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‘The Originals’ Review: ‘When the Levee Breaks’


Has anyone recovered after last night’s powerful episode of The Originals? Is recovery even possible? Aside from a few bumps in the road, this show has completely come into its own in season two and to borrow an overused phrase from The Vampire Diaries, every single moment is heightened. “When the Levee Breaks” was a masterful hour of storytelling, made even more special thanks to Marguerite MacIntyre penning the script. As someone who has been on both a writer and a cast member in this universe, she brings a wonderfully unique perspective to the table and never fails to deliver.

As always, this episode was rooted in family dynamics and no one is more dangerous than when someone they love is being threatened. Even the outlying characters who are not Mikaelsons by blood were driven by love and the fierce need to protect those who matter most. What made the episode that much more tragic, is that no single person was completely in the right or wrong column. Nearly everyone made mistakes and there’s no doubt those mistakes will come back to haunt them at the worst possible time.

We began the episode with a celebratory breakfast thrown by Klaus in honor of Mikael’s latest death. Rebekah and Elijah did not share his cheerful mood. It wasn’t that they’d miss their father in the slightest. They were just (rightfully) concerned that this might have alienated Freya for good when they needed her most. Klaus doesn’t trust Freya so he didn’t care and Elijah asked not only where Mikael’s ashes, but what Klaus’ plan was, a question he repeated many times throughout the episode. But Klaus heard someone coming and ignored his brother in favor of greeting their visitor.

Josephine stood in the courtyard and if you’re thinking, ‘wait, didn’t she die last week?’ you’re correct. She was being used as a vessel by Aunt Dahlia to politely let her nephews and niece know that she expected them to turn over Hope to her by nightfall the next day. She made it clear that it was nothing personal. She just wanted what was owed to her and if they had issues, they should definitely blame Esther, but really, they should be thanking her for their existence in the first place. Thanks to Meg Foster being flawless, this scene felt exactly like Dahlia herself was standing in front of them asking for a civilized exchange. And in typical Klaus fashion, his response was to knock her head off and go about his day.

At the magic-free jazz club, Jackson still wanted to take the baby and run, but Hayley had another idea: what if they could find a way to stop her from doing magic? That way Dahlia wouldn’t be able to track her. She had a plan, but it was dangerous and that’s when Aiden stepped up to volunteer. He felt guilty about double crossing them and wanted to make it right. Meanwhile, Rebekah tracked Freya down in the cemetery and tried to get her big sister to understand just how terrible Mikael was to everyone but her. Freya was done playing around. She didn’t care how abusive was, she didn’t believe he deserved to die and she wanted Rebekah and Elijah to choose once and for all: her or Klaus?

Back at the compound, Elijah was not amused to find Klaus painting, even if he did understand his brother often strategized with a brush in hand. But he wanted to be part of that plan and stressed to Klaus that he needed to trust someone and it should be him. Klaus agreed that he needed his brother, his closest ally, his blood, more than ever, but the problem was that Elijah hadn’t been the same since Esther played around in his mind. Klaus didn’t like that Elijah trusted Freya. He makes very valid points that Freya helped Finn go to the safe house to try and kill Hope and she also brought him back to life. He thinks she might have brought Eva Sinclair to the surface too. Elijah reiterates that if there’s no trust between them, they can’t work together and Klaus agrees. This scene could have been infuriating in lesser hands, one more sibling squabble at the worst time. Instead, between the dialogue and Joseph Morgan and Daniel Gillies playing off each other with the believability of 1,000 year history hanging over their characters’ heads, the scene felt exactly like what it was: the final cracks slicing through their bond.

Aiden sneaks into the compound and pockets the anti-magic cuffs. Klaus catches him and wants to know why he’s not watching Hayley, Jackson and Hope like a good double agent and Aiden feeds him a lie about going back for a stuffed rabbit Hope misses. Klaus buys it for the most part because he’s desperate for loyalty and he believes Aiden’s been a good soldier. But he warns him not to betray him or he’ll kill him. The foreshadowing might have been heavy handed throughout the hour, but the show made it work. Like any Shakespearian tragedy, the audience goes into The Originals knowing that something bad is likely going to happen (and we still don’t know how to recover when it does). Aiden brought the cuffs to Davina and asked her to use the magic to create something they can put on Hope so Jackson and Hayley can run. Josh fears Aiden will die once Klaus finds out, but Aiden doesn’t care because he needs to fix the mistake he made going against his pack.

As Rebekah fills Marcel in on her brother’s latest drama and wishes there was some way to ship him off until all was said and done, it was Elijah’s turn to visit Freya. He gave her Mikael’s carving knife and told his sister about the figurines Klaus used to make for him and Rebekah and how art is still therapy for him. Freya remained unaffected by Klaus’ tragic past and attempted to give Elijah the same ultimatum she gave Rebekah. But Elijah had no use for that and made it clear to her that he and Klaus would defeat Dahlia and Freya needed to get on the winning side with her family or doom herself to a life of loneliness. This scene was great because it never crosses Elijah’s mind that failure is an option when family is on the same side and he’s right because that’s how they’ve defeated their enemies for over a thousand years. He does get through to Freya, but she asks him to swear to her that he will not allow Klaus to be their undoing. And I truly believe this is the moment Elijah made up his mind as far as what his actions would be going forward.

Dahlia fittingly sends dahlias as a calling card and when they start to appear in the jazz club, Hayley tries to get help, but the phones aren’t working. Her werewolf army doesn’t fair well against Dahlia’s magic and soon the witch stands in the doorway as Hayley holds Hope. But Dahlia isn’t there to take the baby just yet. She just wanted to meet her (seems normal, right?). Dahlia can tell her magic will be compromised so she doesn’t set foot in the club, even as Hayley’s hybrid side comes out and she’d love to tear her apart. Claudia Black continues to own every scene she’s in as she calmly explains to Hayley that when she gives her word, she keeps it and she expects others to do the same. That’s why Hope belongs to her and she once again blames Esther and accuses Freya of being dramatic. But she concedes that her mistake was waiting too long to take Freya. She won’t do that again with Hope and she assures that Hope will be fine and won’t even remember her. What I love about Dahlia is that even though she’s all kinds of insane, she’s very rational and polite and obviously believes she’s doing the right thing. That is the ultimate terrifying villain.

Cami shows up to see Klaus and at first he’s not receptive since he correctly assumes Elijah sent her to deal with his disobedience, but Cami being Cami manages to get him to spend some time at a café with her talking about his problems. Again, he makes valid points about Freya when he points out that they are all products of the people who raised them. He’s exactly like Mikael, despite their hatred for each other, and he believes that Freya is just as crazy as Dahlia. The audience knows that Freya does want to remove Klaus from the family so he’s right to be paranoid, but the question remains whether or not that’s all she wants. He’s an obstacle in her quest to be accepted, but is there more to her plans? I believe there is and I think Klaus will be proven right, which only adds to the tragedy of it all. Cami tries to get Klaus to talk about Mikael and what it meant to finally work side by side with him and Klaus admits it was the best day they’d ever shared, but he still daggered him because he kills his enemies and sometimes his friends because he’s not a terribly good person. He says it with his familiar smirk in place and Leah Pipes perfectly conveyed the hint of fear in Cami’s eyes that Klaus means what he says, but also her trademark doubt because even then, she still believed Klaus wasn’t all bad (because he’s not).

the-originals-219-levee-02Aiden and Josh met in an alley and Aiden professed his love to Josh. Josh instantly knew Aiden was about to do something stupid. Aiden confirmed that he planned to tell Jackson the truth and then he asked Josh to run away with him, assuming Klaus or Jackson didn’t kill him first. Josh was hesitant at first because New Orleans was the home he never believed he could have and Aiden repeated that he wanted to meet him in two hours and walked off looking rejected, but Josh used his vamp speed to catch up and tell him that of course he’d leave with him. Aiden said that he was a pack guy and Josh was his pack now and Josh returned the ‘I love you’ and they kissed and it was a beautiful moment, but it also felt like watching a slow motion car accident because the writing was on the wall that Aiden would not be making it out of the episode alive. Happiness is not allowed on this show, guys. And I can’t even be mad about it because I love it too much to look away, even when I can feel them getting ready to tear out my heart.

Marcel goes to visit Davina at Kol’s clubhouse. He explains they’ve got a Klaus problem, but Davina is not impressed because what else is new? She is upset with Marcel though because he was not there for her when Kol died. He admits that he didn’t like him and he was wrong to leave her on her own, but he needs her help. He wants to know if they finished the dagger Kol mentioned. Davina’s pretty much done with her surrogate father at that point and I can’t say that I blame her. There’s no question Marcel hated Kol, but he loves Davina and he should have been there when she needed him. She tells him that Kol gave her the dagger for protection and she’ll decide if and when it’s going to be used.

Elijah catches up with Klaus after his therapy session and Klaus is still in no mood to hear about why he should join Team Freya. Elijah reminds his brother of the time he almost killed him back in Mystic Falls (thanks for that reference, Sheriff Forbes!). Elijah’s trying to make his brother see reason and they’ve all had reasons to distrust one another over the years, but they need to band together now. Even if Elijah is wrong about Freya’s intentions (and we don’t know for sure, but it definitely seems like it), he’s right that they need to work together now more than ever. But Klaus can’t see past his paranoia and he tells Elijah that it’s either him or Freya.

Aiden gives Jackson the chain Davina made to stop Hope from doing magic and then confesses his sins. Jackson punches him in the face and Aiden agrees that he deserves it because he let Klaus get inside his head and use his own arrogance and desire for leadership against him. Jackson continues to be the nicest guy ever and forgives him on the spot because he came through when it mattered to help Hayley and Hope. Aiden explains his plans to run away and Jackson wishes him luck, tells him he’ll always be part of the pack and gives him a hug. Having absolution was just one more sign that Aiden’s number was up, but this was still a nice moment – one that Dahlia watched from afar as Aiden walked off with a smile on his face.

At the jazz club, Elijah and Hayley argued because she didn’t call him when Dahlia showed up and she explained that she tried, but Dahlia’s magic was more powerful than cell towers and way more powerful than Klaus and Mikael and they needed to run now. Klaus arrived and took over arguing with Hayley. He didn’t want them to run and he believed that he knew how to kill Dahlia and he also believed that there was a reason Freya only wanted them to have one weapon to kill Dahlia. He never got to explain why, but my guess is that the same ingredients needed to kill Dahlia are also what’s needed to end Freya’s immortal existence and she doesn’t want her siblings to have that power against her. I’d say that’s smart on her part except I have a feeling that she’s going to do something that would warrant them wanting to kill her.

But as I said, we never got to hear Klaus’ logic because after buying flowers for Josh, Aiden was confronted by Dahlia. She explained that he was the tipping point, the perfect kindling to set Mikaelson against Mikaelson. She used her magic to slash his face (claw marks) and then rip out his heart. She left him lying dead in the alley and of course Josh and Davina were the ones to find him right after Davina tells Josh he shouldn’t feel guilty about leaving her after Kol died because at least one of them should have a happy ending. Josh desperately tried to save Aiden with his blood, even though his heart lay beside his body. Josh broke down in tears (and my heart hurt so much because they don’t deserve this). Davina, meanwhile, got a familiar look in her eyes and I think we could all guess what was coming at this point.

Jackson brought Aiden’s body to the club and shouted at Klaus for killing him because he’d confessed to being a double agent. Even after that statement, Hayley still questioned Klaus, asking if he’d killed one of the wolves sworn to protect their daughter. Klaus didn’t answer at first and then the shock on his face turned to smugness and he said, “So what if I did?” And that’s when Hayley and Elijah exchanged shocked looks because even knowing what Klaus is capable of, they didn’t believe it at first that he did it (and that’s so important). But Klaus boasted about it and promised to kill anyone else who wasn’t loyal to him. Jackson punched him. Klaus hit back. Hayley got in the middle and Klaus hit her too. That’s when Elijah stepped in to separate Klaus and Jackson. He asked Jackson if he wanted to die and then it was Hayley’s turn to hit Elijah and ask if he’d kill her too. Elijah calmly told everyone that if they come at Klaus, they come at him. Even though he believed he killed an innocent kid, Elijah was still going to stand by his brother because no one is allowed to touch his family, even the woman he loves and considers family and it was perfect (and of course deeply heartbreaking in hindsight).

A devastated Davina brought the dagger to Marcel and Rebekah and told them to put Klaus down. Back at the club, Hayley watched Jackson slip the anti-magic chain on Hope’s wrist and then she confronted Elijah. He insisted he was protecting Hope and reminded her that Klaus loved her and so did he. Hayley wanted him to let them leave and surprised Elijah by explaining that they found a way to stop Hope’s magic and Jackson knew every inch of the bayou. They’d be safe. Elijah was torn and I can’t blame him. Hayley’s plan is a pretty good one. Granted, Dahlia probably can find them anyway, but it’ll be harder without Hope’s magic in play and maybe that would give them a chance to remake their weapon and take her out once and for all. If only the Mikaelson family had sat down and hashed out their options like reasonable people, but we all know that’s not how they do things. Elijah asked Hayley what she wanted him to do and she asked him to buy them some time because they couldn’t run from Dahlia and deal with Klaus at the same time.

Klaus returns to the compound and is greeted by Cami, whose first words are, “Tell me you didn’t do it.” Like Hayley and Elijah, she doesn’t want to believe that he’s capable of something like that. And while we all know he is, we also know that Klaus has evolved over the past two seasons and I really don’t think he would have killed Aiden, just like he never killed Josh for betraying him. But the difference between Cami and Hayley and Elijah is that Cami did not let go of her belief in Klaus, even when he reminded her again that he’s a terrible person and she might as well save her disappointment because it’s her own fault. But she pushed him. She told him that maybe he’s right about Freya and maybe she is out to get him (all the more reason I’m convinced), but Freya didn’t just kill Aiden and that’s when Klaus finally says, “Neither did I!” He explains that he wants them to believe he’s capable. He wants them to fear him because then Hayley will question the wolves’ loyalty to Hope and she won’t run away because only he can protect Hope.

(Shipper bias warning: skip this paragraph if you don’t want to see it). Cami asks Klaus if she’s supposed to think he’s terrible and she takes a step closer to him because she’s not afraid and she doesn’t think he’s terrible. Klaus tells her that it would be better if she did and maybe someday they’d see each other again at a café and he’d profess the truth and she’d believe him because that’s who she is and then they’d have a perfect day together and he wishes that for them (and then there was face touching and I was no longer breathing). Klaus says if he were a better man, he would do that for her, but he’s not so instead he’s burdening her with a truth no one will believe. And I’m just dying because these two are so perfect together. She makes him want to be better, but he also knows that he doesn’t have to be with her because she’s going to stand by him. Heart eyes all over the place, guys.

But that’s not the end. Elijah realizes that Klaus put all the ingredients they needed for the weapon in the paint. He hid it in plain sight (very cool). Klaus is not happy to see him because he’s supposed to be watching Hayley, but Elijah tells him that they’re gone and he won’t find them. Klaus is furious and honestly, I can’t blame him. Hope is his daughter. No matter how shady his behavior, they don’t have the right to hide her from him. Klaus would never willingly hurt Hope and they all know that. He’s said repeatedly that he has a plan. But they don’t want to listen because all they see is the craziness. Sure, some of that is on Klaus because he’s done so much bad stuff over the years. But when has anyone ever defeated him? He’s their strongest weapon. Elijah said so himself earlier when he told Freya that they’d come up victorious. But the fear of losing Hope is clouding everyone’s judgement and that makes this hurt that much more.

Klaus and Elijah fought and as usual, Klaus got the upper hand because he’s the hybrid. He wanted to know why Elijah picked a fight he couldn’t win and that’s when Elijah stabbed him through the heart with the dagger. Klaus was stunned. Rebekah showed up and met her brother’s eyes as he started to desiccate and then Freya arrived right behind her. She was the last person Klaus saw before the dagger took full effect. As the church bells rang, Elijah’s face conveyed that he already seemed to be regretting his decision and I think that’s only going to get worse over the next few episodes. Don’t get me wrong. Klaus has done many things to deserve the dagger over the years and it’s ironic that his siblings daggered him for the same reason he always claims to dagger them: because they can’t see that they need protection. But Klaus doesn’t. Yes, he’s been behaving erratically, but he hasn’t lost his mind. He knows what he’s doing. And now he’s going to be so angry and feel more alone than ever when he wakes up, which could not happen at a worse time because the siblings should be united.

Next week, Freya’s got a plan.

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.

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