The Originals season 2 episode 21 review: Fire With Fire

Supernatural thrives on death and tragedy, which makes next week's season 2 finale feel very ominous indeed...

This review contains spoilers.

2.21 Fire With Fire

Episodes like this week’s The Originals are hard to pull off without feeling a bit cheap. It’s all double-bluffs and long-cons, seemingly monumental series-altering events explained and excused away by the fact that a main character only maimed and killed his friends and family for the greater good.

With this show, though, it’s even harder. The episode asks us to believe at different stages that Klaus would go on a murderous rampage, setting love interests on fire and driving an irrevocable wedge between himself and the mother of his child, and believe that he’d go that far to convince Dahlia that he’s on her side. It’s a stretch, especially so because of how much pain we’ve seen Klaus inflict on others just because they get on his nerves.

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Watching him compel Gia to take off her daylight ring isn’t very nice, sure, but this is a guy that’s repeatedly daggered his family, murdered his parents, killed the mother of the woman he loves’ boyfriend (you had to be there), and taken credit for Aiden’s death just to instil fear in an already fearful community. He’s not a good person, as he readily admits, and so Gia’s death really doesn’t feel that important in the grand scheme of things.

I’ve brought up this complaint before, because The Originals has an issue with how old and set in their ways its characters are. A loyalty to that idea – not a bad thing in itself – means that we’re stuck watching them make the same mistakes again and again, never trusting each other and rarely learning.

So we know how Klaus will react to things, and Elijah, and Rebekah. We even know how Marcel and Cami and Davina will probably respond to the events of an episode like this, and that presents an issue.

The variable, then, is Hope. Hope changes everything, and so this time Klaus’ terrible actions aren’t a result of him being betrayed or simply grabbing for more power, but his own slightly misguided attempt to protect his daughter.

The storyline might have been more interesting had it been Elijah, post-Esther’s torture, driving the ‘let’s kill everyone to keep Hope safe’ initiative. It would have given Klaus a break from being the bad guy, at least.

In complete contrast to this, we have Hayley. Hayley is a character who has never stopped evolving since the first time we saw her on The Vampire Diaries. Helping the hybrids changed her, motherhood changed her, finding her pack changed her and – probably most important of all – loving Jackson has changed her.

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She’s no longer holding on to whatever love and acceptance comes her way, but rather picking and choosing what she wants and needs for herself and her daughter, raging against the barriers others would put around her.

Thankfully, the whole charade has led us to a wonderful place – Claire Holt is returning to the role of Rebekah for the season finale (and beyond?), after essentially killing herself in human form and waking up in her original body. Rebekah Mikaelson is back in action, and just in the nick of time.

Not that we’re lacking in the powerful ladies department. In addition to Hayley, this episode saw Davina, a character who has really had nothing to do all year, step up to become leader of the witches.

Supported by Vincent, her little speech cemented her position of power over one of New Orleans’ most troublesome mystical factions, but it’s questionable which side she’ll be on when it comes down to it. She loves Marcel and wants to bring Kol back, but neither of those things really translates into an allegiance to the Mikaelsons.

That leaves Freya, who may have been taken out by Dahlia but still got to have one last act of rebellion. Going from a character we didn’t know whether to trust or not to her commitment to even briefly being part of a family was pretty touching, and I’m kind of hoping she survives next week’s finale.

But there has to be more death, because this is The Originals and I can’t see the show settling for simply killing two supporting characters. Shakespearean tragedy is what this show thrives on, and having the three leads all back for a season finale just feels too good to be true.

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