“Sinners and Saints” – The Originals

Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 9.13.02 PMWow. This week’s episode of The Originals has officially cemented the show as our favorite of the season. Not favorite new show, not favorite show on The CW or favorite show about vampires. Flat out, simple favorite show. Why? We’re not even sure we can put our finger on it. We’re inclined to think that, mostly, it’s because The Originals – unlike most other shows on air at the moment – seems to wholly believe that mystery is compelling, but only in small doses. The writers of The Originals know that a good mystery can keep an audience hooked, but also know that dragging that mystery out for too long is as likely to turn an audience off as it is to keep them tuning in.

That understanding couldn’t have been more obvious in “Sinners and Saints” if it had jumped up and down screaming ‘I did magic in the quarter’. One of the more notable aspects of The Originals is that it, somewhat ironically, dispensed with the origin story. We mentioned this before – how the show is likely to be able to make great use of flashbacks because so much is unknown. And that remains true. We got an explanation about why Klaus and the rest of the Mikaelson clan were going to be in New Orleans but, beyond that, we knew very little.

And as the season has progressed, we have more questions rather than fewer, mostly about Davina – who she is, why the witches want her so badly, why she’s so much more powerful than the other witches, and why she’s so close to Marcel. This episode answered those, and gave us a few answers we didn’t even know we were looking for.

From a few different storytellers – Sophie, Marcel and Davina herself – we learned everything. The entire driving plot behind the main story. Nine months ago, give or take, some extreme witchy elements decided to carry out The Harvest. This would strengthen the witches’ powers. Unfortunately, it involved killing a few teenagers (including Sophie’s niece, and Davina). But this is The Originals and nothing can be quite that cut and dry, black and white. The teenagers had to die, but they were to be brought back to life. If all the teenagers didn’t die, none of them could be brought back. With us so far?

Sophie and Marcel played a huge part in this arc. Sophie was a wild child. She had distanced herself from the witches. She thought The Harvest was a myth and that they were killing the kids for nothing. And she was sleeping with Marcel. Rebelling against the witches (her sister included), she told the priest, Fr Kieran, their devious plan.

To distract Fr Kieran from interfering with The Harvest, the witches put a curse on Cammy’s brother, Sean, who happened to be his nephew. The curse caused Sean’s mind to unravel. That was a big surprise, as we felt sure that Marcel was the bastard behind that. We prefer this angle though. We like that the witches are being painted as strong and slightly villainous, willing to do anything to get what they need.

After Sean committed his gruesome murder-suicide, Fr Kieran fled New Orleans, but not before dispatching Marcel to deal with the witches. Too late to save the first three girls, Marcel got there in time to rescue Davina, who he liked because she refused to stop fighting. Because Davina lived, not only can the other three girls not be brought back to life (they have to be resurrected before The Reaping or they’ll be gone for good), but Davina is full of their combined powers, making her the most powerful witch in the Quarter. And that’s the general gist of it.

So now all of that is out in the open. And yet everything is still shades of grey. Yeah, we understand everyone’s individual motivation now – Sophie wants to bring her niece back to life, Marcel wants to protect Davina (perhaps to stop the witches from gaining too much power, or perhaps to keep it for himself), and Davina wants revenge – but there is no real good-evil divide. What Sophie is planning to do is not good, but she’s doing it for the right reasons. Marcel may be an ass, but he’s devotedly protecting a teenager he barely knows just because she needed his help. Davina wants everyone to pay, but really she just wants to be safe. Nothing is simple.

The other mystery that the writers wasted no time on was the prophecy from the witch who, last week, was speaking in tongues. That was quickly translated – within the opening scenes – as a warning that the baby would bring death to all witches. It would be so easy to assume that that means that the kid is going to grow up evil. But we see a much simpler outcome, in the vein of a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts.

The witches (well, Sophie) brought the Originals back to New Orleans, to use them to get Davina back. To do this, the witches floated Hayley’s pregnancy (the baby, duh) in front of Klaus. But it looks as though those Originals are siding with Davina. If the witches don’t complete The Harvest, they all lose their powers and die. Therefore, if the Originals are the deciding factor in this ‘war’, the baby’s existence essentially lost the witches their lives. We think that makes sense, anyway…

But we love how easily this show turned absolutely everything on its head. Last week, Marcel was the villain of the piece and the witches were devious, but had their hearts in the right place. Now, those roles have completely reversed, and the Original Family – who were always the villains of TVD – are the (anti)heroes we want to root for. We suspect The Originals will never allow itself to grow stale.

Of course, some mystery remains. We still don’t know who is protecting Hayley, for example. Lovely PHGer, B, wonders if it’s Tyler Lockwood, from sister show The Vampire Diaries and that’s certainly a possibility. But we have to wonder if, perhaps, Hayley hasn’t found her long-lost family after all.

And then, aside from all the mystery, we have another exciting and complicated plot development. Elijah and Davina are in collusion, in a way. He will protect her from the witches and from Marcel, and teach her how to keep her powers without letting them burn her up. But what will he want in return? Yes, part of the exchange involved him getting his freedom. Why do we feel like he has more up his sleeve?

There’s one other aspect to love, too – Elijah and Hayley. The chemistry between this pair is incredible. With one glance, they fire up the screen. And what we love about it is that, despite Klaus’ puppy brewing inside her, there’s no real conflict. There’s nothing to stand in their way. Unlike the never-ending Damon-Elena-Stefan triangle on TVD, there are no old emotions there to be hurt. Klaus and Hayley was a blip. A casual, one-night-only roll in the sack. That can only mean good things for Hayley and Elijah. As long as he isn’t too noble to do something about it. Fingers crossed! – K

Quoteworthy: “We thought we’d come here to wage a war for power. This is about family. In order to return her niece to life, Sophie Devereaux will fight to the death. That makes her more dangerous than anyone.” – Elijah 

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