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The Originals S01E20: "A Closer Walk With Thee"

Important disclaimer: This episode of The Originals, "A Closer Walk With Thee," was co-written by one of my in-real-life ("IRL") friends, Carina Adly MacKenzie. I am obviously using the term "friend" loosely in that I am for all intents and purposes friendless due to my bad personality and questionable hygiene and I spend most of my waking hours very alone and in a state of utter, existential darkness. But yeah, if I had to put down an emergency contact on paperwork or whatever, Carina could probably be one of those people. So in the interest of journalistic integrity (LOL), please keep in mind that I am about to discuss an episode of The Originals written by someone I actually know for real. Should I have recused myself from this review entirely? Probably. But I want to talk about this episode that my friend wrote! Is that such a crime? No it is not, not YET, anyway. You never know what dark places Obama will be steering this country into next. Just kidding, I'm not totally sure who Obama is or what he even does. But I definitely know and love the lady who co-wrote this episode. This is not a humble brag, just a straight-up brag. It's also a disclaimer. You've been disclaim'd!

But I honestly think I would've adored this episode no matter who wrote it, if only for the M83 song and Nightmare on Elm Street realness. It was like "A Closer Walk With Thee" was a blowdart that hit me directly in the pleasure center of what's left of my brain? While the episode wasn't exactly heavy with revelation or twists, it crystallized everything we love about these characters' relationships and gave us more standout confrontations than the human heart can possibly endure. The nursery scene. The alley scene. The KISS. The flashbacks. The return of a major villain. SO MUCH blood vomit. Yes, I may be biased in this specific circumstance, but I'm also a real jerk about things that I don't like, trust me. Fortunately I loved this episode.

Let's talk Irish funerals. I'm that monster who never really cared that much about Father Kieran as a character. What exactly was that guy's deal? Go growl in somebody else's dark church, guy. But what I DID care about was the effect his curse had on Cami, and last week his demise really put her through the ringer. That's why this week's funeral-centric episode was as healing for us viewers as it was for the characters. All good funerals include fiddlin' and whiskey, and though both Cami and Hayley felt that Kieran's wake was too festive, it was exactly the kind of wake we should all want. The kind where disparate plotlines intersect, secrets are revealed, and bitchery goes down in the kitchen. Cami did a lot of emotional heavy-lifting in this episode, vacillating between wanting to wash her hands of these supernatural goings-on entirely and wanting to stay super up-to-date and involved in everything. The crux of her storyline was the stolen key that Marcel and Josh had taken from her dead uncle's corpse. Cami only found out about its existence when the riverboat lady demanded she turn it over (Cami told her off good), but once Marcel revealed he'd stolen it, she insisted that they set off to find out what exactly it unlocked. As it turned out, the key opened a box buried in her dead brother's tomb, but that box contained a secret code that only Cami could crack. We know that it's allegedly some kind of anti-supernatural atom bomb, but WHAT.

All that being said, this was a Klaus episode for sure. I normally hate dream-sequence cold opens, but this one made sense: Klaus opened Kieran's casket only to find his newborn daughter, then got sproink'd! with the White Oak stake by Mikael before he could pick her up. To be honest, I wish that when Klaus had awakened in bed he'd spat out a little blood so that there was more of a connection between his dream and real life (sort of like when Nancy woke up scratched by Freddy Krueger's claws), but at least the episode quickly revealed that Elijah had been dreaming about Mikael also, tipping us off that these weren't simply dream sequences. Because eerie! But narratively Klaus's dreams not only dovetailed with his fears of impending fatherhood, they also served as an important reminder that Klaus was already a father. Flashbacks to slavery times showed us that Klaus had taken Marcel away from his biological father (a white slave owner) and raised him as his own son; a later flashback showed him turning an adult Marcel into a vampire after Marcel gave Klaus the verbal equivalent of a #1 Dad coffee mug. So yeah, a devastating reinforcement of how heart-wrenching Klaus and Marcel's current conflict is while also giving Klaus reason to want to do a better job with his next child. Paternal-Instinct!Klaus is quickly becoming my favorite Klaus.

As for Mikael, the Freddy Krueger parallels just kept coming. Not only did he invade one of Davina's seances, he terrorized Hayley when she temporarily died from a witch's curse. This was a particularly sensational episode for Hayley, who, pregnant as h*ck, beat up the riverboat lady's random henchman and also more than held her own against Freddy Krueger Mikael on the Other Side. But that didn't mean Mikael wasn't a terrifying presence; as Klaus revealed in a highly amusing aside, he'd called Bonnie Bennett and confirmed that the Other Side was indeed crumbling, so that immediately tipped us off that, more likely than not, Mikael will be made flesh again soon. And that was before the episode's closing stinger in which Mikael straight-up asked Davina to help make this happen, ostensibly as retribution for Klaus having killed her fiddle-boo. I'm pretty sure Davina will be smart enough not to help him, but who knows? Once the Other Side disintegrates for good, it's anyone's guess who will be coming back. Because people WILL be coming back, it's just a matter of who. Gosh knows this show could stand to regain one or more legit Originals. Consider it foreshadowed!

Back to Hayley, though: Wow wow wow. Two of this episode's more devastating conversations involved that lady. After Monique poked a Hayley-shaped voodoo doll, Hayley puked blood in the streets and DIED. That's when she encountered Mikael and stabbed him with whatever was around. Thankfully Genevieve had had a major change of heart about murdering Hayley's baby (this alone was another VERY satisfying and surprising character turn), so she undid Monique's curse, and it wasn't long until Hayley agreed that maybe she should live under Klaus's protection again. (But it's like, twist her arm, why don't you? Those swamp shanties looked so comfy!) However, just when it seemed like Hayley was settling in for a miserable stay in a shabby-chic prison mansion, Klaus reassured her that it wasn't simply the baby he cared about; he did care deeply about Hayley as well. If you're like me, you laughed out loud at Klaus's idea of nursery décor (hanging crystals and that nightmare painting he once did), but Hayley seemed very touched and paid him one of the more knee-weakeningly powerful compliments he's maybe ever received: When he asked her what Mikael had said about him on the Other Side, she simply answered "Nothing true." The look on his face. SO GOOD. There was also the bit where she wanted to know why he even called Mikael "father," and Klaus responded that it was because Mikael "had done harm to him only a father could do." Anyway, again, bias, but come on. PERFECT. Then came the part where Elijah confessed that when Hayley died it was the most frightened he'd been in one thousand years and then they KISSED and he disappeared and she smiled. Is your heart even still beating?

Marcel and Klaus had a wonderful confrontation in a back alleyway also, but no duh. Every scene with these two guys is always good. (P.S. did you read my interview with the dreamy Charles Michael Davis? He had some nice things to say about working with Joseph Morgan and they felt especially pertinent in this episode.) In my opinion Klaus seems way more eager to bury the hatchet with Marcel than Marcel does, mostly because Marcel seemed pretty hellbent on fortifying his vampire forces against whatever Klaus has been cooking up with the werewolves. But man, especially after those flashbacks, it was incredibly painful to see those two bickering. Since they both look about the same age, it's easy to forget that Klaus is basically Marcel's FATHER, but when Marcel paid Klaus the tenuous compliment that his will to win was instilled in him by Klaus himself, it was undeniably powerful. Again, I was slow to accept their turf-war conflict as anything I should care about (Klaus is one million times stronger and smarter than Marcel), but the emotional stakes are suddenly so high that suddenly it's like oh, I get it now. These guys need each other and always will.

I feel like I want to say a quick thing about Genevieve, another character I haven't been crazy about. As I've said in the past, she was my fourth-favorite witch out of the four who were resurrected, but this episode represented a major turning point not only for her character, but my opinion of her. Almost nothing thrills me more than a bad character turning good, so when she actively decided to side with Klaus against Monique, I got chills. Later, when she begged her ancestors to lay off the baby and they threw her around the graveyard and made her face leak so much blood, I felt very terrible for her. Genevieve has suddenly taken a sharp turn into tragedy and I'm totally on board. Also she is still so horny for Klaus, so that's just a very good character trait on her part. But seriously there is now a part of me that is maybe even rooting for Genevieve? That probably means she's going to die soon, but still. Her sudden likability is a very refreshing twist.

It's too painful to think about how few episodes are left in this season. While certain twists seem very likely (Mikael's return!), most of the other plotlines could go in any direction (what's that secret code in the box?), and that's a real thrill. If "A Closer Walk With Thee" represents the quiet before the storm, then holy moly. There was nothing quiet about this episode's relentlessly troubled heart, nor the pathos emanating from its every frame. I really liked this episode.


... Will Mikael be back for good? What about any of the other dead Mikaelsons?

... What will Cami's secret code say?

... Do you like Genevieve more now?

... *whispers* Bastiana.

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 12/8/2014

Season 2 : Episode 9

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