This review contains spoilers.
1.16 Farewell To Storyville
Like a breakup you never saw coming, Rebekah’s abrupt and unexpected exit from The Originals is huge. Claire Holt has been a part of the Vampire Diaries universe for years now, with fans rejoicing at the chance to see her character on a weekly basis once Rebekah, Klaus and Elijah were transported to New Orleans for their own show but, now that the franchise seems done with her centuries-long rivalry with Klaus (she also said a nice goodbye to Matt in the one hundredth Vampire Diaries episode) and happy to send Rebekah almost literally off into the sunset, we’re left with a big, gaping hole where she once stood.
This episode, Farewell to Storyville, was entirely about setting this eventuality up without the seams showing and, though fans have been told that the decision to leave was entirely Holt’s, the show did an excellent job of making Rebekah’s final hour into something that brought us full-circle, even for those viewers who can’t imagine The Originals without its female lead. Her exit wasn’t just in keeping with what we’ve seen and heard of Rebekah during this first season, but what we’ve always wanted for her. As the girl who loved too easily, she’s now free to live and love to her heart’s content without the interference of her brother.
But it is abrupt, and the bulk of the episode was a bit of a letdown in terms of the big, epic Mikaelson showdown we were promised last week. There was almost zero actually fighting, a lot of repeated conversations and arguments about how each of them have ruined the others’ lives and, without the final conclusion of Rebekah and Klaus deciding to part ways, it would have been a frustrating hour. But, with the final fifteen minutes seeing off one of the show’s strongest characters with relative grace, the flaws of the episode’s preceding two-thirds melt away and leave a very poignant, satisfying exit for Rebekah. What, I wonder, are Klaus and Elijah going to get up to now?
With Rebekah gone and the show one original vampire down, it’ll most likely fall to Hayley and/or her unborn child to add some femininity to proceedings. I don’t know about you, but the thoughts of a show all about Klaus, Elijah and Marcel having arguments regarding who New Orleans belongs to doesn’t sound all that appealing. Rebekah functioned as the outsider to these rivalries, desperate to restore peace and live a relatively normal life with her family and, without her around, it’s up to either Hayley, Cami or Davina to step in and take over this necessary role. As the final moments demonstrated, Elijah is blind where his little brother is concerned, willing to do anything and follow him anywhere.
What worries me here, however, is the potential for a love triangle to take over the narrative (as it also could with Cami, Klaus and Marcel), despite the animosity currently shared by Klaus and Hayley outside of their mutual best interests for the child. The Originals had a great thing going for it with the central trio and, with the familial element of the show now diminished to leave a Vampire Diaries-esque dynamic of just two brothers, there’s a danger of it losing some of its initial appeal. Klaus and Elijah are still complex and entertaining characters worthy of a central position on their own show, but Rebekah’s shoes aren’t easy ones to fill. We can only hope that the writers knew about her exit early on, and have set up the pieces accordingly.
Though the episode, much like the show, was overly talky in some places, a few of the conversations addressed what long-time fans of these characters have wanted the show to address for a while. This isn’t just some ordinary family with issues about loving the same girl a la the Salvatores – they have genuine trauma in their past and several lifetimes to endure its lasting effects – and all of them, not just Klaus, bear the scars of what their parents did to them. Klaus’ problems might be the most violently obvious, but Rebekah’s desperate longing and Elijah’s concern for his siblings are also down to their shared experience as children. That is make makes them relatable – their problems aren’t extraordinary, they’re just magnified by immortality.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Le Grand Guignol, here.
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