Voodoo Child is the penultimate episode of this fourth season and it quite certainly could have come sooner for me. I don't know how it's possible but it seems to me that the writers have managed to drag out this short season, making it feel twice as long as it is. Perhaps it's that this universe has reached its expiration date. With The Vampire Diaries finished, it feels as though The Originals, is just grasping at straws, holding onto the former glory of its predecessor. After all, how many stories are there really to tell about the Mikaelsons? I suppose that I should be thankful that at least this week, the writers didn't resort to another meaningless flashback. No one wants to see either Joseph Morgan or Daniel Gillies in those horrible wigs again.
This season, the main antagonist is The Hollow. This means that The Originals are once again going up against a powerful witch. The writers created a werewolf origin story for The Hollow, trying to weave it into the meta. How many times are the Mikaelsons going to come up against witches, angst about how much danger they are in and ultimately end up victorious and perhaps a little more twisted? Perhaps this is why the writers sought to make Hope the one who is supposedly really under threat. The problem with this strategy is that even though Hope is easily the most vulnerable Mikaelson, she is also a child with possibly even more plot amour than Klaus because of it, thus bringing us back to square one.
I will however say that some of the best parts of this season thus far where the scenes Klaus shared with Hope. I was however disturbed to see Klaus telling Hope about what an evil man he was and how she and she alone brought out goodness in him. What kind of burden is that to place on a child? Yes, Klaus wants Hope to live but telling her that to stop him from being a serial killing monster with Daddy issues that she has to keep fighting? It's manipulative and wrong regardless of the impulse behind it. You just know damn well that this horrible trope will be pulled out repeatedly to remind us all of just how special Hope is to Klaus.
The big dilemma is that The Hollow has taken over Hope's body. Hayley is the only person who can kill the Hollow but of course as long as the Hollow is in Hope's body, there's no way Hayley is going to act no matter how evil The Hollow is. Kudos absolutely have to go to Summer Fontana, who plays Hope, for selling the possession so well. I've got to say that I'm impressed with how well Fontana has managed to embody The Hollow and make the whole possession truly creepy adding an element of horror to a show that has almost from the beginning been ridiculously cheesy. I hope that they will continue to give Fontana interesting things to do.
This episode we saw the continuation of Hayley's guilt and worry about the environment Hope is being raised in. I see the whole love is blind thing going on because there's no way that Hayley didn't know what Elijah was below his nice suits. This first time The Originals decided to explore beyond the veneer of Elijah's manners it was fascinating but now it feels so been there done that. Making Elijah's evil past an issue in his relationship with Hayley is just adding more angst to a relationship that has already been filled with angst.
Keelin is still alive!! I really didn't think that she would make it this far into the season. This episode Keelin and Freya finally consummated their relationship after Freya finally admitted her feelings. It seems that part of coming to terns with the fact that she will have a shorter life span than her siblings means that Freya is unwilling to run from her feelings. Yes, I have to acknowledge the love scene however, it certainly had a fade to black quality to it and Elijah and Hayley have had far steamier scenes. It's really hard to get excited by this union given how Freya and Keelin got to know each other; it's essentially a case of Stockholm syndrome masquerading as romance. There's also the issue of Freya constantly using her magic to know Keelin out to supposedly keep her safe. This of course now supposedly comes from a place of love but what it really represents is Freya's ongoing power over Keelin, thus making any equality in their relationship impossible. Knocking someone unconscious because you supposedly love them or to keep them safe is abuse.
The big cliffhanger of the season is that the Mikaelson's would have to make a difficult choice in order to save Hope. In Klaus's big rally the troops speech he talks about how he and his siblings made a vow to have each other's back a thousand years ago and that this vow now extends to Freya. Almost pleadingly, Klaus asks this vow now cover Hope. Did he really ever doubt that given that she is the only Mikaelson to be born in 1,000 years that the vow didn't? After claiming repeatedly that they were out of options, Vincent finally comes up with a solution but warns that it will bring an end to the warm Mikaelson family solidarity. This of course feels as though the writers are setting the Mikaelsons up to go to war against each other again and drag everyone into their family dispute - something we've seen too many times. Oh well, I suppose we will just have to see what the season finale reveals and where it will lead us for the fifth season (yeah, I know, I'm shocked that it got renewed as well)