A Sashurai’s Review: The Originals – Season 5×08 (This was Haley’s true sendoff)

TO 5x08

 

SUMMARY

Stuck in the psychic recreation of the Mikaelson compound, Elijah, Klaus, Freya, Rebekah, Kol, and Marcel search endlessly for keys to unlock their escape. The family bicker and squabble over their predicament as Kol and Marcel locate two of the keys. When Freya is revealed to be partly responsible for their entrapment, she disappears letting Klaus know that she intends to help Hope absorb the evil darkness from them all to save the city. Klaus later finds his key as Marcel locates Elijah’s who has been continually repressing his past memories. As the family escapes the compound and into Elijah’s maze, Klaus remains behind to help Elijah open the red door while the others escape back to reality. Once through, Klaus and Elijah wake up with Elijah grief stricken over Haley’s death and his involvement of it. He retreats to give Antoinette Klaus’s blood to cure her as Rebekah reveals to Marcel that she doesn’t want her sadness of being cursed as a vampire to destroy him. The next morning, Klaus revisits a chest full of letters by Haley which emotionally affect him as Elijah goes to the bayou to say goodbye to Haley.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

For any fan that has endured the cursed might of this series, I’m hoping they feel the same way I do in treasuring this episode as one of if not the best of the entire series. There’s a simplicity in letting characters rummage around a single set piece and flush out their emotional constructs so they can effectively deal with their problems head on. Each family member, Marcel included dealt with their issues in familiar but genuine ways that gave pause to the wild antics of hateful vampires and studied their own core beings which is hopefully what this episode meant to do all along. Now that Elijah has returned, the wait for it was perfectly situated into the final segments leaving us with the same heartbreak that came only a few episodes before when Haley dashed out into the sunlight, forever ending a life that touched so many. Catalog this into the top tier best storylines in the show and prepare for the rest as Hope now must contend with the hollow’s old darkness by herself.

 

THE GOOD

The psychic construct has been used plenty in the past, but its structure and implementation had far better results this time around coupled with the right characters which is always the entire Mikaelson family, sans Freya who at this juncture is the odd character out. Everyone had an issue to bring up and deal with, even Kol who hadn’t forgotten what Freya and Elijah did to Davina back in the day. But even he had enough growth to know when to move on, something Rebekah and Marcel had a bit of trouble with, but they finally dealt with it which was always on Rebekah’s mind, she just couldn’t articulate it until now. When a show about a vampire family is comprised of yelling fits and threatening gestures, it just extenuates the writing in positive ways. Everyone performed admirably tonight including the memory-ridden Elijah who at last can come to grips with his overall grief over the last seven years.

 

This was a much more fitting episode to mourn for Haley than last week as the funeral motions were naturally sidetracked by wasted enemies who don’t really matter in the realm of the Mikaelsons. This time, everyone had a very proper send-off, most notably Klaus who had been avoiding a series of letters that he finally began reading in tears. The flashbacks were chosen in specific patterns that detailed very real and tender moments that Haley appeared in way back in season one which reminded us how this fight for Hope came to be. They didn’t over do it and knew when to pull back to the present and handle the issues at hand. Well directed and a surrounding storm is always a plus to add to the tension on screen.

 

THE BAD

There’s barely a drop of negativity to recognize with the exception of perhaps Freya’s inclusion into the psychic prison. She was there as a quick slight-of-hand to distract from her involvement with Hope’s spell in the real world. Once that was out, she disappeared, yet it seems like she wasn’t necessarily helping or further hindering the situation which almost fits her profile as a whole. She was the odd character in the group and while it was necessary to get her out of the compound, I think it would have been just as fine to have Marcel enter and state that both Hope and Freya were involved in their imprisonment. Also, Marcel should have had his own key once he was inside.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Klaus opened the first letter and lamented over it. Seeing the prime “ex-villain” break down like that is the sincere example with how Haley’s death was meant to be taken. It was mixed with close-ups of Elijah’s suit being put back on, a symbol of his comfortable cloak which didn’t necessarily need that much of a focus, but it’s what we remember and his mannerisms are all coming back including one hand in the pocket. Just a great scene all around.

 

CHARACTER MVP

It looks like Klaus should take this easily just for the letters alone, but I want to give it to Rebekah tonight. It was her final words that helped Klaus decide to stay and open the door with Elijah and it was also her reveal to Marcel that finally put to words her feelings on why she keeps running away from him. It takes a lot to admit that kind of core feeling and with Klaus, he opened those letters but he did so alone, which is still a bit of a flaw for him against a need to be with his family in all things. They are still growing though, even after five long seasons.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

If Hope has the power, should there be an even worse event on the horizon? It stands to reason, her attitude toward Elijah will subject her to the kind of pain which can only create an unstable atmosphere where her intentions grow into true destructive means. Either this or all those vampires that Greta formed will try and start something. I hope not though.

 

How will the family treat Freya now? It seems she barely got away with a warning by Klaus who seems to be preoccupied, but once that ends, will he be in a vexing mood or will Hope’s newfound power captivate the Mikaelson audience and draw more pressing concerns to the horizon?

 

Then there’s Antoinette. I’ve no doubt she and Elijah will have more words to go over considering their feelings in the past. She shouldn’t just return to France and I imagine she’ll want to stick around and fight for Elijah’s love again, however I can also see her leading Greta’s army if she truly feels there’s no hope for his return. It’s a toss up at this point. I’m not certain which way it’ll go for her.

 

OVERALL SCORE

10 out of 10. This kind of score comes from how well this episode resonated both in core fans and any casual observer that can understand how this family functions out of raw pain. This was a classic tale of introspection for half a dozen characters who have grown immensely over the years and still find time to yell at one another because that’s what families do sometimes. Well written and well executed, tonight’s episode showed there is plenty left to discover from the Mikaelsons and hopefully plenty more before this season ends. And finally Elijah’s memories have returned. Will Klaus revert into a state of need or is he well enough to look beyond the help that only Elijah tends to provide for him. Time will tell. Thanks for reading.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: Game of Thrones – Season 5×08 (Zombie hordes and breaking the wheel)

GOT 5x08

A legitimate threat long whispered and seldom scene has made its presence viscerally known on the eve of GOT’s 8th winter episode. The bitter frost and army of blue eyes ravaged and cleaned wildling house as the whitewalkers took it straight to Jon Snow and his men while he rallied those who would return to the wall. It was a cavalcade of sheer mayhem while far below the south, a queen and a Lannister traded formidable words and may strike an alliance yet.

There wasn’t a better time to give us the most awe-striking hellish winter of evil than now. Payoffs had been mentioned earlier and many of those came true tonight, from the simple exchange between favorable characters to the simplest truths that finally met the ears of Sansa Stark. Here lies the comeuppance of a queen so used to having her way, and a girl begins her first mission of assassination. Everything worked hands down and I couldn’t find a single moment that wasn’t a fabulously well done scene. Even Sam’s speech to Ollie spoke volumes of trust and necessity of survival. Even in Westeros to the folk know how to battle the zombie invasion.

In Meereen, Tyrion convinces Daenerys to spare Jorah but still has him banished. Later, Tyrion and Dany converse about her plans to take the iron throne while Jorah returns to the master he fought for, this time as a willing participant wanting to fight for Dany in the pits. Theon reveals to Sansa that he never killed Bran and Rickon but flees when Sansa tries to push for information on their whereabouts. Arya begins spying on a local businessman as her first test of subterfuge. In King’s Landing, Cersei continues to defy her captors while in captivity. In the North, Jon and Tormund reach the wildling camp and convince most of the people to join them, but the whitewalkers invade, slaughtering many of the people there. Jon and his men narrowly escape as a whitewalker commander raises all the newly dead as zombies in his army.

To begin, it was simply a surreal moment finally seeing the witty Tyrion square off with the tempered Daenerys as they conversed over history and intent to rule. While much of Dany’s words felt a bit reserved and cautious, Tyrion chose his own carefully and tactfully ultimately resulting in her statement to make him her advisor. It’s what everyone wanted and we’ve witnessed the first step in that direction. Dany intends to not only lay claim to Westeros but forge her legacy and the Targaryens forever. Tyrion may be in it for the ride of his life, but he focused and driven and whether truly loyal or not, he’ll do what he can to ensure not only his safety but perhaps the safety of all common folk in Westeros.

Sansa now knows that her younger brothers are essentially still alive. I don’t think it will take any more convincing since Theon’s hesitancy to even speak on the matter was basic proof enough. Now Sansa has just enough of a reason to hold out hope that her family it larger than just herself. Now, as we all know, Bran is beyond the wall and well out of her reach, but that doesn’t mean Rickon is lost. In fact, I’d wager if Sansa does make it out of Winterfell intact, there’s a strong possibility that she can be reunited with Rickon and maybe, just maybe Brienne will be in charge of finding yet another Stark in service to the family. I can see Sansa trusting Brienne with such a task if Brienne in fact saves her from the Bolton’s regardless of the battle with Stannis and his men.

Arya’s training has now reached the next level that involves the studying and spying of someone who the faceless men were hired to essentially take out. There’s little doubt that Arya will be up for the task and she’ll most likely pass with flying colors. Her character is bound for this lifestyle and it’s unlikely she’ll mess anything up unless the truth of her blade, needle comes into play. I suspect it won’t be an issue at this point in the plot and I genuinely look forward to her first kill. Does this mean she’ll get to change faces this season? Maybe, maybe not. I wouldn’t be surprised either way.

There wasn’t much on the Cersei front save for her conversation with Qyburn. His comment before he left could have been rushed for the sake of the religious woman being in their presence, but more so it’s likely that he’s referencing his experiment laying on his table. I was surprised he didn’t mention a trial by combat, but we’re not quite there yet as it would appear Cersei is still in defiance mode and won’t let down so easily for the sake of pride. In any case, her battle is far from over just because she’s extremely thirsty.

The meat and bones of this episode was surprisingly Jon’s venture into the deep north to acquire the remaining wildlings. The speeches circling the chieftains, Jon, and Tormund were all well spoken moments, but truthfully once the horde came crashing through the snowy blizzard, it was delightful carnage. Skeletons, half bodies, full corpses, and whitewalkers themselves brought the chaos as the wildlings fought for their lives. For the first time, Jon understands that his valyrian steel blade can not only deflect a whitewalker’s blade, but disintegrate them as well. Perhaps dragon glass isn’t the only weapon in their arsenal. Everything was intense and brutal and the best qualities didn’t even need the extra gallons of blood and teeth mashing that we usually are accustomed to on other zombie shows. It was cold and callous and unbelievably fast in some segments that created a fantastic rush while watching and hoping Jon got through unscathed. His look after the dead wildlings risen was priceless as he only understands all that more what Westeros is up against. An undying army that can only grow with each dead person they claim. At least they have a giant making it back with them.

FAVORITE MOMENT

As much as I thoroughly enjoyed the last twenty minutes of the episode I still have to give Tyrion and Dany the credit for giving us a scene five years in the making. Good acting means letting characters handle their personas and deliver in their unique ways while the camera eagerly catches their mannerisms and inflections from moment to moment. Once more, Tyrion proves how invaluable he is and Dany easily perceives this and so far is encouraging their alliance. These are two “good-natured” characters that are trying to survive and thrive the only ways they know how. It was about time they hooked up as allies and only more great scenes can come from this. Whether Tyrion fouls up because of his lust for wine or something he might say under heated breath remains to be seen, but for now it was just an amazing scene to watch.

CHARACTER MVP

Jon Snow led the charge and battled bloody and beaten against a whitewalker and survived. He’s no joke and if the wildlings aren’t convinced of his stature and demeanor, than nothing more can be asked. He’s taking on as much responsibility as he can knowing just how much is truly at stake. He just met the cold jaws of evil death and he’s still alive to fight them again. Let’s just hope Ollie didn’t take Sam’s advice and do something stupid like betray Jon for the greater good according to him.

ENDING THOUGHTS

It remains to be seen but I wonder if the whitewalkers can in fact talk. Doing so could deflate the majesty that they portray every second they’re on screen. With simple gestures alone, they command new troops freshly made for their devices.

With Bran out of this entire season and the dead army on the foot-heels of the wall, what part will he play aside from becoming the master of wargs(wards)? Will he in fact be forever embedded to his new home by the tree?

The formula usually calls for a huge battle during the 9th episode, but will they have the Bolton’s and Stannis fight so soon after we witnessed the undead massacre? Is this fight one we have any stock in? Surely Stannis is the lesser of two evil’s but even Ramsey has a plan that he thinks needs only 20 men. This will be interesting.

I guess the Lord of Bones won’t be soul-swapping with Mance Raydar anytime soon. Ah those lovely book moments that never reach the tv show’s script lines.

Clearly Littlefinger won’t be able to return to Winterfell before Stannis reaches it. It’s interesting that Sansa may never see him again and in many ways I hope that’s the case. Although, I doubt Sansa will be taken from Winterfell as her situation is more politically driven and having her run around with Brienne looking for Rickon just doesn’t seem like it’s the nature of her character. Still, if she does encounter Littlefinger again, they either one be the same?

OVERALL SCORE

9 out of 10. Almost a perfect episode. It has grand moments finally fulfilled and a rip-roaring ride with the real evil of the series. There wasn’t much in the way of complaints and they wisely kept on Jon for the entirety of his segment instead of chasing back and forth. Those who were sandwiched between Tyrion and Dany and the whitewalker battle played to their strengths but were more filler than anything because not much was accomplished accept for Arya’s new task to undertake. Other than that, it was a highly enjoyable episode that promised more big things are coming. If only Ned was around to witness this turn of events. Oh, and when the whitewalker raised his arms, even though I knew the newly dead were going to rise all I really wanted to see were undead frost dragons emerging from the blizzard snow and wind. Food for thought.

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A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 5×08 (Will every supernatural character that dies on The Originals pass through Bonnie too?)

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A new chapter has officially begun with new fangs and a new party. A bit more information comes through with the Traveler group and Wes’s experiments reveal a darker twist on this plot’s vampire saga. In all fairness, it’s a bit like Blade II, but only in the vampire on vampire concept.

Katherine and Stefan discover a way to connect through their pain labors and Bonnie is forced to endure the curse that Tessa set her up with as the new anchor. All in all, the sense of power has been dispersed enough that every character can return to a fresh start on college life. There’s a few good things they did in this episode while keeping to some old habits, but altogether is an improvement over the last few weeks. Let’s get started.

(RECAP)

Wes continues to document his work on Jesse as he injects him with undiluted Augustine blood. Jesse wakes and breaks free, biting Wes before escaping.

Bonnie is living in college with Elena and Caroline and they want to throw her a party to celebrate her return. Bonnie records a message for her mother and leaves to spend time with Jeremy who is visiting. While together, she notices an elderly woman in the distance who stares at her constantly. When Bonnie leaves, the woman finds, grabs her, and then disappears, causing Bonnie a brief moment of pain.

Elena phones Damon and asks to comes to the party and to bring Stefan. Damon tries to talk to Stefan who is still suffering the effects of drowning at Silas’s hands.

At the Mystic Grill, Katherins drinks at the bar while Matt continues to watch the footage Gregor made, warning him to keep the knife safe. Katherine explains that Gregor is a type of witch and when Matt refers to Nadia, Katherine ponders her next move.

After receiving a call from a panicking Jesse, Caroline goes to his dorm and stops him from feeding on his roommate, Aaron. Elena arrives with blood bags to satiate his hunger and Caroline teaches him how to heal Aaron with his blood.

Katherine finds Stefan in the bar and they have a passive drink together. Stefan eventually describes his pain which she seems to know how to help with. She asks him a favor as Nadia shows up after Katherine contacted her and meets Stefan.

Elena, Bonnie, Caroline, and Jesse are at their party as Damon is concurrently at the college lab with Wes tied up. He begins injecting vials of flesh eating bacteria and other contents while asking him questions about the experiments.

Back at the party, Bonnie sees the old lady behind the veil and talks with her, finding out she was a witch. The old lady is tender and kind with her situation giving Bonnie some relief. Jeremy startles her back into reality and they leave to be together for the night.

In the storage room at the grill, Katherine has Nadia awaken Gregor from Matt’s body. When Gregor wakes, he is angry at seeing Katherine and says after he killed Silas he was supposed to kill Katherine. Katherine stabs Matt with the Traveler’s knife, effectively expelling Gregor from Matt’s body.

Caroline and Jesse dance and kiss.

Wes finally explains to Damon that Jesse was made to crave the blood of other vampires. During this, Jesse bites Caroline’s lip and begins to act strange. He suddenly leaves to avoid Caroline.

Aaron finds Elena at the party and they briefly describe their past involving the death of their parents. Aaron mentions Wes as his legal guardian and that his mother died in a cabin from a bear attack which, to Elena, sounds like a vampire attack.

Stefan stumbles out of the bar and is suffering the same drowning sensations again. Katherine tries to help by having him remember the names of those he first killed. Stefan slowly begins to take control again. Nadia then confronts Katherine about having to kill Gregor and leave in anger.

Damon is on the phone with Elena and explains what happened to Jesse. She asks Damon not to kill Wes. When Damon goes to heal Wes, Jesse arrives and overpowers Damon. He feeds off of him as Elena arrives and stabs Jesse from behind, in the heart. Caroline finds them just as Jesse falls and dies in her arms. Caroline is upset with Elena for what she had to do.

Stefan finishes another drink at the bar and finds a note left for Nadia explaining that she intends to take her own life. Katherine is seen at the top of the town’s clock tower and leaps off. Stefan saves her from the fall. She tells him that her old age is quickly catching up with her and Stefan tells her to suck it up.

Bonnie and Jeremy are making out when she sees Jesse in the room. He grabs her and disappears putting Bonnie in more pain. Jeremy consoles her as she explains what being the new anchor means but that it’s worth it to be back and with Jeremy.

Caroline and Elena clean up after the party and they apologize over the event leading to Jesse’s death but Caroline continues to warn her that being with Damon is dangerous.

Back at the lab, Wes is cutting his restraints as Damon finds a blood bag marked #12114. He remembers a number #21051 relating to a time when he was captured and experimented on sixty years ago. Wes escapes and subdues Damon with vervane gas pumped in the room. When Damon wakes, he realizes he’s in the same cell from sixty years go and begins to worry.

(END RECAP)

At first the vampire experiments weren’t that appealing to me, but given the immortal plot between Silas, Tessa, and Amara, I gladly preferred the science approach to this plot. Luckily, I think it’s paying off. We have a mysterious vampire whose blood turns other vampires into vampire cannibals. Finding out that Damon was once connected to this string of experiments was a nice little twist at the end. Damon can now stop playing the errand boyfriend and actually take part in the meat of the show. He does better in sticky situations and likely this will throw him a bit out of his element, which all characters need from time to time.

Most of my positive vibes are from Katherine. She’s been my favorite character for a while and the more they push her into a redemption role, the more I approve. It can definitely be argued that committing suicide is cowardly for her and, for the most part I agree, but this way, she can finally hit that rock bottom and now Stefan has given her the reigns to take her life back, if she can. She offhandedly commented about Stefan ending up with one of the doppelgangers, which is her passive way of saying it should be her and not Elena. It’s not a desperate call, but it’s a feeler and now that they’ve connected through a bit of pain, it seems like a development is assuredly going to happen.

Between the vampire experiments and the traveling witch convoy, I’m not certain which plot will be dominant toward the middle and end of the season. The lore of witchcraft in VD could prove to be interesting, although that could have the potential of drowning out the vampire plot, though, I highly doubt it. There aren’t very many compelling witch characters. Bonnie has regained a sense of character, even with her hair cut, which was a good call by the way, but I never fancied her compelling witch. None of them really. Maybe there’s still an ace character waiting in the wings to unleash their hell on earth.

Character drama is always touch and go and in one case, Caroline’s stinging reminders to Elena that Damon is bad for her is starting to truly take hold. I was expecting Caroline to hold onto her anger with Jesse’s death for at least one more episode. Instead, we get more warnings about Damon and Elena of course doesn’t buy it but since the seed has been planted numerous times, it’s a matter of “when” Damon and Elena have their outting and not “if”. It’s a constant struggle to ask if Elena needs to be in a relationship to be an effective character on this show. In a way that’s why we have Katherine, so we still get the best of both worlds and maintain the “two brothers, one goal” aspect that started since day one. Not so strangely enough, I’m more interested in Katherine and Stefan developing their old connection than I am Damon and Elena maintaining theirs. It’s bottled chaos, gotta let that out to make things interesting.

Overall, I thought this episode was an improvement over the last few. Still fell to the curse of beginning episode exposition, and the obligatory party, but that’s CW for you. It happens on Arrow and The Originals all the time. Young people party…a lot.

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