This review contains spoilers.
2.10 Gonna Set Your Flag On Fire
The Originals lost a major player in its mid-season finale, but thankfully that loss came after nine episodes of establishing a complete family of Mikaelson vampires that all feel fleshed out, sympathetic and interesting. So, while Claire Holt will be taking an extended (if not permanent) hiatus from the role of Rebekah’s face, we’re still left with a horde of brilliant characters, the new Rebekah included.
After a really weird voiceover recap of where everyone’s loyalties currently lie, Gonna Set Your Flag On Fire gets right down to business readdressing the inter-species politics of New Orleans. That’s always been this show’s main concern when you dig through the family rivalries and love triangles, so it felt good to get back to basics and regroup.
But what’s more interesting about the werewolves vs. vampires vs. witches stuff now is that all of them have a common enemy – Finn. I might be approaching broken record-status, but if you’d have asked me if Finn would be not only a highlight of the show but a competent big bad of the season, I would never have believed it.
The genius of it is that the characters’ previous indifference to him reflects the audience’s, and so his unhinged revenge shtick makes perfect sense despite minimal development pre-Originals. That scene between him and Esther after he learns that she’s as weak as the rest of them was glorious, and drives home the notion that, as an antagonist to our main characters, Esther was just the starter before the main course.
He’s driven by absolute, unwavering conviction, which is something that the other’s lack for practical reasons of having to move the plot forward.
Finn’s first big plan to bring down his siblings is locking the vampires and werewolves together in the middle of negotiations before enhancing the vampires’ hunger in the hopes that they’ll wipe out the opposition. It’s a pretty clever scheme, and one that is well enough thought out that it isn’t actually resolved by the end of the episode, which rarely, if ever, happens.
Despite most of the vampire and werewolves being faceless and nameless followers, the mystical lock-in does mean that Josh and Aiden’s situation is even more ‘Romeo and Romeo’ than before, and these two still feel as if they belong on an entirely different show (in the best way).
Cami, as usual, was kept separated from the main plot this week, but at least she was there with Elijah, who is still feeling the after-effects of Esther’s trip down memory lane. Why Klaus thought the safest place for his one human friend was with his crazy vampire brother currently prone to violent, murderous outbursts is beyond me, but the friendship formed between them this episode is one of my favourite things Cami has done so far.
And Elijah needs a friend because, after accepting his proposal, Hayley is going to be preoccupied with Jackson for the foreseeable future.
As for Rebekah, it doesn’t take long for Klaus to realise that Kol’s played them all, but it looks like she’s going to have to make her own escape attempt before they’re able to come rescue her. Trapped in an asylum for witches who have been ‘broken’ by magic, run by a group calling themselves the Kindred, this will be where we finally meet the oft-mentioned first Mikaelson child – Freya.
In what capacity, I have no idea, but I’m keen to see more creepy ghosts and phantom Scrabble pieces. A bunch of crazy former witches trapped in a house together also sounds like a recipe for disaster, so sign me up.
In fact, sign me up for all of it, because The Originals is back, the pieces are in place, and no one is messing around. This show spends so much of its time moving its characters about and switching their allegiances from week to week that an episode like Gonna Set Your Flag On Fire is all the more satisfying for its focus. It’s Finn vs. Everyone, and that’s a conflict I can get behind.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, The Map Of Moments, here.
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