Bookended by two remarkable scenes, there wasn't a single moment in this episode that disappointed. It was one great execution of a plot set up earlier in the season after another. It wrapped up everything, and still managed to set things up for next season wonderfully. Shows with this level of continuity and planning deserved to be praised, and I'm about to do a lot of it.
Hayley's death was shocking. That whole opening scene was just emotionally wrenching. At the end of it I was almost shouting at the screen for Monique to die. Yet it was Klaus and his pain that really got to me. He's been slowly becoming someone who cares, and in this episode he committed to his family completely. He threw himself into saving his daughter multiple times, he openly grieved when he thought Hayley was dead, and he let go of his child when it was clear there was no other choice. I have liked Klaus for a while, but this was the first time I actually started to care about him. Wow.
Speaking of Elijah, what a great moment he had with Klaus. When he thought Hayley was gone, he was broken. It was devastating to watch, since Elijah is still my favorite. His romance with Hayley has been an unexpected highlight of the season, and for a few moments there I thought it was over. At least he didn't have to suffer for long. Well sorta, that witch maze was pretty awful. I've been in one of those New Orleans cemeteries in real life; they are beautiful, but gave me the heebee jeebees. Having them become a thousand fold bigger and impossible to navigate? That's the stuff of nightmares.
I haven't even gotten to all the rest of the characters, but I have to talk about the perfect scene at the end of the episode. Of course it had to be Rebekah to take the child. But it was more than that, Klaus gave Rebekah a chance at a normal life, and he said that she was literally the only person whom he could ever trust with his child. That's some pretty big forgiveness, capped with a token bit of sentimentality. That little wooden doll was given to him by Rebekah when they were children. He's kept it for a thousand years, and it symbolizes how he always considered Rebekah his favorite sibling. The look on her face when he gave it to her was really great when you understand the context.
Of course that wasn't the only moment shared with a member of his family. Marcel's arc came full circle as well. He's hated Klaus for coming to his city, he's fought against him, he's done pretty much everything he could to bring his adoptive father down. It was like a parallel to the original struggle between Mikael and Klaus, only this one ended on a different note. Klaus realized Marcel was broken by the deaths of his group of vampires. He realized that Marcel saving and then taking the baby wasn't an act of betrayal, it was an act of redemption and desperation. So he forgave Marcel for his role in bringing Mikael to the city all those years ago, and offered him a chance to be family again. That was another huge act of forgiveness.
It all comes down to family. So of course the best and greatest villains to bring in against Elijah and Klaus are their own parents. Mikael has been chomping at the bit to be resurrected for a few episodes now, and in an act of desperation, Davina did just that. I was a bit disappointed in her, but I wasn't upset by this development. Mikael is a great villain, and I hope the depth and emotion he can bring to this story will be explored next season. Also, Davina getting the upper hand on him was another one of those wonderfully satisfying moments. I wonder how long that control over him will last?
Lastly, there were the witches and their merciless attempts to kill Klaus and Hayley's baby. It made them utterly unsympathetic (for the most part, I still like Genevieve). I couldn't figure out why they were so monstrous, why the ancestors were so bloodthirsty that a sacrifice that gnarly was required? Esther was the answer. Having her interned with the rest of the coven's dead bound her to that coven, and on the other side she quickly took control.
That fourth Harvest girl has been mentioned again and again, and I also couldn't figure out why she was going to be important. That final moment capped that running plotline beautifully. Witch possession was established with Celeste, and when she was killed earlier in the season, and I wondered why she wasn't given more of an arc. Now I know her possession story was a way to give us an explanation for Esther's return, which couldn't have a long explanation. It allowed that final moment to just play, and Esther standing by her own grave was enough to fill in the details. Brilliant writing move.
Davina levitating blood into a cup was a fun display of power, and something I had wondered about for a while, as in, could Klaus' blood be used after it had been sitting around for awhile?
Marcel using the thousand cut throwing star on Monique was both awesome, and terrible. I hated Monique and wanted her to suffer, but that looked really painful.
The blood fountain was still raging.
Now that Mikael and Esther are back, I wonder if we're going to get Kol, too? Especially since it appears as though Finn came back with Esther. Perhaps a big Mikaelson family reunion next season?
For a few minutes I wondered if the transition into a hybrid had changed Hayley, but it really just brought out her ruthless side. Having her break down in front of Klaus and Elijah made it clear she had just been furious with the witches, which is why she killed Genevieve so brutally (of course Genevieve was dying slowly anyway, so it was actually a small mercy).
During the entire scene with Rebekah, I kept wondering what the baby's name was. In a very fitting way, Klaus named her for what she represents to his family, Hope.
I knew Klaus wasn't into infanticide, but it was nice to confirm they used a stillborn to fool the wolves into believing Hope was dead.
Hayley finishing her transition was actually sweet, even though it must've been a terrible thing to do. There's no way Hope would've wanted her mother to die when her blood could've saved her.
Marcel agreed to be compelled to forget about Hope, in exchange for a few vials of Klaus' blood.
Josh survived, yay!
Elijah: "She is gone. Do you understand? I let this person in. I let her in. I don't let people in."
Genevieve: "I just wanted to live. Tell Klaus I'm sorry."
Hayley: (stabs her and twists the blade) "I'm not."
Klaus: "We should have felt our mother's hand in this. We should have known she would not be bound by anything as obvious as death."
Klaus: "I appreciate you being here. But we cannot be friends."
Klaus: "You had me pegged from the start. A man damaged by his demons, and those demons are not dormant. They are hell bent on killing me and everything I find beautiful. And you… you are beautiful."
Rebekah: "She looks like her mother. Maybe there is a god, after all."
Klaus: "Well, she has a hint of the devil in her eyes. That's all me."
I don't think I could've asked for anything more from this finale.
4 out of 4 Throwing stars of a thousand cuts.
J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related. He reviews Arrow, The Originals and Farscape and cool new movies that strike his fancy.