The Mikkaelson family has all been trapped in a magical fascilime of their house. It’s full of memories because Klaus goes the extra mile with a super super super angsty voice over
And it is the whole family because Kol beams in (naked. Alas he doesn’t stay that way) and so does Rebekkah. They’re quickly joined by Freya and Marcel so it’s a whole angsty reunion
This could be one hell of a reality show.
They know a witch is messing with them and originally think it’s Vincent since he’s the only witch who has been around their home long enough to be able to recreate it this way. Except Marcel reveals it’s actually Hope who did this - and she dumped him in there as well when he tried to stop her. Her plan is to put all her family into comas and then pull out the magical darkness that keeps them separate
Flashback: remember the last season with a weird Native American demon girl who was trying to possess Hope for all the evil power. They solved this problem by splitting the Darkness between the whole Mikkaelson family so they could all go their separate ways.
Well last week Hope was determined to make “Always and Forever” (family drama, always and forever”) real again. Despite it being such a very very very bad idea. So she’s taking all that darkness back, which is a really really really really, oh dear gods, really bad idea. The whole of the last season was about stopping this bad idea.
Kol also realises that Hope had help -because one of the rooms in the dream house didn’t actually exist for the last 100 years so Hope couldn’t have seen it. He accuses Freya because he remembers once taking her to that room (wait, wasn’t Freya a prisoner of their evil aunt and the rest basically forgot she existed until about 3 years ago?)
Anyway turns out Freya is helping Hope because she promised and also because she doesn’t think the whole “you lot need to stay apart” thing is ever actually going to happen. Ever. Because they’re all just so completely co-dependent that they’re absolutely incapable of staying apart even if they will literally kill every first born in the city. And finally, since Hope has just lost her mother she can’t possibly lose her dad as well with this enforced magical separation and become an orphan and possibly super emotional and likely to burn the city down because she’s just that powerful and the Mikkaelsons just don’t deal with grief or, well, emotions, in a sane and mature fashion. Ever.
Freya also savagely points out she knows what’s best for Hope, not Klaus, despite his angry demands that his father-ness gives him the power, because he hasn’t been around due to a) curse and b) that time Hope saw him murder people and he decided it was best to freeze her out of his life because he’s just too much of depraved monster angst angst cry angst murder angst cry murder.
Freya leaves him to that and zaps out
So, back to the mystical prison: there’s a door for them to leave but all of them have to find a key to open it. Each of those keys is hidden somewhere significant to Hope and the respective dad, uncle or aunt and will allow lots and lots and lots and lots and oh my gods lots of angst from the most over-emotional family in the world.
And along the way various family members snipe at each other. Everyone kind of dumps on Elijah for all the terrible stuff he’s done over the years: Kol because he killed Davina, his child bride and yes that’s still creepy, Klaus because of Hayley, Marcel because of all the things and generally it’s all dump on Elijah week. Which is kind of right but also kind of unfair because they’re all terrible.
Kol also makes it clear that this whole “Always and Forever” thing isn’t exactly his jam. Mainly because he’s always been a kind of extra sibling they threw in without really knowing what to do with him.
Further angst comes when we poke Elijah’s desperate co-dependence with Klaus to the extent that Amnesia Elijah even suggests he never loved Hayley but fixated on her because it gave him an excuse to hang around and continue to obsess over his little evil brother. And it’s not an entirely unlikely theory - even Rebekkah thinks it might be true because Klaus didn’t split them up. As she is very very very very well aware, Klaus has no truck with men looking at women he considers “his”, and with Hayley being the mother of his child it’s frankly down right weirdly out of character for Klaus NOT to try and drive a wedge between Elijah and Hayley
This also has a huge epic but woefully lacking in self-awareness rant from Klaus at how memory-loss Elijah killed his supportive brother Elijah because Elijah was his constant, the man who constantly tried to save him, constantly tried to make him better, tried to make him WORTHY of being Hope’s father and Amensia Elijah took that from him
It’s actually kind of impressive to see the emotion and pain from Klaus’s speech on how much Elijah meant to him and how much he valued him: while at the same time screaming that Elijah needs to run as fast and far away as he possibly can. Basically Klaus shows both how much what Elijah did hurt him while also blatantly exposing WHY ELIJAH HAD TO DO THIS!
We also get several flashbacks of Klaus and Hayley thinking on Hope and how Klaus basically put her on a big shiny pedestal of the redemption of his own family line which also pretty much led to him abandoning Hope because his self-hatred is so epic that he can’t possibly expose his daughter to his awfulness
Next angst! So Marcel and Rebekkah dos-si-do back and forth for a some time before Rebekkah reveals, again, that she really really wants to grow old and die for… reasons? She has this really weird romanticism of what it means to grow old and die and I think a lot could be explored about how she feels this way because she doesn’t actually understand aging and death. As one of the, arguably, 6 most powerful beings on the planet and having lived for roughly a thousand years and being all but immortal barring a very very very few loopholes, the ideas death and aging are pretty abstract concepts for her which allows her to romanticise them.
Marcel challenges this because rather than growing old and dying they get to witness centuries of awesomeness as vampires. She sees this as a fundamental difference between them - he chose vampirism while she is cursed by it. And she doesn’t want to be with him because she loves him and fears her bitterness and sadness will infect him. Because no-one angsts like a Mikkaelson. No-one. Ever. My gods these people need therapy. Someone call Linda from Lucifer.
Yes, this is this episode - while a Monsoon is squishing New Orleans and Hope is trying to summon big demon awfulness into herself - we get the Mikkaelson siblings throwing their best angst at each other
So eventually everyone finds their keys in meaningful places: Kol’s is in a Shakespeare play which basically gives Hope’s blessing for him to get the fuck away from every relative because they’re all so out of it. Rebekkah’s key is in the letters she and Marcel exchanged which I guess is a sort of nudge to auntie to get with Marcel which she duly ignores. Klaus’s is in the letters Hope and Hayley sent to him which he had returned unopened because Klays needs MOAR ANGST. And Elijah’s is in a coffin full of snakes in the dungeon because Elijah is FUCKING DEAD TO HER for Hayley’s death and she’s not even slightly subtle about expressing it
And because it’s dump on Elijah week. He’s also getting increasingly emotional and kind of losing his accent? I mean not in a Kol-I’m-trying-to-be-English-but-the-Australian-keeps-peeking-through or even a Klaus-I’m-not-actually-this-posh-in-real-life-because-no-Englishman-actually-talks-like-this but there’s definitely some of his native accent coming through.
So they can escape (but not before Hope finishes her shadow sucking spell) but into Elijah’s tortured mind because Hope has added a proviso that Elijah doesn’t get to wake up until he gets all his memories back and feels properly guilty about Hayley’s death. Kol decides he is done with this shit. Marcel wakes up. Klaus is all ready to abandon him to but Rebekkah slaps him with a big speech of hypocrisy because the defining thing about the Originals is that they’re all so very very very very terrible. Oh so terrible. Utterly terrible. I mean, really. But they always forgive each other and bring their terribleness round again - and since everyone’s forgiven Klaus for pretty much all the awful ever, so it’s Klaus’s turn now.
So Klaus stays with Elijah and helps him break down the door. They all wake up - and Elijah promptly collapses in grief and angst because HAYLEY.
Klaus and he have a silent moment with lots of emotion neither of them can give word to - but Klaus gives him a vial of his blood to cure Antoinette and quasi permission to basically run off with her and abandon them
Elijah heals Antoinette - but her great fear is realised. Her 7 year relationship with him cannot compete with 1,000 years of memory and an epic angsty love affair with the dead Hayely. And, really, if you think any Original would embrace happiness with a modern living lover as opposed to hanging on to someone/a concept that makes them super sad and angsty then you have not been paying attention (no, Davina and Kol don’t count. She died and was resurrected).
See also Rebekkah leaving Marcel
Symbolically, Marcel also dresses up in his super sharp suites and daylight ring showing him turning his back to the Nazi vampire ideology AND returning to his suppressed “I’m here to save Klaus because his redemption will redeem me and by focusing on his evil I can avoid my own” that is the cornerstone of his existence
And Hope is asleep or in a coma. It depends on whether Freya is downplaying things or Klaus is being over-dramatic. He goes on to read all those return to sender letters so I’m leaning in the “over-dramatic” direction.