Daniel Gillies was simply awesome all the way through in this episode devoted to Elijah, but it certainly wasn't the Elijah Mikaelson that we know. And that was most evident in the club scene where we saw him in a leather jacket and smiling. Hella weird. Still, of course, the core of Elijah remained… he was a gentleman with Antoinette and when he fell for her, because of the circumstances of their getting to know one another, she became his family and so his loyalty was as strong to her as it ever was to Klaus and his siblings.
Ah, Antoinette… I do think Jaime Murray is a great actress—I saw her on Dexter, and she still looks amazing several years later—and I really like her character. With that said, I honestly expected her to die by episode's end, so I was surprised that she did not. When Klaus showed up in France, I thought ‘welp, there it is.' But it was not. Also was not? Much of any chemistry between her and Gillies. Like zero. And *sigh* I really do wish that the two did have chemistry. Actually, I kinda wish they'd had loads of it because it would have been awesome to have this great, glorious love story for Elijah to close out this final season. Ah well. (Shades of what could have been for my precious Bonnie on The Vampire Diaries.)
Of course, it might have helped had they written the falling-in-love, getting-to-know you part of their relationship better. Their first meeting in the alley and diner was so well done, as was their final scene when he gave up the day for her. I mean, why have a montage of Elijah decorating his crappy apartment and getting some new clothes, as opposed to you know, spending some time with Antoinette? I don't really get that choice. Especially when again the good stuff was really, really good.
The diner scene with the description of the slam on the table being just a thud for humans versus practically music for vampires was specifically nice, a lovely way of highlighting one of the pleasures of being a vampire. And, again, the whole final conversation between the two was great, the discussion about what she knew, what he knew and why they didn't tell each other. Him choosing to give up his daylight ring for her and why (erm, more on that later). It showed an openness and maturity to their relationship that was lovely. Gah, if only Gillies and Murray had the chemistry, it would paper over the lack of great writing in the other scenes.
The writing was one of my two main issues with the episode. It was a mixed bag. Some of it was really good. Elijah's confrontation with Marcel was a nice moment. And I've already mentioned above the lovely scenes with Elijah and Antoinette. There was also Elijah's speech to Klaus that was wonderful, as well as the follow up voice-over to Antoinette knowing that Klaus wouldn't follow and why. It beautifully showed that even an Elijah without the memories of his feelings for the Mikaelsons knows Klaus and his love and dependence for Elijah so well. And it was done without hitting us over the head.
Alas, there was some not so great stuff that was too noticeable for my liking. The most egregious scene was late in the episode after Klaus had tried to compel Antoinette. Elijah had her clear the piano bar and Klaus walked in to see him, I was a little excited because I thought we were going to get a replay of their meeting from the first episode and find out that Elijah was playing him which would add a whole layer of meaning to those first scenes. That isn't what happened. Nope, those meetings had already happened but there was no reference to them so it was confusing because without one it was odd that Elijah had no reaction to the fact that this guy with whom he'd had pleasant, philosophical conversations was now threatening his almost-fiancée and saying that he was his brother. There was some majorly important dialogue missing there. That is bad story conception, that is bad writing, that is bad execution. That is bad all around. And *that* really took me out of the scene.
On a less glaring note, there was the group daylight ring scenario that took me completely out of the episode. The fact that the Salvatores' had daylight rings was a THING because of Emily Bennett, and everyone else who had them was because of people around them or in the past were Bennett-adjacent. It's not just a casual, ‘Hey, vampires, you get a daylight ring. You get a daylight ring. Everybody gets a daylight ring!' But I suppose that's more on The Originals once again ignoring The Vampire Diaries canon, ugh!
Still, the fact that it took the writers, K.C. Perry & Michelle Paradise, quite some time to get me fully back *into* to the episode is telling. It wasn't until the bright, neon "Play Me" piano showed up that I became fully focused on the episode again. The writing—something something about Antoinette and her family and wanting to be a "real" vampire or feeding off of fear or something something—just didn't grab me. And that's on the writing to a degree, but also directing.
Yeah, the direction. Which is on the director… who just happened to be our lovely Klaus Mikaelson, a.k.a. Joseph Morgan. I am sorry, but Morgan is not a good director. I know he directed two earlier episodes, but I didn't analyze those, but if one of them is an episode I think it is—I remember not being impressed by the direction of it. In this one, the pacing was so not good. This episode dragged like WHOAH! The New York section felt like it went on for an hour! The club scene looked and felt like a bunch of extras hired to be in a club scene on a television show. There was no vitality, no energy, nothing. The pre-catacomb section in Manosque felt like it went on for 30 minutes. Basically, the episode dragged like hella bad.
OK… randoms –
- The final scene where Elijah "killed" Elijah Mikaelson and just stood there and let the sun burn him away was pretty awesome.
- Joseph Morgan was way, way on overload in the chewing-the-scenery department in that final confrontation with Elijah, I'm just saying. I don't know, maybe if he had a director who could rein him in? Hmm…
- I missed Hope and Freya.
This was the first not great episode of the season. For The Originals, at least from my perspective, is saying something. OK, it's only the third episode, but still, I expect like only one great episode period a season—if that—and it takes a bit of time before the show gets going for even that one to come around. So, yeah. And it's not like this episode was bad, it was pretty good, just not great. This season so far is the closest in terms of quality to The Vampire Diaries. (Of course, we're only three episodes in. It could change.) But, yeah, the point is, I did like this episode, I just didn't love it. I think that if (a) it had a different director, (b) had a tweak of dialogue in that one scene, (c) Gillies and Murray had chemistry, it would be higher in my appreciation-meter. Still, again, it's a good episode. I am enjoying this season so far.