The Originals season 2 episode 20 review: City Beneath The Sea

Has Klaus crossed a line with The Originals' audience? His alliances and decisions are making him increasingly hard to root for...

This review contains spoilers.

2.20 City Beneath The Sea

We’re not supposed to agree with Klaus’ decisions, no one could, but there’s a line that The Originals ordinarily refuses to cross and, even when he’s being really, really stupid, his bad decisions don’t harm the guys we like (that goes for The Originals because, we can’t forget the Aunt Jenna and Tyler’s mother incidents on TVD).

His decision in this episode to work with Dahlia may cause him to cross this line, and that’s worrying. The difference is that, even when his logic is flawed and skewed by past experiences and characteristic paranoia, we can usually rely on his intelligence to keep things aligned.

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The audience will find it hard to believe anything that came out of this week’s trip down memory lane, because everything Dahlia showed Klaus about her past was a product of her own mind. She’s an inherently unreliable narrator and, knowing this, we don’t want Klaus to fall for it.

But if what we saw this week was the truth, then it means that Dahlia isn’t the dastardly villain the season has painted her as. According to her, the first-born witches in the family are simply too powerful to function, and she’s actually helping them out by sharing their magic. Yes, we’ve seen that infant Hope already has powers, but really we’re taking Dahlia’s word – and possibly fabricated flashbacks – for it.

The trouble is, she’s telling Klaus exactly what he wants to hear – that someone understands his position as the ‘reluctant’ villain, that he can be Hope’s father without the influence of Hayley or anyone else, and that all of this is somehow justified because it’s helping his daughter to stay safe.

Meanwhile, while Klaus remains daggered for the majority of the episode, the rest of the family try to deal with the problem without their biggest distraction. There’s a lot of arguing and planning, but it’s really the outliers that are the highlight of the episode.

There’s the business of grieving Aiden to attend to first and foremost, and I’m so glad the show didn’t skip over it. Everyone who enjoyed Josh and Aiden’s brief flirtation with their elusive happy ending wanted to see him react to last week’s tragic events, and to see the various support systems reach out to him regardless of current rivalries and allegiances was a brief moment of gentle humanity from The Originals.

As we move forward with season two, really, the Mikaelson siblings have become increasingly sidelined, with Hayley and Jackson so often painted as the guys in the right that it’s hard to root for Elijah, Klaus and Rebekah. I don’t know if that’s intentional, or an accident of good actors, but it’s also happening with Vincent and Cami – two characters who are endearing precisely because they’re not very involved.

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Call it the Matt Donovan-effect, or whatever you want, because Vincent is fast becoming The Originals’ biggest secret weapon. With Davina being used as a whiny plot device more often than not, Vincent is the go-to witch on the show, and a world as crazy as this is in dire need of a sane man-type like him.

We need these characters precisely because the main players are acting so self-destructively, but I worry that our inability to agree with the moves Klaus is making will ultimately undermine events down the line.

If we can’t root for them, then what’s to keep us around? It’s the trouble of building a show around villains of another series, which is essentially what The Originals is, and the more agreeable the opposing argument becomes, the more significant an issue it turns into.

Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, When The Levee Breaks, here.

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