A Sashurai’s Review: The Originals – Season 4×09 (Trees can be hollow…get it?)

TO 4x09

 

SUMMARY

Inadu speaks with a dying Elijah about her inevitable return and goes to Vincent in an attempt to gain his loyalty. Meanwhile, Klaus, Freya. Hayley, Marcel, and Vincent are at odds over how to plan the hollow’s demise which may require Elijah’s death. Frustrated over no options, Freya remembers the pendant that once held Finn’s soul and speaks of using it for Elijah. Klaus instead offers to be the sacrifice while Marcel plans to subdue Sofya with Hayley’s blood. When Vincent prepares to kills Klaus, coven acolytes stop them and destroy the thorns before being eliminated. Marcel is successful in stopping Sofya but not before handing over the final bone as bait. Hayley and Freya find Elijah but the hollow’s spirit arrives to complete her spell. Klaus finds them and beckons Freya to trap Elijah’s soul in the pendant just as he’s about to die. After a power surge Freya reveals the pendant has been shattered. Later that night, Vincent goes to Marcel asking for the book as a last resort to fight the hollow. Klaus is distraught over the loss of Elijah but with Hope’s help, Freya finds that Elijah is somehow caught in the shattered pendant, but alive. Elsewhere, Inadu frees herself from a tree containing her bones and emerges in her original physical form.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

The race to save Elijah ended with a somber realization that maybe the originals shouldn’t last forever after the extended centuries they’ve been around. Be that as it may, Elijah is not lost to the void as a semblance of his spirit fractured within the broken pendant. Tonight’s Originals episode brought all our allies together in a single way to ruin the return of the hollow, however they failed in every aspect leaving Inadu clearly closer in her next step toward massive revenge. Once again, Hope becomes the saving grace and helps the group understand Elijah’s plight. The fondness for the team grows in peculiar ways as Vincent embarks on probably his most dangerous quest. With Inadu returned, how long can the group last against such a monumental force? Even if Elijah came back, there’s nothing currently available to help them rid the world of the hollow unless Hayley’s bloodline continues to be central to Inadu’s demise.

 

THE GOOD

The highlight for tonight’s episode really comes from Vincent and Klaus standing by their primary beliefs in what it means to sacrifice for the greater good even if they end on opposite sides of that coin. The atmosphere they provide gives their respective sides the kind of hope they need to survive without compromising completely their ideals and sentiments. With Vincent, he makes very solid points about the nature of existing for so long that one can’t continue clinging to life for the sake of it. Klaus showed he wasn’t above his own existence if it meant other in his stead would pay the price and its one of the more character driven decisions he’s made since his sacrifice during last season’s finale. Together, they drove much of this episode’s heart and soul.

 

THE BAD

When entire episodes hinge on a plan to be formed and carried out with precise work and dedication, a lot of those familiar beats tend to surface in consistent fashion. Of course Elijah wasn’t going to survive, and of course Inadu was going to arise at the end, and of course Hope was going to be instrumental in declaring Elijah’s survival. It deflates the overall struggle to ensure Elijah wasn’t going to die in the middle of season 4. I got more sentiment out of Vincent’s talk with Klaus over his decision than I did with anything that came after Elijah’s “death,” and that was really only because we understand how these plots work. Even if Klaus screamed hours into the night, it wouldn’t be enough to convince us that Elijah was truly gone. When characters manage the real subtle goodbyes, then you can start playing with our thoughts on the validity of real deaths on a show like this.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

I mentioned it earlier, but Vincent mentioning a brief history of his upbringing in New Orleans mixed with how he thinks Cami would be proud of Klaus for what he was doing was a really nice touch to give the conversation. Klaus is nothing if not the kind of person who will finish your sentence if he thinks he’s being ridiculed or reminded of his dark deeds, but this time he was surprised by Vincent’s positive feedback. He doesn’t get it much and when he does, he’s often left speechless which in Klaus’s way means probably a “thanks” or a “Huh, didn’t realize that” kind of response.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Klaus made a very selfless call in deciding to die for the sake of saving Elijah. It was assuredly more calculated given his strength and knack for surviving the odds, but he was unsure of Elijah could handle the transfer. Still, he didn’t even flinch as the prospect and certainly didn’t have second thoughts later that night. I’m only half surprised he didn’t rip out his own heart and try to throw it into space to make up for the fact loss of the thorns that would have done the job as well. He had his moments with Marcel that kept him more family orientated and less caring for others like Sofya, but he’s still a work in progress. If somehow he becomes a beacon of stronger hope by saving the people of new Orleans in a strong selfless act, maybe that will finally turn things around for everyone as whole.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Naturally a lot of people are going to wonder if Elijah’s sired bloodline, Tristan included were mortally affected by Elijah’s passing. The short answer should be yes, all of Elijah’s spawn are dead, however the longer answer is, it doesn’t matter. Last season was about the sired lines and created chaos and intrigue with what an original dying would do to so many vampire characters, but at this point, we’re no longer dealing with other vampires that are necessary to the plot. If a third of the all the vampires in the world suddenly dropped dead, it won’t matter in the pocket of new Orleans. The real twist should be if Sofya was part of Elijah’s line. Clearly she wasn’t “dead” by the end of this episode so if she was part of Elijah’s blood, then we’d know for sure if his death affected others like her, however that’s probably not the case.

 

So if I understand it correctly, the thorns take a while to kill its victim and staking Klaus with normal wood would have accelerated that death? I’m not sure I follow that logic because normal stakes do nothing of the sort. If it was the old daggers used back in the day that would make more sense, but Klaus is so above those kinds of weapons I’m surprised they even came up with it.

 

Since we have a few more episodes I imagine Inadu isn’t just going to show up and earthquake the entire state into a chaotic mess. She’ll either need time to recover her old strength or she’ll come up with some wicked machination to exact a more fitting revenge for her imprisonment on all our characters. She may need help from loyal acolytes, and a base of operations. What I think it important to remember here is that no one actually knows what she looks like, so she could in theory infiltrate the group in various ways without being spotted as the hollow’s original form.

 

Small moments, but I really liked the soft piano melody played during Vincent and Klaus’s scene at the cemetery. It wasn’t muddled by some pop-culture song with background lyrics meant to narrate the somber feelings, but rather help accentuate the scene with some uplifting yet melancholy personality. Kudos for the restraint and score.

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. The Originals told the tale of Inadu’s climactic return to the physical realm, all converging with Elijah’s death and subsequent survival in the shattered realm of the broken pendant. The Mikaelson fury will be subdued for another day as everyone will be focused on getting their brother back. Klaus and Vincent were the ones who really gave this episode a voice to be heard as the predictable nature of plans going wrong came into play. The conundrum brought to focus by Vincent was expressively the only passionate theme here in understanding how long should an immortal continue to exist once they’ve experienced everything? Given a few palpable moments, the episode was carefully above average but not quite groundbreaking in the hopes that an apparent Elijah death would be mind-warping. If in fact that’s still in the cards, next week will tell us that for sure. Thanks for reading.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: Vikings – Season 4×09 (Yes Aelle, your kingdom is next. Start packing)

Vikings 4x09

 

SUMMARY

While Ragnar and his men continue to transfer the boats across the land, Harald, Halfdan, and his men track down a farm and pillage it, murdering the family who lived there. Meanwhile in Rome, Athelwulf and Alfred meet the Pope, who gives young Alfred a sword in an assembly. In Wessex, Ecbert is officially crowned king of Mercia and he shares mixed words with King Aelle who is doubting their role as allies. In Paris, King Charles humbly asks Roland, now a count, if he can sleep with his sister, Therese, to which Roland agrees. In the forest, Lagertha suffers a miscarriage while Erlendur unsuccessfully attempts to kill Bjorn at night. In Kattegat, Aslaug continues to mope at the departure of Harbard. As the Vikings find the north side of the river and prepare to move the boats back into the water, Erlendur orders Torvi to kill Bjorn, and as she nears him to do so, instead shoots Erlendur above the chest near the heart. Ragnar begins to hallucinate and tells Bjorn he’s saving the remaining drugs he has for when he faces Rollo, who is more important than the taking of Paris itself. On the waters, Ragnar vows to kill Rollo.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

The penultimate episode to the mid-season finale brings about an average sense of danger and politics as Ragnar inches closer toward his intended destination. Erlendur’s presumed demise couldn’t have come sooner as we all knew he wouldn’t be successful. His cowardly act in making Torvi his assassin proved to be the wrong course which robbed us from watching Bjorn dismantle Erlendur himself. Lagertha’s moment in tragedy struck hard, and next to watching Harold’s brutal aftermath of the family at the farm, were the more emotional moments of the episode. What permeated the air was a lack of anxiety over what was building and aside from the last minute of the show, not much escalated into a frenzy of hype and excitement. Ragnar teeters on the precipice of emotional madness as he legitimately thinks he’s seeing spiders, one of the more outlandish hallucinations found in the lore of withdrawal. While I will be gearing up for the bloodbath that’s soon to follow, the build up to it hadn’t been as fulfilling.

 

THE GOOD

Taking care of Erlendur’s vengeance plot before the siege of Paris was the right move, and though I would have preferred a one on one battle between him and Bjorn, Torvi being the one to choose Bjorn did have more significance for her as she was the conflicted and often tormented member of the group. I would suspect that the wound isn’t fatal, but it may not entirely matter at this stage since everyone is on the water and I doubt Bjorn would let him take part in the siege considering the betrayal, and if he did die, then good riddance.

 

It may seen counterproductive, but keeping Ragnar on edge like this helps put him on a wavy course with Rollo, who has been seen as nothing but the prince of calm since Gisla accepted him as her husband. The two will meet on very different terms, almost shadows of their previous personas when they met last. Granted, Ragnar was very physically sick, but now he’s more mentally ill than anything and that paints a contrasting picture. At this stage it’s hard to say if Rollo will subject himself to the savage spirit in order to face his brother again, but at least there’s always that chance.

 

THE BAD

It’s not so much the details as it is the breadth of the European lands that disjoint us from the vision and culture of the Vikings, something that they’ve barely dipped into this season. We’ve learned more about Wessex, Paris, and now a bit of Rome then we have of the show’s namesake. I almost feel like they threw in the family’s murder at the farm just to remind us that sometimes Vikings actually pillage and plunder the towns they occupy. And since it was the Harald and his brother we’re supposed to actively dislike that makes it more of a despicable act. I realize Ecbert has a much larger role to play, but right now, his part in this universe is too far removed from Ragnar and hasn’t made as near an impact as he should have back last season. He’s building his title and lands, I get it, I just want to know where it’s going.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

The set up at the end when they showcased the additional platforms on the ships. We’re seeing another portion of Ragnar’s plans come to fruition as he doesn’t intend to be tricked by Rollo’s chains again. I wish the build up was more, like seeing Rollo’s face when the alarms sound and the Northmen are coming from the north this time. But, yes we’ll see that in one week’s time.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Lagertha went through a traumatic episode with losing her unborn child alone, and how it led up to it and how she persevered through it really shows her strength and fortitude as a shield-maiden on this journey. If she had to, she’d lead the charge on Paris herself, and who knows, that could still happen.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Sigurd mentioning his finding of Siggy was an interesting throwback to one of the more enduring characters of the past. Whether it was a portent for Aslaug to consider or not is unknown, but Siggy was eventually removed through the presence of Harbard or the gods he allied with. Things are still a bit fuzzy on how that all went down.

 

Now that the seed has been planted, I would expect Ecbert to begin staging his next conquest against Aelle and considering Judith really dislikes her father, I’m sure she would give Ecbert her blessing on the matter.

 

When Flocki rolled his eyes in the back of his head, we’re given some impression that he’s in tune with what’s happening back in Kattegat, or at the very least he’s trying to recreate the same communion he felt only a few episodes ago. Whether he’s somehow connected to Aslaug or whether he’s connected to Harbard at all is presently unknown as we don’t see another scene like this again in tonight’s episode, but they’re still keeping us fully aware of his clairvoyant capabilities which we’re seeing for a reason.

 

With both Harbard and Flocki gone, Ivar has become more aggressive toward his mother which could spell a strange encounter in the finale, considering Ivar’s newly found violent nature. How this will manifest is still up to the gods, but I imagine Sigurd is keeping a close eye on everything as he seems the most level-headed of the family currently.

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. A little above average, Vikings dispels with Bjorn’s rather annoying thorn in the side and concludes Ragnar’s trek through the wilderness and onto the river of conquest. All meaningful points that will lead us to hopefully a similar collision as the last time Paris was under attack. Beyond the Vikings, we’re given some time in Rome with the pope, a few segments with Charles and Rollo, and of course our greedy king of Wessex who will likely be devouring more land as the days go by. Leading more on the political machinations of Europe’s monarchy’s tonight’s episode had less build-up and more of a mild sweep of carnage mostly dishing out punishment to the undeserved by Harald and his men. Ragnar’s descent into withdrawal held an interesting merit as he’s purposefully saving his solace for the fight with Rollo, an act that could be very disastrous should be lose composure before the effort is in place. We have a reason to glue our eyes to the TV next week, they just weren’t very glued tonight. Thanks for reading.

 

 

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