Now that’s more like it. After last week’s exposition-heavy series premiere, House of the Rising Son struck a deft balance between insightful character moments, connecting the relationship dots, and kicking plot into overdrive. While Always and Forever hinted at the potential of The Originals, Tuesday night’s episode delivered on it. Rebekah’s arrival in New Orleans heralded more Mikaelson family drama and brought another player to the game currently twisting through the streets of the French Quarter. This show is officially on the road, folks. Get excited.
Elijah isn’t the only Mikaelson who knows how to make an entrance – the cavalry has arrived, and she’s blonde, badass, and has no patience for rude vampire lackeys, uncooperative brothers, and lying former flames. Rebekah wastes no time in seeking out the missing Elijah, first searching the former governor’s mansion that Klaus, Elijah and Hayley have commandeered as a home, then hitting up Sophie Deveraux for a locator spell that the witch can’t perform without risking Marcel’s wrath. By the time she runs into Marcel himself, who is less than happy to see yet another Original in his town, Rebekah knows beyond a doubt that something is rotten in the Quarter. But she can’t do anything about it with the threat of a dagger-induced slumber hanging over her head.
Enter Hayley. I can’t be the only one who clapped like a seal when she handed those daggers over to Rebekah, right? That was a change in dynamic a long time coming, and I might be living for the moment Klaus realizes they’re gone. He no longer has a fallback for when he can’t deal with the actual personhood of his siblings. He will have to process and deal with those uncomfortable emotions that family members engender in us all from time to time. Poor Klaus. It’s like everyone wants him to grow as a person.
It’s Okay to Care: When I worried about Hayley’s lack of agency last week, and specifically why ending the pregnancy wasn’t discussed as an option, I really underestimated the writers. Color me beyond impressed that possible abortion was a major thread this episode, with Hayley in possession of two vials of wolfsbane and facing down a difficult decision. That she ultimately didn’t go through with poisoning herself doesn’t matter; she made the choice to keep her unborn child. Hayley might be backed into a corner, but she is now an active participant in her own future. And, at least for now, she has an unlikely ally on her side in the form of Rebekah, who knows a thing or two about having her wishes dismissed, or thrown off balconies.
Both Hayley and Klaus come to varying degrees of realization about their child in this episode. They may not have fully processed the implications, but they react fiercely to the possibility of the baby being harmed. And Rebekah, who spends most of the hour referring to Hayley as “wolf girl” and treating her as a walking incubator, manages to back the werewolf up and strike at the heart of Klaus’s anger in one fell swoop. “It’s okay to care,” she tells her enraged brother. “It’s okay to want something.” It’s a huge moment not only because we and Klaus realize the child matters to him, but because Rebekah has wanted many things throughout her long existence, only to have them mercilessly snatched away by her brother.
In the best scene of the episode, Hayley and Klaus find common ground: They’re both outcasts, survivors, and more importantly they’re fighters. What a bottle of Scotch has wrought and a coven of desperate witches has manipulated does not discount them as individuals. This wasn’t a scene laying the groundwork of an epic love affair, nor was it an “aww shucks”, soft focus, feel good moment. This was an acknowledgment between reluctant comrades-in-arms that they are on the same side in a war with a life at stake, and they are taking responsibility for that life.
There is a House in New Orleans: “Got a thing about people who betray their own friends,” Marcel tells Klaus as he zips up a body bag on the human girl who threw her friend under the bus in a desperate bid to live as a vampire. What seems like an honorable sentiment is turned on its head later when Klaus reveals to Hayley that this mission to take Marcel’s kingdom is not driven entirely by greed, but a deep-rooted sense of betrayal. But Marcel was never just a friend; Klaus freed him from an abusive master/father and raised him like a son. Marcel was family. While the Original siblings grieved for Marcel, thinking he was long dead after they were forced to flee New Orleans (but, as he pointed out to Rebekah, did they really look that hard for him?), the protege was building his empire on what they left behind: he’s dangling daylight rings as a level-up for his “nightwalkers” and has converted their one-time house into the Abattoir, a quasi-club/home where tourists are rounded up for an all-you-can-eat buffet. He’s even co-opted the letter “M” in a brazen feat of alphabetical thievery. Marcel, how dare you.
Klaus, as Rebekah reminds us, is inevitably disappointed by family and is proactive with his disapproval. He is eternally the kid who picks up his toys and goes home when things don’t go his way. But Marcel is a problem that a good heart-snatch cannot solve and the history between these two is as long as the Mississippi…but is it deeper? Klaus may have realized that he didn’t have it in him to kill Marcel when the latter directed his charms towards Rebekah (and, oh, what charms they are), but did that change when Klaus discovered Marcel alive and well? Or did it change when Marcel gave up Rebekah so that he could be turned into a vampire and live forever? Is it possible that Klaus also has a thing about people who betray their friends? Just like he has a thing about not being the center of affection? (Klaus contains multitudes and they make my head hurt, guys.)
Despite feelings of perceived unfaithfulness on both sides, Marcel and Klaus continue to play nice face-to-face, and it’s a beautiful dance to watch. Every exchange carries a sting and each of them is working to stay one step ahead of the other behind the scenes. When Klaus reveals the Dumasian scope of the plan we witnessed unfold over the hour, it was the hybrid at his best (for all his faults, the man gets stuff done) and worst (did it have to be Elijah, you bastard?). “How many times will Elijah forgive you?” Rebekah yells at Klaus, and for all his clever machinations and justifications, it’s a question that Klaus can’t answer. Turning Elijah over to Marcel was the solution to a problem, another cog in a deliberately executed plan. While Klaus claims there was no other way to begin earning Marcel’s trust, he made the choice to use his brother as collateral and put him directly in harm’s way. He did that. And now Marcel has Elijah at his and Davina’s mercy, intent on figuring out if there is a way to kill that which cannot be killed. What exactly happens to Elijah as they try to do so?
Whatever it takes, Klaus and Rebekah. Whatever it takes.
Compelling Moment: “It’s time to fight, Little Wolf.”
The Rules: The witches of New Orleans practice ancestral magic; their powers originate from their ancestors, and that’s why the cemetery is “sacred ground.” The witches draw on those remains, so if they leave New Orleans, they lose access to that magic.
Foggy Moments: So Rebekah could enter the building housing Davina’s attic without invitation, but required one for the attic proper? (It’s an attic, right? I mean, it’s not a hobbit hole. Obviously.) What did Elijah have to say about Klaus keeping Rebekah daggered for 52 years?
Thoughts & Questions before Tangled Up in Blue (EP103):
- Marcel is short for Marcellus, a name you might recognize if you’re up on your Shakespeare, know your Roman history, memorized the Popes in Catholic School, or have seen Pulp Fiction a few dozen times.
- A few significant events Rebekah missed while she was in her mystical slumber from 1835-1887: the entirety of the Civil War, the marriage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, the invention of photography, the telephone, and the phonograph, the discovery of the planet Neptune, the French Revolution of 1848.
- Klaus repeatedly doing horrible things to Rebekah’s love interests, telling Marcel “I am the constant” in Rebekah’s life – that’s a whole new level of Lannister-esque creepy. I’m not sure it was intended to read as that incestuous. (Because you know it was meant to a little bit.) Not that the Rebekah and Marcel stuff isn’t also a little creepy, as she essentially helped raise him and then got kissy with him. As Kate said, “It’s basically the ‘rich guy falls in love with his orphaned ward’ trope from innumerable historical romance novels.” I’m torn on Rebekah and Marcel because everything looks warped through the lens of immortality. On the other hand, how many times have we heard that Marcel was molded in Klaus’s image…? Yeah, I’ll stop.
- Cami has to have a story, right? Between her “bad boy” conversation with Klaus and Marcel’s puzzling interest in her (puzzling because of the level of interest, not that he’s interested at all), it’s starting to feel like she might have a doozy of a past, or a dark secret. Because who doesn’t? Here’s hoping she doesn’t stay a vampire puppet for long.
- I love how thorough Marcel’s operation is, down to a contact at the coroner’s office and “holes to fill” when members of his vampire army find themselves on the business end of a pool cue.
- Just think of everything the Mikaelson siblings could accomplish if Klaus stopped daggering them for, like, two seconds. Thanks to Hayley, we’re about to find out.
What did you think of House of the Rising Son? Did you love the Rebekah-Hayley team-up? Surprised to learn that Klaus had experience raising a child before? Wondering why Marcel bothers with compulsion when he has that smile? Sound off in the comments!
Heather Vee is the co-owner of Vampire-Diaries.net and the co-author, with Crissy Calhoun, of Love You To Death – Season 4: The Unofficial Companion to The Vampire Diaries. She is also co-editor of A Visitor’s Guide to Mystic Falls: Your Favorite Authors on The Vampire Diaries. You can find her on Twitter @dieslaughing and at heathervee.com. You can also visit the official Love You to Death website.
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