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The Originals, Ep. 1.15, “Le Grand Guignol” highlights Klaus’s transformation into his father

The Originals, Ep. 1.15, “Le Grand Guignol” highlights Klaus’s transformation into his father

The Originals, Charles Michael Davis, Le Grand Guignol

The Originals, Season 1, Episode 15, “Le Grand Guignol”
Written by Declan De Barra and Diane Ademu-John
Directed by Chris Grismer
Airs Tuesdays at 8pm EST on The CW

On this week’s The Originals, Camille attempts to calm Klaus’s anger, Mikael pays New Orleans a visit in the ’20s, Rebekah and Marcel plan their next move, Davina is resurrected (!!), Elijah hunts Celeste, and Hayley seeks a cure for her family.

Between “Le Grand Guignol” and last week’s episodeThe Originals is dialing back on the large-scale drama and focusing instead on the show’s namesake–a storytelling move that’s proving to be an excellent decision. The original family’s past (and present) is ripe with fresh stories to tell that lend both heady drama and subtle character development to the show. Plus, any story that results in flashbacks to the ’20s is a good (or at least entertaining) one, right?

And, of course, the ’20s flashbacks are pretty to look at, with great music and style and decor, but it’s the present-day plot that really makes this particular episode remarkable. Though the flashbacks are necessary to show how badly Rebekah and Marcel betrayed Klaus, their true importance lies in highlighting the similarities between present-day Klaus and his father (something that Cami, AKA the smartest character on the show, notices immediately). At one point, Klaus says “Mikael was the monster monsters were afraid of,” and Klaus’s inability to correlate his own monstrousness to his hated father would be funny if it weren’t so sad. Maybe this current arc will be the push toward self-realization that Klaus so desperately needs–wouldn’t that be lovely? Because the ancient hybrid clearly needs that wake-up call.

Fans of The Vampire Diaries will undoubtedly recognize Mikael, and it is nice to see the (unfortunately deceased) character return. Sebastian Roché is equally charming and chilling in the role; he displays the kind of pure viciousness that Klaus only ever manages to mimic, and his attacks on his children are truly vile–seeing Marcel and other friends of the Mikaelsons’ impaled and bloodily-tacked to wood on the theatre stage is brutal and horrifying–so props to Director Chris Grismer for so beautifully traumatizing Klaus and the show’s audience.

Camille also returns, and her level-headedness always pairs nicely with Klaus’s irrationalities. She always deserves more screen time, and so does Davina, whose return is surprisingly underscored. After such a heartbreaking death, she could use a better return, but oh well. It’s great just to have such an excellent character back.  Speaking of returning characters, it looks like Hayley’s family might be appearing full-time sometime soon, so it’ll be fun to add werewolves to the supernatural mix on the show. And Celeste seems to be gone for good, so cheers to that, as well–it’s time the show gets a better villain.

Though it’s incredibly unlikely that Klaus will ultimately kill his sister or Marcel or both, The Originals is doing a great job comparing his current crusade against his siblings to his father’s past one. Seriously, that’s just incredible storytelling right there, especially given the long history the Mikaelson siblings have with their father. And, if Klaus does transform into Mikael 2.0, it’ll make his redemption so much sweeter (because of course he’s going to be redeemed at some point).

Anyway, “Le Grand Guignol” is a prime example of how good this show can be, especially when it tells stories surrounding the very family it’s named for. The Originals can easily tell expansive stories that still feel intimate, thanks to the nature of the characters, and “Le Grand Guignol” manages to do that almost perfectly.

Ashley Laggan