Sunday, August 5, 2018

The Originals, Season 5, Episode 13: When the Saints Go Marching In

This is the finale episode of The Originals - the last episode of the last season so it is definitely the goodbye episode. And to me it’s something of a comment on what this show could have been but sadly wasn’t - but more of that in the conclusion

Klaus was about to be stakes last week - until Hope intervenes while Elijah is distracting him. Kalus is unconscious but he’s still filled with lots of dark magic driving him to do terrible things. Since he’s so powerful this basically means he’s going to go dangerously mad straight away and start killing people: already he hallucinates Mikael telling him to kill people and Cami telling him not to

This is the last episode, a lot of old actors are going to be making come backs.

I thought this was going to be another episode of Klaus doing terrible things which wouldn’t be his fault but thankfully they managed to bring him down and subdue him and Freya even manages to find a spell to temporarily transfer to the darkness (surprising no-one, Elijah the perpetual martyr, steps up) so we can focus on the real point of this episode: goodbyes

And they are beautiful. We have Elijah and Klaus discussing that Elijah is the biggest marty of them all and he should be the one to die. Klaus talks about being a father and how much it means to him and how Elijah doesn’t understand - but Elijah does since he’s been Klaus’s father figure and awwwww.

Kol speaks for all sensible people when he says “Klaus will always survive” and also that Klaus is the worst so why do they care. Unfortunately for Kol, he’s the only sensible person around and Rebekkah is there to shame him, criticise him and eventually stand in front of his car to to prevent him leaving (she’s immortal Kol, keep driving… though she did threaten to crush his car and she probably could). Kol lashes out at Rebekkah constantly getting in the way of her own happiness but he eventually joins them for the big goodbye

Caroline drops in for her goodbyes and to convince Klaus she needs to say goodbye to Hope in order for her to have closure and not be haunted by him. It’s nice and ends with a kiss which would be much more pleasant if it weren’t for their horrendous abusive history.

Klaus and Hope have a moment, of course, which is full of emotion and goodbyes after Hope first thought he was going to die without seeing her (his initial plan). And it’s all shiny and sweet. He talks about finally being able to have an honourable death after an awful life - because of her

This culminates in an awesome dinner with the extended Mikkaelson family together for a funeral dinner which sounds super depressing but they all have fun and it’s so nice to see them all together without trying to murder each other.

The underlying theme of this - from everyone - is how much Klaus has changed and grown, how much more mature he is etc etc. Like he’s just turned 21 and not that he’s 1000 year old. The underlying theme is that Klaus has achieved Redemption. Which kind of is, I feel, something of the whole point of The Originals in the first place - the redemption of Klaus. But… I’m not seeing it? Sure he’s willing to sacrifice himself for Hope - but that doesn’t show he’s grown or learned or matured - it shows he loves her: but go back even 5 episodes and can we say we’d call this Klaus “redeemed”?

Side points:
Marcel and Rebekkah agree to marry because Rebekkah has finally agreed to get out the way of her own happiness. But Klaus has also planned for her to have a cure for vampirism so she can be human… and Marcel can love her for a few decades before she dies and this is… a good thing? Apparently? Rebekkah’s obsession with wanting to grow old is never really explained. Especially as she says she and Marcel will have a 100 years together. Really, Bex? Because I already peg you in your 30s: you’ve got an optimistic 50 years. And I say optimistic because this is assuming the habits you’ve built over 1000 years of being immortal don’t translate into recklessness or simply not knowing the limits of a simple mortal body. I will never understand this plot line or why the only female vampiric original’s plot revolved around her divesting herself of her power

Marcel also agrees to look out for Hope so expect him to show up in Legacies. He also decides to leave New Orleans and order all vampires out as well. And they do. Seriously? You've been fighting over this city for 5 seasons and now it's "here's a train ticket, byyyyyeee!"?

Freya goes from being all kind of ambivalent about having kids to “I want kids and Vincent will be the father”. And when Vincent asks if they’re making this decision a bit quickly I say yes. Freya wanting kids is fine. Freya working through whatever personal conflicts she had about having kids is fine. So would Freya deciding actually, nah, having kids is not for her. But Freya going from “hell no, no kids for me” to “woo-woo lets have kids right now!” in the space of, what, 3 days? Is ridiculous. Perhaps if the slightest effort had been made to develop Keelin and Freya’s relationship this would work. Vincent joins this train by going from “hell no, I’m out of New Orleans, everything is terrible, I’m terrible, our children will be terrible” to “hey yes, werewolf/witch baby is go! All the cool kids are doing it!” in the space of… 3 hours? Everyone is making super fast unwise decisions here

Speaking of - Elijah. Elijah who is still an emotional wreck over Hayley decides that his SOLE PURPOSE FOR BEING is to redeem Klaus. And now we’ve all decided that Klaus is redeemed, he’s going to kill himself as well. For Reasons. I mean if he has decided he has nothing to live for he could at least take on the darkness and Klaus, who doesn’t actually want to die, could live.

And everyone gives their blessing to this? Really? Their ultra depressed hurting brother with clear co-dependence issues announces his plan to commit suicide and they all say “yes that’s a great idea!”

He even says he saw everyone have a bright future but him. That’s a screaming cry for help right there! Intervention family, intervention!

There is no intervention and after their own goodbyes and Elijah confirming, again, that Klaus is totally redeemed, they both stake each other

I still don’t believe they are dead.

For me one of the best parts of this episode and one of the more frustrating is the scene of the whole family together. And I don’t just mean the siblings - I mean Keelin and Marcel as well. Them together, enjoying each other’s company, showing their love and joy, sharing past experiences, performing the wish ceremony. I think how good the last season - the last 5 seasons (but the last 2 especially as it would cap - could have been if we had had this. The family coming together. Not bouncing from disaster to disaster and an endless saga of self-sabotage and awfulness that has pretty much defined this series for so long. What better conclusion would there be if, rather than death, we saw the Mikkaelsons finally grow: Rebekkah over her self-loathing of vampirism, Klaus stop trying to run everyone’s life, Elijah stop being so co-dependent, Kol not being such a teenage-preying brat, everyone accepting Marcel - and become a family. Have the drama be them settling these issues and finding a level together without the endless sniping at each other - even the fun growth as people realise the Mikkaelsons are larger

Make Always and Forever mean something, make the Mikkaelsons mean more than 4 disparate siblings who can barely stand each other. Make it a larger clan who love and care and are powerfully loyal to each other: have it bring in Vincent with Keelin and Freya, have Hayley there and even linking in Declan and Josh. make the Mikkaelsons into a greater clan; one that goes beyond Pack and Coven and Vampire line - of beings of all races together in love and loyalty and family. Wouldn’t this have been such a perfect answer to the ridiculous Nazi vampire storyline?

I know it’s poor form to criticise a show for what it wasn’t - but the storylines this season have been so dubious and there’s been a heavy dose of magical plot glue dropped in and a lot of extreme repetition. In fact this whole episode was about Klaus redemption which just HASN’T happened. We’ve had 5 seasons of rehashing the awfulness of Klaus

Was the ending dramatic? Well… I don’t buy it. I mean it could be dramatic - but how many times have these people cheated death or come back from the dead etc etc etc? The sheer number of resurrections rather undermines the whole dramatic finale

I also find the whole theme undermined - the idea that Klaus is redeemed was an utter tell-not-show moment. People kept repeating it because they know we’ve got no real indication that he has been redeemed. Which is part and parcel of this whole dubious writing of the season and the whole show- far more interested in various family members practicing their enraged-while-fighting-tears look at the camera than actually developing relationships or telling stories. And this is especially true of the marginalised characters. Keelin spent half this episode in the plot box. Keelin and Freya’s wedding was all about Elijah’s angst. Marcel has done nothing all season except throw out the odd mea culpa and has spent the whole show being a quasi antagonist who is constantly put in his place but shown to be almost craving the Mikkaelsons with no purpose. Vincent apparently has this epic relationship with Freya that we never actually saw, Vincent just running around being frustrated and throwing out useful magic. Lisinia and Ivy were apparently important characters but we never saw this before both died. And Josh was always in the background and servile but the show tried to present him as actually having relationships with any of the cast before dismissively killing him off

Instead we got episode after episode of “the Originals are fighting again” “Klaus is having a tantrum again” “an old enemy has returned which they could kill in a second but won’t. For reasons.”