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‘The Originals’ Season 1 Finale Review: Finding Hope in the Mess We’ve Made

Annette Brown/The CW

There was never a doubt in my mind that The Originals season finale would destroy me to the point that ripping out my own heart would probably hurt a lot less than what the show had in mind. “From a Cradle to a Grave” more than lived up to that. It was incredibly painful and filled with powerful performances from talented actors who brought their A-game like never before.

But it was so much more than emotional havoc and ugly sobbing. The episode was brilliant. It tied up loose ends, gave our heroes the most bittersweet of wins and it beautifully setup the next chapter of the story without missing a beat. I was more than ready to give in to the ache in my chest and just spend the rest of the night sobbing, but then there was that final scene – that OMFG moment that’s going to keep fans guessing and theorizing all summer. Make no mistake though – we’ll still be crying in the corner for the foreseeable future as we celebrate a fantastic first season.

Bob Mahoney/The CW
Bob Mahoney/The CW

So let’s talk about the episode, which began with an instant punch to the gut. It was a flashback scene to Hayley writing her baby a letter and Klaus interrupting and assuming she’d been writing a love letter to one of the men in her life. Hayley let Klaus feel the baby kick and it was a beautiful, sweet moment for the expectant parents. Then of course we flash to present day where Hayley is being forced into giving birth in the church and Klaus can’t help her because he’s weak and the witches easily pin him against the wall, powerless.

Baby Girl Mikaelson arrives and Genevieve lets Hayley hold her while Klaus watches, but the moment is over when Monique slits Hayley’s throat and the witches take the baby away. I think most of us expected Hayley to come back a hybrid eventually, but knowing that she was coming back did nothing to make the scene less gut wrenching when Elijah walked in and saw Klaus cradling a dead Hayley. Klaus gave his brother blood to cure his wolf bites and then they headed to the cemetery to search for the witches. That was when Elijah finally let out his grief.

I’ve been a card-carrying Elijah fangirl since his first episode of The Vampire Diaries so it should go without saying that this scene broke me, but I’m going to say it anyway because Daniel Gillies was phenomenal as Elijah blamed Klaus for his sins costing Hayley her life and taking away their family’s only hope. Gillies’ voice cracked as he reminded his brother that he didn’t let anyone in and he’d let Hayley in and he needed her (seriously, just stab me next time, writers. It’ll hurt less). Klaus reminded his brother that the baby was still out there and Elijah could tell his niece how much her mother meant to him. Unfortunately, the witches were screwing with them and blocking the brothers from finding them in the cemetery.

Annette Brown/The CW
Annette Brown/The CW

As expected, Hayley woke up in the church and then found Klaus and Elijah in the cemetery. They realized she was in transition and she’d need to drink the baby’s blood to become a hybrid or she’d die (okay, I actually forgot about that part of the hybrid process). The three set out to find the witches, who had already started the sacrifice ritual. The witches had the ancestors helping them, but Klaus, Hayley and Elijah fought back and managed to injure Gen and kill the blonde witch (Abigail?), but Monique still had every intention of stabbing the baby. But that’s when Marcel showed up and broke his own rule about kids – he killed Monique with a throwing star that had been cursed by the witches and caused thousands of tiny cuts to appear and she bled to death.

Marcel picked up the baby and took her back to the compound as Klaus followed (Hayley and Elijah stayed behind to deal with Gen, who revealed something else we all knew, but had never occurred to the Mikaelson brothers: Esther was pulling the witch strings. Gen started bleeding from her eyes again and Hayley killed her, which was awesome. I liked Gen and her story is tragic, but she had that coming). Back at the compound, all of Marcel’s guys were already dead (I’ll miss you most of all, Diego), but Klaus wanted to heal Marcel for saving his daughter. Marcel blamed himself since he’d brought Mikael to town, but Klaus forgave him because he’d saved the baby. He gave Marcel blood and then Klaus held his daughter for the first time (and then I was crying again, but happy tears this time, especially when Klaus and Marcel smiled at each other and the baby looked over at her big brother Marcel).

Of course while all of this was happening, no one had any clue what Davina was doing. In addition to explaining the throwing star to Marcel, she’d grabbed some items for herself from the O’Connell family weaponry. Then she proceeded to do the spell that brought Mikael back to life. It knocked them both unconscious and he was the first one to wake up and track down the white oak stake (so crafty). Mikael was approaching Klaus, who was alone in the nursery with the baby, when Davina stopped him. She’d put a failsafe into the spell – the bracelet she wore allowed her to keep Mikael on a leash so she brought him to the attic and told him that she wanted him to stay there as her secret weapon until he was needed. Well played, Davina.

Elijah, Klaus, Hayley and Baby Mikaelson were cleaned up and gathered in the nursery. Elijah and Klaus knew that the witches and their other enemies would never stop coming from them. They debated about making the compound a fortress or leaving town, but they knew the baby had inherited their enemies, but she was defenseless. Hayley had another solution and this was Phoebe Tonkin’s turn to shine. She reminded them that she’d grown up alone and unloved because her parents had been slaughtered and she’d promised the baby that she wouldn’t have to live through that – it was bad enough that she had to drink her blood if she wanted to live. Tonkin nailed all of her scenes in the episode, but this one was the most poignant as Hayley realized that the only chance the baby had was if they sent her away to keep her safe. She loved her enough to let her go, even though it was the last thing she wanted.

There’s nothing I love more in television and movies than watching characters team up to put a covert plan into action so watching the execution of this one made me so happy. The only way to keep the baby safe was to let everyone believe that she had died and that’s what they did. Marcel was sent out first and caught Oliver’s eye during Francesca’s speech. Marcel told him that he wanted to make a deal and let him know that Klaus was back on his side. Oliver was skeptical until Marcel told him that they were going to blame the wolves for the baby dying and then he left them with a baby’s body in a box (thankfully we didn’t have to see it, only Oliver’s reaction). Later, we learned that Marcel had taken a stillborn from a nearby hospital and agreed to let Klaus compel him to forget the baby was alive.

Annette Brown/The CW
Annette Brown/The CW

Cami saw a memorial for the baby and went to Klaus. This is the kind of scene that might have gotten lost in an episode like this, but the buildup between these two over the season and the compelling (no pun intended) dynamic they share made it memorable, even for people who might not ship the pairing romantically. Cami felt guilty for not learning the truth about Francesca sooner and Klaus had to tell her that it wasn’t her fault without giving away the truth of the situation. He explained that they couldn’t be friends anymore because beautiful things got broken around him and Cami was beautiful (okay, sobbing again – these two have come so far and now he’s giving her freedom from his world because he doesn’t want anything to happen to her).

Hayley and Elijah turn up at the public memorial because they know people will be suspicious if all three leave town together. Hayley’s grief is palpable once again and so is Elijah’s as he watches her. Before they’d set their plan into action, Elijah had questioned who they could trust the baby with – who could protect her and keep her safe better than they could. Again, it was easy to see where this was going and at this point, I was already crying just anticipating what was coming when Klaus said there was one person. And then we got to see Klaus and his daughter meeting up with Rebekah.

I waited until now to single out Joseph Morgan because even though he was incredible in each and every one of his scenes, he’s never been better than in this final scene as Klaus greeted his sister and entrusted her with his baby girl. Things didn’t end well between the siblings the last time we saw them together, but none of that mattered now. Rebekah teased him about the baby looking like Hayley and Klaus smiled as he pointed out that he was the devilish look in her eyes. Then he promised his daughter that he would make their home safe again and stop anyone who meant her harm so that she could come home (seriously, I don’t know how anyone who feels human emotions wasn’t sobbing at this point).

Rebekah assured Klaus that she would keep the baby safe and after Klaus put the baby in her arms, he gave her back the wooden carving he’d given her when she’d been scared as a child and Claire Holt was as flawless as ever when she let the weight of what that meant cross Rebekah’s face as Klaus told her to be happy and kissed her on the cheek, telling her that despite their differences, there’s no one he would trust more with his daughter’s life. Rebekah asked what the baby’s name was and Klaus replied that her name was Hope (and I could no longer see through my tears at that point).

But that wasn’t the end of the episode. That came when the final Harvest girl, Cassie, walked over to Esther’s grave. She was joined by a man, who looked down at the grave and said, “May you rest in peace.” But Esther had no interest in that because it wasn’t fun and told him to come along because they had much to do to which he replied, “Yes, Mother.” And just like that, not only is Esther back, but she brought Finn with her too and they’re already plotting! I repeat: Esther and Finn are back. Mikael is back. There’s a solid chance Kol will be resurrected on TVD this week. Season two is going to be even more incredible than season one.

And there you have it – a magnificent end to an amazing freshman season. I can’t even begin to imagine what these talented people have in mind for season two as Klaus, Elijah, Hayley and Marcel try to clean up the mess they’ve made while Finn, Esther and Mikael wait for their chances to ruin everyone’s happiness. Since October is much too far away, feel free to hit the comments and share your thoughts and theories with us. Did you enjoy the finale? Where do you want to see the show go from here?

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.

  • Pinkeekrane

    Hats off to Daniel Gillies,Joseph Morgan and Phoebe Tonkin this episode…Stunning acting skills from them…I cried throughout this episode.It witheld all the human emotions I can ever fathom

  • Chris

    Joesph Morgan will be the end of me. He’s such a gem

  • Stephanie Guyton

    The words are O*M*G* this so far was #handsdown the best Season finale so far. Was crying, laughing, sobbing and screaming in one hour of TO greatness. Can’t wait until the new season. Really “Hope” KOL crosses over to TO and makes the family of crazy dysfunction complete. @soapfanfiction