DEAD ANGELS RECAP
This week on The Originals in “Dead Angels,” Klaus and Cami have a little showdown (though calling her a foe in the official description proved to be a bit exaggerative as this just felt a little bit more like a quarrel) over the white oak toy, Elijah and Aya fight over who should be the leader of the Strix and Davina works with her new coven of witches to find the weapon that could destroy the Mikaelsons.
“Dead Angels” proved to be a solid episode and I look forward to the rest of the season! I’m especially anticipating the ultimate reveal of who is behind the actual prophecy. Still hoping it’s connected to Jason Dohring somehow. How are the writers not using him more?
KLAUS VS CAMI
In “Dead Angels,” Klaus and Cami have some “relationship” trouble. With the help of Vincent, Cami plays hardball and tries to make an exchange with Klaus over the white oak toy. She’ll give him the toy if he gives her the dark weapons that belonged to her family. At first, he doesn’t agree. He thinks she’s just going to get herself killed. But Cami is adamant. So he returns to the Compound to gather the rest of the dark objects.
Unfortunately for Cami, she didn’t quite think her plan through. The witches discover what the weapon is and where it is. Soon, they come calling. The weapon is taken with a shaken Cami left behind. It was only through using a dark object that her life was spared. Klaus later gives her a lecture and accuses her of not trusting him. He throws out words like “betrayal,” but he doesn’t seem all that upset as, by the end of the episode, the two are back to (mostly) normal.
A NEW LEADER RISES
If there’s one thing you can say about Marcel, it’s that he’s consistent. He enjoys (and is good at) being a leader. While Aya and Elijah duel over who will be the next leader (as we learn they have a past romantic history that went bad), Marcel swoops in and steals the sacred Strix charter. Whoever is in possession of the charter by the end of the night will become the new leader of the Strix. Marcel’s able to hide from Aya and Marcel long enough (due to his knowledge of New Orleans) and wins the title.
And then in a shocking twist, we learn that Elijah and Marcel were in on the whole plan together. So with Marcel now in charge of the Strix, they have an army. Aya accepts Marcel as the leader (better than it being Elijah in her mind) and reveals to Marcel that there is a spell out there that could sever the sire lines forever. And Davina’s the one who will do the spell.
AN AURORA TWIST
Davina and the other witches in “Dead Angels” are given the assignment to figure out what the weapon was Ariane saw and then to go retrieve it. Davina, however, is the only one who discovers the truth. When Davina touches Ariane to consecrate her body to the ancestors, she sees a vision of Klaus talking about the toy. From there, Davina does a spell that allows her to listen in on Klaus and Hayley’s conversation about the location of the white oak weapon. Davina, smarter than she was even a season ago, decides not to say anything. Look what happened to Ariane. (Though she does also learn from Ariane [who’s with the ancestors now] that Kol is in trouble.)
Unfortunately, another witch pulls the information out of Davina. And in another surprise twist, we learn that this same witch is not working for the Strix but Aurora. Sadly, for this foolish girl, Aurora kills her right after she receives the weapon.
Aurora then has the toy turned into a number of wooden bullets. Uh-oh!
Klaus: I have killed many, many people for far less than what you’ve done.
Cami: What do you want me to say, Klaus? Thank you for not killing me?
Klaus: It’s normally we who pose the threat to our intimates. It’s an odd feeling–the roles reversed. I always did loathe irony.
THEORIES, THOUGHTS AND QUESTIONS
Last week’s episode caused quite the controversy with Camille’s sudden personality change. To be frank, the transformation hasn’t exactly sat well with a lot of viewers. Personally, I found myself in the middle of the argument. More like I needed time to adjust to the change and to think about how I felt about it.
And while I’m not completely sold on the idea of Cami as a vampire quite yet, I am going to defend it. Here’s why:
Beauty Becomes the Beast?
I’ve theorized before in discussions of various adaptations or variations on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale (including animal bridegroom tales) that the Beauty character isn’t necessarily all sunshine, happiness and kindness. Why does Beauty love the Beast? What is it about her that can love a monster? Is it just empathy and morality? Or is there something more? Perhaps in more straightforward versions where the Beast is merely wearing a costume, Beauty can love the Beast simply because she’s good and she sees behind the mask.
But typically (especially nowadays), the Beast is more symbolic of a monster struggling with the beast within. Oftentimes, the beast character is a very dark figure with Byronic qualities and questionable morals. So why does the empathetic Beauty character fall for a monster?
Well, I argue that there are different reasons, but it almost always comes down to more than empathy. Let’s look at a few examples and explore the psyches of the “Beauty” character which I believe to be often overlooked.
First example: Jane Eyre
On the surface, Jane, like Cami, seems almost perfect. And, in fact, making Jane a saint has been popular among readers since the novel’s publication (much to the horror of Charlotte Bronte – who then went on to write a defense and an explanation of Jane and how everyone misinterpreted her character). Beyond Jane’s obvious morality and unquestionable individuality, she does have flaws. She has an impassioned temper which causes a few violent outbursts when she’s young – which she later learned to control. Jane also struggles with idolatry in her love for Mr. Rochester which blinds her to the truth about him.
Besides the flaws, Jane also suffers from a deep loneliness and depression. But what if Jane were to become a vampire? Almost impossible to imagine, I know. But Jane Eyre is a novel already steeped in vampirism and vampiric imagery. If Jane were to be a vampire would she not struggle with her righteous temper? Would all the feelings she’s repressed due to circumstance suddenly burst out? And is Jane really all that different from Bertha? Both characters locked away (at different times)?
In Jane Eyre, why then is Jane drawn to such a troubled soul as Rochester (who is the metaphorical beast in this story)? They share twin souls, yes, kindred spirits if you will, but there is more. Her experiences, her suffering has helped her become more empathetic and, therefore, more open to Rochester. She is alone in the world and depressed. The abuse she’s suffered and her complete solitary existence has strengthened her relationship with God while also intensifying her individuality. Like Rochester, she defies society’s rules. While Jane is light and in some ways Rochester is dark, they really are more alike than different. And it’s a two-way relationship. The Beast must give the Beauty character something in exchange. She is broken and he also saves her, in this case from her loneliness.
Byronic Heroes and the Beauty archetype often share some things in common: A belief in soul love (two souls that are so alike they are almost one), rejection of society and rules in some form, intense individuality and non-conformity, self-critical and introspective, isolated in some way. While Beauty ultimately embraces virtue she is typically aware of her own faults (with Jane, it’s her temper) or, at least, weaknesses due to her own introspection and is sympathetic to the Beast and his struggles. Whereas the Beast, who typically rejects virtue and also longs for it, finds that same virtuous trait in Beauty who sympathizes with him.
But perhaps Beauty can empathize with a Beast because she can see her own “beastly” qualities (sometimes something as simple as being rejected and unloved – which is no fault of her own), no matter how small (or even laughable) they might seem to everyone else. Again, look at Jane. An orphan who is seen as being “born bad” because of her station and orphan status. This is how she’s been treated her whole life. While she knows she’s not actually bad, no doubt the cruelty she’s suffered affects her own self-confidence. Why would she look at someone else as a monster for his sins when others have looked at her that way (and without actual merit?)
Cami too is a character who has suffered much loss. She embraces morality and virtue but also knows she has a dark side she represses. She has a bad temper. And from the time we first get to know Cami, she reveals that she fears the darkness and madness that overtook her own twin will one day overtake her.
Second Example: Natalie in Forever Knight
Similar to The Originals, Natalie is a human who brings out the softer side of Nick, a somewhat villainous vampire. She’s drawn to him from the start and unafraid which surprises him. But why is she drawn to him? How can she fall in love with a monster who has murdered others? Not until the final episode do we find out the truth of Natalie’s severe depression and loneliness (and even suicidal tendencies). She’s also quite bored with her life. Yes, she has empathy. Yes, she is kind. But, like Cami, like Jane, she is also broken. Beauty doesn’t just save the Beast. The Beast also saves her.
Third Example: Rose in Doctor Who
Rose is bored with her mundane existence. Not only that, she feels like her life has no meaning. So when she meets the Doctor – a true Byronic struggling with having killed his entire race – she finds herself coming to life. And she helps make him better. She’s empathetic and sees the good in others. But she can also be selfish in relation to the Doctor. She suffers with an idolatry for the Doctor in the same way Jane did for Rochester. Still, the Doctor gives her adventure while she takes away his loneliness. Really, they are two lonely souls who find each other. They have a similarity in spirit despite one being more light than the other.
Fourth Example: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
While Belle isn’t exactly a dark figure, she is an outcast. Characters in exile for different reasons make them more alike than a first glance might suggest.
I could go on. Look at Buffy’s severe depression and self-destructive behavior (and even avoidant tendencies). How many Beauty characters suffer great loss? When Elena meets Stefan is it not soon after her parents have died? What about Sookie? An orphan who struggles with an ability that keeps her from getting close to people. How many Beauties are depressed? Lonely? Outsiders? Again, what is it about Beauty that could allow her to love a Beast? What experiences does she have that allows her to relate to him?
And then there’s the darkness. We all have it. Beauty characters typically have a little less. But it’s still there.
Right now, Cami, our figurative rose, is showing her thorns. But really the thorns are there for protection. And Cami’s just become a little bit prickly since she turned. She’s exploring the darker aspects of herself that she’s repressed. Yes, turning Cami into a vampire – Beauty into a Beast – is a bold and even an odd move. But it’s a wonderful opportunity to explore the darker aspects of the Beauty archetype not typically looked at in storytelling. And I am interested in watching.
Still, Beauty – even as a Beast – must ultimately remain light. Cami will overcome the darkness and her inner light will once again burn brightly. Of that, I have very little doubt. That is who she is.
Well, what did you think of “Dead Angels?” Have you embraced Cami as a vampire? Let me know in the comments.
Till next time…
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