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The Originals, Ep 1.04, “Girl in New Orleans” highlights the show’s strong women

The Originals, Girl in New Orleans

The Originals, Season 1, Episode 4, “Girl in New Orleans”
Written by Michelle Paradise and Michael Narducci
Directed by Jesse Warn
Airs Tuesdays at 8pm ET on The CW

On this week’s The Originals, Davina ventures outside of her secluded attic, Klaus spies on Marcel with Camille’s reluctant help, Rebekah searches for Elijah, and Hayley proves pregnant werewolves can still pack a nasty punch.

After last week’s semi-disappointing venture into masquerade ball territory, The Originals immediately proves it’s capable of delivering strong, meaningful plotlines fueled by characters with “Girl in New Orleans.” Though the noticeable shift in quality could have occurred for multiple reasons–from Klaus’s reasonable (if not sane) motivations to the benching of weak link Sophie for the episode–the most likely is the emergence (finally!) of the enigmatic girl in question, child witch Davina, from her candlelit cell.

Davina’s brief reprieve from her hideout coincides beautifully with Hayley and Camille’s drastically-improved storylines–the women, for once, stole the episode. Unlike sister show The Vampire Diaries, the women on The Originals aren’t completely motivated by their various relationships with the men in their lives. And they aren’t constantly in need of saving–no, the girls on The Originals manage to survive quite easily on their own. Unfortunately, they are still shown being manipulated or rejected by the likes of Klaus and Marcel, proving there’s plenty of room for improving the equalization of the show’s leading women with the leading men.

Rebekah–easily an equal with Klaus, Elijah, and Marcel–is seen, at least once an episode, cornering Marcel and insisting he has feelings for her before he blatantly rejects her. These repeated incidents keep weakening an otherwise strong character and pushing her from sympathetic to laughably pathetic. How is the audience supposed to take the centuries-old vampire seriously if several characters on the show can’t? Rebekah’s the type of woman men chase, not the type they pointedly abandon; it’s time the show gives Rebekah her due, relationship-wise. Even focusing on her relationship with Hayley is better than examining her long-dead relationship with Marcel.

Meanwhile, Hayley’s storylines have been consistently good, since they focus mainly on her struggles with approaching motherhood. Maybe pregnancy isn’t a new topic for a teen drama, but it feels fresh on a supernatural show packed with vampires, witches, and werewolves. And it’s definitely nice to see Davina taking charge of her life, if only for a night, by putting Marcel in his place when he questions her power. Though her incredible abilities do raise the question of how Marcel’s keeping her tucked away and tightly controlled–what power does he hold over her, if any? She clearly seems capable of killing him without breaking a sweat, so what exactly is his secret? (Let’s hope it’s something juicier than familial love or friendship.)

Lastly, poor Camille took baby steps away from the bar only to find herself being mentally violated by a power-hungry Klaus. Seriously, Klaus is very much an antagonist when he’s seemingly meant to be the protagonist. His usage of Camille–specifically against her wishes–is thoroughly vile and repulsive. How many times did she say no to his insistence of erasing her memories before he forced his compulsion on her anyway? Disgusting. Are we seriously supposed to be rooting for such a monster? The show’s clear hero-worship of him is downright offensive. Not everyone can be swayed by a pretty face and an accent–the audience needs to see truly redeemable and decent qualities in Klaus before he can be seen as anything resembling a hero.

Anyway, for the first time since the series’s beginning (which, granted, was only three episodes ago), The Originals balances an episode around the show’s entire cast (minus Sophie, of course, but did anyone even notice her absence?), and the results were lovely. Sure, some characters could still use a little improvement, but The Originals is gradually transforming into a stronger and more character-centered show that’s easily worthy of attention.

Ashley Laggan


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