Well, I’ve got to say, I never called that. “The River in Reverse” wasn’t deep into mythology or intricate plots as the show has been in past weeks, which was unexpected given the build up to the big showdown with Klaus. This episode turned out to be more of a character study on how even the most feared vampire villain can have feelings too. In the end, Klaus gets what he wants…but now he’s alone. While that sounds a bit like a broken record, I do believe a bit of progress was made. Maybe.
We’ve seen Klaus act out before countless times when he doesn’t get absolute loyalty from those near him. With Rebekah and Elijah, as well as his other family members, it’s been a dagger to the heart and rotting in a coffin for punishment. Others, he just goes nuts and kills them. Usually when someone calls Klaus out on his behavior, it’s met with outrage, hard feelings, and death threats. This time though, there’s enough people pushing on him where his new position will be an uneasy one, if not a short one.
This week three side plots that fuel the main story. First there’s Cami, who’s obviously still pissed at Klaus for the compulsion she’s under. She’s very belligerent toward him, calling him out for Klaus repeating the same self destructive behaviors in his life as he tries to get her to type out his grievances. “You are the architect of your own unhappiness,” she tells him. Klaus doesn’t like hearing this of course, but has too much respect for Cami to rip her heart out. So he convinces her uncle, Father Kiernan, to talk her into leaving town, otherwise he will compel her to leave and he doesn’t want to do that.
Out in the bayou, Elijah goes through his bit of delirium from the neck wound while Hayley keeps a close watch. He remembers a past love in New Orleans, Celeste, who was killed as a witch by town folk because Klaus betrayed her. Elijah used to keep Klaus on a leash all those years ago, making sure he stayed in line, but he was distracted when he fell in love and it lead to dire consequences. He blamed himself for her death because he didn’t watch Klaus closely enough. This is why he’s staying in New Orleans now. Hayley wondered why is he trying to put together his family when one part of it was broken. Easy, because Elijah still believes what’s broken should be fixed.
Then on the other side is Marcel and Rebekah. Their scheme to banish Klaus forever to the garden was really the most bone headed things ever done, and it fell apart all too quickly. Marcel’s entire crew surrounded Klaus and chained him up, thinking they could defeat him that way, but Klaus went werewolf on them and massacred a whole bunch. He would have killed the whole lot if Marcel hadn’t picked up the coin that Klaus had offered earlier as a chance of surrender and pledged his allegiance to Klaus. Marcel has been defeated and Klaus has won. Huh, that was easy.
The real story though lies in the fallout from these three events. Once Klaus has what he wants, it all comes up as a somewhat empty victory. Marcel was spared his life because Klaus honored the rule of the coin, but Klaus wants to move in back to the place that Marcel stole from him. Marcel agrees to leave, but lectures Klaus about the concept of loyalty. He surrendered out of loyalty to those that followed him. He tells Klaus that loyalty is something that must be earned, not ordered. Currently everyone is following Klaus out of fear, and that’s not a very stable way to run a kingdom.
Then there’s the showdown with Rebekah and Elijah afterward. Klaus has gotten back the dagger from Marcel, and confronts his siblings with it. Instead of acting out on his retribution though, he cries, and tells Rebekah and Elijah both why they have broken his heart, much like he told Cami earlier. Why are they more quick to believe others over him? Rebekah has the clear answer, “Has history taught you nothing? We don’t abandon you Nik. You drive us away.” So, instead of punishment, he gives the dagger to Elijah and tells them he’s moving to Marcel’s place. They can stay there without him. Oh, but he’s taking Hayley, no ifs, ands or buts.
Then, we go back to Cami. She’s been drawing symbols to give herself clues about the existence of Marcel and Klaus. She’s found a way to fight the compulsion. Sounds like she won’t be leaving town anytime soon.
All of these are bad signs against Klaus now we are left to wonder how long this new Kingdom of his is going to last. Kingdoms have fallen because of tyranny, and we are left to wonder if Klaus will heed the warnings he received this week or if he’ll let his unstable temper get the best of him. However, you have to give it to Klaus, it is a rather extraordinary thing to see a 1,000 year old vampire actually experience some personal growth. He’s never truly shared his emotions with his family outside of anger, and given the guilty looks on Elijah and Rebekah’s faces, they truly haven’t understood their brother and why he does what he does. It was an eye opener for them.
Klaus has always taken that buried pain and lashed out against those close to him. For him to spare his family from retribution and walk away instead, letting the tears flow rather than the anger take control, that’s an actual step toward being human, or perhaps earning that loyalty. Granted I’m skeptical that it won’t last and next time he sees Elijah and Rebekah he’ll be back to his old punishing ways, but are the sessions with Cami possibly getting through to him? What made him spare his family this time?
He did however take Hayley, thus taking responsibility for his child. Is he doing that to spite Elijah or does he actually care what happens to his heir? Is he finally accepting being a father? I imagine he and Hayley will come to an understanding in their alone time, but in the meantime this will definitely cool off her and Elijah for a while. Klaus seems to like taking away that kind of happiness with his family members.
Marcel in recent episodes is being painted as a sympathetic character and not necessarily the tyrant he was initially made out to be. No, he’s not a saint, but is he any worse than any of the originals? Will he actually turn out to be the good guy, or is there really no such thing in this world?
On a side note, how out of his league is Tyler Lockwood? As much as I love Tyler, I feel like he deserved his punishment of spending some time in the garden. Maybe he can actually cool off there. Big kudos to Rebekah for taking him out and telling everyone that despite their hatred for Klaus, the baby will not be harmed. She is honoring Elijah’s wishes.
Why has Marcel been killing werewolves with the tattoo? It was nice that Hayley met a family member, but that another whole other can of worms that needs to be opened here. I imagine the baby will have their interest too.
I missed Davina. You know, she might have actually been useful against Klaus. But I know, she needs to stay in hiding. She’s going to have to choose loyalties in the future, and despite his threats I’m sure Klaus will find he won’t be her choice, no matter how much he tries to force. At least Elijah has learned the art of earning loyalty, but it all depends if Elijah will oppose Klaus or accept his rule.
All in all, I didn’t think “The River in Reverse” was a brilliant hour, but it did hike up the family tension higher, which leads to some damn good possibilities. The midseason finale is Tuesday. It’s anyone’s guess where things will be left for the winter break.