After a holiday break it’s good to let loose and have a well deserved party. The Originals avoid the cliché for once and instead attempt talks of peace between the wolves and vampires, which goes south rather quickly when Finn traps the bulk of both groups within the confines of Marcel’s old sanctuary. Camille learns of Hope’s survival and keeps a still suffering Elijah company while Rebekah meets with former harvest girl Cassie within the prison of a witch asylum run by a group of witches who once dabbled in dark magic. During her unfortunate stay, she uncovers the ghostly remains of a witch who reveals herself to be Freya, Finn’s twin sister, thought to have perished centuries ago.
A lot of characters show up in this episode marking it as probably the biggest ensemble of the season yet. I was rather impressed by how the balance worked in giving everyone ample time to deal with their particular woes and even furthered the story in ways I was hoping it would go. Marcel and his vampire ilk are still sadly the weaker piece of the whole, but if the writing continues in this direction, I don’t see a problem with their inclusion to the Freya plot to be at least on par with those of Hayley, Jackson and the wolves.
With Finn taking hold as the current show’s antagonist, I certainly wasn’t prepared for him to use Mikael as such a tool against Klaus and the others. I thought maybe Mikael was in on the plan, but with Esther seemingly removed from play, both immortal parents appear to be out of the main arc as of now. I think it’s a good point to shelf their characters for now, maybe reintroduce them back into the fold when Freya and Dalia are inserted into the next major arc. KIaus and crew may need them for a stronger battle if they can’t survive on their own.
Relationships are relatively on stand-by. Jackson attempts to push his marriage to Hayley in timid fashion and regrets having mildly flipped out when hearing that Hayley and Elijah slept together recently. Still, he took a higher ground and gave Hayley a ring to maintain his wish that they honor and maintain their pact to save the wolves. The more honorable and humble he becomes the more I cringe that he’s not a mainstay character of the season. Flawed characters are designed for longevity and Jackson is proving to be a little too flawless for his own good. It could lead to an uncomfortable demise and my money is their wedding night won’t be terribly romantic and long-lasting, for mostly him.
It was interesting and fresh to see Camille put some focus on Elijah, something we haven’t seen too much if at all on the show. He does a good job at resisting the effects that Esther placed in him, and I enjoyed their banter with the game they played. Camille played at some of her psychological tactics, but ultimately didn’t need them as Elijah found his own way to cope with his condition. He still remains to be a conflicted character, but morally rises to the occasion when needed.
A lot of props to the actress portraying Rebekah, her accent is spot on and I had no trouble believing she was Rebekah trying to anxiously escape from the witch asylum. Cassie does an okay job at explaining where they are and who controls the establishment, but I’m still fuzzy on why that place even exists at all and why Freya is locked up in a coffin with only ghostly conditions to work with. I’m interested in this sub-plot because it incorporates a major player, but at the same time I’m weary that it’s purpose is just to provide the witches an equal amount of screen time. This show is nothing if not bent on showing large groups of each faction, continuously showing the concept of war by numbers.
Klaus remains his usual pesky annoyed self. One bit of flavor he added was his facial responses to Finn’s villainous declaration while they were on the phone. In a way he showed us what we were thinking as an audience, which I appreciate. His deduction that Kol was responsible for Rebekah’s disappearance came a little too abrupt, something I expected to be dragged out for at least another episode, but I can see why things have to move along.
In response to the plot and tone, I go back to my earlier statement. Everything felt well balanced between the characters and the plot managed to give Finn more relevance as he’s finally stepping out of his mother’s shadow, albeit out of betrayal from the woman herself than anything else. Is he going to be upgraded to full on villain? I have my doubts. He fueled by Esther’s original plan, but with Esther no longer the focal point of that plan, Finn is more likely to divert and attempt to destroy the wolves and vampires through his own agenda. I imagine we’ll get another solid episode of him as the arc’s antagonist, before it shifts as intended toward Rebekah and Freya, who right now stands to be the more interesting aspect of the show so far.
I particularly liked how events led up to Freya’s reveal. It wasn’t quite clockwork but at a point it became easier to deduce that the ghost was Freya, mainly because of the importance of the coffin and the way she appeared. She was very ala “The Ring”. I don’t know why but it made more sense that it would be Freya and not another ancient witch who had been wronged and is revenging. I’m glad it’s Freya and I look forward to figuring out if she’s a pawn or a player in this game.
I have to give it to Rebekah, or at least the character portraying her. The attitude was good and the voice was almost pitch perfect. She’s trying not to be helpless and is in a key position to advance the plot now that she’s aware (though drugged) of Freya’s existence. Hopefully she doesn’t think it’s a hallucination of some sorts.
LONG TERM THOUGHTS
I can’t imagine that Josh and Aiden being a couple will be that big of a deal to the werewolves in the long run. Surely in their time there have been instances where vamps and wolves got friendlier than expected. It’s not unheard of. An actual character has to have a problem with that and all the annoying werewolf characters have been taken out already. Jackson won’t see this as a threat so unless they introduce a new character who hates the vampires more it’s not going to be an issue.
Kol telling Klaus that putting Rebekah in the asylum was a practical joke felt like too much of a cop-out. It ruined his standing with Klaus and makes it so her crossing with Freya was purely happenstance born of a cheap payback. The writing could have been slightly better in this case.
How did Finn take out Mikael? Not much explanation there which was why I thought Mikael let it happen, but that really doesn’t make sense in its own right.
Is Hope in any real danger at this point now that Esther is out of the picture? I believe Finn finding out would result in his awareness that Dalia’s presence is all but assured, but who left currently stands to put Hope in any danger?
Does this also mean that Finn is in control of the white oak stake? Or does Klaus still have it? I’ll have to rummage through my own reviews to remember this detail >__<
“Gonna Set Your Flag on Fire” put The Originals back on track from the break. I give it a solid 7 out of 10. While it balanced the large ensemble of characters, it also subtly transitioned into the next piece of the puzzle while effectively taking Esther and Mikael out of the game. I think Esther was removed too soon, but Finn effectively killing her (so to speak) felt like the right move. Klaus doesn’t deserve it and no one else really has that right. With Freya officially on board, the next few episodes show a lot of promise. I wouldn’t delay Hayley’s marriage for too much longer. It can be the focal point of an episode but it also needs to showcase the importance of it while enticing us with the possibility of someone’s permanent death. Welcome back all.
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