Every episode of The Originals’ second season has been better than the one that preceded it a week prior and “Red Door” was no exception. The continued focus on the family dynamic is driving the show to incredible heights while slowly peeling back the layers of these larger than life, mostly invincible characters to reveal secrets we never would have guessed, but make perfect sense now that they’re out in the open.
This week, we learned the true story of Tatia, the first of the Petrova doppelgangers and a woman who Elijah and Klaus both loved. In season three of The Vampire Diaries, we were told that Esther had taken Tatia, used her magical doppelganger blood to turn the Mikaelson family into vampires and later used the rest of her blood to bind Klaus’ werewolf side. It was assumed Esther killed her, that’s what the audience took away from the story and what Elijah and Klaus believed, but the truth turned out to be much darker.
As Esther held Elijah captive, she starved him and attempted to break his will so he’d be forced to remember what really happened – how his hunger and inability to control it led to him feeding from Tatia until she died. Then he brought her to Esther to fix her, but it was too late. So Esther did what any good, loving, completely insane mother would do – she ordered Elijah to clean himself up and to forget, to bury the misdeed behind the red door and that’s exactly what he did, except he did it too well.
Suddenly Elijah’s need for nice suits and clean hands between victims means something much darker and painful than just a quirky, BAMF character trait. Thanks to Esther, cleaning himself after each kill and hiding behind his suits is his way of coping with his monstrous deeds and still finding ways to be a noble, honorable man. The truth has been right in front of our faces all along and the same with Elijah – more than once, he’s pointed out that he doesn’t think of himself as honorable, other people gave him that label. But until Esther got in his head and opened that red door, I do think a part of Elijah did believe that his code made him less vile than other vampires and now that’s broken.
But Esther is far from done with her son since he still hasn’t agreed to trade in his body for that of a witch and join her crazy family rebuild. So Esther put him to sleep where he dreamed of Hayley coming to rescue him. She offered her blood and he tried to refuse, but she insisted she trusted him and after a passionate kiss, he gave in and drank from her. As much as I loved these scenes as a fan of this couple, I’m worried about Elijah’s mental state because Esther is breaking him down way too fast and it’s horrifying and fascinating to watch. Someone seriously needs to call in the Vampire Rescue Squad.
Elsewhere in the bayou, Klaus accidentally sent Cami right into Mikael’s waiting arms (with the white oak stake in her hand) so he could have a private moment with Kaleb, who he pretty much instantly recognized as Kol (all the points to Klaus for correctly identifying brothers in new bodies and none for you, Elijah). The two traded insults, Klaus realized Cami was gone and ordered Kol to wake Davina so they could find Mikael. He refused so Klaus took off on his own (and we’ll get back to this shortly).
Finn called and when Kol ignored him, he sent some kind of magic to make Kol’s nosebleed. If there was any doubt Kol got the body of a weaker witch than Esther and Finn, this cleared it up – and it was a smart call on Esther’s part because Kol can only be trusted to look out for Kol. Tasked with killing Davina’s unlinking spell or killing Davina, Kol chose to ruin the spell because he likes Davina (how much and whether it’s genuine are questions yet to be answered). But when the spell wouldn’t work, Davina attempted to channel his magic and then learned the truth – he’d ruined her spell, freed Mikael and he’s a Mikaelson.
The two began throwing magic at each other, which was pretty cool and Davina would have won, but Kol called a time out. He mentioned that he knew how to manipulate dark objects and Davina decided they needed to take the power away from the white oak stake before Mikael had a chance to kill Klaus and every vampire sired to him. The dynamic between Davina and Kol is intriguing and the actors are getting more comfortable with each other, which makes the scenes that much better. Daniel Sharman has found his niche as Kol and I’m looking forward to seeing where the character is going to go next. I do wish Davina would ease up on the angry teenager vibe (side note: loved Marcel getting into Dad mode with her).
Now, let’s circle back to Cami, who Mikael dragged through the bayou looking for food because he didn’t want to drink from his leverage (a hillbilly Halloween party was more his speed). Cami finally had a chance to see just how terrible Mikael really is (he’s the worst and Sebastian Roche is the absolute best) and she was disgusted that he hated Klaus and wanted to kill him for something that wasn’t even his fault. Mikael in turn called her the enabler of the weak and didn’t want to hear her analysis, but Cami isn’t one to back down so she kept pushing until Mikael finally exploded with the truth.
He didn’t always hate Klaus – when Klaus was born, he saw he had the eyes of a warrior and he planned for Klaus to be his favorite. But then he turned out to be weak (thanks to Esther) and Mikael was relieved to learn he wasn’t his and he hates him for killing his wife, getting Henrik killed and basically ruining the family. While most of Mikael’s reasons are insane, it was awesome to hear him say that there was a time when he didn’t hate Klaus. That’s what makes all of this heartbreaking – these people are a family and they loved each other once until everything went horribly wrong. It’s a vicious cycle that doesn’t seem to have an ending in sight because no one is ever going to forgive and forget and try to live in peace.
By the time Klaus dispatched of the compelled partygoers Mikael left for him, Mikael had changed his mind and taken a bite out of Cami, but she was still alive when Klaus arrived. Mikael tossed her on the floor and Klaus leapt across the room (very cool) to lunge at him and the latest round of father vs. son was on. Klaus’ strength seemed to surprise Mikael and he struggled to fight back until he totally cheated and threw Papa Tunde’s blade at Cami. Naturally, Klaus sped over to save her (pause to allow for swooning) and that’s when Mikael took the opportunity to drive the white oak stake through Klaus’ heart.
There are so many things I loved about this scene (that I did not breathe once during), but my favorite part was the acting choices Leah Pipes and Joseph Morgan made as they were both lying on the floor. They’re powerful actors and know how to bring the tears and sorrow, but this time, they kept their performances subtle. As Klaus started to die, he just watched Cami and she watched him right back, horrified and sad that he was slipping away. Then Mikael started to shout, demanding to know why Klaus wasn’t burning. “If you’re dead, you burn!” and that’s when a glint of hope appeared in Cami’s eyes.
Outside, Kol and Davina were taking the power away from the stake and Mikael went to investigate. As he tossed Kol around and bit Davina, Cami tried to pull the stake from Klaus’ chest. It’s not easy for a human to remove a dark object from a vampire, but she managed to get it out and then Mikael left Davina to finish killing his son. Cami, who was still weak from the blood loss, sat protectively in front of Klaus and threatened to kill Mikael if he came anywhere near them. Obviously, he could and would squash her like a bug, but this is why Cami is the best – she’s going to fight for the people she cares about until the very end, no matter what the consequences to herself.
Mikael was actually impressed by that and decided he’d keep her warrior heart for a souvenir. But Marcel arrived just in time with Hayley in tow and they managed to keep Mikael occupied long enough for Klaus to wake up and get back on his feet. The wide shot of everyone standing behind Klaus while Mikael stood alone was awesome because Mikael has always taunted Klaus about not having anyone care about him and Klaus has always believed it. Now he’s got people who have his back and Mikael is there to witness how much things have changed. Weakened and outnumbered, Mikael took off, but he told Klaus it wasn’t the end.
Before we wrap up, there are a few quick things I want to mention: how did Davina get the white oak stake? Cami had it and I can’t see her agreeing to give it to her knowing the young witch wants to kill Klaus. Sassy Finn continues to be the best – his anti-voicemail comment cracked me up and I think even he sees how crazy Esther is at times. I love that Klaus didn’t fault Kol for wanting to come back to life, only for his bad taste in friends. Marcel and Hayley’s friendship works for me – the actors have an easy vibe that makes it believable in spite of everything that’s happened with their characters. And finally, Klaus’ face in the flashback when he realized he killed six people and Elijah comforting him with a hug and a forehead touch as he assured him nothing would change between them broke me into a million little pieces – family above all else.