The Originals Season 2 Recap of “Rebirth”
After a summer of waiting, The Originals is back and it’s back with a bang. I’ve been saying for a while that The Originals could easily become one of the best vampire shows to ever be on the small screen, and last night’s epic episode solidified its spot among shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Being Human (UK) or even Kindred: The Embraced.
Showing heavy influence from literature, fairy and folk tales and even West Side Story (the choreography in the episode looked almost dance like of gang vs. gang), “Rebirth” hit all the right notes.
Once Upon A Time…
The episode begins with Rebekah (yay) who is telling young baby Hope a fairy tale, a very dark, gothic one that is. It’s a nice way to recap the end of last season and segue into the rest of the episode. Cleverly, the characters are turned into familiar fairy tale figures. Klaus is the “majestic king,” Elijah the “noble brother” and Hope the “princess” who is sent away. Francesca is a “ruthless beast” who has taken over the kingdom with the help of “untamed creatures” and a “wicked sorceress.” Even New Orleans is described as a “colorful kingdom where music and art was celebrated” and as “an enchanted land.” Of course you have to have a castle, which is the Mikaelson’s home.
This dark, twisted story is so intriguing seen through the lens of a fairy tale I’m actually interested in the idea of seeing an older Hope returning as a young girl to learn of her destiny as a princess. Time jump anyone? Though that would undoubtedly create issues if we want to see more crossovers between The Vampire Diaries and The Originals (though I wouldn’t be opposed to a time jump on The Vampire Diaries since the actors are a bit older than the age they’re playing).
The best part of this whole fairy tale setup (which I think will continue to be explored) is the idea of Klaus as a cursed, magical creature. Images of his home being locked up as he becomes reclusive in his “castle” is a clear reference to Beauty and the Beast (no, not the cartoon but back to the original roots of the story). He’s a spoiled “king,” cursed because of his own greed and envy (which he admits to later in the episode). The visual images of him lurking in the shadows plays up this “beast” metaphor.
Who then is his beauty? No doubt that role belongs to the empathetic Cami who can unlock the secrets of his soul.
Where Are They Now
“Rebirth” nicely takes us one by one to the characters to find out what each of them has been up to. Klaus and Elijah are quietly plotting to unseat Francesca, with Klaus quickly losing patience. While Elijah has aligned his foundation with the Historical Preservation Society (which is a clue to a part of his plan later on), Klaus has been painting – weakened every full moon by the 12 rings that drain his power. Now that Elijah has found the last ring, they can move forward with their plan.
Hayley, on the other hand, is no better off than Klaus. She can’t handle all the waiting and spends her time alone grieving. She is not handling the loss of her daughter or her transformation into a hybrid well, and wants to get her revenge. It’s also important to note that the star-crossed relationship between Elijah and Hayley has become quite strained.
As for Cami, she’s still been hooking up with Marcel, while also trying to leave the supernatural world behind. But it’s proven kind of difficult when Francesca’s men keep following her around. She decides to take matters into her own hands and goes to see Klaus (who hides in the shadows refusing to talk to her) to tell him that they need to use Marcel to help take down Francesca. She instead explains this to Elijah who tells her to leave, while also acting cold and distant. But as she leaves, Elijah and Klaus both reveal to each other how much they admire her spirit.
Then there’s Francesca who is losing her mind because she can’t understand why Klaus and Elijah don’t make a move. As “queen” she is in constant fear of being dethroned and worse killed. It seems her fears are justified. As Esther and Finn point out (who are in the bodies of Cassie and Vincent), perhaps driving her mad was part of the plan. But what’s their plan?
Davina, meanwhile, has been keeping the Mikaelson father under wrap and key. According to her, she will keep him there until she can find a way for her friends not to be killed. It’s not the best plan considering how psychotic he is, but she wants to avenge her boyfriend, so she’s moving forward anyway. She’s also making friends with Kaleb, who we later find out turns out to be Kol. So how much is Kol really interested in her? And how much is him befriending Davina about the greater plan? A little bit of both perhaps…
After Klaus goes to pay Marcel a visit (who in Divergent like style is searching for “warriors”) to get him to join the fight, they discover that Francesca does not have the white oak stake, so the plan to defeat her is set in motion.
With the combination of months of careful plotting and the new plans added from recent developments, the fight begins with every person in their needed position. First Joe, who was discovered to be a vampire hiding in New Orleans despite the vampiric ban, joins the fight after being recruited by Klaus and Marcel. His part? To convince Francesca that she can get the white oak stake. In what Francesca believes to be a trade for his life, he reveals that the stake fell into the hands of the priest (which would now be Camille). This is of course all misdirection, since they actually have no idea who has the white oak stake. Unfortunately for Joe, he doesn’t make it out alive.
The next part of the plan belongs to Cami. The wolves go to her place to bully her for the stake. Pretending not to care what the supernaturals are up to, she gives them a key with an address to a building, the one Elijah was walking through in the beginning.
This in turn leads the wolves to the building where Marcel is in wait. The sprinklers (which Elijah had glanced at earlier in the episode) are filled with wolf bane, which Marcel turns on once he locks the wolves inside. Thus begins the music montage that remains throughout the fight. This montage is perfectly edited with just the right touch of music. Marcel starts to kill the wolves and remove their rings one by one. And with each ring removed, Klaus gains more strength.
Meanwhile, Hayley with her desire for revenge and months of pent up rage, fights some of the other wolves. She defeats them and removes more rings, which again gives Klaus more strength little by little.
Klaus soon has enough strength to kill two wolves that show up to kill him. In what is a CRAZY moment for the show, Klaus begins to use their blood to paint his latest work of art. I can’t give enough props to Julie Plec and Marguerite Macintyre for writing this episode with dark irony and witty humor. It was pure perfection and insane…in a good way.
Cutting between scenes, we see Hayley fighting, Marcel fighting, Elijah killing and Klaus painting. And just when you think this episode can’t get any better, Elijah throws a severed head through Francesca’s door, calmly walking to the front and peering in (and using his handkerchief in gentlemanly fashion to remove the blood on his hands). Is there a more suave and sophisticated vampire out there than Elijah? He’s calm, cool and collected which unnerves Francesca. But she’s convinced she’s safe. “It’s fine, he can’t come in,” she states.
But she soon discovers just how wrong she is. “The devil’s in the details,” Elijah reveals.
With his work in the city he was able to make the house belong to the public. And in a humorous scene, Elijah steps through the doorway, leaving Francesca deeply shocked and in fear for her life.
Surprisingly, Elijah lets Francesca get away. But it’s short-lived as he leads Hayley right to her so she can get her vengeance. Hayley kills her and removes the final ring.
Their plan went off without a hitch.
After the battle, Marcel returns to his place and unwinds by listening to jazz music. Josh, one of the only vampires to survive the slaughter, doesn’t understand why Joe had to die or what any of them are fighting for. Marcel explains that it’s not for a “piece of real estate,” but rather for the “soul of the city.” No doubt, Josh will have to figure out soon enough what it is he wants and if he’s willing to fight. At the end of the scene, a girl appears, interrupting them. She’s the only one to make Marcel’s cut to become a warrior.
Back in the baby’s room, Elijah finds Hayley destroying her room in a fit of rage. She breaks down into tears upset at her own actions. Killing Francesca didn’t make her feel better. Nor did the fact that she killed eight wolves, her own kind. Plus, she’s even more disturbed by the fact that she believes Elijah no longer looks at her the same way since her transition. “I’m a monster,” she claims before making her exit.
Elijah weakly calls after her which begs the question…does he agree? Certainly it’s not going to be smooth sailing for these two.
After Davina connects more with “Kaleb,” Elijah and Klaus work to destroy the rings. Klaus laments about his own choices, wishing he had made different ones the previous year. If he had, maybe they wouldn’t have lost hope. This is a remorseful Klaus, which shows promise for a future redemptive arc.
“You chase my redemption like a man rolling a stone up an endless mountain,” Klaus says to Elijah in disbelief. “Well no mountain is endless brother…some are just steeper than others,” proving that Elijah still believes in his brother’s ability to change. Will Klaus finally become the brother Elijah has always wanted him to be? This brotherly relationship is one of the strengths of the show, so it was nice to see this moment between them.
After this exchange, Elijah asks Klaus to help Hayley as he feels he is not the right person to help her through her problems at the moment. Soon after, Klaus does what his brother asks and comforts Hayley. He reminds her that they can get through all of this together as a family.
Next, we return to Marcel who is with Cami once again. This time, she breaks it off for good so that she can return to helping humans rather than supernatural creatures. However, one wonders if subconsciously she’s freeing herself because of her unrealized feelings for Klaus. Later she meets up with Vincent, who is really Finn, who is sponsoring her residency at the college.
So is he interested in Cami because of her connection to Klaus and the other supernatural creatures, or something more? Poor Cami, no matter what she does she can’t seem to escape this tangled web of supernatural deception.
At the end, Esther, Finn and Kol meet up to discuss their plan in a cryptic scene to leave us all guessing. She has control of the witches and werewolves, but we don’t know what else she has in store for her master plan.
“Let’s get to work. We have a family reunion to plan,” she declares leaving us all in suspense.
Klaus: I need to act. I need – I need to spill blood.
(After months of waiting, Klaus has a little tantrum.)
Elijah: Mobsters all suffer from such hubris. Did you know Al Capone thought himself invincible back in his day? And in the end, he was sentenced to the wretched filth of Alcatraz for which of his atrocities? Anyone? [Pause] A failure to pay his taxes. I suppose the devil’s in the details isn’t it? [Pause] My, my you have a beautiful home here. I was so pleased the city took my suggestion to protect its heritage status and invoke imminent domain. So I suppose that means this house now belongs to the public. And as such anyone can enter…without invitation.
(Spoken after Francesca believes he can’t enter her home to kill her.)
Standout Romantic Moment
While I wouldn’t call it “romantic” per se, the scene in the castle – er…the mansion, when Cami comes to pay Klaus a visit was stunning. She enters the seemingly abandoned, lifeless house (sheets covering the furniture) in search of Klaus. But no matter how many times she calls him, he doesn’t appear. But we know he’s there, just like she does. First, we see Klaus’s shadow super speed across the balcony. And as Cami stands on the stairs, she feels something on her neck. We see Klaus watching her silently, but by the time she turns around he’s gone. Then we see him a second time watching her, but again he disappears before she can catch him. Finally, Elijah appears breaking the intensity of the moment.
What’s exciting about this scene is the fairy tale presentation of it. Klaus is the Beast hiding in his castle, cursed. Then enters “Beauty” into his twisted world. Earlier in the episode as Rebekah tells the fairy tale version of events to the baby Hope, it’s clear to see that the writers are using fairy and folk tales as an influence to tell this particular season. The shots of Klaus peering outside of his house, hiding in the shadows, made him look very much like the beast. I’ve seen a lot of metaphorical Beauty and the Beast stories in the last few years, but this has been the closest I’ve seen to a literal vampire interpretation of the story with the spoiled, cursed prince hiding away in his “castle.”
I think it would be fascinating if the writers started dipping into the untapped Villeneuve version of the tale for ideas. A magical mirror perhaps? Could there be something in Camille’s bloodline that makes her magical? (In the Villeneuve version of the original literary story, which most people are unfamiliar with, Beauty comes from a royal line). Only time will tell…
Thoughts and Questions
With Kol now part of the equation, it begs the question, what exactly are these Originals up to? It certainly can’t be the same plan Esther had before on The Vampire Diaries.
And then there’s the Cami/Klaus relationship. I suspect we will soon see a dark version of Beauty and the Beast play out between these two. I think it’s safe to say we’re not going to see Klaus and Caroline interaction anytime soon (I liked them too so don’t shoot the messenger!)
What did you think of the return of The Originals season 2 premiere? What theories are you brewing about what’s next? Let me know in the comments.
Stay tuned for next week when I recap “Alive and Kicking.”
Photo Credit: CW
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