A Sashurai’s Review: The Originals – Season 3×04 (Vampires: The Masquerade. The Camarilla and Sabbat are gonna be pissed)

TO 3x04

SUMMARY

Marcel agrees to an invitation to Tristan’s gathering of Elijah’s bloodline which sees him being tested for a possible position among the elite group. Elijah and Hayley attend to witness while Lucien and Klaus devise a plan to rescue Alexis who Freya locates is at the party after discovering she’s missing. Unbeknownst to all, Aurora stealthily arrives with an agenda of her own as Marcel must win his test or die at the hands of The Stricts.

INITIAL THOUGHTS

This was a much better presentation of the blueblood lineage of vampires than Lucien’s attempt at it, although it was chalk full of strange plot holes and some questionable choices in incongruent fashion. The sire war is still in the early stages of games and mysteries of loyalty, but the Mikaelson’s delight in their roles and capitalize in their moments as they are expected to. A well fought and savage vampire duel was a good step in the right direction and Aurora’s sly cameo offers intrigue and more questions under Elijah’s narration on the very person herself. Quality episode if not for a stream of logistical questions that scattered all-throughout.

RECAP

Marcel receives an invitation to appear at a vampire event involving Elijah’s bloodline but run by Tristan who intends to run Marcel through an initiation to prove if he’s worthy of joining their elite society. Hayley receives one of her own and shows Elijah who sees it as an opportunity to review what his bloodline has been up to with Hayley by his side. Freya, Hayley, Elijah, and Klaus agree they need to retrieve Alexa and discover more on the visions she has of their future. After finding Lucien, they return to his suite and discover Alexis has gone missing. Freya finds she’s at Tristan’s party and devise a plan to infiltrate it. At the party Marcel’s daylight ring is stolen and Tristan informs him his test is to find who took it and fight the culprit to the death or risk death himself. Marcel begins his quest while Klaus and Lucien enter the establishment drunk and distracting. Freya slips through and finds Alexis in a room alone. She’s resistant and fights with her witch abilities until Freya physically knocks her out. Tristan forces Marcel to choose before dawn who stole his ring and Marcel selects Aya’s mentor, a hardened vampire elite fighter who combats him and is victorious. After biting Marcel, the vampire discovers wolf venom in Marcel’s blood, caused by Hayley during the party as a hail-mary plan from Marcel. Tristan kills the vampire and returns the ring to Marcel saying he passed the test. Later, Klaus gives Marcel his blood knowing Marcel needs to be by his side. When Alexis awakens, Hayley and Elijah bite her to view the visions only to find that Alexis was poisoned. The responsible party is revealed to be Aurora who spiked Alexis’s drink at the party presumably to help Tristan, but the real answer is still unknown.

THE GOOD

The party was well done in size, venue, and moments of intrigue. I liked the subtle explanations on their privacy and staying in the shadows and how they interact with celebrities and important figures, but for the most part laying low. This is our first real foray into the lavish lifestyle of vampires not including the Mikaelsons and it’s worlds apart from most of the vampires we’ve been used to seeing that are more grounded like Marcel and his crew. The best explanation was how Elijah briefly told Hayley how he tried to create a society of vampires that were a cut above the rest in that aura of nobility and exalted form, but that they grew too arrogant and narrow-minded even for him. My only complaint in that explanation was that he allowed that group to live instead of dispatching all of them. Leadership guilt perhaps, but Elijah shouldn’t have shied away because until recently when dealing with other vampires and killing them, it was rarely looked on that the vampires in question belonged to any particular original and it meaning anything before they died. In the past two seasons Elijah could have killed any number of his own sire line and I don’t think he’d have batted an eyelash about it.

Klaus and Lucien distracting Tristan and the party was an interesting segment and benefited from Klaus’s mega-sense of out performing his own ego. When you have a guy like Klaus appear the lesser of two evils against a self-proclaimed elitist group of vampires, you know they must be up to no good. It was intentionally a harmless way to play at words and cut-downs which tells us that the real bloody violence will soon be on its way.

In some way, I enjoyed Marcel’s test and how he handled himself. He hasn’t had a lot of focus, but every now and then he’ll get some good solid dedication and really perform at a level equal to the Mikaelsons. His highlight came at the gamble of taking Hayley’s bite and withstanding his opponent long enough to beat him or at the least, take him with him.

THE BAD

On that same token, Marcel’s test had a grip of flaws, most notably that we didn’t get to participate in his quest to find the culprit who took the ring. At no point were we really given any clues to decipher on our own. In truth, once we knew Marcel had to fight someone, it became horribly obviously he was going to fight the one vampire who Aya said trained her. Getting to that point was just a formality. And being able to fight and sustain himself as long as he did with Hayley’s bite doesn’t sound to logical in the rules based on werewolf bites. While most bitten vampires do have a decent length of time before they succumb to the bite, Marcel wasn’t affected as quick as his opponent was when he was bitten which just seemed strange. But I get why Marcel was painted in such a resilient light. An underdog should be able to appear at his maximum strength even when getting beaten down by a stronger foe.

The party also suffered from a few stigmas like the idea of wearing masks. Identity is a core feature in that kind of setting and a lot of characters barely wore theirs and plenty of other background ones didn’t at all. Was that simply a status of showing who was and wasn’t a vampire? What was the point of the masks at all? There was no anonymity here and the pompous use of them only really further proved Elijah’s point that the snobby bunch really hold themselves in such high regard. Also, it wasn’t quite easy to ascertain if this party was meant to be over sexualized, or if the purpose was to showcase as many different elements they could stuff in one rich culture that rich people/vampires likely do when they’re rich. You’d think they’d want to take over the world, but are just too self-absorbed to do it.

FAVORITE MOMENT

The fight with Marcel and the elite vampire. Most of the time, vampire fights are based on one or two quick throws and a few punches, then it’s over. But they took their time and showed what a knock-down drag-out match between vampires can look like, similar to the tussle Klaus and Hayley had earlier this season. I like the brutality of it especially when they burst through those walls. If they keep pulling fights like this out this season, they’ll be one step closer to being the best season yet.

CHARACTER MVP

Marcel was heavily focused on and rightfully takes the top spot tonight. Even against far stronger opponents, Marcel can still prove to be resourceful and necessary which he did tonight, even being admired by Aya, who is playing it smooth but is clearly infatuated with him. Marcel has always remained a classy character with strong loyalties and a sense of discipline and cunning as it pertains to the city and his sire line which he’s continually devoted to for obvious survival reasons. Keep him doing scenes like these and he’ll stay a cut above the rest.

ENDING THOUGHTS

Vampires, by nature, can run very fast. Watching Marcel jog through the streets looks extremely redundant for a few reasons. Number one, he’s dead. How much more endurance does he think he can build by jogging at about 10% the speed a vampire can go? Number 2, do these vampires ever sleep at all? They’re all day and night and nobody sleeps on this show anymore.

It was slick that they showed Aurora exiting the room Alexis was in as Freya snuck in, but you can tell that the hair on that girl and the hair Aurora had when she tossed the empty vial in the dumpster were two different hair styles and different colors. But for sure those were the same dresses and masks.

Now we have a better clue as to why Lucien has wolf anti-venom at his disposal. He mentioned being at the forefront of technological advancement and whatnot. I hope they don’t overdo that concept as this isn’t the kind of show that needs technological babble or devices that can render original vampires inert or worse. Then again, can a rocket launcher incinerate an original? Heck, could being thrown in lava do the same thing?

Freya will eventually be buried alive. I don’t think that was a metaphor. And it appears Alexis is fully aware of the first major event that is going to go down and seems relatively okay with being in Tristan’s care because of it. It involves Lucien’s demise and knowing the responsible party involved. Any guesses?

Did Marcel really think he was going to find the ring on Aya after touching the back of her dress for about two seconds? I can’t imagine he did that to prove something beyond what he already figured out, but it seemed like a cheap ploy to give us a kissing scene with those two which will of course be further developed later on. I’m indifferent about Aya. Strong-willed, and disciplined for sure, but interesting? So far, not as of yet.

No Davina again. That’s not a good sign. If they don’t provide some context soon and involve her in the Mikaelson plot, I fear they’ll just kill her off or worse, write her out without a proper send off.

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. The set up and pay off with the party and all the events within made for a good setting which helped keep most of our characters all under one roof for the night. Everyone had a chance to breathe and interact without too many disjointed scenes. Aside from some logistical concerns with the party itself I found the episode quite enjoyable and feel it’s pace it’s holding steady since it’s third season start. There’s plenty more mystery and trust issues to uncover as we’re just getting warmed up. Aurora is now in town, but she’s hiding even from her brother, even though she left him a message of her coming arrival. Will we finally discover if Rebekah is her sire? Or is she so crazy that her own agenda far removes her from any Mikaelson? Thanks for reading?

No more words

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