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The Originals – Episode 1.08 - The River in Reverse – Review

Episode 1.08 – The River in Reverse, or as I like to call it: Everyone Almost Kicks Klaus’ Ass, Except Not.

On this episode of the Originals:

  • Rebekah turns
  • Marcel goes to war
  • Elijah redefines the meaning of nightmares
  • Hayley discovers her backstory
  • Cami finally has enough of Klaus’ BS
  • Klaus is a whiny piece of work
  • Joshua is stuck between a rock and a hard place
  • Marcel is a noble commander who loses the war but wins for caring
  • Elijah and Rebekah cuddle the jackass of the family
    • This makes me want to slap them
  • Klaus kills, kidnaps, and threatens to kill everyone and claims he is the victim in it all
    • This makes me want to throw him in the river

Hi everyone and welcome to the review. In this week's episode, we witness whiny, entitled brat Klaus in all his ghastly glory win New Orleans. It’s like those Charlie Brown shows when the other team cheats and bullies, yet wins the game. Sure friendship is the most important thing in the world, and bad guys never win over anyone’s heart, but who cares because Klaus got everything, including Hayley.

Let’s start with Rebekah though, who does two fabulous things at the beginning of the episode: a) she joins Marcel against Klaus, proving that unlike Elijah, she’s not stuck on family through sickness and health, and b) she kills Tyler, which makes me very happy. I never liked Tyler. He was such an obvious export from The Vampire Diaries, and such a nasty piece of anger management case, I got a whiplash every time I saw him on screen.

I was fully on Rebekah’s side the moment Klaus started bragging about how he chose to punish his siblings, giving me too much unwanted imagery of brothers who think they own their sisters and choose to teach them lessons (read: abuse them) whenever they deem their actions naughty. I wonder why only Klaus has the privilege to do this to his siblings. Why doesn’t Elijah or Rebekah once give him a taste of his own medicine? There must be some way for two Originals to gang up on one and teach him a lesson for a change.

Speaking of Elijah, he is still with Hayley in the Bayou, going through his Klaus-inflicted punishment. He’s supposed to have horrendous hallucinations, and asks Hayley to leave, which she of course doesn't because who in their right mind would leave and miss out on giving sweet TLC to Elijah. When the hallucinations come however they are strangely erotic instead of horrific. In them Elijah sees a witch named Celeste who is either a human-mermaid hybrid, or really concerned with hygiene, because she’s in a bathtub the entire time she's on screen. I can tell quite a bit of time passes from when we see her and Elijah first to when she’s killed due to another one of Klaus’ nasty schemes, yet she's still in the tub when Elijah comes and finds her.

I didn't understand the point of this flashback beyond once again proving what a nasty character Klaus exhibited throughout the centuries. That point however was made pretty strongly on the show already. Why did they feel the need to show us yet another example?

Hayley for her part is absorbed in finding her backstory, something I couldn't care less about. Whoever Hayley’s family are, if they are as boring as the woman who talks to her in this episode, I could exist without them. The meat and bread of this show are the Originals and their affairs with Marcel and the witches. Hayley's only purpose is to carry Klaus' baby and create tension between him and Elijah, as well as occasionally play the bait for added conflict. If her family, who will show up as early as the next episode, doesn't serve the main plot in some way, they will be a waste of time.

Klaus goes to Marcel's mansion to acquire the tool for his siblings' punishment, the Dagger of Doom. Only Marcel has set a trap for him. And so Marcel whistles and a group of his minions show up and surround Klaus, to which the Original responds by mocking and asking Marcel if that’s all he's got. It isn't. Marcel has something else up his sleeve, which is…another group of minions!!!

Seriously, did he tell half of his guys to wait in the hallways for the second whistle and then show up for dramatic effect? Why didn't they all come at once? And what difference do more vampires make when the Original is able to slaughter them in the end, like the Bride in Tarantino's Kill Bill movie in the famous restaurant scene?

The most significant moment of the episode comes when Klaus threatens the younger vampires, then asks them to join him. Marcel backs his proposition by telling his followers to do so if they wish to. Yet no one does. This is a painful eye-opener for Klaus because it clearly shows how no one likes to play for his team. Being a hybrid, and an Original, he is likely the most powerful being in New Orleans, yet he can’t get even one person to bat for him because he lacks the most basic yet important skill for achieving that: getting others to like him.

In the end he only takes a mild beating and goes on a killing spree that forces Marcel to surrender. And therein lies the difference between Marcel and Klaus, even though they are both power hungry vampires seeking dominance through violence. Marcel cares about his underlings, so much so he is willing to lose and bow to his enemy. Maybe that is what won him their loyalty. Klaus should take note. This is made clear to Klaus in a speech Marcel makes close to the end, when his followers are covering the bodies of those Klaus has killed in the courtyard. He tells Klaus he could do whatever he wants with everyone and everything around him, could kill Marcel or throw him out of his home, but he will never have what Marcel and Elijah have: the loyalty of others, which, poetically, seems to be exactly the thing Klaus wants most.

Like dictators in real life, those who rule through oppression and terror, Klaus cannot have the love of his people no matter how hard he tries. This drives him insane, just like it does those dictators, causing him to commit more atrocities, which in turn makes people abandon him even more, and creates a vicious cycle. Klaus' deprivation of affection not only causes his insanity to grow, it brings about his self-pity. After the damage to Marcel he goes to his siblings, first contemplating which one he should dagger, then breaking down like a child and accusing them of abandoning him, which ironically is something they should do but never did. I don’t get how Klaus can’t see this. It’s like he is blind to his own behavior and sees other people’s actions as unprovoked meanness toward him. I guess that’s another mark of a bully. They threaten and hurt everyone yet always feel it’s them who is victimized. Perhaps it’s a way for them to justify their actions.

After this episode I have to work really hard on feeling any kind of sympathy for Klaus, since he's created such a bad rep for himself it's hard to look past it for reasons deep within. I hope Hayley (and/or Cami) can inject some humanity into him and bring some of his more amiable characteristics to the front, if he has any.

Next episode we’re going to see Klaus go after Hayley’s never-before-seen family, whom we are supposed to care for for some reason yet to be determined. Let’s hope they are important enough to the plot to warrant the show spending a full episode on them.

Let me know of your thoughts in the comments.



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