Episode grade: 10
First of all, I think we can all agree on one indisputable truth: No one wears a suit like Elijah Mikaelson. Legend has it, in fact, that the entire series exists because of how well Daniel Gillies wears a suit; Elijah was staked during his initial appearance on The Vampire Diaries, but we all loved him so much that it led to the entire concept of vampires who wouldn’t die from a simple staking, i.e., the Original vampires.
Daniel Gillies’ screen presence is a phenomenal force, and his charm keeps us willing to forgive Elijah over and over, despite all the despicable things he does to protect his often-despicable siblings. I raise my glass to you, Daniel Gillies.
On to the episode, which was the best so far this season. Vincent alerts Marcel that the ambulance carrying the kids they rescued last week has disappeared, so the danger is far from the past. Then he heads to the old Mikaelson compound to meet up with the exiled Original family and cure Hope of her magical affliction. Despite his best efforts, it doesn’t go well.
Hope asks if everyone else can hear the voices she’s hearing, and she repeats aloud what they’re telling her. Vincent translates it as the name for the terrible force that is trying to rise in NOLA: the Hollow. (Like the Underneath or the Sunken Place, you know right away this is nothing good.)
They all band together to try to stop what’s coming. Even Marcel teams up with Hayley for an awkward interrogation in which it’s stated outright that this is all because of him. Just like years ago, when Vincent went looking for potent dark magic and first gave the Hollow a foothold in our dimension, this resurgence of dark magic is all about trying to overthrow Marcel. It doesn’t seem like there’s as extreme a problem this time, even, compared to the bad old days when Marcel “ruled with an iron fist,” prohibited magic, and imprisoned the Crescent wolves in a reverse moon cycle; this time it’s more fundamental than that, just a matter of freedom and self-determination, not wanting to live as a subject to a self-appointed king.
In a demonstration of just how he rules, Marcel makes the ultimate in benevolent dictator proclamations, telling a crowd of witches that he has tried to let them be, but now, “Your problems are becoming mine,” and that means he has to get involved and flex his authority. You can see why they don’t love having him in charge.
Also teaming up are Vincent and Elijah, and that’s probably why I can’t get enough of this episode–my two favorite characters and actors are paired up, and I could watch this all day. Vincent does a spell to trace the dark magic, and he sees that his friend, Detective Will Kinney, is in the thick of it. Yusuf Gatewood plays this moment of discovery so beautifully, the fear, sorrow, and regret all flooding through him in an instant, as he knows this is partially his fault for awakening the Hollow in the first place, and he understands that he may never get his friend out of this alive.
Meanwhile, a third team-up is happening, and this one’s even less probable: Freya and Keelin. Freya has created a magical ring that allows Keelin total control over her wolf abilities, but wearing it also keeps her on a leash, so she can’t fight her captors or escape. They break into Marcel’s condo to steal his venom supply, and it leads to Freya’s having a moment of humanity; she unhooks the leash, because Keelin has made it clear she accepts that her current path includes the Mikaelsons, if only because everyone else wants her dead, and it’s in their interest to keep her alive, caged or not.
Vincent tracks the dark magic to a remote spot in the woods, and the crew converges to save the kids and stop the sacrifice. It’s working out all right, surprisingly…and that’s a bad thing, because it means our friends have walked into a trap. When Klaus kills Will, the trap springs shut around him and Marcel. They are helpless, in what seems like a weak spot between dimensions, trapped in a circle of fire and staring into a cave of blue light.
Klaus is wiser, and he tries to tell Marcel to look away, but Marcel never could turn away from power. They’re ultimately both spellbound by the glow. Vincent explains to Elijah and Hayley that this was what the Hollow really wanted, a shot at the incredible power of an Original like Klaus, a souped-up supervamp like Marcel.
He manages to break the spell by channeling Elijah and staking him. Klaus and Marcel stumble-free. But all is not well. Marcel and Klaus are now both infested by the Hollow.
This week was killer. Sorry to see the end of Jason Dohring’s character, but the beauty of sci-fi/fantasy is that death is never the true end. What did you love about this episode? Do you think Marcel can possibly survive the season, now that we’ve learned that everyone in the Quarter wants to bring him down, plus he’s now some kind of conduit for the season’s big bad?