The Originals, Season 1, Episode 6, “Fruit of the Poisoned Tree”
Written by Charlie Charbonneau and Diane Ademu-John
Directed by Michael A. Allowitz
Airs Tuesdays at 8 pm ET on The CW
On this week’s The Originals, Elijah returns home in time to intervene with the NOLA witches’ attempts to kill Hayley’s “devil baby,” Marcel becomes suspicious of Klaus’s loyalties, Rebekah threatens to leave, and Klaus watches over Camille.
For future reference, the best way to get Klaus and Elijah to calmly sit in a room together is to give each of them a book. Klaus, especially, likes a nice set of William Blake poems that relate shockingly well to his life. And sure, the poison apple metaphor is a bit heavy-handed, but overall it’s a lovely little thread throughout the episode. Though Klaus’s reading of the poem is much more like desired wish fulfillment than actual premonition, Marcel still bit into an apple by the end of the episode.
Does this mean Klaus will defeat him soon? Ha, no. But these two characters are at their best when they’re at one another’s throats, so it’d be no fun if their ridiculous war for power came to an end so soon.
Back to Blake–“Fruit of the Poisoned Tree” drops several literary references, including a bit of Shakespeare and (humorously) Lord of the Rings. Along with the metaphor “A Poison Tree” represents (i.e. cultivating anger against an enemy will eventually destroy them), the Shakespeare reference hints specifically at Shakespeare’s love of power-hungry kings who sold their souls for power. Both literary references are especially apt for The Originals–Klaus and Marcel are willing to trade everything to protect their “kingdom.” Too bad the pair don’t join hands and create a stronger empire together than they ever could apart (given their early history, they’d be great together), but then there wouldn’t be a show!
Battling boys aside, the episode subtly allows the women to steal the episode (a frequent occurrence within the last few episodes). Hayley and Rebekah’s slowly developing relationship is gorgeous, and, despite both women being very headstrong and blunt, their unlikely friendship convincingly works. Kudos to the writers for making this strange pair seem natural. And Claire Holt, on a roll this week, does a beautiful job confronting Elijah (over his inability to leave Klaus) that successfully breaks her brother’s heart along with the audiences’s.
Unfortunately, Rebekah’s character takes a few steps back in the likability department when she caves into a charismatic Marcel’s pleas for her to stick around–seriously, Rebekah? He’s only been rejecting the poor, 1,000-year-old girl for weeks/centuries. Of course she should know better by now, but Rebekah’s still stuck with a bit of a lovesick high schooler’s mentality–a shame, since Rebekah’s such a great character otherwise.
A nice counter to Rebekah’s weaknesses around Marcel and Klaus is Camille, who refuses to give in willingly to Klaus’s mental control over her. She’s quickly becoming one of the best characters on the show, thanks in equal parts to the writers and the actress, so it should be exciting to see where her story goes next.
Lastly, the episode’s pacing is fairly slow, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The first half drags a bit, but the second half’s a nice character treat, with plenty of slow-burning development among individual characters. “Fruit of the Poisoned Tree” isn’t a great episode, but it’s far from a bad one.