Family reunions are always memorable occasions, whether you’re flipping burgers on the back patio with your favorite uncle or struggling to escape a magical mental prison with your estranged siblings.
The Mikaelsons, naturally, found themselves doing the latter on Wednesday’s episode of The Originals, marking the first time all of Mikael and Esther’s (remaining) offspring have united under one roof — even in a spiritual sense — since the events of the Season 4 finale. And because every chambre de chasse comes with complimentary life lesson, the only way out was through a door locked by various keys hidden in “meaningful” places throughout a replica of the compound.
Unfortunately, finding those keys meant reluctantly strolling down memory lane, which is always a risky venture when you’ve got over a thousand years of questionable behavior under your belt. Klaus was the first to relive memories past, from the first day Hayley moved into the compound to the moment she settled on a name for their daughter. (In a bit of dramatic irony, it came about when Klaus told Hayley that Elijah once referred to her as “our family’s hope.”)
The plot thickened further when when Marcel appeared in the middle of the courtyard, bringing news — Hope made the chambre de chasse! — with a side of drama. Finally speaking with Rebekah for the first time since she rejected his proposal, Marcel demanded to know why she left him standing alone like a hot idiot at City Hall. Simply put, she doesn’t want to hurt him, though he was quick to remind her that he’s a little tougher than Cami O’Connell. (Rude but also lol.) “I’m not worried I’m going to kill you,” Bex explained. “There are far worse ways I could destroy you,” to which he replied, “You’re doing a pretty good job of it right now.”
The exes followed this up with a slightly more hopeful conversation later in the episode — which ended with a kiss! — though Rebecca remains firmly against the idea of entering into a lifelong commitment. “I’m cursed, and I’m angry,” she told him. “I don’t want you to promise to be by my side while I fester … because I love you, Marcel. That’s why I won’t let my sadness destroy you.” (Man, are we sure this family’s last name is Mikaelson, not Martyr-son?)
And just when you thought this thick plot couldn’t get any more thick, it got thicc. The siblings figured out that Hope couldn’t have conjured the entire compound by herself, as it included several rooms that were destroyed centuries earlier. Following a surprisingly brief interrogation, Freya cracked, admitting to helping Hope trap everyone in the chambre de chasse so that she could pull the Hollow’s dark magic out of their bodies herself. She wisely grabbed her key and peaced out shortly after the news went public.
Klaus eventually found his key among the letters Hayley wrote to him while Hope was growing up; Kol discovered his between the pages of a Shakespearean text; Rebekah’s was located in Hope’s necklace, hidden away just as Bex once hid her niece as a baby; and Elijah’s was pulled out of a coffin, signifying that Hope equates her uncle with death and loss. (And, honestly, who’s going to argue with her? Not me, that’s for damn sure.)
With the keys finally in their possession, Marcel and the Mikaelsons passed through the realm’s mysterious door… only to end up in Elijah‘s mental prison. (D’oh!) Fortunately, Klaus and Elijah were the only two needed for this phase of the journey, teaming up to break down the Red Door™ and return the rest of Elijah’s memories.
I have to give major kudos to Daniel Gillies for turning in an incredible performance as the painful realization of Hayley’s death sunk in. From the look of sheer horror on Elijah’s face to his wails of unbridled grief, it was a haunting experience as a viewer, the kind of thing that really sticks with you. (Unlike Elijah and Antoinette’s relationship, which probably won’t stick.)
Also worth discussing…
* I’m glad I wasn’t drinking anything when Klaus responded “God, no!” to Hayley’s suggestion that they name their daughter Katherine. I’m certain I would have snarfed the liquid right out of my nose.
* I singled out Gillies for his powerful performance earlier, but this episode — beautifully written and directed by some of the show’s very best — was a terrific ensemble episode, giving each of these characters an opportunity to remind us why we love them, warts and all.
* Speaking of Gillies, I loved Kol’s response to Elijah telling his siblings that they don’t want him back because he makes them miserable: “We all make each other miserable!”
Your thoughts on this week’s emotional hour of The Originals? Drop ’em in a comment below.