TV Recaps

‘The Originals’ Review: Victory and Defeat

Bob Mahoney/The CW

The Originals returned last night and all is once again right in the TV world. “The River in Reverse” hit the ground running and the hour passed by in a blur of vampire goodness. Before we get into everything that happened in the episode (so much stuff went down), we have to take a moment and thank the casting gods for Joseph Morgan, Daniel Gillies and Claire Holt.

These three are phenomenal separately, but when they’re together, to borrow from TVD, everything is heightened and it’s incredible to watch. Curse all the awards’ snobs for ignoring The CW year after year. It’s nice that writers of this show want to include other characters and we love (some of) them, but we would happily turn in week after week just to watch the Original siblings interact.

Now let’s get back to the episode. Here are nine things I really want to talk about:

#9 Tyler, why are you here?

I read spoilers sometimes so I knew Tyler was back for another episode, but really, there was no point to him being there. He’d already told Marcel everything about Hayley and the hybrid baby so we really didn’t need to see him recapping it for the rest of Marcel’s crew. As much fun as it was to watch Rebekah cheerfully snap his neck and put an end to the discussion of harming her niece, there was no need for Tyler in this episode.

But since we’re on the subject, is he still sleeping in the garden? Did they just dump him in a corner or did they make sure he was secure? Are we supposed to assume he just got out and headed back to Mystic Falls? Or are we just going back to pretending he doesn’t exist? Honestly, it’s time for the writers on both of these shows to either find a purpose for him or let Michael Trevino out of his contract. He’s a talented guy and deserves way more than this.

#8 Flashback Fatigue

Flashbacks have always been a part of this universe and I both love and hate them. This week’s was the result of Elijah’s werewolf bite hallucinations and we were taken back to a time when Elijah was getting cozy with Celeste (who, interestingly enough turned out to be a witch). Naturally Klaus didn’t like it because Elijah’s attention wasn’t focused on him so he picked a fight with some soldiers and was leaving a trail of bodies. Elijah warned him that Mikael was going to find them (side note: please bring Sebastian Roche back soon). But Klaus had blamed it on the witches and basically put a target on their backs.

Celeste ended up dead and even though he didn’t kill her, Klaus put the whole thing in motion and the flashback served as a warning to present day Elijah that he can’t have happiness because Klaus will wreck it. I get the point, but overall, I wasn’t impressed with these flashbacks. I don’t feel like we needed another reminder that Klaus is super possessive and his siblings let him be because they love him and he still doesn’t see that. Lather, rinse, repeat…

#7 The Latest Werewolf Curse

It’s no secret that I find werewolves the least appealing of all the supernatural creatures so I wasn’t overly interested in this storyline with Hayley and her family. But I have to give props to the writers for finding a way to put a new spin on it. Remember that wolf we kept seeing and how they made a point of saying there was no full moon? It turns out that Marcel had a witch put a curse on the werewolves (the ones he hadn’t managed to banish or slaughter) that left them in their animal state so they needed a full moon to turn human instead of the other way around. That is pretty cool and also the extent of how invested I am in this storyline. Oh, I also liked that Elijah was annoyed at the werewolf for trying to stake him.

#6 Can we keep sarcastic Cami and ditch the rest of her storyline?

Watching Cami sass Klaus while being forced to type his memoirs was hilarious. Cami mocking him over being paranoid and then chastising him for stealing her time was the best. But everything else about Cami and Klaus’ relationship gives me a headache. I like that she’s smart enough to write herself notes using the secret language she once shared with her twin and I like that she was able to piece things together enough to discover a photo of Klaus and Marcel from 1919. My issue comes with the part where Klaus cares so much about her.

I get what the writers are trying to say. Cami is the human version of Klaus. She has an obsession that’s killing her and he wants to stop him from ending up like him. That would be sweet if it wasn’t Klaus. This guy is selfish to the core and I have a hard time believing that he would care this much about a woman he barely knows. This is the same guy who stabbed a girl he admitted caring about with a lamp and then bit her to prove a point. I just can’t wrap my head around believing that Klaus cares enough about Cami to try and get her to leave town for her safety.

#5 Rebekah and Marcel managed to win and lose

Even before the spoiler pictures for 1×09 were released, there was never a doubt in my mind that Klaus would not end up in the garden, even for part of an episode. Marcel might have an army, but Klaus is strong and super motivated to win so no one stood a chance against him. But for the first time, I started to believe in Marcel and Rebekah’s love and how much they care about each other and that’s why I’m calling this a ‘win’ even though it really wasn’t. Marcel wanted to sentence Klaus for 52 years to punish him for Rebekah’s missing 52 years (That’s sweet, but remember how he chose being a vampire over loving her?).

Rebekah telling Marcel to pick up the coin so Klaus wouldn’t kill him was awesome. I seriously can’t say enough good things about Holt. Her face tells the audience everything without her uttering a single word and the agony that she was feeling during the battle was (sad) beautiful and tragic. Major props to Charles Michael Davis as well. Marcel has been hit and miss with me, but Davis has always been great and this episode put me firmly back in Team Marcel camp. What I loved most about their scenes was that as much as Rebekah and Marcel want to punish Klaus, they want to live more and put a stop to the slaughter because of that.

#4 Klaus Killing Everyone Like a Boss

These scenes were so good. Klaus loves to brag about being the big, bad, immortal hybrid and he got to put that into action this week when he took on everyone. Even in chains, Klaus was bringing the pain and suffering to those that tried to stop him. I thought Klaus deserved what he was getting and I still hated seeing him get beat up by all those vampires. How dare they? Seriously, that is good TV.

#3 Marcel Gives Klaus a Lesson in Loyalty

Again, I need to compliment Davis on his performance. When he got down on his knees, grabbed that coin and pledged his kingdom to Klaus to stop the terror, I got chills. But it was the speech he gave his ‘friend’ later that really hit home. As Marcel and Klaus watched Diego respectfully attending to the dead, Marcel told Klaus that he could have his home and his title, but he’d never have the loyalty that he had because that had to be earned and Klaus didn’t know how to do that. I love this recurring theme on the show because it’s true. Fear and power cannot buy love and loyalty. The vampire army will never be Team Klaus for real because he will never treat them like people.

#2 ♥♥♥ Hayley and Elijah ♥♥♥

I’m really curious if the writers intended to set up a potential romance between these two or if they saw the chemistry between Gillies and Phoebe Tonkin and just went with it. Either way, I love it, I want more of it and it’s the greatest. Hayley refused to leave Elijah’s side, wasn’t overly bothered by his sex flashbacks and didn’t even get that upset when he tried to kill her (we saw Elijah’s vampire face, guys! It finally happened!). But let’s be real. The best part of their interaction was in the car when they held hands. THEY HELD HANDS. Excuse me while I swoon.

Okay, setting aside the fangirl feelings for a moment to be serious. I loved that Hayley wanted to know the full story on Celeste and that Elijah only hesitated for like a second before he showed her. I love that even after that, Hayley wanted to go there and Elijah pointed out the risk, but he still held her hand for another moment. Everything about their relationship is treacherous and probably doomed if Klaus has anything to say about it, but I still love that they can’t hide how much they’re drawn to each other.

#1 Team Mikaelson Remains Fractured

It hurts my heart that these three can’t get along, but I also know that there wouldn’t be much of a show if they were all sitting around happy in their living room (I’d watch that show too though). I don’t even know where to start with how good these scenes were. First, Klaus taunting Rebekah about only having one dagger and two siblings, Elijah coming in and getting between them and then Klaus gesturing with the dagger as he screamed at Elijah for trying to steal his baby because of his interest in Hayley.

These scenes were super powerful and Klaus pointing out that his siblings didn’t have faith in him even though he hadn’t done anything bad (prior to biting Elijah) in order to make up for daggering Elijah was poignant. But I still have to side with Rebekah and Elijah because this is beyond a ‘fool me once’ kind of thing. Klaus has been screwing them both over for years and maybe he does love his baby or maybe he just sees it as property, but either way, I don’t blame Rebekah or Elijah for thinking the worst.

I wasn’t surprised he didn’t dagger either of them (can’t have the leads in boxes), but I’m not sure how we’re supposed to feel about him leaving them. It’s not the first time he’s done this. Klaus chooses power over family a lot. But I doubt he’s going to be happy ruling over a kingdom that doesn’t love him, even if he did order and threaten Hayley into joining him so he could keep the baby close. I’m really curious (and nervous) about what the midseason finale has in store for us next week.

Now it’s your turn. Feel free to hit the comments and share your thoughts on the episode and your predictions for next week!

About the author

Mandy Treccia

Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that. Follow her on Twitter at @SourceMandy.