The Originals 1.12 “Dance Back From the Grave”

A tv review article by: Shawn Hill

Layers wrapped in mystery unfolding before our eyes. The writers have found their groove at this point in the season, and it’s clear that they had a show bible in place before even the back-door pilot and are just now unspooling some of the major beats they’ve been planning.

That Marcellus is not a throwaway character (as so many Williamson/Plec/etc. villains have been) has become clear: when a human as angry as Camille makes moves to save him; when he appears in flashbacks not just of the ante-bellum south but also in the 1920s and otherwise, you realize his backstory with his “father” Klaus (sire, to be accurate) is multi-leveled and complex, and that it involves Rebekah and Elijah as well enhances the history of all four.

Plus nobody looks as good in flapper attire as Rebekah so that’s reason enough to unfold way more Prohibition-era backstory. Turns out, Marcellus was attempting to betray the domineering Klaus at least that far back. Neat. It didn’t go well, but nice try, nascent rebels!

The problem this week is the resurrected witches that shouldn’t be causing trouble for the Originals again, as they are 90 years dead. Especially Papa Tunde, a voodoo witch king who can stop vampires dead, even putting Originals into stasis without needing white oak daggers. Pretty intense. We’re not sure about the roles of the other two resurrected witches yet, but Celestine (Celeste/Sabine) is playing a long con, and apparently gaining maximum power for herself along the way. Is it all one long-winded revenge cycle on Elijah, who failed to protect her so long ago? More back-story there to come, and probably more flashbacks, which have become this show’s forte.

Elijah is peeved that Rebekah is pursuing an anti-Klaus agenda against his expressed desires, but her reasons for doing so are quite compelling. While people haven’t realized Celestine is in charge, Sophie is quick to explain that the Harvest happened after all, but was misdirected. That’s another trick of the show; expectations are diverted by all the plot switch-backs, but usually the protagonists are pretty good at keeping up and not being stupid for too long.

Tunde is a formidable opponent, and while Marcel and Rebekah both fight him, it is Elijah and Hayley who hamper his power (by disrupting his spell with Sophie’s advice on technique, and Hayley’s pregnancy blood legacy of Esther-by-way-of-Klaus), and ultimately Celestine who ends his threat. So only one episode of the dead dancing so far, but a memorable, inventive and entertaining one. Two witches to go!

Shawn Hill knows two things: comics and art history. Somehow that led to him writing the Harvey Kurtzman entry for Icons of the American Comic Book: from Captain America to Wonder Woman (2013). He also writes for Art New England and is a member of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA), an NGO of UNESCO.

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