The Originals, Season 1, Episode 19, “An Unblinking Death”
Written by Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson
Directed by Kellie Cyrus
Airs Tuesdays at 8pm EST on The CW
On this week’s The Originals, Marcel reveals Hayley’s birth name, the wolves experience a brutal attack, Father Kieran’s suffering finally ends, and Klaus attempts to help Cami.
After introducing the seeds of war last week, The Originals wastes no time turning downright ugly. The brutality in “An Unblinking Death” reaches cringeworthy levels several times, and the tragedy never relents throughout the episode. At times, it’s almost hard to watch–for perhaps the first time, The Originals delivers an episode of pure horror and largely succeeds.
One of the best ways to truly heighten the intensity of a tragic and/or horrific scene is to cut the music–doing so puts the audience’s focus solely on the traumatizing act at hand. The Originals pulls this stunt not once but twice in the episode, to excruciating effect. The poor bayou werewolves apparently haven’t suffered enough in the eyes of the show’s creators, and it’s painful watching their trailers and huts being blown to pieces.
At least pregnant Hayley is alright. Actually, she’s better than alright. Despite being heavily pregnant, she’s still a very headstrong and independent character. She cares very much for her people–enough to storm into a vamp bar and attack one in a search for Marcel–and it’s impressive. Honestly, she’s one of the most well-developed characters on the show right now. She started out as a vaguely insignificant character and has since grown into a valuable member of the cast. It helps, of course, that Hayley’s played by the extremely talented Phoebe Tonkin, but kudos to the writers, too, for not benching Hayley during her pregnancy.
Back to the episode’s elements of horror, there’s a scene where Father Kieran literally bites off his own thumb during his hex-fueled psychosis. The bloody violence feels very unnecessary, but The Originals is a show about monsters, so it’s not much of a surprise. The bigger problem is why the show has given Father Kieran, a very background character, so much story time this season. He could’ve died during the episode where he was originally hexed and the emotional effect on the audience would’ve been the same (i.e. very minimal). The Originals usually does a good job getting rid of characters who’ve worn out their time on the show (like Sophie), so it’s surprising and disappointing that Father Kieran lasted as long as he did.
Despite the frequent violence, not much happens during “An Unblinking Death,” aside from the wolves getting more inspired to start a war against the vampires. But, the effect this episode will have on future episodes looks promising, especially when Hayley will (presumably) be forced to choose between her pack and her baby’s family.