As The Originals begins its steady escalation towards full-blown war, Tangled Up in Blue was accelerant for the front-yard pyre: star-crossed lovers, sibling cruelty, sexual tension, and meticulous subterfuge all mingled at the bar, looking gorgeous. So it’s really too bad about the show’s completely unnecessary explanation of every little thing as if the viewers’ brains are made of Swiss cheese.
Look, I get frustrated because I love, so this is me being crankypants for a second. I’ve been willing to cut The Originals some slack – because new show with a hell of a lot of mythology baggage – but the first ten minutes of Tangled Up in Blue really delivered the exposition bat to the kneecaps. Every conversation was tailored to recap what has already been recapped two or three times, and there was such a Greek chorus element to the dialogue that every character may as well have been talking directly into the camera. Then, just as it seemed we were clear of the heavy-handed, connect-the-dots annotations, Klaus later narrates his plan to Rebekah over speakerphone – as it was happening on-screen. When you have an actor of Joseph Morgan’s caliber, and a character as dynamic and layered as Klaus, having him all but twirl his mustache borders on parody.
Give the audience – even the uninitiated – some credit. Encourage them to grab the safety bar and take them on the ride. They’ll hang on as long as they’re having fun, and there is nothing fun about being spoon-fed mythology, plot, and even character via stilted conversations and voice-overs. Propel the story forward, don’t keep treading the same waters, and let us experience these characters through their actions, reactions, and interactions. There’s no “action” in “exposition.”
Now that I have that off my chest, let’s talk about what actually happened, because some of it was a lot of fun and I have a secret underground lair of torture and misery – THE GARDEN – to enthuse over.
None More Diabolical: Klaus executing a plan is a beautiful thing to behold, so Klaus and Rebekah teaming up to get their plot on is double the pleasure…and double the trouble. Following the breadcrumbs back to the voodoo shop where Hayley scored the wolfsbane, they discover the perfect leverage in their mission to get back Elijah: Thierry, Marcel’s right-hand man in the silly cap, is in love with Katie, the witch who betrayed Hayley and Jane-Anne Deveraux. When the Originals bring in Sophie on the plan, the witch shows her hand with her obvious reaction to news that they know about Davina, and reluctantly agrees to use Katie’s magic as a smokescreen for a locator spell. Klaus’s “if you want to make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs” speech to Sophie was an effective reminder for her and the audience that the witches are dirtying their hands by bringing the Originals to town, and Sophie in particular is beginning to realize how gray the gray area actually is.
Even when working together towards the same goal, Klaus and Rebekah can’t help tossing in their own wild cards, unbeknownst to their sibling – Rebekah inviting Cami to Marcel’s party, Klaus killing Katie – and neither are they immune to pangs of conscience. For all her bluster, the Original sister is acknowledging that Hayley and the baby are an extension of her family and she won’t allow their lives to be endangered, nor can she help feeling disgust at Klaus’s betrayal of Sophie’s trust. This latter sentiment is particularly surprising considering how Rebekah treated Sophie during their first meeting, but Rebekah recognizes and respects the bravery in the witch, much like she did with Matt Donovan near the end of The Vampire Diaries Season 4. And Klaus seems genuinely chagrined when Rebekah pulls Cami into the fracas, even though technically she became involved the minute he compelled her to give Marcel a chance. But his obvious attraction to her does not stop him from compelling her again so he can keep her in Marcel’s orbit. At least he has the decency to be reluctant about it, and this is what could be weighing heavy on his mind when Rebekah gives him the full force of her disdain for his selfishness.
Klaus’s bid to take down Thierry is ultimately successful and, in a most intriguing reveal, Marcel sentences the becapped Romeo to one hundred years in “The Garden.” Let’s break this down and really savor it: It appears that Marcel doesn’t consider himself exempt from his own rules, and we later learn that this punishment is not Thierry receiving special treatment because of his status in Marcel’s inner circle. The Garden is a crypt full of desiccated vampires, in the walls and buried to their necks in the ground. Marcel is not killing vampires who betray him, he’s storing them in purgatorial Tupperware. This is flat-out amazing; my admiration of the man’s warped ethics and ruthlessness quadrupled with this revelation, never mind that this is a glorious old-school gothic touch. When the camera pans from the bricks being laid around Thierry – which immediately brought to mind Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” – to take in the full scope of this chamber of horrors, it’s a genuinely gruesome moment. If you’re anything like me, your first thought: But what happens if all of these starved vampires get out? In Thierry’s book, his love for Katie is worth that. Whew.
Insurance Against the Tender-Hearted: The love story of Katie, a witch, and Thierry, a vampire, was destined for a tragic end, but the broader implications of their doomed romance are far more interesting than their characters, together or dead and walled up in The Garden. Marcel can control a lot of things in the Quarter, but he can’t suppress the human (so to speak) heart. Fitting that Klaus, who views love as a weakness he can’t afford, would exploit it so thoroughly in bringing his plan to fruition.
Marcel likes Cami, in part, because she is a human outsider, uninvolved in vampire/witch politics, and Rebekah comments on the bartender’s “pure heart.” She arrives at Marcel’s party dressed all in white with angel wings, which is either obvious symbolism or a wonderful subversion, depending on whether the show is working on a smaller spell behind a bigger smokescreen. Cami presents an interesting dilemma for Marcel: Rebekah and Klaus know she’s important to him, so she’s vulnerable, but if he gets her on the vervain diet, he won’t have a safety net to fall back on when complications occur.
Similarly troublesome is Marcel’s relationship with Davina. Her obsessive protection of him, which extends to linking to him in a similar manner as Sophie and Hayley are linked, now overrides his own wishes. For all Marcel’s “mine, mine, mine” proclamations and control issues, it now seems clear that Davina is a force unto herself; the power resides with her, and her emphatic “NO!” at Marcel’s wish to undagger Elijah was genuinely unsettling to the vampire, and to those of us who are still trying to figure out her deal. We’ve been taking Marcel’s control of the Quarter for granted and, obviously, so has he. Maybe the Originals being back in town is not his biggest problem.
Compelling Moment: Klaus’s small smile when Hayley tells him “I think it’s a girl” was such an understated moment in an episode with so very much overstated. Well played, Joseph Morgan. (Side note: Elijah’s unnecessary voice-over about redemption would be a prime example of not letting characters have their moment.) But that long shot down the tunnel of The Garden? Absolutely thrilling and chilling.
The Rules: We received more insight into how Davina’s powers work: she hears whispering voices, and then wildly draws until the identity of the witch performing illegal magic is revealed. Rebekah and Klaus gamble that if a witch is casting a powerful spell, Davina won’t be able to sense another witch casting a much simpler spell. The ruse seems to work, protecting Sophie’s magic from being detected. Werewolves seem to be drawn by Hayley’s pregnancy.
Foggy Moments: So Katie’s epic vampire mind whammy power was selective enough to exempt Klaus, who was lurking nearby when Marcel and his minions were getting the witchy smackdown? How exactly are Marcel and Davina linked, if it’s even a proper link at all? Could Davina sense when Sabine was seemingly possessed and babbling about the baby, or does that not count as magic?
Thoughts & Questions before Girl in New Orleans (EP104):
- In a nice nod to the show’s roots, the show opens with Hayley reading Elijah’s journal. At the very least we know Elijah was not daggered in August 1359. Also, I will eat my silly cap if we ever see Elijah play that violin.
- ”The Cauldron” – which seems to be a slang term for the witch part of the Quarter – not only houses Jardin Gris, the voodoo shop, but the hilariously named The Brewcible.
- ”Most girls have the unfortunate tendency of being whiny little twits.” What a charming, enlightened view for a millenia-old vampire, Rebekah! Ugh.
- Guess that history between Rebekah and Marcel isn’t so ancient after all.
- So do you think we will be meeting the mysterious werewolf that paid Hayley a late-night visit? In their human form, that is? Related: Secret pregnancy or not, it seems awfully cavalier of Klaus and Rebekah to leave Hayley unprotected at home, ever?
- What did Sabine say about Hayley’s fetus when she seemed momentarily possessed? Will Hayley have any luck finding out via online translator?
Who’s ready to see a throwdown next week? What did you think of Tangled Up in Blue? 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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