One of the things The Originals is very good at is packing a lot of fantastic story into 42 minutes of television each week. I think this show could easily run two hours every Monday and still leave the viewers craving more of each storyline when the credits rolled. “Brotherhood of the Damned” gave the spotlight stories to Marcel and Finn and both men ran with them, but it wasn’t as if the rest of the cast was left twiddling their thumbs. All the main players (and some of the recurring guest cast) had shining moments in the episode.
Let’s start with the werewolves since they are forever destined to be the story I care about the least (no offense to the actors, but after 33 episodes, I still have no affinity for the plight of the wolves). Hayley found out from Jackson’s grandma (Debra Mooney, you guys!) that before they could get married, they had to smoke a flower and spill all their secrets. Naturally Hayley balked because she’s got to protect Hope, but Jackson reassured her that he’d be with her every step of the way.
Jackson is either the nicest guy in the world or the best liar ever. I’ve been hoping all along that it’s the latter because I think he’d be far more interesting as a manipulative bad guy who’s been messing with Hayley’s head all this time to get her power rather than a lovesick fool who’s been in love with an idea of a girl he’s never met and then stalked until she agreed to be his bride. Either way, I don’t see Jackson making it out of this season alive and thanks to Aiden’s info, Klaus is already on his way to Granny’s to have a word with Mama Wolf about loyalty and keeping secrets.
Meanwhile, as Kol tried his best to avoid being vampire food, Klaus stood over Davina’s shoulder at the church, annoying her as she tried to do a spell to find Finn. She was able to see him channeling Mikael and Esther and deduced he was working on a representation spell. At the safe house, Elijah confessed the truth about Tatia to Cami and admitted he feared telling Klaus because his brother was not good at the whole forgiveness thing.
All three of those scenes were short lived in order to get to the main plot, but they are exactly the kind of thing I could have watched for an entire episode. Kol’s mouth gets him in trouble quite often along with the arrogance he shares with his siblings that they’re better than everyone else. It’s fun watching him push the vampires only for Marcel to have to swoop in and rescue him. It’s also fun watching Davina and Klaus snipe at each other (I also enjoyed her slapping him when he was unconscious). Cami and Elijah play extremely well off each other with just the right mix of humor and sass combined with seriousness that the heavy situation calls for (and I think it’s pretty obvious Daniel Gillies and Leah Pipes enjoy working together).
But as much fun as the rare pairings and humorous moments are, nothing is better than multiple Originals in one room. Finn cast a spell that trapped their minds in a hunt room, using their spirit animals (a wolf for Klaus, a fox for Kol, a stag for Elijah and a boar for Finn). He wanted to figure out his brothers’ secrets and started systematically going through the list of what was important to Klaus. He would set the vampires free to ravage New Orleans, killing locals and exposing their secrets. When that didn’t impress Klaus, he attempted to end Kol’s life faster by tempting the vampires with his blood. Then he sent Kol back before he could tell Klaus where Rebekah was, potentially letting Kol die with the secret of their sister’s location.
Finn started to get even more agitated when his brothers still wouldn’t give him what he wanted, even when he mocked Elijah’s mental problems. Yusuf Gatewood owned every second of these scenes, which is not easy to do when working opposite Gillies and Joseph Morgan. Finn’s anger was palpable, every rise in his voice or narrowing of his eyes felt like something that had built up inside him for 1,000 years. His spite and hatred toward his brothers grew with each passing second and as they continued to defy him, he settled down and prepared for the long haul, determined to keep them there until one or both of them cracked. Gatewood played each beat and nuance of Finn’s character flawlessly.
When Finn’s back was turned, a hint of fear passed through Klaus’ eyes (and that was all it took to remind everyone Morgan is the best actor on this show). Elijah, forever the smartest person in any room, had figured out that the key to the spell was their connection to their spirit animals. So he confessed the truth to Klaus – he was not the noble stag because he’d allowed their mother to hide his darkest deed. Down on his knees, Elijah literally laid himself at his brother’s mercy and apologized for taking away their love and for not having the courage to tell him. Finn correctly pointed out that confessing just proved how noble he was, but Klaus had another card to play, one Finn never expected. He forgave Elijah because family matters above all else.
I could write an entire review just on the moment Klaus put his hand on Elijah’s shoulder. Everything about this was perfect. Klaus has come a long way as a character and not just because of Hope. He’s learned to trust Elijah and Rebekah and Hayley and Cami and Marcel (he even tried to put his faith in Kol, but Kol betrayed him). He believes in his family and he’s accepted their love and because of that acceptance, he can and will forgive Elijah for killing Tatia. Klaus doesn’t need to cling to petty jealousy over a woman long dead because he has Elijah (and Rebekah and Hayley and Cami and Marcel and of course Hope) in the here and now.
Finn’s hunt room started to fall apart so he retreated before Klaus and Elijah could hurt him and the brothers returned back to their bodies. Unfortunately, Finn was nowhere near done. He headed to Marcel’s to immobilize the vamps and kidnap Marcel so he could weed around in his brain and find out Klaus’ secret. Nothing good is going to come from this since we know a witch can get around compulsion.
Now, let’s back up and talk about Marcel because this episode belonged to him just as much as it did the Mikaelson brothers (maybe more). Do you guys remember the first time we saw Marcel in the backdoor pilot? He was singing “How Do You Like Me Now?” and we basically all fell in love with him. Since then, there have been long stretches of time where the writing does not do Marcel (or Charles Michael Davis) justice. It’s hard to root for a character who’s fighting against the Originals so I always prefer it when we see Marcel as part of the family and I never get tired of being reminded how much Klaus loves him.
This episode gave us that reminder in two very different ways: in the present, Klaus promised to do “whatever it takes” to get Marcel out of the compound so he could give him his blood and save him from the werewolf bite. In flashbacks to the past, we saw Klaus angry at Marcel for wanting to leave New Orleans and the family (but mainly him) to go fight in World War I. Klaus even showed up at base camp to try and tempt Marcel to come home. This was the possessive Klaus who wanted everyone to fall in line and do things his ways so I can’t really blame Marcel for turning down his offer twice, even if it was made out of love in Klaus’ depraved Klaus way of loving people.
But the war flashbacks were not about Klaus. They were about Marcel and how he came into his own and learned to step up as a leader. In the present, his vampires were starving and there was little he could do to help them. They didn’t appreciate him protecting Kol and they were even less happy when they learned he’d been bit and kept that from him too. In contrast, during the war, Marcel had a very clear idea of what it meant to be a team and how similar it was to the concept of family. He stepped up to lead the men (including Joe, who had quickly figured out that there was something supernatural about Marcel). When things took a turn for the worse, Marcel had a choice to make: let all of his brothers die or turn them into vampires so they could live to fight another day as a unit.
Marcel gave two amazing speeches, one in the present, one in the past, to rally the troops and remind them who they were and what they were fighting for. Davis always flourishes when he delivers one of Marcel’s speeches, but hitting every note on two major speeches in one episode is unbelievably impressive (it’s also a reminder why this actor and character should have more to do so get on that, writers). Marcel turned all of his men and then led them into battle where they used their newfound vampire abilities to attack. In the present, he reminded the vampires he’d created why they thrived in this city and why they couldn’t throw that away just because they were starving. All they had to do was make it across the river to his place and everything would be okay. He would make sure they survived.
Sadly, Marcel didn’t make it through the streets. As he and the hungry vamps moved through the crowded parade, his werewolf bite got the best of him and he collapsed. This could have been catastrophic on every level, but it wasn’t because Marcel’s vampires respect him and they trust him. They got him back to the loft without hurting a single human and while the vamps fed on his stored blood bags, Gia stayed with him and made sure Klaus’ blood healed him. She’d been the loudest of the detractors, but Marcel forgave her instantly because he wanted his people to question authority and speak their minds (a key difference between him and Klaus). And was it just me or were sparks flying all over the place between them? Of course Finn ruined the moment with his pesky kidnappings, but it still deserves a round of applause.
Next week, Klaus is off to confront Hayley and Finn’s digging through Marcel’s brain. Who’s going to find out about Hope first: Jackson or Finn?