Just as one chapter seemed to come to an abrupt end, another began with a gasp. Le Grand Guignol was a breakneck hour filled with glittering and bloody flashbacks, cracking good dialogue, an abundance of excellent character flourishes, and a penultimate scene that was more unsettling than a sanatorium full of blood-coughing horrors. Finally we have the full picture of what went down the night the Original siblings fled New Orleans and, like the opera that frames Mikael’s destruction, it’s grand drama.
After last week touched on the mechanics of Rebekah and Marcel’s plan to bring Mikael to New Orleans, this week put that betrayal in vivid context. While Klaus’s surprising public blessing of Rebekah and Marcel’s relationship slid the blade between the ribs, the actual knife-twist came in witnessing the Original family at the happiest and most content moment of their long lives. Consider Elijah’s words, spoken in both 1919 and the present: This was all you. The true tragedy of what occurred in 1919 wasn’t Mikael but what was lost in one horrible night. We’ve heard Elijah express this sentiment before, but we’ve never really understood the part Klaus himself played in giving his family the stability they sought for so long.
Klaus tells Rebekah he was saving her from a broken heart when he repeatedly thwarted her attempts to love, but now that they no longer have to run, he assures her, “Be happy, my sister.” It’s a loaded moment, and one that makes clearer than ever before that Klaus has designated himself the gatekeeper of his family’s happiness. And if you view this through the prism that he and Mikael know something Elijah and Rebekah do not yet know – that Klaus killed Esther, their mother – it takes on an even sadder hue. Rebekah’s actions, more than Marcel’s, hit hard not only because she’s brought the the vile, evil specter of their father upon them, but because she’s outright rejected his efforts to make things right.
This is classic Klaus: Torment others for what he believes to be for their own good, but completely ignore that he plays a part in ripping his own heart out. He spends a lot of time growling and whining at Cami this episode – and, bless her heart, she repeatedly calls him on it – but Klaus feels pain so deeply and so irrationally that he believes it outweighs the pain of his brother and sister, a pain he himself has inflicted upon them. Even as we witness Mikael destroy his children’s New Orleans dream, knowing what led them there and what followed, what Rebekah has done is miniscule in comparison to the one thousand years of emotional terrorism Klaus has waged on his siblings. Let’s not forget that a few years after Klaus and Rebekah fled New Orleans, when they encountered Stefan Salvatore in Chicago, Klaus daggered and coffined his sister for 90 years.
And that in no way discounts the rage, terror, and inadequacy Klaus feels under the looming presence of Mikael. One of the most striking moments of the episode was Klaus in his box at the opera house, on top of the world, and the subtle change in his demeanor the moment Mikael slides behind him. In an instant, his fulfillment and accomplishments are erased. He may no longer be the animal begging for scraps of Mikael’s affection, but he is once again the terrified, defenseless child. And it’s that child that always lurks within Klaus, that hones in on those he would punish. One of the smartest moves this show has made so far is in making the parallel between Mikael and Klaus explicit, most beautifully illustrated in the dual images of a bloody Mikael stalking through the Quarter yelling for his children and Klaus storming into Lafayette Cemetery roaring Rebekah’s name. When Cami makes this comparison, pleading with Klaus not to become his father, the hybrid bristles: “You know, I’ve been called every shade of monster, but that’s new. My father? Mikael was the monster monsters were afraid of.”
Sounds familiar, right? Cast your mind back to The Vampire Diaries Season 2 and all of the build-up to Klaus’s arrival in Mystic Falls. He has actively courted and encouraged the myth of being that monster that monsters are afraid of, yet comparing him to Mikael? That’s going too far. Mikael’s abuse and disdain is wedged so deeply within Klaus, he can’t see that it’s this particular monster that has colored his actions and behavior for a thousand years. And now, in his single-minded pursuit of Rebekah and Marcel, he is perpetuating that tragic, fucked-up cycle.
And that’s why it’s so important for Elijah to stand his ground, press back and, above all, protect Rebekah. Hayley making such a decisive move to protect her own family – a family she barely knows beyond the fact that they exist – provides a piercing contrast to the Originals’ drama. There have been few images more delightful than two badass werewolves, one quite visibly pregnant, clutching shotguns and pinning a witch with their unwavering stares. And even Marcel takes a stance for family when he insists on seeing through his promise to Davina, a decision that could be viewed as selfish within context of his and Rebekah’s escape, but I believe was far more selfless in motivation. In the end, no matter how much Elijah plays the fixer, he can’t expect those around him to always share his goals or methods, and he definitely can’t expect those people won’t at least attempt to fix things themselves.
Which is why, in the end, he has the most success with Celeste. The seeming death of Celeste was Le Grand Guignol‘s most startling turn of events. What began as a powerhouse revenge story, with legitimate grudges fueling the fire, fizzled out with Celeste’s rather one-note, woman scorned motivation. Now, I’m not necessarily convinced that we’ve seen this storyline tied up with a bow; in fact, I need to believe there’s more because, otherwise, Davina’s prophecy of impending ultimate doom goes over like a lead balloon. Celeste’s plan is too complex for it to be over this easily and abruptly. But her final moments were compelling: Her fear at being returned to her original body, her pleading with Elijah in French, and Elijah’s devastating response before plunging Tunde’s blade into her belly – Désolé. Sorry. That was a much-needed nuance amidst Celeste’s evil cackles and smirks.
With Celeste “dead” (she did say she was immortal), and Bastiana’s head ripped off her shoulders by Marcel, we now have Genevieve on the run and a resurrected Davina. Even though Elijah seems to have gained a tentative ally in Monique Deveraux, the witches are in shambles once more, without elders or even a burgeoning leader. So how will Davina fit back into the supernatural world order, and will she be the Davina we remember? More importantly, should we be worried that Davina came to life so soon after Celeste was stabbed with a dagger steeped in dark magic? I mean, witches, am I right?
Compelling Moment: Tough choice this week, but that final parallel between Klaus stalking through the cemetery, yelling Rebekah’s name, and Mikael storming through the streets of New Orleans, yelling for his children, was gut-wrenching and effective.
The Rules: Celeste cast the Crescent curse when she was in Brynne Deveraux’s body, so she is the only witch who can undo it. She makes an herbal elixir to undo the curse, telling Hayley to give her family the potion on the next full moon, when they are in human form. Celeste is able to cast a boundary spell around the cemetery that is specific to the Originals and will break by the next moonrise. Elijah gives Monique a spell from Esther’s grimoire – alongside a reminder that Esther’s power now flows through her – which redirects Celeste’s spirit back to her own body when she kills Sabine and tries to jump into a new body.
Foggy Moments: Davina had a one in three chance of being resurrected when Marcel decapitated Bastiana, but with Celeste’s death, does all of the power she was harboring from the Harvest return to the earth or the witches, as was intended? Does that mean a third Harvest girl is now resurrected? Or all of them? Or is at least a portion of that power still tied up with Genevieve? And can you consecrate a witch who cheated death?
Thoughts & Questions before Farewell to Storyville (EP116):
- If you’re unfamiliar with the history of the Grand Guignol, highly recommend reading this fascinating overview.
- Klaus was working his growly Britishisms all over the place this episode and absolutely no one is complaining.
- Quick refresher on the white oak stakes: Klaus used Mikael’s original white oak stake to kill his “father” in the The Vampire Diaries Season 3 episode Homecoming; it burned along with Mikael. The stake that Klaus has in his possession was created by Esther, the Originals’ mother, who transferred the Gilbert ring protection spell to the stake in TVD Season 3, making it indestructible. It was last seen in TVD Season 4, when Rebekah gave it to Elijah. Elijah, in turn, gave it to Klaus in Pictures of You, hoping to ease his brother’s fears about Silas and as a gesture of goodwill, in exchange for sparing Katherine and allowing Elijah to love again. Unsurprisingly, Klaus took the stake but refused to spare Katherine.
- Loved the thread between Klaus calling Lana a “werewolf queen” and the later reveal of her Crescent wolf birthmark. And how interesting that the Crescent wolves once ran the various theaters of New Orleans, aligning with the Originals to hide illegal booze during Prohibition. (Well, until it all fell apart.)
- Time marker: Six months between Genevieve’s summoning spell and Mikael’s arrival in New Orleans.
- Rebekah volunteering at the sanatorium, speaking at the Women’s Temperance Society… Nucky Thompson would be proud.
- This episode was overflowing with killer conversations and one-liners (and a lot of slang): “My sixteen year old self would think I’m really cool right now.” “Yes. Oh.” “When your father wants to kill you, he wants to kill you. Nothing you can do about it.” “Don’t be such a toerag.” “No one can hide forever, especially from an angry Mikaelson.” “Truth be told, she was always my favorite.”
- Les Huguenots is a French grand opera by composer Giacomo Meyerbeer. You can read a synopsis here. Interesting note: One of the opera’s main characters is a soldier/servant named Marcel. Also, if you haven’t watched it yet, check out the Producers’ Preview to hear Julie Plec tell the story of how the show’s events align with history; the French Opera House burned to the ground on Thursday, December 4, 1919.
- Love Elijah calling Cami “Camille.” So proper, sir.
- Y’know, shirtless Elijah last week was bad enough, but full-on vamp face?! TWICE? In the same episode? Rude, writers. RUDE.
- So did Celeste ever have a reason for cursing the Crescent wolves in the first place?
- Has anyone else noticed that Rebekah and Marcel continually make dumb decisions together? It’s a problem.
- We know what Tunde’s dagger does to an Original; what does it do to a witch, even an immortal one?
- Normal or wrong, Davina is BACK! Now where’s Josh?
What did you think of Le Grand Guignol? 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 and the upcoming Love You To Death – Season 5. 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.
Everyone is subject to these rules and guidelines, whether they read them or not.
If you have problems with any of the comments posted, flag them to bring them to our attention. You can do this by hovering your mouse over the comment so the 'flag' link appears. You're also welcome to contact us to let us know about any problems.
Do not flag comments you just disagree with - it wastes moderator time. The flagging system is not there to give a post a thumbs down, it's there for genuine problems.
Be excellent to each other.