The Originals episode 15 review: Le Grand Guignol

This week's flashback episode of The Originals feels a bit pointless, says Caroline...

If only they didn’t kill off Mikael on The Vampire Diaries, the writers of this originals-focused spin-off must be thinking. If only he hadn’t been a largely throwaway villain on a show not wholly preoccupied with Klaus and his daddy issues, and The Originals could bring him back to wreak havoc on their lives all over again. Without him, they’re instead reliant on flashbacks and decades-old betrayals and, despite the best efforts of our three leads that really isn’t as good. Maybe they can bring Mikael back to life, Darla on Angel-style?

In Le Grand Guignol, however, we do at least witness that much-discussed seminal moment in which the family were driven out of New Orleans for the first time. Is the rebooted Mikael any more threatening? Does he warrant the hushed whispers that greet any mention of his past villainy? Not quite but, then again, on a show all about mass murderers and master manipulators, that was always going to be a tall order. His elaborate set up on stage at the opera was very well done and, with the audience compelled to applaud whatever was happening, also slightly disturbing.

But, despite The Originals doing a much better job of flashback episodes than its parent show ever did, this was still essentially an exercise in stating the obvious. Had we believed in the threat of Mikael and had something more interesting to watch in present-day than Klaus essentially having another tantrum, there would have been no need for this particular trip down memory lane but, as nice as it was to put a face to a name for viewers who are either new or have bad memories, there was no need to spend an entire hour on the story. If it wasn’t for the by-product of getting Davina back, I’d feel even worse about it.

But we did get her back, and that means Rebekah and Marcel have some extra fire power in their corner. As fun and familiar as it is for the siblings to be at each other’s throats, and as inevitable as this point has been since the pilot, I can’t help but remember how much more fun I was having when they were bonded together and only passive-aggressively battling with each other. The high points of the season have all been about one or all of the siblings triumphing against another faction of New Orleans, whether that be Elijah massacring the witches in the church, Klaus telling Tyler where to go or Rebekah just being her awesome self, and this in-fighting feels frustratingly obvious and, more importantly, temporary.

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Do we really believe that Klaus is going to stake Rebekah or Elijah with the white oak stake (welcome back, old MacGuffin!), eliminating one of the four leads from the show in episode fifteen of the first season? None of us do, and that made the cliffhanger to Le Grand Guignol all the more underwhelming. Let’s get back to the turf war, when witches weren’t so easy to kill and humans actually had some power in this topsy-turvy world. That was fun and, while there are a lot of shows about heroes triumphing against evil, watching evil people massacre even more evil people in a town as dramatic as New Orleans is what set The Originals apart.

That said, when the complaint about Vampire Diaries this season is that it never actually goes anywhere, it’s refreshing to know that we’ll never be stuck in one place time for too long with The Originals. Celeste is a goner after Elijah arranged for her remains to be cursed, Davina is back in the land of the living, Hayley has the means to break the curse on her family (so hopefully we now have werewolves milling around) and we can probably count the minutes Klaus will stay this angry and murderous on one hand. He’ll forgive his brother and sister, they’ll find time to fight someone else, and then they’ll fall out again. See you next week!

Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Crescent City, here.

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