This review contains spoilers.
2.16 Save My Soul
The pace of The Originals has its pros and cons, which has been spoken about at length regarding both this show and The Vampire Diaries, and it can mean that opportunities for compelling storylines are wasted by killing a character or binning a plot point within one episode. It happened earlier in this season when Klaus’ biological father lasted less than a full hour, and we can only mourn for what that could have been.
Freya is a similarly huge opportunity for the writers to add a fleshed-out, sympathetic Mikaelson to the collection, and this was the episode in which most of the audience probably decided whether they were going to like her or not. We got backstory, one of those exposition-dump dinner scenes The Originals loves so much, and flashbacks to those years Freya has spent under Dahlia’s thumb.
But is she as damaged as them, searching for her family and revenge against her captor, or is she simply Dahlia’s trojan horse? It’s impossible to tell for sure at this point, but we’ve learnt over the years not to fully trust anyone. Klaus certainly doesn’t and, while it’s become a little tiresome watching him rant at people about their apparent dishonesty, his instincts are as often right as they are completely off the mark.
I’ll admit that I watch this show in large part for the brief insights we get into these characters’ fractured minds, and so watching the family members hash out something like this is always mildly diverting, but the overwhelming familiarity of it kind of makes watching Hayley, Jackson and the werewolves that much more entertaining.
Their screen time is brief in comparison, but it feels like a weight has been lifted whenever they take us away from the stifling walls of the Mikaelson mansion. The Originals might have always existed in the grey area, but the ease with which we can identify and side with Jackson and Hayley over Klaus, Elijah and Rebekah could soon become a problem for the show. They’re not villains by any means, but they’re not the heroes either.
We did get a new character this week, though, as it looks as thought Vincent will be sticking around now that he has his body back. Finn is on hiatus, possibly for good, and Marcel and Cami spend much of the episode trying to get information about Eva St Claire out of Vincent. It turns out he was her husband, though it’s not clear how much of a part he had in indulging her child-killing tendencies before being locked up.
The best thing about his introduction is that gave Cami a reason to exist. Cami’s a weird character in that I can’t imagine she’s anyone’s favourite, but she hasn’t been actively annoying this season either. I dare say I quite like her, and so giving her a role to play within the family drama, despite being one of the only cast members not actually related in some way, is extremely welcome.
Freya is a conundrum, and one that I’m reluctant to get too invested in so soon after the show took Kol, Esther and Finn away from us. Non-regulars on this show don’t tend to fare well in the long-term and, as tragic as Freya’s story was, it’s hard to trust her when we can see so much scepticism from our main characters.
The Eva St Claire storyline is much more interesting, with an enemy quite literally operating from within, and the increased focus on Rebekah is a good way of getting the audience used to the character’s new face.
Really, anything that gets the show away from familial in-fighting is becoming more and more welcome as the series goes on and, if the show can resist killing Freya and/or Dahlia off until the end of the season, it could be fun to have a new Mikaelson added to the inner circle ahead of season three.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, They All Asked For You, here.
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