The Originals "Long Way Back from Hell" Review: Nursing Grudges

By Price Peterson

Feb 26, 2014

The Originals S01E14: "Long Way Back from Hell"

After two weeks of spandex-clad jocks running around on ice and shouting at each other in foreign languages, it's nice to be able to return to what REALLY matters in life: Undead immortals running around New Orleans shouting at each other in high English. The Originals' taking a few weeks off was a prime example of absence making the heart grow fonder, because this week's episode was nowhere near as good as the three insta-classics that preceded it yet I did NOT care. I still had a heart bursting with love for these characters and their terrible problems and I just felt so happy to be watching it again. You know? Needed it.

"Long Way Back From Hell" was just as well-acted, well-filmed, and suspenseful as we've come to expect of the series at this stage, but the fatal flaw was that it was predicated on one of The Originals' least compelling plot motivations yet: the idea that Rebekah summoning Mikael to town a hundred years prior was an unforgivable crime punishable by death. Nope! Sorry, did not buy that. I actually appreciated Genevieve's plan to turn the Mikaelsons against each other and I know that she needed to shine a spotlight on the skeletons in their respective closets in order to do it, but after one thousand years of dicking each other over I really didn't think Klaus would've batted a beautiful blonde eyelash at the revelation that his sister had half-heartedly plotted against him a hundred years prior. If anything I think he would have kinda respected her for it and then taken solace in the comfort that they were different people now and also Mikael Mikaelson was never that big of a threat to him. Sure, this episode wanted us to believe that his entrance into Old Time New Orleans nearly caused the city to burn down, but those of us who watched TVD recall Mikael's uselessness during Season 3 and his inglorious demise burning to death on Klaus' front steps like a straight-up chump. Not very intimidating! In this case Klaus should've chuckled in Genevieve's face: "So?"

Another unbelievable thing about this concept was that Klaus is just way too smart to allow a witch to manipulate him this way. Yes, he's very susceptible to his own emotions but he should've realized pretty quickly what Genevieve's game was and dealt with the Rebekah stuff later. So while it was certainly scary and unpleasant to see Klaus stalking Rebekah around a decrepit sanatorium with a witch blade, the basic concept behind it never rang true and in fact felt distractingly out of character. Particularly over the past few episodes these characters' motivations have become so strong and crystal clear that this regression into reverse-engineered plotting is kind of a bummer. It's like the writers decided Klaus needed to be so mad at Rebekah but never really figured out a good reason. Thus concludes my complaints about this episode because SO MUCH of the rest of it was VERY GOOD.

Conceptually the best part of "Long Way Back From Hell" was the way it yet again made flashbacks compelling in the present tense. After Rebekah woke up in an abandoned sanatorium sick with werewolf bites her surroundings flashed her back to the time she pretended to be a turn-of-the-century nurse during a terrible flu epidemic so that she could befriend Genevieve and manipulate her into summoning her vampire vampire-hunter father to come and neutralize Klaus. But in the present day, the newly undead and revenge-minded Genevieve linked a similarly imprisoned Klaus' mind with Rebekah's so that he'd see how grave her transgressions had been so long ago. The linking of memories was honestly very clever! Even better was when Genevieve attempted to force Rebekah to have flashbacks by playing a creepy phonograph and using other kinds of sensory triggers. I mean, of course that's not how memory works, it isn't just some kind of linear movie strip, but for the purposes of this episode it was refreshingly suspenseful to see these flashbacks unfold knowing that Rebekah would be in trouble when it got to the juicy parts. Rebekah's memories had real consequences and it's a credit to the writers for coming up with that conceit.

An equally compelling B-story had Elijah and Marcel teaming up like a vampire Law & Order to decode a witch's riddle that had been tattooed onto his skin by Sophie Deveraux's mouthy niece. (How great was Elijah's intrusion into Sophie's funeral? So rude and great!) Which meant that yes, ladies, Elijah was half-naked in this episode. Klaus too! This was a very good episode when it came to half-naked, one thousand year old vampires in my opinion. Anyway, after cruising around town questioning city leaders and investigating witch suicides, Elijah and Marcel discovered the identity of one of Celeste's most important snatched bodies (another nurse from the influenza days) and realized that the two kidnapped Mikaelsons were probably at the sanatorium. Which, okay, I said I was done criticizing the episode, but why did Sophie's niece even give Elijah a riddle to figure out in the first place? Did the witches WANT him to find his siblings? I don't really understand why that all happened. Anyway, but yeah, Elijah arrived just in time to save Rebekah from being stabbed with a witchblade by Klaus. But the shocking twist was Elijah forced the blade back into Klaus' body! So yeah, if you ask me, that's a pretty bad violation of sibling trust and a thousand times worse than simply summoning a dickish dad back to town. But that's just another reminder that the Mikaelsons have been trapped in a cycle of dickery for a thousand years now and Rebekah's supposed crimes were not all that bad or surprising when weighed against everything they'd all done to each other in general. 

In a much tinier plotline but one that will probably prove more important later, Hayley took matters into her own hands with regard to that reverse-werewolf curse against her people. At some point it dawned on her that the witch who'd created the curse in the first place had most likely been possessed by Celeste at the time, so, duh, Celeste could probably break it! Which led to one of the most crowd-pleasing moments of the episode: Hayley clobbered Celested with A SHOVEL. That's our girl! Hayley is amazing.

Yeah, no, sorry to bum everybody out with a lukewarm review, but keep in mind that I really and truly loved the previous three episodes. I just felt like I didn't really quite get the central premise of this episode. But it was still full of lovely, wonderful moments, and again, Claire Holt is pulling some MVP-level performances still. (That speech to Marcel about the life she'd envisioned for them both was particularly powerful.) Also, you know, half-naked Mikaelsons. Hard to argue with that! I'm not sure how much I love seeing Klaus and Rebekah at odds like this, but I'm definitely curious to see where this goes. So far this run of witch-of-the-week episodes has set the benchmark pretty high for the series and I'm straight-up excited about where the next eight episodes will take us! Hold me.


QUESTIONS

... Did summoning Mikael really seem like the unforgivable crime this episode wanted us to believe it was?

... Can witches die of the flu?

... Should the witches curse Elijah with tattoo riddles more often?

... What do you think Davina's up to on The Other Side?


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  • SesseKitty Mar 10, 2014

    Well obviously summoning Mikael wasn't really so bad considering all the bad things all of the originals have done. But it's Klaus and to Klaus his father is an extremely sore spot. He hasn't been very objective, fair and forgiving in other occasions either.

    Apparently Genevieve and Celeste were kinda weak ass back then. Or did they just die because they couldn't get any magic mushrooms or snails or something?

    Tattoo riddle was awesome. I'll always welcome Elijah without a shirt. I really like his badass moves too, way past caring about all the collateral damage, it's just plain cool when he throws people around.

    Davina has probably been teasing Bonnie with tales of what cool witches are really like.

  • Klaussays Mar 02, 2014

    It is hilarious seeing Klaus take the moral high ground as if he is a beacon for good, and it is testament to Joseph Morgan that he can display such great acting which actually makes viewers sympathetic and take his side even when you know he is so wrong . Klaus is a lonely C~~t plain and simple with the occasional moments of heart. We all know what to expect from his character...BUT

    I see alot of people missing the point. Its not that Rebeckah betrayed him, its the how and the who..Rebeckah and Marcel already tryed to betray Klaus just a few episodes ago and he did nothing to either of them.

    The point is she betrayed him to Mikael.
    Mikael can kill Klaus and the rest of the siblings. Despite the numerous shitty things Klaus has done and continues to do to them especially Rebeckah he has never actually tried to permanently kill one of them.
    .But more importantly Klaus is Klaus BECAUSE of Mikael. He is completely and utterly defined by what Mikael and some part Esther did to him.

    Look how badly Damon and Stefan hated Katherine for doing what she did.. Klaus was terrorised from when he was a human child for being a bastard, Mikael killed his actual father and (most) of his werewolf family then forced them all to be vampires only to end up hunting them, specifically klaus for a 1000 years..Also Mikael is Rebeckahs actual father which makes it worse, as her calling Mikael there in Klaus;s eyes means she agrees with mikaels hate of klaus. Klaus also hates himself and what he is, he is mikaels creation in every aspect of his being.

    Also Klaus knows full well Genevieve is manipulating him, he said as much early in the episode, but after seeing the truth Rebeckah is the target at this moment, all his anger is at her, this does not mean he will not kill Genevieve in the future, or even find a use for her.

    Things shift quickly on this show, and i can see Klaus wiping out all of marcels vamps and bringing in his own family of werewolves.

  • tdm260 Mar 13, 2014

    There's also the fact that, prior to Mystic Falls, the siblings weren't completely sure if their father was just after Klaus, or if he was going to kill them all. The idea of Rebekah summoning Michael is stupid because she could have been welcoming her own death sentence. It wasn't until Mystic Falls that they learned WHY Mikael was truly hunting Klaus, and that he didn't want them, so all the siblings made a habit of staying away from him.

  • Klaussays Mar 13, 2014

    It all comes down to the fact that her actions led to the only person who could kill him, finding him. As bad as the siblings have been to each other they have never tried to permanently kill each other..I think this is why Kol and Finns death wern't as big a deal as they should have been. Kol tried to kill Rebeckah and Finn wanted them all dead.

  • Raniatlw Mar 02, 2014

    1) Klaus is pretty terrified of his father. So, I could see how it would be unforgivable to him that Rebekkah would summon him. Still, I'm probably not the only one to say that I was disappointed with how he acted when he was released. I mean, he hates being manipulated and Genevieve so did that to him, regardless of what she'd shown him. And Mikael is gone, so I'd hoped he'd see it as a betrayal in the past and be able to move on with life. But then again, moving on and Klaus are two concepts that just don't go together.
    2) They're human, too, so guess they can.
    3) Yes, definitely! lol. Maybe Klaus, too. And Marcel for good measure. :)
    4) Hopefully she's trying to figure out how to come back and kick Celeste's butt for basically bringing about her death.

  • Nemesys Mar 02, 2014

    I agree with the "Klaus is too smart for this shit" part. I sort of expected him to kill Genevieve (and then still go after Rebekah), and was sort of disappointed when he didn't give her crap for manipulating him.
    But as far as the Mikael storyline is concerned, I did get it. Obviously the TVD writers failed in making him appropriately threatening, but if you ignore his appearance in Season 3 and just focus on the psychological aspect, it's pretty easy to understand where they were all coming from. Sure, it didn't register with us mere viewers the way it should have, but Mikael was supposed to be a terrifying dude! While he might not even have been that much physically superior (if at all), the siblings were all already programmed with fear for him: don't forget, they all had to grow up with him as a controlling and abusive father. He was a constant threat. Maybe Mikael could have succeeded in killing them and maybe not, but the important thing is, they all thought he could. He hunted them all for centuries, making them run every time they thought they'd found safety, and they were terrified. Imagine, when you're pretty much an all-powerful immortal being, having that one person who has it out for you and who has a chance of actually beating you be your father.
    Despite all their betrayals and disagreements, the Mikaelson siblings were always united by their fear and hatred for their father. By using him to betray Klaus, she sort of crossed the one remaining line they had among them. Klaus might be a dick, but I get where he's coming from.

    On that note, to me it's the ultimate proof of greatness when The Originals manages to make me feel sorry for Klaus (which surprisingly isn't as rare an occasion as I would have initially thought). The best examples to date: Marcel's minions chaining him and viciously kicking his ass (before he slaughtered them all) and his face in this episode when he found out about Rebekah.

  • MikeUK123 Mar 02, 2014

    I see it kinda like Price, but more so. This episode was poor. Especially compared to the tension build up of the last three.

    It fell in to the trap of making everyone a bit stupid, doing things for no good reason. It just needed one slightly smart one..... but nope.

    EVERYTHING we learned about Klaus tells us he was far too street smart to take the bait. And the slightly odd drama moment of Elijah stabbing Klaus with the dark magic blade (furthering the 'blindly taking the bait' premise).

    If they wanted an Elijah v Klaus run, they needed to find a much smarted way of doing it. Overall, it felt like a poorly written fan-fiction story.

  • ark1317 Mar 01, 2014

    ... Did summoning Mikael really seem like the unforgivable crime this episode wanted us to believe it was?
    Uuuummm YES? Klaus was just so completely afraid of him! And Mikael's coming meant for them to lose the only place that evr felt like home, so Rebekah's plotting to find him felt on another level of betrayal!

    ... Can witches die of the flu?
    Apparently

    ... Should the witches curse Elijah with tattoo riddles more often?
    I thought he was more buffed :) And anyway, yes, the witches wanted Elijah to find them to pin him against Klaus for what he was doing to Rebekah

    ... What do you think Davina's up to on The Other Side?
    Being brainwashed!

    Also, Hailey's amazing!

  • Scout27 Feb 28, 2014

    Also, Phoebe Tonkin got to be way more bad ass, hilarious, and lovable on The Secret Circle. I think she is so, so misused/underused on this show. Tragic if you ask me. YOU HAVE A GEM ORIGINALS...LET HER SHINE.

  • Scout27 Feb 28, 2014

    Am I the only one that got some serious "Momento" vibes from Elijah's temporary shirtless tattoo situation? MORE PLEASE!

    Also, for some reason, I can never get in to these Original/TVD episodes that consist mostly of flashbacks. As pretty as they are (MINUS THE USUALLY AWFUL WIGS), it's just not my thing. I'd prefer short snippets of visual information and then back to real time. But I guess flashbacks are better than exposition.

    Overall, outside of the acting from Joseph Morgan and Claire Holt, this episode was not my favorite.

    COOL CREEPY OLD HOSPITAL THOUGH. A+ LOCATION SCOUT.

  • JasonMelvil Feb 28, 2014

    See? THIS IS THE PRICE WE WANT!
    The one that can love a show for its great quality but still point out its flaws when they occur.

    I prefer this far better than the fan boy ranting "lalalalala I can't hear you this show is perfect" that has been going around with a few other shows here...

    Anyway, yeah, this episode was incredibly silly. The witches wanted to take over New Orleans, but they already succeeded. 2 of the originals are held captive. They can easily overpower the third. Their plan to capture the originals and then send them on each other was as dumb as releasing the most powerful witch we saw on this show (papa tunde) who almost took out all 3 originals and then... Just killed himself?

    Idiotic.

    Also, the preimse again, makes no sense. In the earlier flashbacks to the 20s when Michael showed up, Rebekah was having a romance with Stefan. How does Marcel fit into all of this?

    And Genevive just took down the disease and was left there?!?
    She used no powers what so ever? Didn't tell anyone? heck she could have just informed Klaus on what was going on. Why didn't Rebekah just snap her neck?

    And why was she pretending to be a nurse in the first place?!?
    Wasn't their family an aristocrat in the town?

  • tdm260 Mar 13, 2014

    Ugh there's also the fact that Rebekah never would have summoned Mikael in the first place. Prior to Mystic Falls, the Originals were under the impression that Mikael was willing to kill all of them, not just Klaus. It wasn't until they learned the truth about their mother's death did they realize it wasn't about them at all. This show annoys me with it's constant retconning.

    And yes, the Originals were very well known so who did Rebekah think she was fooling?

  • vcivi Feb 28, 2014

    Klaus was a bit naive this episode...or it seemed like that.
    Come on...over all the years and everything he has done to his family...he gets pissed at Reb, for summoning their Oh so feared Michael....
    But loved the way how they kept going back and forth...
    Most memorable moment in the series...when Elijah took his shirt off. I wouldn't mind to investige it closer to see if they missed a name or so ...lol...
    Love where the story line in this episode was going. Try to break the bond between the siblings....
    Reb was awesome, in the basement. She didn't run anymore. she was ready. Now she is on the run with Marcel...what does this mean? They are no more in the series????
    What is going to happen between Klaus en Elijah....
    loving it...

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