This review contains spoilers.
2.19 When The Levee Breaks
There’s a reason shows don’t ordinarily choose to focus on a protagonist whose main character trait is to be unchanging. Putting a character like Klaus at the centre of The Originals can easily force the show into a corner as frustrating and stubborn as its protagonist – it’s the trouble with attempting character development with a group of ancient, unyielding immortals facing up to the same issues again and again.
That’s why I usually prefer it when The Originals uses outside forces as antagonists, rather than members of the core Mikaelson family, but when those outside forces affect the dynamics of that family, it’s the perfect balance of everything the show has to offer. Dahlia’s threat to Hope and Klaus’ distrust of Freya is what was promised way back in the pilot when we discovered Klaus would become a father, and it’s the most alive The Originals has felt in a while.
That’s because we’ve seen all the old wounds bringing Esther and Mikael back would open in Klaus, Elijah and Rebekah so many times – too many times – but having Hope as the focus gives us something completely different. Every character is involved, but they all have different ideas about how best to protect her.
Klaus thinking he’s the only one who can truly keep his daughter safe was to be expected, his general personality and new role as a father combining to create an even bigger monster than he was before. It’s notable that we haven’t actually seen him act fatherly towards Hope since the mid-season break, as he’s been too busy clashing with Hayley and Jackson on how to keep her from harm.
The idea that Klaus and Freya are simply similarly cracked mirror images of each other was brought up again in his conversation with Cami – he doesn’t trust her because he knows of the horrifying impact an abusive parent can have on their child. He is more Mikael’s son that any of his siblings, and he therefore believes that Freya must be as evil and manipulative as her own caregiver.
As fractured as this family can so often be, they always have a relatively good understanding of each other. Dahlia, despite never having met her nephews, apparently knew that killing Aiden would entice Klaus to use it as a bargaining chip – forcing the wolves to fear him just when they’re about to make a run for it with Hope. This, in turn, prompted Elijah to dagger his brother, stopping his increasingly irrational behaviour in its tracks and allowing Hayley to make her escape. When Klaus and Elijah are on opposite sides, you know things are serious.
The big event from the episode was Aiden’s death, of course, ripping our hearts out right along with his own. His and Josh’s was a love story too perfect to exist in this universe, a self-proclaimed Romeo and Romeo romance that was pegged from a tragic end as soon as it began. Personally, I thought it would be Josh who bit the dust, because Aiden seemed like a character with more long-term potential than Josh, despite only being around for this season.
I could complain that, out of the three gay characters to ever be introduced on the Vampire Diaries/Originals universe, two have been killed off within a few months of each other, but it’s to the episode’s credit that it didn’t feel cheap. It’s a shame to lose the character, but the urgency his death has brought out in the show justifies it somewhat.
We’re left with Klaus versus everyone else, with the only one of our main cast to know the truth being Cami. That scene between the two of them was really wonderful, bringing out the best in both characters, and I might finally understand what the show has been pushing these two as since day one. She’s increasingly become a safe place for Klaus this season, and his speech to her here references fans’ tendency to see everything as potential romance.
For me, they’re relationship has gone beyond that stage, becoming something deeper for a character who doesn’t even trust his own family. He won’t lie to her, even in these circumstances, and that includes not giving her false hope of a romantic relationship. He simply leaves her with a truth no one would believe, a truth she alone carries.
It’s characters are stuck in a prison of their own terrible personalities, sure, but sometimes The Originals forces them into impossible situations and, in those moments, it all – however briefly – makes perfect sense.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Night Has A Thousand Eyes, here.
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