The Originals, Ep. 2.15, “They All Asked For You” sacrifices action for character moments

TheOriginalsS2E15

The Originals, Season 2, Episode 15, “They All Asked For You”
Written by Michelle Paradise
Directed by Chris Grismer
Airs Mondays at 8pm (ET) on The CW

On this week’s The Originals, Klaus hunts for Finn, Freya reunites with her brothers, Elijah and Gia charm an elderly witch, Rebekah unwittingly seeks Marcel’s help, and Hayley and Jackson play house with Hope.

While by no means bad, “They All Asked For You” feels exactly like an episode in statis; nothing of real significance happens, aside from some character bonding and set-up for future episodes (particularly with Rebekah and Freya). All immediate threats are dispatched, but Dahlia looms heavily over the show. Until she arrives, The Originals seems to be placating everyone (audience included) to fill the time.

Some of the character moments in the episode are actually very good and well-done, especially regarding Elijah and Gia. Aside from the vampirism, the two don’t have much in common, but they play off one another in a very interesting way (most likely because they’re such opposites). Where Elijah is all charm and calculation, Gia is blunt and impulsive. She mentions herself Elijah’s need for a woman to shake up his careful poise, and she definitely fits as the woman most able to introduce a new side to Elijah, one that’s more playful and less meticulously put-together. As far as pairings go on The Originals, they’re currently one of the most exciting and unpredictable.

Of course, it helps that their partnership ties into the introduction of Josephine, a radiant Meg Foster, on the show. In one episode, she manages to become one of the most interesting and likable characters inhabiting the Quarter, and her quick takedown of Elijah, and the vampires in general, is refreshing. They’re rarely called out so bluntly for their behavior, and it’s nice to know not everyone in New Orleans can be swayed by the vampires’ youthful good looks (or Elijah’s charm). Here’s hoping she returns in the future, because her character is a nice change of pace from the supernatural beasts running around.

Speaking of supernatural beasts, Klaus naturally resorts to violence when he seeks out Finn. Luckily, “They All Asked For You” is directed by visual whiz Chris Grismer, who manages to turn the violent cemetery confrontation into something almost lovely. Grismer skillfully transcends the already-beautiful setting into a downright gorgeous location with the way he frames his shots (the moment when Klaus first steps into the cemetery is a highlight); his talent is so subtle and natural that it’s almost too easy to miss in the action of the episode, but he’s obviously at ease working with the various NOLA scenes.

Oh, and by episode’s end, Klaus is even showing some character growth–having been persuaded not to kill Jackson after the wedding, he’s seeking a quieter, and far cleverer, way to upstage Hayley’s new husband; using Aiden to stage a mutiny among the wolves is downright impressive, considering Klaus’s track record. Sometimes, especially when he’s being particularly violent, it’s hard to imagine how Klaus has managed to stay alive for so long and retain the respect, and fear, of his family and enemies. Watching him casually manipulate Aiden in a bar is an excellent reminder that Klaus is not as foolish or rash as he often appears.

Unlike the rest of the cast, newlyweds Hayley and Jackson are tucked away in a figurative corner for most of the episode with little to do. Both are great characters in their own right, but let’s hope the show has more for them to do in the future than embrace being married and raising a child. Their storyline this week is obviously heavily focused on further developing the burgeoning relationship between the new family, but Hayley and Jackson didn’t get married to sit on the sidelines–the characters (including Hope) are at their best when they’re in the thick of the action.

Meanwhile, Rebekah’s new dilemma is one of the best aspects of the episode. Though no one can really replace Claire Holt’s Rebekah, Maisie Richardson-Sellers is doing an excellent job simultaneously adapting to Holt’s take on the character and adding her own nuances to Rebekah. And, putting Rebekah in the body of a sociopathic murderer–especially one with the capabilities of regaining her own mind–is one of the best twists The Originals has introduced to the body-jumping magic yet.

“They All Asked For You” may feel like it’s a bridge between the end of Finn’s reign as Big Bad and the beginning of Dahlia’s, but The Originals still knows how to occupy an entertaining, if a little uneventful, hour. Hopefully Dahlia arrives soon, however, or the waiting game’s going to start feeling stale.

 

Ashley Laggan

 

 




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