sees he loves the city and won’t compete with the city for his love. They kiss passionately and make their goodbyes.

Rebekah goes on to say goodbye to Hayley; she warns Hayley that Klaus is a monster you cannot cross – but there is hope for him. And to warn her the child will have all their enemies and she wants to be remembered to the baby when she’s born.

Klaus looks through a box of mementoes – including the little toy knight he once gave Rebekah as a child.

Rebekah drives from New Orleans and, as she does, she smiles

I’m slight amused that if American directors found a time machine and went back a thousand years, they’d be shocked that everyone didn’t sound like a BBC news presenter.

So the big confrontation – there was a lot of here and a lot of excellent looking into the characters and pasts of the original vampires – but some problems too, especially with Rebekah the eternally weak

I actually hate Rebekah’s explanation why she summon Mikael to Klaus. She objects to the policing of her love life – but not because it’s patronising or he has no right or she’s quite capable of making his own decisions nor does she even object to him “protecting” her from her own “bad decisions”. She objects because he’s cruel, too picky. She even says “what about Marcel who you considered a friend?” That doesn’t challenge his control of her. That accepts his control and merely questions how it is directed. It’s not “you don’t get to command me” it’s “your commands are mistaken.”

And Elijah’s defence – Rebekah makes bad decisions and impetuous and emotional but she loves you honest? He could actually just say “she’s a silly little thing, bless!”

While it’s interesting to see all the flashbacks of when they were human, isn’t Elijah rather hugely missing Klaus’s point about memories of past unity making their current status all the more painful? Saying repeatedly “Rebekah protected you from Mikael!” hardly makes “Rebekah fed you to Mikael!” more palatable, does it?

I did like Klaus’s take on why Elijah is so invested in Klaus’s redemption – because it fits his impeccably turned out character so well. Elijah fears himself the monster – so by redeeming the overt monster, Klaus, he fights the idea that he himself is an abomination, inherently monstrous.

And I loved Rebekah and Klaus talking about how utterly damaged the Originals are. I think it’s a point that the show has missed making – instead making the Originals look child like, foolish, impetuous and over-emotional; rather than highlighting how deeply hurt they all are by their long lives and experiences.

Rebekah leaving… while in some ways it feels like Klaus has won again, in some ways his last line is right. They are too damaged to remain together (and I’ve often said that Rebekah had so very little reason to remain in New Orleans, especially since her relationship with Marcel has only recently rekindled).

I like to see Elijah stepping up because he’s awesome when he does (and it’s a nice reminder of Original power) but the Originals are now tag-teaming “putting Marcel in his place.”

I’m curious about Elijah’s evolution – have his experiences with Celeste cracked something inside him? Does he no longer have his legendary patience?

And my long windedness at the end is something of a complement to this episode – there was so much revelation of the Originals, their emotions, their character that it added a great deal to the show overall.