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“The Originals” Ep. 5.09: “We Have Not Long to Love”

I’ve been a fan of TV long enough that I can usually spot what’s coming in the plot a mile away. This is why I like shows like “The Bold Type” or “American Gods” so much: because just when you think they’re going to confirm your worst suspicions, they subvert that expectation and do something wholly original instead. It’s something I used to appreciate about “The Originals,” because I almost never knew what was about to happen. Unfortunately, this last season has destroyed all that goodwill by doing everything by the books for the most boring reasons. Luckily, the show does keep giving me just enough to ensure I keep watching, so we’ll do a rundown first before we get to my biggest pet peeves.

The Originals, S5, Ep 9
Photo credit: The CW

After last week’s airing of Mikaelson grievances, Klaus, Hope and Freya are enjoying a nice breakfast featuring beignets that need WAY more sugar on top, when in waltzes Elijah like he doesn’t have a care in the world. He issues a very standard “good morning” and almost seems surprised when Hope leaves the room immediately. This is so contrary to the Elijah we’ve known up until now, who was almost insanely good at reading people, but whatever. In the midst of trying to stifle her anger at Elijah, Hope’s Hollow power makes her bend her fork all crazy and Klaus gets angry at Freya again for helping cast the spell last week.

One of my favorite dynamic duos, Marcel and Josh, are cleaning up Rousseau’s from the storm Hope’s spell created. Turns out Emmett and the Nightwalkers camped out in the bar to ride out the storm and they trashed the place. They also left SO MANY copies of their Nazi manifesto about keeping the supernatural races separate and decidedly not equal. I’m really trying not to spend a lot of time on Nazi vampires so all I’ll say until we get to the climax of this episode is that Nazis are the worst, Emmett sucks, and he also has a hoodie with a zipper that goes all around the hood, which…WTF?

Keelin and Lisina have a couple super nice scenes in this episode and the first is talking about the aforementioned manifesto. Keelin says she’s glad she’s leaving again and that, even though she loves Freya, the other Mikaelsons will always come first, and she needs to be somewhere she can help people instead. They turn the corner and find the werewolf float for Mardi Gras has been destroyed. TBH it wasn’t that great to begin with, but the message is the same.

Back at the compound, Hope is painting an actually exquisite bayou landscape, and if anyone knows who does the art on this show I’d love to know because it’s beautiful. Anyway, she senses Klaus hovering in her doorway and invites him in. He’s worried about the Hollow power and the fact that she made the fork go all crazy at breakfast to which she replies, “it was better than sticking it in Elijah’s neck.” LOL love my girl Hope and her attitude. Hope insists she’s fine, she just can’t forgive Elijah yet (same, girl) but then she starts hearing the Hollow whispers again.

Turns out Klaus is a super good dad when he puts in like one ounce of effort because after he leaves Hope, he lays into Freya again about how dangerous the spell was and how he knows that Hope isn’t alright. Freya insists it was the best option and also assures Klaus that Vincent is working on something to help, and she has a stop-gap in the meantime. She produces Hope’s binding bracelet from when she was a girl. It ends up working for less than five minutes before it starts burning her skin and the whispers come back worse than before.

As if we weren’t already having enough awkward family drama, Declan chooses this moment to storm into the compound and berate Freya for telling him about Hayley’s death in a voicemail. I’m actually a little on his side but I also don’t know who he thinks he is. By all accounts (and by all three minutes of their time on screen together) his relationship with Hayley was pretty casual and he’s acting like he lost his wife.

This is one of my first pet peeves with this season. First with Poppy the bartender and now with Declan, the show is doing a ton of telling but not showing. We were told how great Poppy was for like four episodes but we only saw her have one scene with any of our main characters. Same with Declan. Hayley was supposedly some great love of his but did they even share more than one dialogue exchange? All we have is his word to go on that they were so in love and I really just don’t buy it! It makes everything happening feel cheap, and the fact that Declan’s still around makes him SO SUSPICIOUS. At this point I believe he’s a lot more involved than he seems and he’s just playing dumb (so, so dumb).

Marcel and Josh go to confront Emmett, who says a lot more Nazi stuff, before he claims Marcel had all these separation rules first. I legit don’t remember this but since no fewer than four characters say it, I assume it’s true. Either way, Marcel is one of our good guys, so even if he did have the same rules I suspect his intentions were more noble. In other words, Marcel is not a Nazi, so he automatically has the moral high ground. By the time Josh brings up the rules being the same under King Marcel I did remember it was kind of this way but I also remembered that Marcel made exceptions to the rule literally all the time, so again, it’s moot.

Back at Rousseau’s, Elijah comes in to see Declan and I literally can’t imagine his end game here. It turns out he wants to wallow in sorrow about Hayley with someone else. Why he can’t use his family for that is beyond me. They get to talking and we find out Declan was planning to propose to Hayley when he got back from Ireland. Again, where was any build up to this? From what we’ve seen of their relationship I’m certain she would have said no, as any woman would to a man with whom she was in a casual relationship and from whom she’s keeping a huge secret! In any event, Elijah makes one too many comments and Declan figures out he’s Hayley’s ex.

It’s at this point that Hope enters looking for absinthe “for a spell.” She’s put Klaus to sleep because he wouldn’t help her but she thinks Declan might. Again, there’s no real precedent for this relationship at all. Once Hope sees Elijah, working on her spell takes a backseat to kicking the shit out of him, which is decidedly cathartic to watch. Once she’s done slicing him to ribbons she realizes the Hollow whispers are gone, which throws her into a moral crisis wondering if she’ll have to just keep doing violence her whole life to keep the whispers at bay. Klaus says even if that’s the case she couldn’t ask for a better father. You guys, Klaus is being such a good dad in this episode. Only the best dads offer to do a lifetime of violence with their daughters in order to spare them pain.

Before she beat up Elijah, Hope also put Declan to sleep, but he comes to at the end of the beat-down only to ask what the hell just happened. Elijah kind of explains it to him and then decides to compel him to forget any questions he has about Hayley’s death and just believe she’s at peace. I can’t decide if it actually worked or if Declan is faking. Being Cami’s cousin kind of makes me think he’s just constantly on vervain, but he also seems genuinely compelled by the end of Elijah’s speech. I’ll be shocked if this is the last we see of him though.

We’re rapidly approaching the second of my two huge pet peeves this episode (and season) so I’ll get the nice stuff out of the way. Ivy and Vincent are legit the cutest. It looks like they’ve finally admitted they like each other and they’re super happy about the future. Similarly excited by the future are Keelin and Freya, who get engaged this episode! I was happy to see that picking out god-awful jewelry is a trait relegated to only the Mikaelson men. Unfortunately, the impetus for both these couples declaring themselves was a bomb set off where the wolves were trying to salvage their Mardi Gras float.

So here is my issue: deaths which occur only for shock value are not narratively interesting or compelling. Most especially in a show/season where there are literal Nazi vampires. I completely understand portraying death in art. It’s a part of life that we all have to come to grips with at one point or another. The issue arises when there is no rhyme or reason to the deaths within the narrative or when they’re done simply for shock or to increase a feeling of dread. I could not keep watching “The Walking Dead” because, after a certain point, none of the deaths made any sense from a plot or story perspective; it was only to make you feel more hopeless each week. “The Originals” looks poised to follow in those footsteps, which was all but confirmed last week by creator Julie Plec on Twitter.

To me this begs the question: why? The series is ending, sure, but there’s going to be a spinoff. Some of these characters they’re killing could surely make appearances on the new show for one reason or another. But it feels like they’re cleaning a house that they’re about to set on fire. And all this is in addition to the fact that both deaths in “We Have Not Long to Love” were women, and women of color to boot. Both Lisina and Ivy were new additions this season, but in my opinion the work was done to make them both likable and integral to the plot in ways that Declan, Roman, Greta, Antoinette, etc. were not.

It feels like sloppy, lazy writing to just start killing off characters because there’s only four episodes left, instead of working on the plot in a way that creates emotional reactions for something other than death. And I feel compelled to mention that this is a universe in which characters “die” and come back all the time, but there’s not enough time for any of these characters to make it back to us, which is a double gut punch when Emmett could have been killed and the final run of the season could have focused solely on the Mikaelsons instead.

Also, despite being sad about it, I’m completely fine with Hayley’s death from a story perspective. It fits well into this season’s plot as a whole, it carried a lot of weight because we’ve known her for many years, and it affects several other characters. Though I liked Lisina a lot, her death only affects maybe Keelin and then a bunch of nameless werewolves. Similarly with Ivy, it will only really have an impact on Vincent and maybe Freya, aside from a bunch of nameless witches.

It’s a huge disappointment to me that this final season is walking back so much of the work both “The Vampire Diaries” and most of “The Originals” has done in the past. Also, I don’t like writing bummer recaps. Obviously I’m sticking around till the bitter end, and then subjecting myself to more with “Legacies” in the fall. But it’s always annoying when your favorite shows don’t seem to care anymore, and unfortunately that looks to be where we’re headed. Although Hope looks like she’s spiraling out next week and I’m an eternal optimist, so who knows?

Catch me live-tweeting “The Originals” on Shuffle Online. “The Originals” will be back on July 11 on The CW! You can follow me on So… I’m Watching This Show!

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