The Originals, Season 2, Episode 6, “Wheel Inside the Wheel”
Written by Michael Narducci and Michael Russo
Directed by Matthew Hastings
Airs Mondays at 8pm EST on The CW
On this week’s The Originals, Klaus searches for Elijah, Hayley teams up with a fellow werewolf to rescue Oliver, Cami discovers Vincent’s true identity, and Esther attempts to bring Klaus to her side.
As per usual this season, “Wheel Inside the Wheel” is another episode stuffed with family drama, bloodshed, and some interesting new revelations, particularly with regard to Esther. The Originals has been handling the Mikaelson’s centuries-long family feud excellently thus far by gradually doling out insight into the various dynamics at play between the characters, and this week’s episode is no exception.
Though the first half of “Wheel Inside the Wheel” is very exposition heavy (much like last week), it quickly intensifies as the latter half of the hour progresses. Because there’s so much history with the Mikaelson family to reveal, the info dumps make sense, even if they aren’t always particularly enthralling. Luckily, The Originals is very good at bringing in nicely-choreographed action sequences to break up the excess information, like this week’s heist-esque retrieval of Oliver, or even flashbacks, which either add more depth to the present-day storyline or deliver shocking reveals, or both.
Often, flashbacks are used when they aren’t necessary, but getting a glimpse into Esther’s past is a smart and timely move on the writer’s part because they serve to humanize Esther right when she’s on the brink of villainy. She’s done terrible things to her children (like try to kill them), but her motivations are driven by love for all of them, making her a much more sympathetic threat than Mikael, who merely wants to slaughter a son out of hatred. Esther’s quickly becoming a a very complex character, and she seems to be firmly on the line between hero and villain rather than being purely evil, much like Klaus himself.
Also, it’s been extremely entertaining having a psychology student mingle with supernatural beings, especially because all of the original siblings have so much pent-up emotion toward one another, as well as their own brand of mental instability that’s been building over centuries. How spot on is Finn’s diagnosis of Klaus? Depressive? Check. Low self-esteem? Check. Paranoia? Double Check. Seriously, watching the psyches of supernatural creatures being explored will never not be fun, and it adds a whole new layer to who these characters are as people.
And, as frightening as Esther has been thus far, “Wheel Inside the Wheel” hints at a much darker side of Esther to come as new threats lurk outside of the Quarter. Also, there’s now the slight possibility that a full Mikaelson family team-up (minus Mikael, probably) could happen in the future, as everyone will undoubtedly be in danger very, very soon. Plus, it’ll be exciting to watch yet another family member, and probable Big Bad, shake up the season.