TV TV Recaps

“The Originals” Ep.5.08: “The Kindness of Strangers”

Episode 8 “The Kindness of Strangers” starts with a voiceover from Klaus about how New Orleans cemeteries work as we’re treated to a long shot of the gravestones of all the characters we’ve lost. Strangely they all seem to be buried very close together which seems odd. The gist is that nothing ever really remains buried in the city; actually a pretty apt metaphor for the whole episode.

The Originals
(L-R): Yusuf Gatewood as Vincent, Steven Krueger as Josh, and Charles Michael Davis as Marcel | Photo credit: Curtis Baker/The CW

On the one hand, this is one of my favorite episodes of the season because all the Mikaelson’s are in one room together. On the other hand, I’m still exceedingly butthurt that Elijah sucks so much now and that they waited so long to give him his memories back that I feel absolutely zero sympathy at the end of this one when he finally does remember Hayley’s last moments. He pretty much deserves it.

Before we get there though, there’s a lot of male posturing between Elijah and Klaus. At first, it seems like it might be Elijah’s fault they’re all in the “chambre de chasse” aka mind prison and Klaus is understandably irritated because he only just promised Hope he wouldn’t leave her again, and now he’s MIA almost immediately. Elijah does seem to think Klaus might try to jump off the balcony into the courtyard and he warns against it, telling Klaus he tried and landed in the most pretentious wine cellar. But the joke’s on him when Klaus informs him it was Elijah himself who organized the cellar by vintage. I’ve missed this relationship so much.

Not long after, Rebekah and Kol both arrive in the compound followed shortly by Freya who says Vincent is the one who’s trapped them in the mind prison because he doesn’t trust that Klaus would actually stay away.

Eventually, they all make their way to the front door which is now sporting the most comically large locks I’ve ever seen in my life. Thanks to Davina’s influence, Kol is able to explain that the locks are “representational magic” and the keys will all be hidden in locations around the compound that hold emotional significance. This doesn’t stop literally every single one of them from ransacking the entire house despite the fact I’m sure there’s nothing emotionally relevant about most items.

Kol leads Elijah to a box of his things that might jog his memories and Elijah wonders why he never saw Kol in France when both Klaus and Rebekah visited while his memories were totally gone. Kol explains that they don’t have much in common and Kol kind of hates him because he killed Davina that one time, which is fair. He then starts to cement his place as new favorite Mikaelson in my mind when he tells Elijah his journals might hold some clues “between the martyrdom and self-righteousness.”

One of my favorite things about this episode are the flashbacks of Hayley that Klaus keeps having, some of which we’ve never seen before. The first is back to the first day Klaus brought Hayley to the compound before it got fixed up again. I had forgotten how good their chemistry was even from the very beginning and before they meant anything to each other beyond a one night stand. (To be fair, I don’t remember if this scene actually happened or if they reshot all the flashbacks but it felt familiar.)

When we cut back to the mind prison Marcel gets dropped into the mix which is super fun and also awkward because he hasn’t seen Rebekah in months. He spills the beans that it’s actually not Vincent who locked them away, but Hope. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t surprised at all but it is hella impressive. I love how much Hope’s powers are growing and I can’t wait to see how it all works out after the end of this episode. Basically, Hope has locked them all away so she can reabsorb all of the Hollow and they can be a family again.

Elijah has a stuffed bunny and asks Klaus what his relationship was like with Hope. Klaus is SO MAD but he explains that Elijah helped to name her. I can’t say if Elijah feels bad about this or not, but I’ll be honest, I legit don’t care. He’s made me so angry. The flashback of Klaus and Hayley naming Hope is lovely though. Despite the mishandling of Hayley this season it’s nice to see more of her.

Marcel is rifling around in a bunch of stuff with no emotional significance with Kol who finds his key in a copy of “As You Like It” that he and Davina gave to Hope on her ninth birthday. Look, I’m not one to judge gift giving but I kind of feel like the complete works of Shakespeare is maybe not the best gift for a nine-year-old? Anyway Marcel realizes they’re in the music room which was in fact destroyed by a storm over a hundred years previously so there’s no way Hope could have known it was there to manifest it in the mind prison. Kol quickly realizes it was Freya who actually built the prison and she admits it pretty freely because she promised Hope she’d help get the family back together. But she does exit pretty quickly after the admission.

Marcel and Rebekah have some scenes together and I really can’t be bothered. They’ve never been my favorite couple and they’ve been apart too much this season for me to give much thought to their “star-crossed lovers” routine. They do manage to find Rebekah’s key under the floorboards which makes two down and two to go.

In the midst of his rifling around through literally every random item in the house, Klaus finds a box of letters Hayley wrote to him that got returned to sender while he was on his murder walkabout. We’re treated to another flashback when Hope was eleven. Hayley and Klaus are FaceTiming about Hope’s birthday party and this must be shortly after Hope saw Klaus doing an actual murder because Hayley mentions they’re fighting. Klaus insists he doesn’t need to check in anymore, he knows Hayley is doing a good job and it’s clear he’s ashamed Hope saw him. It’s no wonder his key is in one of the letters.

Elijah is still not remembering anything, or finding his key when Marcel finds him. They have a talk and Elijah calls him Marcellus which makes Marcel think he’s keeping the memory block up on purpose so he doesn’t have to remember. Klaus confronts him and Elijah has a lot of talk about how he’s “not their brother” which just made me roll my eyes. This season has fully ruined Elijah’s character for me. Everything about his memories being gone is so tedious I can’t even stomach it. He does make a good point though when he wonders why they’d even want him back since he seems to make them all miserable. Kol insists that’s what families do and Rebekah agrees saying they made the always and forever vow, to which Elijah shouts “I made another vow.” Again, yawn.

After this, they all try to figure out what happened when Vincent started restoring his memories and all he remembers is the white hallway with the red door. (If I never see that red door again it’ll be too soon.) I’ll admit I don’t remember the rest of this scene because Klaus says something about Elijah not being able to face the death of the woman he loved and Elijah insists he loves Antoinette only and I blacked out. Klaus believes Elijah essentially killed himself and he hates him for it. They don’t have time to unpack that before Hope starts pulling the Hollow out of them and they all collapse.

While the others were knocked out from the Hollow magic, Marcel has a brain wave about where Elijah’s key might be. He finds it in Elijah’s coffin in the dungeon WHICH IS FULL OF SNAKES! Once he gets the key he explains where each key was in a specific place based on Hope’s feelings. Kol’s was in a particular part of “As You Like It” because Hope knows he can’t stay. Rebekah’s key was hidden like she hid Hope as a baby. Klaus’ was in letters about Hope from Hayley, and Elijah’s was in the coffin because he only represents death to Hope. These are the most savage metaphorical MacGuffins I’ve ever witnessed and I kind of loved it.

They’re able to open the door to escape the mind prison only to find themselves trapped in Elijah’s white hallway. There are doors in the hallway for each of them to escape and Kol, Marcel, and Rebekah all leave Elijah and Klaus alone to burst through the red door together. As expected it gives Elijah back all his memories and he’s pretty devastated when he remembers Hayley and how she died while he just watched. I know I sound like a broken record but it just doesn’t have any emotional relevance to me. Elijah made this bed for himself and now he has to lie in it. I’m only disappointed at the disservice the show and writers have done to this character.

Klaus is magnanimous AF and gives Elijah the blood to cure Antoinette. He tells Elijah “if what you desire is to let go of your past and build a future with her then you should go to her.” It’s a lovely sentiment and I almost wish Elijah had followed through with it. It would have been a nicer cap on his character than what’s sure to be 5 episodes of him moping until the series is over.

Marcel and Rebekah have another tedious scene together where Rebekah admits that all she wants is to grow old and have children and die one day when she’s old. This might be because of who I am as a person but I honestly couldn’t care less about any of those things. So much so that it’s one of my biggest pet peeves when supernatural characters “just want to be normal.” I get very frustrated. And there’s another kind of gross layer here where Rebekah is the only woman and she’s the only one who cares. It feels like a very gendered distinction which annoys me. I would have less of a problem if it were Kol who didn’t want to keep being immortal, but because it’s wrapped up in Rebekah’s femininity and desire for motherhood it’s less interesting than I think it could be. The gist of the whole scene is that Rebekah doesn’t want to infect Marcel with her unhappiness which is why she left him at City Hall instead of marrying him.

Elijah gives Antoinette the cure and then peaces out so fast I’m surprised there wasn’t an Elijah shaped hole in the wall. I feel bad for Antoinette but it was completely hilarious.

The end of the episode, set to a wonderful song, as usual, shows Klaus finding and reading all the letters Hayley wrote him while Elijah gets dressed in a suit again (hallelujah!) and goes to visit the bayou. It’s clear they’re both finally dealing with their emotions about Hayley’s death which is good and I’m glad that Elijah is back to normal.

Next week’s episode seems to be about the fallout from Hope reabsorbing the Hollow and dealing with her anger towards Elijah, an anger he thankfully seems to share. At this point, I’m pretty ready for the show to end so we can get to the new chapter with “Legacies.” It feels almost like the writers don’t know how to get where they’re going which really sucks when the show is so close to its end. I’m obviously here for the long haul, but I’m having less fun than I’ve had in previous seasons.

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Featured image credit: Curtis Baker/The CW

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