The Originals "Sinners and Saints" Review: Scary Stories to Tell in the Bar

By Price Peterson

Oct 30, 2013

The Originals S01E05: "Sinners and Saints"

If you think about it, pretty much everybody has an interesting backstory involving a secret massacre. Not only are massacres very easy to keep secret, they are very common and they happen to the best of us, all the time. Personally I can't even count all the secret massacres that have touched my family throughout the years, but if I had to guess, I'd say there've been at least seven? Some of these secret massacres were misunderstandings, sure, and one or two may have been hoodoo related, but the rest definitely involved blood feuds with mythological species, and I am frankly starting to get very ticked about all these massacres I've had to keep under wraps. Don't worry, I won't bore you with tales of all the secret massacres in my past, because I know you'd just be patiently waiting for me to be quiet so that you could talk about all the secret massacres in your past. But if there is one thing we all have in common it's that most of our friends and family were killed in secret massacres that nobody knows about. That is what unites us. All our secret massacres.

On this week's episode of The Originals: Everybody in the past died! "Sinners and Saints" was basically the TV version of somebody kicking over a cobblestone and pointing at all the dead potato bugs, because holy moly was the French Quarter a grim place eight months ago. After last week's sudden turn into the realm of forward-moving storytelling, "Sinners and Saints" returned to the campfire tale format of episodes past. But it turns out massive exposition dumps CAN be riveting so long as the stories are super dark? Also it helps if we haven't heard them before. I like new stories! "Sinners and Saints" was a very sharply written, dense episode in that it finally made certain characters and elements gel while finally elaborating on things that had only been hinted at previously. 

However: Shouldn't we be past the gelling stage at this point? Like sorry, dudes, but it's still a major problem that The Originals seems way more invested in the past than it does in the present. But who am I to argue with anything as entertaining as this episode was? Nobody! I am nobody to argue with anything. "Sinners and Saints" was solid, surprising, and seemingly essential to the story moving forward. (Nice work, Sheriff Forbes!)

Uh, news flash dot gif: WITCHES ARE INTERESTING NOW. Obviously witches are having a moment in pop culture these days, but I mean specifically the witches in The Originals, they are interesting now! (Sorry TVD, still no dice.) This episode filled in A LOT of the mythology The Originals had teased over its past few outings, and almost every missing piece of the puzzle was stamped with the phrase "witches did it." So first of all: Davina. As she explained to Elijah during her boudoir story hour, she'd become ultra-powerful after a botched ceremony in which four young witches were due to be ritualistically slaughtered in order to appease their bloodthirsty asshole ancestors. But Davina don't go out like that, so she fought against her elders (attracting the help of selfless do-gooder Marcel) and escaped that dumb ceremony. So now all the witches are after her in order to murder her and complete the ceremony and there's a ticking clock because if the witches fail they will lose all their powers. STAKES. Not only did this better explain why Davina hates the other witches, it explained her loyalty to Marcel. But most of all, it made the witches seem more powerful and devious than ever before. Especially that old lady witch in the flashbacks. Bastiana? How creepy was she?! Maybe it's just the shock of seeing someone on this show who appears older than 40, but I was VERY into Bastiana. Please tell me she's not dead. Lie to me, I don't care. Just please give me hope.

Even Sophie Deveraux became slightly more interesting this week. To her credit, she had attempted to stop the witch sacrifices, but she'd been too late and failed to save her niece. (Sophie's dead sister from the backdoor pilot had apparently had a TEENAGE daughter, because maybe teen witches need to start using actual birth control instead of, like, waving burning sage in front of their junk. Just a tip, teen witches!) But after witnessing Davina absorb the dead girls' powers, Sophie realized the ceremony was in fact WORKING and therefore she now needed to murder Davina in order to resurrect her niece. Or something? I frankly do not care because all that matters is Sophie is kind of a VILLAIN now and I am 100 percent rooting against her, which is a definite step up from taking a nap whenever she is on screen. But Sophie's newfound antagonistic qualities were really enhanced by how sympathetic Davina has become. In the span of two episodes I am completely invested in her emotionally. Particularly her burgeoning agency and how she vacillates between vulnerability and cleverness and Carrie-esque ESP freak-outs. Uh, and did you like that cold open wherein she teased a starving Elijah with a droplet of her own blood? That scene was either VERY sensuous or VERY troubling, depending on your local age of consent laws.

Oh, and this was fast: The church massacre that we only just learned about last week? Witches did THAT too. Turns out Cami's twin brother had been hexed by a witch. Part of me was like, "Ugh, witches are the worst." But at least witches are actually driving the story! Again, I hate to keep harping on how slapped-together this show's original concept was, but do you think it's a problem that the catalyst behind the show's very premise and now the people who are currently driving the narrative are NOT the title characters and not even the primary species of monster? Oh well, I guess I'm fine with the witches being more dynamic than the vampires at the moment. Whatever works. Oh but here's another quibble: Now that we've gotten to know more about Davina, learned what makes her tick, and seen her sort of defy Marcel's wishes, does it still make sense that the Mikaelsons haven't ripped Marcel's heart out yet? Again, The Originals has made great strides in correcting just how questionable the initial set-up was, but the unfortunate side effect of reverse-engineering these elements into coherence is that the central premise is now deteriorating rapidly. At this point Marcel can only still be alive because the main siblings WANT him to be, right? The idea that Marcel still has ANY leverage over Klaus flew out the window like an unwelcome guest in the church attic. At least Klaus finally punched Marcel across the room in this episode. At least that happened.

You know what else happened? A LOT of tingle-inducing moments. Anything with Elijah, especially the part where Hayley slapped his face and it felt like a kiss. Or the part where Rebekah forcefully informed Hayley that they are besties now. Loved that so much. Also Rebekah and Marcel's insanely sexy, mutual "I hate you" moment. Or when Klaus learned of the witch prophecy that Hayley's baby would bring about a witch holocaust: "I grow fonder of this child by the second." So good.

Look, I get it. I need to stop dwelling on certain aspects of The Originals (its premise and setting, for example) and just embrace the future (not that the show seems particularly interested in doing that either). The strengths of "Sinners and Saints"—particularly how it began building out the different warring factions and sub-factions into a sort of small-scale Game of Thrones scenario—portend big and satisfying rewards down the line. But it will always remain a personal preference of mine that the most exciting stories should NOT be past events. All my other favorite supernatural serials have had the foresight to actually begin their narratives at the most important inciting incident. That's just my preference when it comes to serials. If The Originals declines to be that kind of serial, fair enough. It's still a quality exercise in genre storytelling. But part of me is worried that this is what's known as an irreconcilable difference between The Originals and me, and we might just have to be friends rather than getting married, you know? That's not the relationship I had dreamed about, but it'll all probably work out fine for everybody anyway.

So yeah, "Sinners and Saints" was a solid and entertaining episode that still managed to frustrate me. That's just my own personal journey, I guess! 


... So, Hayley and Elijah, eh?

... Are you Team Davina or Team Sophie?

... Did those werewolf tracks seem too large to belong to a normal werewolf?

... Do you miss Bastiana?

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  • Togana Dec 31, 2013

    Sorry, I could care less about Davina.

  • mad-pac Jan 03, 2014

    You could care less? So you do care about her to some extent.

  • Togana Jan 13, 2014

    Only in the sense that she forms an alliance with Marcel and Klaus. If not, then she's boring and can just die off to make room for a better and bigger threat to my sexy vampires. I find her character dumb and whiny. She complains about Marcel not telling her about Agnes being dead, yet she lied to him first by pulling parlor tricks in order to stay in the church. So now, she's running around like the wronged party and looking to make trouble. Ugh! Whatever.

  • Togana Dec 31, 2013

    This is what ppl seemed to be forgetting. As much as ppl claimed to love Rebecca, they don't listen to her that well, it would seem. Remember when she said, Marcel is like Klaus' son? that they reunited to lost souls? Yeah, Marcel isn't Klaus' enemy in the way ppl think he should be. Even Klaus said that Marcel is his friend. But he's more than that. He's his son. He raised him, taught him everything he knew and Marcel has tried to make him proud. Notice how he's constantly quoting everything Klaus taught him? Marcel is probably the only vampire Klaus ever turned that he loved. That mattered to him. That's why he doesn't want to kill Marcel. My only complaint about the show, is that they seemed to forget their own groundwork they laid regarding their storytelling. I'm happy to see them revisit that in the midseason ep. I hope they make them closer as the series progresses.

  • Zelli42 Nov 04, 2013

    okay 1. so Haley is part of the family, by having klaus baby... There will not be any Haley Elijah. Because then Elijah would need to compromise his ideals and then he would just disintegrate where he is standing!
    You don't poke the mother of your brothers baby! Especially if your awesome like Elijah
    Then I don't thing you(Price) should be to hard on the past-arcs. It is just episode 5 and this was major exposition. Personally I believe we will get a lot more of present plot now that most of the setup is clear.
    Lastly, can we please finaally get some proper witch action? There is always talk of crazy powerful witches.... but then they die or do some ritual. What about good old fashioned firestorms, or lightnings, or I don't know... throwing houses.
    Awesome episode though. Can't get enough of this !

  • Madelynn1984 Dec 02, 2013

    I don't know whether I'm rooting for Hayley and Elijah or not, but I don't think it would be a problem. It would be one thing if she and Klaus had ever actually dated or liked each other, but I don't think a one night stand, even one that results in a pregnancy, precludes she and Elijah from liking each other. I mean, it's clear Klaus isn't interested in her that way at all! He's busy with Caroline! (Oh, wait, who do they want us to ship him with, Cami? Blech! I mean, she wasn't AS bad last week, but she's no Caroline, you know?)

  • allytanner376 Nov 04, 2013

    Hayley + Elijah = YES, PLEASE !!
    TEAM MIKAELSON (Klaus, Elijah, Rebekah, Hayley and Baby Mikaelson)
    Dire Wolves?? Lykens?? Descended from Lycaon, the original werewolf (Greek mythology)??
    Bastiana adds age and depth to the witches' story-line, so yeah.

  • AnnieMN Nov 03, 2013

    I got major tingles during the entire Elijah/Hayley scene. OOOH GIRL GET THESE TWO TOGETHER!

  • Raniatlw Nov 03, 2013

    1) Elijah and Hayley definitely!!
    2) Team Davina, I think. Though, who seems to be the "bad guy" seems to change from week to week. So, we'll see...
    3) They seemed regular to me.
    4) Eh...

    Also, no Cami this ep = totally awesome ep, for me (imo).

  • SesseKitty Nov 02, 2013

    Great chemistry and great turn of events. I agree that the witches indeed became interesting now - Sophie is a villain! Nice.

    I am totally feeling Hayley and Elijah. Hayley is related to some super werewolves probably.

    Bastiana was the worst, so in a way she was great.

    I don't have anything against past episodes as long as it's not an intentional filler episode, this was certainly anything but. Currently I am more interested in The Originals than TVD.

  • Bayleis84 Nov 02, 2013

    After watching this episode, I've surprisingly realized that I'm actually feeling quite tingly whenever Elijah appears onscreen. I was wondering why the show seemed to have lost its flavor after the pilot, then this episode happened and voila - I had my answer. Elijah,....*tingles*
    Him and Hayley had such an intense chemistry, I am practically drooling to see what happens next and how it will develop. And to make it even more delicious - I am imagining (hoping) for a much better love triangle than the boring Elena-Stefan-Damian one. Ugh. Imagine Hayley in love with Elijah, him reciprocating the sentiment, while at the same time torn by his loyalty to his brother, as the father of her child. Then imagine Klaus developing a growing sentiment toward Hayley, expressed at first by protectiveness, which extends from the unborn child to her. Then jealousy because he could sense her feelings toward Elijah, and a determination to win her heart for himself...Tell me, doesn't that sound magnificent??? *Sigh*

    Reluctantly changing the subject to the other characters - it is true what you say about Divina - her character has undergone a 180 degrees turn for me, and I would imagine for most people as well, because my first impression of her was "ugh. Some super witch kid with attitude on a high horse". But now I can see where she is coming from, and the build-up since last episode, where she met her old crush from school, has shown us her human vulnerability and made me actually like her.

    Marcel is still annoying, despite the revealed knowledge of him being the savior, as opposed to the power-hungry witches. Why am I not surprised about the witches' motives? How annoying are they?

    As for Hayley and Rebecca - I love their bonding process. Rebecca with her need for acceptance and true friendship/love, and Hayley - the well guarded orphan werewolf, ever defensive, with her walls dropping slowly every time she gets saved by Rebecca's great timing in dire situations.

    I love this show. So much more interesting than the Vampire diaries, which has went on a tangent so much that it is practically unrecognizable anymore. I truly hope they pick a second season and then another...
    I would hate to see another good show go down the drain, like they did with The Secret Circle. I'm still not over that.

  • Madelynn1984 Dec 02, 2013

    No love triangle! No, no, no! I like love pairs, and I like unreciprocated love. . . which is sometimes then reciprocated later, etc, but NO TRIANGLE!

    But back to Elijah. . . *tingle*. ;)

  • tdm260 Nov 04, 2013

    Tell me, doesn't that sound magnificent??? *Sigh*

    Nope. No triangles please. At least not for a long time. WAY too soon.

  • Bayleis84 Nov 05, 2013

    Lol, ...well don't mind my sappy drooling fantasies. In all seriousness I know what you mean, though I'm sure if they ever go down that road, it would still be nothing like the neverending stupidity saga that turned out to be the other infamous triangle... :D

  • gottabekd1 Nov 02, 2013

    As I'm reading the comments, I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who finds The Originals more interesting than TVD this season. I wanted Damon and Elena together so badly and now that they are...I'm bored lol

  • HetalJaredIa Nov 01, 2013

    given up watching TVD after season 4. was looking forward to Originals badly and man it did not disappoint. a single epi of Originals is better than crappy TVDS4. the only reason i was watching tvd was or originals. there is nothing left to watch in that. still the same love triangle -_-

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