Monday, June 25, 2018

The Originals, Season 5, Episode 9: We Have Not Long to Love

For a few brief moments, everyone seems to be happy. Klaus, Hope and Freya are having a super polite breakfast. Isn’t it nice, all the family together and Rebekkah will be back soon and isn’t it nice?

And then Elijah arrives and it all starts falling apart. Hope is super pissed with him still and leaves after magically bending a fork. Klaus has a tantrum with Freya for helping Hope and filling her full of black magic which Freya still holds is the best decision and everyone is just not happy

But Klaus and Freya do have a nice moment where at least Klaus acknowledges that Freya does love and care for Hope - and Freya gives Hope a nifty bracelet of suppressing evil dark magic. While this is a touching, I note that Klaus finds love and understanding for his family when they happen to bring out something useful to him. Ultimately, the core issue of the Original Family is that Klaus treats his siblings as supporting cast

Hope does try to pretend she’s totally ok with all these evil magic bubbling inside her and she’s just destroying cutlery because she has evil voices inside of her. This fiction doesn’t last long as she’s quickly driven to panic and destruction by the evil voices battering in her head - and Freya’s anti-dark magic bracelet catches fire so not an ideal solution here

Well done Hope, you have continued a glorious Mikkaelson tradition of making things worse while trying to make them better

We also have utterly pointless character Declan back in time - and why is he even here? I honestly have no idea why he is here.

He sees Freya and isn’t thrilled that they had a funeral for Hayley without him and wants to know how she died - and she tells him it was a car accident

Which he… doesn’t believe? I don’t get this - it’s such a bizarre denial. He doesn’t believe in car accidents? He’d rather believe everyone he knows is running some kind of bizarre conspiracy over her death. This is a weird form of denial and, perhaps because this show has made no real effort to establish why I should care about Declan or his relationship with Hayley, it just feels bizarre

To make this worse, an angst laden Elijah decides to visit him so he can get even more angsty with the other man who loved Hayley because why not? We can always use more angst it seems. And then Declan realises Elijah is the ex who broke Hayley’s heart so MORE ANGST

Time to make things even worse with Hope turning up and having a dark magic angst moment and being all “you killed my mother!” before belatedly remembering to magically put Declan to sleep so he doesn’t get involved in all the supernatural shenanigans.

Hope and Elijah start to talk but her black magicness takes over and she starts shredding him with magic which is sort of understandable - until Klaus arrives and is collateral damage which shocks Hope out of her massacre mood.

Klaus and Elijah take a moment to tell Declan all the supernatural is real etc etc but it’s all irrelevant because Elijah basically glamours him into forgetting everything and not being so damn awkward.

Which leaves Klaus free to catch up with his daughter who reveals that the big bad black magic voices are super awful and, worse, the only thing that quieted them is when she went sadistically violent on Elijah. Klaus doesn’t consider this a problem since he goes randomly violent every second Tuesday anyway so he’s happy to train his daughter in the art of semi-regular whimsical massacres.

This is not going to end well.

While the Original Family is busy with their own angst the whole city is falling apart while they don’t pay attention while the vampire Nazis continue to cause problems. This is extra frustrating because, really, if these are Vampire supremacists, vampires are the big most important thing in the world evah then surely the Originals should be like gods to them. But the Originals seem to have no power over them and no interest in engaging. I think The Originals has used familiarity to greatly weaken the meaning of what these vampires are, but way back in The Vampire Diaries days the Original family was viewed with at least some level of fear and awe.

What’s also annoying is that neither they, Marcel the witches or anyone else in New Orleans has decided “hey let’s kill Emmet (the new Nazi in chief) and all his followers, go nazi slaughter!”. Let’s face it, none of these characters have even the slightest qualms about murdering people who look at them funny - what’s with all this mercy towards Nazis? Here we have Marcel outright confronting a huge pack of Nazi vampires, in daylight where they’re protected only by a curtail and he just does some menacing rather than slaughter. Vincent has a private meeting with Emmet who tries to key threaten him and doesn’t just get with the murdering. Hey we even have Elijah angsting

Don’t tell me they couldn’t do it. Way back when we saw Marcel try to bring down Klaus with an army of vampires we saw just how damn scary an Original vampire could be and Klaus alone could probably bring down Emmet and all his little followers. Especially since he can kill with a nibble.

It’s frustrating to see such an easy solution to the problem being completely ignored by everyone and there’s no reason why they’d do this beyond the fact the plot needs this. This goes back to the whole narrative problem of having protagonists as powerful as the Originals - you then need to find convoluted reasons why they don’t squish anything that they come across.

So Emmet & co are now threatening everyone, specifically they want to go back to the old ways where the vampires get the French quarter, the werewolves get the swamp and stay there while the witches just stay out the way

Lisinia and the werewolves are passionate in their hell no to this and are determined to be part of Mardi Gras parade even after Emmet & co sabotage their float.

Vincent has a brief waffly moment where he thinks the witches should just stay out of it before Ivy points out that attacking the werewolves is clearly step one on the plan and witches are definitely next and, seriously man, what is wrong with you that you think neutrality is ok here?

Ok, sidebar AGAIN, but this ongoing failure of the entire cast to recognise just how objectionable the Nazi vampires gets on my last nerve, makes no sense and is again used by the writers to desperately try to deal with the whole Originals are too powerful issue. This kind of writing fudge has been a problem since season one.

Anyway during this, Josh (who still exists! He keeps dragging himself out of that plot box!) snarkily points out to Marcel that this whole “vampires in the French quarter, werewolves in the swap” was kind of his idea and Marcel has apologies to make. Which I agree with but I also have to point out the important distinction of motive. Marcel brutally upheld an awful system in the city because he wanted control and power - not especially because he’s declaring the inherent superiority of vampires. Alright, it’s a thin distinction for the victims but it matters.

Anyway Marcel is now in the habit of saying “yeah my bad” whenever he has his old reign thrown back in his face.

Keelin is also back in town so Freya is snatching some moments with her but at the same time aware that Freya is still all about her broken family and Keelin intends to leave

So everyone gets ready for Mardi Gras with Lisinia in particular saying how very important the whole parade is for her which is just foreshadowing for Emmet mind controlling someone into bombing the werewolf float and killing Lisinia and injuring Keelin

Let us say again how nonsensical it is that Emmet has been making big ominous threats all episode and everyone decided the appropriate response was to carry on as normal and pretend nothing is happening.

Marcel rallies the city with a determined speech that they stand together (and a mea culpa about the whole doing this same shit before) and they all march in solidarity - and are all prepared to face the army of nazi vampires (seriously, why are there so many?!) who gather to oppose them. The werewolves have weapons and are prepared - but the vampires have one upped things byu not being there. They astrally projected (apparently they have a witch who is on side with vampire supremacy?) and this was a test to see if Vincent and the witches were going to listen to Emmet’s threats or join the werewolves. Since Vincent chose to join they response by poisoning Ivy so we can have more dramatic angst

And that leaves me annoyed that we have 2 prominent but poorly used women of colour, both powerful and vital leaders of their people while both equally not having any real time centred on this. Ivy with all her power and place among the witches became Vincent’s personal seer, love interest and fridged angst source. While Linisia is like a leader of the werewolves but just didn’t get any regard or respect of that even when Hayley disappeared as ostensible head of the werewolves. It feels both of these characters who should have been very important were just set up to have emotional deaths to motivate the rest of the castr to hate nazis following a whole day of people not just killing the Nazis who threatened to kill everyone else

Which, y’know, nazis. Do we need motivation?

We have a bright spark in that Keelin’s near injury has convinced Freya she really loves her and wants to marry her so she will stay in New Orleans in harm’s way and Originals you need to seriously step back from killing Keeling. Oh I can see you thinking it, don’t even try. Not only have you unnecessarily slaughtered two powerful women of colour for no damn reason but so far you have killed a whole lot of gay folks and smashed anything resembling a same-sex relationship. The ice is thin here, Plecverse, behave yourselves. I actually have more investment in Freya than any previous relationship because she’s far more important than previous LGBTQ characters and so far has not been faced by the, frankly, truly appalling tropes that have dogged this world. Hey it’s not flawless - being the last season, Keelin being plot boxed for most of it and the whole kidnapping and experimenting thing… but it’s better? I guess.