Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Originals, Season Four, Episode Six: Bag of Cobras

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If I had to use one word to describe Bag of Cobras, it would be predictable. I'm fully aware that The Originals is on the CW and that comes with a certain amount of limitations but it would be nice if they could simply shake things up from time to time.  Just about everything about Bag of Cobras was predictable because it feels like a plot we've seen over and over again, right down to someone confessing that they hate Klaus because years ago he slaughtered their family. 

With Marcel locked up, and the Hollow continuing to present a threat, the alliance with Vincent is absolutely vital to the survival of the family. Elijah heads to see Vincent, who has been doing research in the violent history of New Orleans.  Vincent originally balks at the very idea of inviting Elijah in because the Mikaelsons still have Marcel locked away and he doesn't exactly trust the original family but sometimes, you have to make a deal with the devil to survive. Even more importantly, Vincent knows that The Hollow wants the Originals, and Marcel did in order to take their power, so that it can leave the ghost realm it exists in and manifest in this plane of existence. It seems that The Hollow comes out of hiding every few years and uses its power to commit violent crimes in groups of four.  

Now that they have some idea of what The Hollow wants, it's necessary to smoke out its adherents and so predictably, the Mikaelsons decide to throw a big bash and claim that Marcel is co-hosting it with them in order to ensure a higher turnout. People may hate the Mikaelsons, but apparently they love Marcel. I must admit that this makes no sense to me. The first time that Marcel ran New Orleans, he was brutal with the covens and killed anyone who dared to use magic, so someone needs to explain to me exactly why it is that they would have any love for Marcel at all.

Once the party invitations go out, Sofya pays a little visit to Josh.  Sofya convinces Josh to make her his plus one so that they can look for Marcel together. Josh is resistant at first but Sofya promises that she will deal with Klaus, while he looks underground for Marcel.

Hayley is the one Mikaelson who has decided to bow out of the party in favour of getting Freya to do a seance at the location of her parents death, so that she can find out what the Hollow may have wanted from them.  Freya warns that this might be difficult but Hayley is determined to go ahead.  Hayley sees herself as an infant crying in her crib as her parents are being slaughtered. Just before her father dies, he manages to hide a set of keys under the floorboards.  Hayley quickly retrieves the keys and heads to a storage locker to find out what her father was determined to keep hidden.  Once inside the locker, Hayley sees items from her childhood and asks Freya to leave her alone to go through the items. Inside a teddy bear, Hayley manages to find a set of human teeth. Ummm okay. This is clearly what her father was trying to hide. 

The party is in full swing and Vincent makes his way through the room shaking hands with people, in order to be able to perform a tracking spell to find out who is in league with The Hollow.  An impatient Elijah tries to hurry Vincent along. Vincent finally uses the tarot cards and learns that whoever is in league with The Hollow will show evidence of a snake and surprise, surprise, that turns out to be none other than Dominic. Elijah has a meeting arranged with Dominic and it gets off to a bad start because Vincent and Dominic start throwing magic at each other.  Elijah steps between them as though the two men are just fighting toddlers and sends Vincent off so that he can have a word with Dominic. 

Even though Dominic is alone in a room with Elijah, who is clearly a dangerous man, he shows absolutely no fear.  Dominic makes it clear that The Hollow wants Vincent turned over to them because Vincent had the nerve to walk away and it takes that personally.  The Hollow also wants Marcel turned over. If the Mikaelsons agree to this, Dominic pledges that when the shit hits the fan, the Original family will be safe.  Elijah wisely sees that they have no guarantee that The Hollow will keep its word.

While Elijah is busy trying to negotiate with Dominic, Klaus gets his flirt on with Sofya. I found this entire scene so absolutely one note. Klaus knows that Sofya is an assassin and yet decides that the best approach is to flirt? I know that Klaus is clearly more powerful than Sofya but it feels as though she is little more than an annoying gnat to him. Can we please have a female character with some real power?  Sofya reveals that she has a few weapons capable of taking out the Original family because it makes so much sense to tip your hand to the person you're trying to bring an end to. Klaus however has leverage because he has Marcel in captivity. Sofya decides to hand over the weapons as well as members of the Hollows cult intent on killing Klaus, if he will release Marcel. 

Sofya hands over her weapons and Klaus disarms the two men that Dominic had set up to kill him, making it clear that they can either forswear their allegiance to The Hollow or die. With that immediate task taken care of, Klaus lets Sofya know that he has no intention of keeping his end of the bargain until after they've dealt with The Hollow and questions where Sofya's hatred of him comes from. This is when Klaus learns that 500 years ago, he slaughtered Sofya's entire family. Klaus apologies but with the same tone that he might use if he'd accidentally bumped into Sofya.  Sofya makes it clear that though Klaus has Marcel, she's hated him longer than she's known Marcel. 

Back at the party, Elijah is tired of trying to negotiate with Dominic and so picks him up in a choke hold and dangles him over the stairs for all to see. Elijah declares for the gathered crowd that he and his family are willing to do anything possible to bring an end to The Hollow and that they should have the same feelings because The Hollow has preyed upon their children.  Elijah then quite casually rips out Dominic's heart before dropping him to the ground.

With Elijah's little stunt the party is over.  Freya meets with Keelin to apologise for the violence because she didn't know that Elijah was going to murder Dominic in front of everyone. These two are still doing the flirting thing, so Freya asks Keelin to come with her to a jazz bar.

Sofya meets up with Josh to find out what he discovered at the party. Josh was able to make it underground but he didn't find Marcel because Freya had cast a cloaking spell, making it impossible for anyone but a Mikaelson to actually see Marcel.  Having spent some time being Davina's gay servant, Josh has learned a thing or two and the smell underground is enough to let him now that a cloaking spell is being used and from that fact he surmises that this is where Marcel is being held.

Hayley, Klaus and Elijah finally gather together again.  Klaus is not impressed that Elijah resorted to violence to deal with Dominic but Elijah argues that Dominic could not be reasoned with and that for Hope's sake, everyone needs to know that the Mikaelsons shouldn't be messed with. It's a bit of a role reversal for the brothers. Unlike Elijah, Klaus actually spared the men who were trying to kill him. Hayley however is more interested in bones, having figured out that bones must have something to do with the quartet. This is when Klaus remembers that he too has a bone. That's right, Papa Tunde's knife. When Klaus checks his safe however, the knife is gone. Klaus realises that Sofya distracted him while someone stole the the bone.  

Naturally, The Hollow's adherents stole Papa Tunde's dagger. It seems that it was used to raise Dominic from the dead. Klaus realises that The Hollow's adherents used his little party to their best advantage. Why yes, yes they did. This means that they must get their hands on the rest of the bones to ensure that they aren't able to raise The Hollow. 

Maybe what I'm experiencing is a case of fatigue with The Originals. The writing far too often telegraphs what's going to happen. From the moment that Klaus started waving around Papa Tunde's knife to threaten Marcel with, before locking it up in his safe, it was clear that it would have a role in the story. There was no other reason to remind us of the knife's existence.  When Tunde's blade goes missing, it's hardly a surprise and more of a case of course it is. 

To some degree I tend to agree with Elijah when it comes to dealing with Dominic. If you can reason with someone, they are not a fanatic.  If Elijah had been able to strike a deal with Dominic, then Dominic wouldn't have been truly a follower of The Hollow.  I do however find it a little bit laughable that we should be shocked by Elijah being violent.  Of course he's violent; he's a Mikaelson. No matter the nice suits that he wears, Elijah's hands are just as bloody as Klaus's. The entire family is made up of killers who justify their actions to themselves.

With Marcel out of the way, Vincent is the only Black male active.  Vincent is very pragmatic in his decisions. He knows that he cannot defeat the Hollow without the Mikaelsons but that doesn't mean he likes them.  At this point, the Mikaelsons don't treat Vincent like he's stepping out of his lane and this because they too realise that they need him. I still don't like the lack of respect that they show Vincent, especially given that he's the leader of the witches.  More often than not, The Originals feels like an ongoing celebration of cisgender, straight, white male masculinity than anything else. People of colour and women are only present and active to the degree that they are useful to the Mikaelsons.

I really hope that Sofya was behind the stealing of the knife but somehow I doubt it. What irked me about Klaus flirting with Sofya, is that this isn't the approach he would have taken with a man.  There was absolute sexism in his choice to confront her this way. I'm tired of women being ineffectual on this show.  They aren't capable allies and they aren't capable enemies. Even when they are supposedly strong like Rebekah, they inevitably need to be saved by a man.  I know that The Originals isn't trying to be feminist but could the writers work a little harder to make women more fully fleshed out with less obvious sexism in their approach?