Life is all about simple pleasures in my opinion. While YOU are all gallivanting about enjoying all the most complicated pleasures, I am just sitting here on a papasan enjoying the simple ones. Simple pleasures like, oh, sitting on a papasan for example. Dropping a fistful of Skittles into a vodka tonic. Pinecones, just in general. Also, burning garbage for warmth, that counts as a simple pleasure. Sweatshirt turbans. See, we are surrounded by simple pleasures! That's why it's easy to be happy in life; any time things seem too repetitive or wheel-spinny or slightly pointless and the only real highlight is the sight of three witches being levitated in a church and then murdered, sometimes you just have to keep in mind all the simple pleasures life has to offer and be grateful for them.
I am grateful for The Originals even if "The Casket Girls" felt less than essential. For one thing this show had been on hiatus for what felt like years and my body was going into physical withdrawal from not having seen the Mikaelsons in so long. I legit smiled whenever a character made his or her first appearance in this episode, from Rebekah's incredible French-speaking flashback (in which she saved some titular casket girls from getting screamed at by men in wigs) to simply seeing Klaus place a phone call. I just love these characters so much and that's how almost all of my enjoyment of this episode was derived: From just seeing them exist. Story-wise "The Casket Girls" was another one of The Originals' patented "trust-building" episodes complete with a non-cliffhanger. Meaning, almost everything that happened in the episode was reset by episode's end except maybe one character now trusts somebody more than before. On paper: Boring! But in practice just seeing these fantastic actors stand around and talk to each other in elevated accents makes any other complaining seem ungrateful. Plus, you know, three witches were levitated in a church and then murdered. That was one for the highlight reels.
Both Davina and Rebekah were at the center of this episode, which is another big reason why it was easy to put up with so much wheel-spinning. Davina's fundamental awesomeness (and cleverness and moxie) remains The Originals' best innovation over The Vampire Diaries. This witch is strong but also straight-up interesting. Initially I believed that Davina's entire reason for being was that The Originals really needed a way for Marcel to exert control over the Mikaelsons, so I'm seriously shocked that the writers have made me so hecka invested in her as a person. Now that she's freely roaming the streets, Davina has thousand-year-old men fretting and worried about her, and that's all testament to how important she is to the show. So that was the main gist of "The Casket Girls": Marcel and Klaus attempting to locate Davina via different methods. Klaus capturing Tim at fangpoint was probably never going to end well (poor Tim!), but it definitely did get results. Meanwhile, Rebekah realized she no longer had allies in Marcel or her brothers, so she demonstrated her awesomeness by scheming to take them ALL down. By the end of the hour, she had Davina's trust (supposedly; Davina would be crazy to trust anybody anymore) and was feeding blood to Thierry, a third-tier vampire down in The Garden. Unfortunately, since several cycles of this sort of thing have already played out on The Originals (trust is once again broken! Allegiances shift!), it's hard to feel too invested in Rebekah's current scheme. Still though, I'd watch Rebekah do anything, especially behave in heroic ways on behalf of the other women. More please! So much more please.
Adding to the simple pleasures appreciation list: Josh. Josh was all over this episode! Who could've predicted this guy would become the moral compass of the series? That moment where he decided not to tell Davina about how vampire bloodlines were linked was especially wrenching. Or Sophie Deveraux: I still think she's useless and unlikable, but her newest scheme to (perhaps stupidly) exhume the remains of Elijah's ex-girlfriend at least feels promising. Also Sophie's primary way of dealing with her recent failures? Getting her swerve on. Fair enough! And Cami, of course, has now had her brain thoroughly scrubbed and vervain-disinfected and will hopefully get to exert WAY more agency than she has in the past. I'm not sure how credible her threats against Klaus were (do we really think he couldn't handle it if she "outed" him as a vampire?), but it was intensely satisfying to watch her tell off her uncle for having lied to her. It's incredibly frustrating whenever characters on these shows keep loved ones in the dark to "protect" them, and that's why I loved Cami's rage. Knowledge is power, everybody! Particularly knowledge about the existence of supernatural creatures who threaten to eat your blood at any moment. [SHOOTING STAR] THE MORE YOU KNOW.
It honestly makes sense that "The Casket Girls" wasn't more full-force from a storytelling perspective. It was basically the opening installment in Chapter 2 of The Originals' first season. And as even the best cable series can attest (and make no mistake, The Originals has cable-quality aspirations), you have to do a certain amount of set-up to make the pay-offs more powerful. So this review was all just a lugubrious way of saying that we need to make a special effort to appreciate the smaller and simpler things in this episode. There were tons! But there's one simple pleasure that eclipsed all others: The Originals is back! I can't speak for you guys, but I'm just so excited about what will happen next.
... Is Tim going to stay dead?
... Will Celeste be ticked off about having been awakened from her slumber?
... What was the cooler Davina moment: murdering those witches or forcing Elijah to vomit blood?
... How many OTHER New Orleans holidays are the Mikaelsons responsible for?
AIRED ON 5/20/2016
Season 3 : Episode 22