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The Originals S01E08: "The River in Reverse"

Personally, I would not like to fight off a hundred vampires, especially not without spending at least ten minutes stretching first. The last thing you want to have happen when you're fighting off a hundred vampires is pull a muscle or twist an ankle, you know? Those things would make fighting off a hundred vampires significantly harder than it needs to be, and in my opinion, fighting off a hundred vampires is hard enough. There's no denying this. But sometimes you don't always get a chance to warm up before having to fight off a hundred vampires. Life can be surprising that way. It's like, "Well, this is not an ideal situation in which to fight off a hundred vampires, granted." And you have to sort of just accept it and go right into windmill hitting EVERYBODY. You just gotta do what it takes sometimes, but especially when those times involve fighting off a hundred vampires without a proper warmup. These recaps definitely have a large ghost readership, but I'm guessing for the most part the majority of people reading this are still alive and have not been murdered by a hundred vampires? If so, then you have a lot in common with Klaus from The Originals!

Guess what? "The River in Reverse" was a very good episode in which Klaus fought off a hundred vampires like it was NBD (not bad, dude). That part, and nine other things were the ten best things about this episode. Let's talk about them!


Rebekah snapping Tyler's neck

This was an easy one. Yes, Tyler's been through a lot and this show would really like us to believe that his recent dalliances in villainy are motivated by all his traumas, but I don't care. Tyler seems very sucky to me now and his cavalier attitude toward harming Hayley's unborn child earned him a very deserved neck-snap from an otherwise sympathetic Rebekah. It was certainly no surprise to see her waltz into that vampire back room meeting and have a mini Mystic Falls reunion with Tyler, but the fact that she agreed to help capture her brother while drawing the line at harming her future niece? Amazing. That's just great writing right there. Rebekah is the best.


That one head in The Garden

Look at that guy just chillin' in the floor of The Garden. I'm guessing that's a guy and not just a decorative sculpture? If that WAS a living vampire, whose decision was it to bury him on such a highly trafficked part of the floor? I am not an expert in interior design OR vampire jails, but it didn't seem like a very good place to bury a vampire. How often do people trip over that guy's head? All the time? Maybe that's part of his punishment. Every time he tries to doze off and have a nice dream or just get some high-quality Z's, one of Marcel's minions trips over his face. What a life! Anyway, sleep well buddy.


Elijah's flashback powers


This had already been established in an earlier episode when Elijah had a secret meeting with Rebekah INSIDE HIS BRAIN. But I loved how the flashback element of this episode played out, with a feverish Elijah showing-not-telling Hayley his flashbacks. Too often in flashback episodes it's implied that the person is just remembering something pertinent for the first time or giving some kind of elaborate, detailed monologue or something and it's all so low-stakes and boring. But in this case Elijah was zapping a movie straight into Hayley's brain, and this particular movie was about the time Elijah was super in love with a witch and Klaus casually framed the town's witches for murder, resulting in Elijah's girlfriend's bathtub death. Oh, Klaus. But also, the nice coda to this plotline was how Hayley was able to get over her jealousy toward Elijah's dead Ex and become so invested in his sad story that she demanded he zap the end of the story into her brain as well. Elijah's powers are just a neat trick all around--it's seriously almost on the level of X-Men or something--and I'd love to see more flashbacks integrated into the narrative in these kinds of inventive ways. Very clever, sorry deal w/it.


The duel outfits


Um, obviously the flashback wigs and costumes were going to be 100% excellent and we were NOT disappointed. Waistcoats, tousled rascal wigs. Dueling pistols. There was just A LOT to like. Also, how messed up was Klaus' hobby of entering into duels with local townsfolk knowing he couldn't be killed? No fair, K.


The reverse werewolf curse


This week Hayley finally got to have a convo with that weird blonde werewolf hobo who'd been hanging out in the bushes by her swamp cabin. Her entrance was extraordinary: A feverish Elijah tried to strangle Hayley so much but then this lady busted in and staked him. Then Hayley and this lady Eve made s'mores and told campfire tales about how most of the werewolves died, except for the ones who were cursed with reverse-werewolfism. Which meant that most of the rest of Hayley's surviving relatives were full-time wolves except when they turned human during full moons. Which, how cool! I mean, I'm not sure how that changes the uselessness of werewolves in general, but I love seeing any kind of variation on the lore, you know? Especially if it means the monsters of The Originals will operate by different rules than the ones in Mystic Falls. Plus hopefully this means full moon will happen and there will be a bunch of filthy naked people running around on everybody's lawns. That will be a good episode.


Klaus was worried about Cami

The Originals' recent turn into psychological terror stems mostly from Klaus completely embracing his villain persona. The last episode and especially this one REALLY hit the point home that he's a very troubled person with an increasingly shaky grasp on basic decency, so this subplot involving him wanting to ensure Cami's safety was a necessary reminder of just how complicated he is, and that he remains sympathetic despite all his crimes against loved ones. In this case, Cami had recently read him the riot act and so there's a chance his wish to see her leave town had as much to do with avoiding getting told off again (or her plotting against him). But the larger issue was that he really DID seem to care about her safety and was essentially admitting that he can't really keep people safe even if he wanted to. I mean, how often had Hayley been kidnapped by now? Every day? Keeping people safe is not what Klaus is best at, so reaching out to Cami's uncle to help convince her to leave felt not only very mature of him, it was touchingly heartfelt. At this point I really don't care too much about how Cami factors into this epic battle, but she definitely represents Klaus' last tether to his own humanity, and that makes her more valuable to the show than ever. Who knew?


THE BRAWL


Everything about this brawl scene was a total and utter crowd-pleaser. From all the emotional confrontations (sibling betrayal!) to both sides' hubristic boasts, to the actual, very violent showdown, this was just riveting television. One of my main problems with this series so far has been its insistence that the Mikaelsons aren't as physically powerful as we'd once believed, but nope! This scene showed us just what Klaus-at-full-strength is like, and we were right! He is literally unstoppable. Just after Klaus began to systematically annihilate a hundred vampire goons, Marcel realized what we'd known all along: He could never win, and he only really continues to be alive because Klaus wishes it so. I don't know about you, but I did not expect this episode to end with Marcel pledging complete loyalty to Klaus and Klaus moving back into his old home. Um, is the series over then? Because that was sort of the main goal we'd been led to believe was what mattered. It seems like maybe The Originals finally agreed that maybe there were more interesting stories to tell. But anyway, yes: This was just very good, very entertaining action. More please!


Marcel's speech about loyalty

I honestly cannot count how many times we've seen Klaus look forlorn as someone told him how awful he was. A hundred times? Everyone in Mystic Falls and now everyone in New Orleans has told him to his face that he sucks, but that look on his face as it clearly sinks in... It works on me every time. For someone with a short temper and unquenchable rage, Klaus sure does tolerate armchair analysis from people beneath him. In this particular case though, Marcel gave voice to one of the most obvious lessons Klaus has yet to learn: Loyalty can't be forced. Man, how nasty was it when Marcel concluded with "Enjoy your kingdom," and walked off. So nasty. But earned!


THE MAIN SPEECH THOUGH

Uh, this was basically the spoken version of that brawl from earlier, based on how riveting it was. Joseph Morgan can say literally anything and I'm invested, but in this scene he shouted his siblings down for their betrayals, his tears not only verifying his profound hurt, but perhaps acknowledging his complicity in his own pain (not that he'd ever say that out loud). Oh, and he finally admitted that he was indeed jealous of Elijah's chemistry with Hayley. Which, I'm not saying I'm hoping for a love triangle, but part of me hopes that Klaus will somehow start to fall in love with the woman carrying his child. That just seems like a particularly compelling thread to me, like the psychology of reproduction necessitates that everybody falls in love. I don't know. But anyway, by now we've seen this routine from Klaus so often: He was legitimately in the wrong, yet it was hard not to be moved by his pathos laid bare like this. It's clear The Originals will probably move back and forth between Klaus absolutely f*cking over his siblings and then, somehow, redeeming himself. This speech felt like the last gasp of anguish before he realizes he needs to make amends again. I think? Both Elijah and Rebekah seemed genuinely upset at Klaus' words, but it's still on Klaus to make things right. Unfortunately the episode ended with him moving out of the house and, almost chillingly, ordering Hayley to join him. Poor lady. Hopefully Elijah can zap more sexy movies into her brain to help her stave off boredom.


Cami's secret code


The episode ended with the revelation that Cami had outsmarted her own compulsion by leaving a coded message for herself to discover when Klaus wasn't around to mind-control her. First off, let's be real: Who cares? I truly don't believe Cami can possibly have an impact on Klaus' story, even if they did become sudden adversaries. BUT as far as sheer genius and moxie goes, this was a big moment for finally liking and sympathizing with Cami. Consider me invested, because this kind of cleverness is very, very endearing and compelling to me. Also that code looked so cool? What a cool-looking code! Anyway, suffice it to say Cami isn't leaving town soon. How exactly she'll get involved in a turf war between ancient vampires remains to be seen.

News flash: "The River in Reverse" was another in a recent string of VERY strong episodes, continuing to steer the show into scarier, less predictable, and more compelling waters. I liked it, is what I'm trying to say.


QUESTIONS

... Did you like when Josh drove his car into Marcel's night club?

... Did you laugh when somebody referred to hybrids as a "superior" species?

... Should Celeste have been more careful when taking baths?

... Does Klaus always carry around a pirate doubloon?

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 4/15/2014

Season 1 : Episode 18

Next Episode

AIRS ON 4/22/2014

Season 1 : Episode 19

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