“It has been said that all love begins and ends with she who gave us life.”
Let’s boil The Originals (and by extension, The Vampire Diaries) down for a hot minute. This ensemble, this cast of characters, when you really think about it, are cast members in in a dramatic, vampire-laden version of Arrested Development. This has been the case since at least season three of The Vampy Ds, and we even have the art to prove it.
(Courtesy of Nate Levy)
One of best things the official CW Twitter has ever done (which very much went over the head of a good portion of the fandom) was this picture —
— back when Season 4 of Arrested Development came to Netflix. (They did this for other CW shows, but none was more appropo than this. None.)
And if The Originals opened every episode with the Arrested Development opening voiceover, it would fit perfectly:
“… And now the story of a wealthy family who lost everything, and the one son* who had no choice but to keep them all together … It’s Arrested Development.**”
* That would be Elijah, in this case.
** The Originals
So everytime The Originals hits the mommy and daddy issues hard (which is often) or goes in deep on the dysfunction between the siblings (which is often), I really can’t help but have my Arrested Development radar pinged. Having Klaus open the episode with the above quoted voiceover was just the icing on the cake. Having it turn out the voiceover was an actual conversation Klaus was having with Cami (who was very confused by the fact that she was being exposited at and responded to it all with an “… okay”) was the cherry on top of the sundae. It was all too good not to mix metaphors. That’s what the two Vampy Verse does to me on a regular basis.
Returning from winter hiatus, The Originals’ “Gonna Set Your Flag On Fire” pretty much continues a little after the show left off. Elijah and Hayley are still at the safehouse when the episode begins, having all of the sexual tension in the world. (Seriously, it is an upsetting amount of sexual tension, even after they finally boned it out in the previous episode.) Hayley goes back home with Klaus, but Cami stays with Elijah, because she’s not exactly safe in the French Quarter. Koleb (which is what I’m now going for when it comes to brevity, instead of just “Kol / Kaleb”) is still a rapscallion who blames his behavior on his siblings, but he’s at least playing nice for the time being, moving into the estate. Loose peace talks between the werewolves and vampires begin — because the unification ceremony will soon be happening — but miracles aren’t happening. Esthore (“Esther / Lenore”) is (not so) torn by whether or not she wants to complete the vampire transition. And the two “worst” Mikaelsons, Finn and Mikael, are working together. Fun, fun, fun, right?
Speaking of fun, I might as well get the witch asylum thing out of the way. I still haven’t watched the Kol webisodes, but I think this is a storyline that will work regardless of the full backstory. So like I mentioned in my last recap, the house Kol where stole stealing the magical diamond is now basically an asylum for witches who have snapped or turned against their coven. Cassie (who is so much better suited to be herself and not Esther Mikaelson, from an acting standpoint) gives the backstory perfectly and even introduces the potentially important concept of The Kindred — outcast witches who turned to black magic and now kind of run the asylum. By the way, poor Cassie. Who the hell put her in there? She was bodyjacked. I feel like half the French Quarter knows she was bodyjacked. She doesn’t need to be committed — a shrink will suffice, even if it’s a fake shrink like Cami. Meanwhile, there a drugs inhibiting the witches’ abilities to do magic, and “Rebekah” (sadly, I don’t have another name to make a portmanteau out of) is communicating with her sister Freya (who’s in a glass coffin in the attic) … supposedly. That’s fun. (Also, it took like two hours for them to realize Koleb screwed Rebekah over. Ah, Koleb is like the Spike of this family — he can’t plan for nothing.)
On the upside: holy crap. Maisie Richardson-Sellers (who’s playing “Rebekah”) is already doing a pretty great job. She’s got the mannerisms down, and it’s a little creepy.
Honestly, who would’ve thought that turning half of the Mikaelson family black would improve the show as much as it has? Seriously. Especially when, unfortunately, The Vampire Diaries still doesn’t really know how to handle black characters.
Speaking of, after this episode, Fincent (“Finn / Vincent” — this is really fun) might actually be my favorite character on The Originals — at least the one I’m most invested and entertained in right now. It’s amazing what can happen when you give a character a little motivation and an actor who can kill it. (Note how there’s plenty of Nathaniel Buzolic!Kol flashbacks, but never any Caspar Zafer!Finn ones. The show is aware.) The feeling I have whenever Yusuf Gatewood goes into one of his ranting monologues right now is the same feeling I used to have when Joe Morton would do them on Scandal. This is the Finn we’ve needed for years, but then again, if it was, we wouldn’t get all the fun “Finn is boring” jokes from the characters. I need those in my life too.
Fincent is so set in his ways that even when Mikael saves him, planning to team up with his son, Finn still “kills” him and pulls a Papa Tunde to channel his energy. Because while Mikael may be his father and the only person in the family who might 100% see his way of thinking (even Esther believes his siblings deserve redemption), he is still a vampire. Fincent has done nearly everything in his life for his mother, but when she goes against her conviction — the one thing Fincent even has anymore — and drinks the blood Klaus left for her, he has no problem doing the same to her as he did to Mikael. Because she is a vampire. And before that, he goes on one of those beautiful rants:
“You’re a hypocrite. You speak of purification. Of cleansing the souls of our family. And yet you cave to temptation instead of standing with your principle. It was your morality, mother! Your conviction, that awed me! That’s why I stood by you. That’s why I fought for you! I would’ve done anything for you, my mother. She who gave me life. But I know that she would want for me to finish what we started.”
What’s that? Why yes. There are hearts in my eyes because of Finn. Mikaelson.
Other big things happen in the episode, but I don’t love them as much, you know? Finn contains the vampires and werewolves on the estate property and then increases the vampires’ bloodlust (for funsies). Koleb and Davina are able to get the wolves, Klaus, and Hayley out (it’s daytime, and Davina and Koleb’s spell would mean daylight rings wouldn’t work), but because of Koleb’s betrayal, Klaus leaves him with the vampires. (It’s a moment that only doesn’t lead to Koleb’s demise because Davina pleads with big brother Marcel — just by saying his name, because that’s how they are — to spare him.) Hayley tells Jackson the truth about her and Elijah, but Jackson is still in love with her (he pulls out the creepy “I loved you before I met you” blah blah blah) and excited for their not-so-sham of a marriage. Cami and Elijah get drunk and play board games for … “booze and board games.” (Elijah resists at first, because it’s a flimsy excuse for share time, but he gives in. It’s a bit touch and go at times, because of the PTSD, but he finally admits that his inability to help his family is unfamiliar to him.)
But none of that matters because, again, I have hearts in my eyes for Finn Mikaelson.
A few more things …
- For real, the only thing that could possibly derail me on the Fincent train is the fact that, for someone who hates vampires so much (and was a self-loating one at that), there’s one part of his backstory that I still can’t wrap my head around: why he would turn Sage into a vampire. (And before the Fincent situation, I couldn’t see Sage falling for him or him knowing what love is.) If they were soulmates, like they honestly kind of shoe-horned in that season of The Vampy Ds, then the last thing he would ever want to do is turn her. He’d consider that a fate worse than death. I’d say I want flashbacks (because Cassidy Freeman deserves so much more), but I really don’t want to go back to an adult Finn that’s not Yusuf Gatewood.
- In the voiceover / debrief to Cami, Klaus calls himself “our mother’s greatest shame.” Classic Klaus. If he’d have said someone was conspiring against him this episode, we’d basically win Klaus Bingo.
- Fincent: “What I want, brother, is to exterminate the plague that is your kind.”
Klaus: *fakes static sound on phone*
- Finn calls werewolves and vampires “mongrels and parasites.” Pretty apt, you guys. Pretty apt.
- Hayley’s “stop. this family is weird enough already” when Klaus is talking to her about finally having sex with Elijah is so perfect. As is her “Moonlight ring, daylight ring. If I never hear the word ‘ring’ again, it’ll be all too soon.” line. More Hayley and Cami constantly addressing the strangeness of this show, please.
- The return of Gia in this episode reminds me — is the show still going to try and do an Elijah / Gia thing? Because I was on board for that because Elijah / Hayley was frustrating me … but then they had that sex scene and got so over the frustration.
Photo Courtesy of The CW