Warnings: major spoilers
Sadness is only a part of my feelings after this seventeenth episode of The Originals. More than just being sad, teary and miserable, I am enraged by the grievous truth that once again, Finn Mikaelson is used as a plot device. First time is in The Vampire Diaries, where he was killed, unexpectedly and unfairly if I might add, for a groundbreaking revelation: if an Original dies, so does every single vampire sharing his or her blood. An example had to be made but who would be the sacrificial lamb? Klaus was the big bad and it would be foolish to write him off before the season finale ̶ everyone understood that. Rebekah was popular and she had grown to earn the fans’ love, so killing her would be a mistake. Elijah was also favored by fans, considering the whole ‘Original family’ concept came into being thanks to Daniel Gillies’ outstanding performance when Elijah debuted. Kol, new to the fandom as he might be, was a cute psycho and most fans love a cute psycho. And Mikael, who probably had had no sireline, had been already killed in the previous season. That left Finn, the Original that had been placed in an unfavorable light since his introduction, who conveniently had a sireline. Naturally, reasonably, Finn would die to further the plot ̶ no argument needed. Viewers knew very little about Finn besides his devotion to Esther, his hatred for his siblings and perhaps his affection for Sage, who also died alongside Finn and added to the character waste, and thus it was wisest to waste Finn. When Finn was brought back in season 2, he appeared in another body and was quickly built to become a minor bad before the big bad’s arrival, meaning we had already known at some point he would be put down before that was aired. Woe is the villain’s fate. Finn has remained with the show, of course, in sporadic flashbacks and modern-day soul conjuring. Still in no better light than when he made his first appearance ̶ full of spite and uncooperative. His resurrection invoked mixed feelings from fans, many of whom just wished him to remain dead, or in soul form, whichever caused less damage to the family. However, to those who favored Finn’s character in general and Caspar Zafer’s portrayal of him in specific, it was a sign of hope for Finn’s permanent return to the living world. They harbored even more hope after Finn was locked in his vampire body by Davina ̶ no more body-jumping and a huge chance for Finn’s character development as he would struggle between his physical urges and his firm moral compass. Finally a chance for Finn to fight along his family instead of against them. Has it happened yet? It has, and Finn is allowed an opportunity to voice his mind, adding more depth to his already layered characterization. All is good and well for his fans until Finn is once again killed, the purpose for which is to show just what sort of madness Lucien has evolved into. One has to go for the threat to the Originals to have real weight and that’s Finn. Klaus and Elijah are the pillar of the story, Rebekah is currently unavailable and Kol has just gone through a lot of trouble to be standing here ̶ killing Kol right now would generate so much hate that the show risks collapsing. Harshly speaking, the one death that would not cause much damage and as the same time further the plotline is Finn’s. Naturally, reasonably, Finn Mikaelson has to go.
That’s what he wishes for as well, one may argue. And I cannot retort because it’s the truth, a very sad truth indeed.
Aside from the unfair treatment, I’m angry that the writers have chosen the easy way to deal with Finn, just like what they did with Jackson. Neither Finn nor Jackson had garnered a large fan base for themselves; as a matter of facts there were some who wished for their leave. In order to soothe the fans, the writers had Finn and Jackson incorporated more with the Mikaelsons’ affairs, redeeming their unfavorable past actions, before writing them off the screen. In a way such strategy has worked wonderfully: the circumstances and suddenness of their deaths by the enemies’ hands have earned much sympathy from fans, perhaps even from those who used to hate them. Yet that’s why I say it’s the easy way. The harder way is, in my opinion, would be to keep them in the show and make them more likable by exploring their growth in thoughts and actions ̶ Jackson to have less prejudice about the Mikaelsons’ actions and Finn to truly become a part of the “Always and forever” oath. Unfortunately, too much effort and too little screen time for such to come true.
Nonetheless, unfair as Finn’s depart from the show as it may be, it is not meaningless. His death tightens the remaining siblings, giving them a real, pushing motivation to fight for the survival of their family. Never before have they faced such a lethal threat. Mikael was frightening and in possession of the White Oak, but his stake could only kill one of them, and they had been successfully evading him for centuries (I wonder why they never tried to outnumber him instead of scattering like scared little birdies). Alaric was created to be their hunter, yet he had a major walking, talking weakness which came in the form of an 18-year-old mortal girl; disposing him was a single-handed task performed by Rebekah. Silas messed with their mind a little but never was hell-bent on decimating their lot. Francesca was basically a joke, while Esther, as well as Finncent, was put down relatively easy. Dahlia was extremely powerful, but to kill them she had to rely on the White Oak; plus she had a weakness they could exploit to defeat her. And lastly, the White Oak has been a constant threat; still it hasn’t grown fangs to give them a fatal bite nor has it moved with vampire speed and subdued them with superior strength. Lucien possesses all of these and is capable of creating another vengeful, insanely strong being just as himself. Moreover, his weakness hasn’t been shown while the only thing that might put an end to him, the White Oak bullet that created him, is destroyed. The Mikaelsons are no strangers to dangers and death, but witnessing the death of their flesh and blood in front of their very eyes, which they were utterly helpless to avert, has an entirely different effect on them. A true and real death, no more body-jumping, no more resurrection spell or soul-storing pendant. Never before have the Mikaelsons been more vulnerable; never before have them been more united. Finn’s death brings them fear, pain, rage and a burning desire for revenge, and all of these penetrating emotions could wipe away the siblings previous differences and conflicts to work together. “My brother and I against the citadel,” now is exactly the time for that saying.
All the heartbreaking dealt by Finn’s death gives me enough reason to loathe Lucien; however, for all of what he’s done, I cannot find myself hating the newly promoted Original Hybrid (is he?) in town. He’s brilliant and patient, which makes him a formidable, even admirable, villain. There’s this Chinese character 忍 for “patient”, compiled of a weapon “刃” hanging above a heart “心”. To be patient is to suffer – such is the meaning of this character, and Lucien embodies its very essence. In order to execute his plot, he has disguised himself as a helpful friend that quickly submitted to the Mikaelsons and gave away the hard-earned Seraturra once his alliance with Tristan was foiled, and sided with them against the de Martels. In this regard Lucien is smarter than the de Martel siblings; instead of calling an all-out war with the stronger, immortal enemies, he opts to go undercover, patiently waiting for the best chance to strike. He has had us viewers as well as them, the cunning, ruthless Mikaelsons, completely strung by the nose, and that itself is an impressive, praise-worthy feat (again with the villains outsmarting heroes trope). It’s not yet made clear whether this crazily clever scheme is The Trinity’s original idea, that the three of them have been working on it since the beginning, or it’s Lucien’s own brainchild after the Seraturra and sireline-breaking plans have failed. If it’s his idea, then he does deserve his newly gained powers and immortality (even though I hate the fact that Finn has to die).
On a less significant note, any flimsy hope for the Frucien ship has been utterly smashed in this episode. There is absolutely no way a romance is possible between Freya and Finn’s murderer. Freya isn’t Rebekah, who had some feelings for Matt, the human who stuck a White Oak stake into her brother’s heart in an attempt to destroy all five of them (her affair with Matt really cheapens her character in my opinion). Freya is Dahlia’s daughter and disciple and whether she likes it or not, she has inherited traits of her godmother in her person, one of which being extremely vengeful. Not only Lucien has betrayed her, he has also taken away her beloved brother, thus forever robbing her off her wish for a family whole and united. In short, Lucien is past redemption in Freya’s eyes; what’s left between them is a hatred so deep I doubt any fanfic writers would have a tortuous time trying to mend their relationship without the OOCness should they want to keep this ship floating. And one thing I would like to watch in the remaining episodes is Freya’s battle against Lucien, although that seems a bit too dangerous for her considering what Lucien has become. Still, being overpowered by her enemies did not stop Hayley from venting her wrath on the Strix; why should it stop Freya?
Highlights of the episode:
- Matt’s extremely relevant appearance in this episode. I guess since Elijah and Finn have to set foot on Mystic Falls, it would be nice for them to be warmly welcomed by the local right?
- Shouldn’t Matt be more surprised by the sight of someone he killed walking and talking than the mention of another Original sister?
- Matt’s here to provide the gun. Save the five-minute trouble of having to find a wooden stake in the woods.
- And Cami’s here to provide the plot-required dark object and a feminist aspect ̶ no-one can take her stuff from her without her consent, even if that’s a 1000-year-old Original vampire who’s notorious for being a psychopath.
- Thanks to her now we know Kol’s hexed like Father Kieran. Terrific news. Kol’s returns to the living seem to be never free of hex.
- The “Oh shit” moment. Shit just got truly real.
- No? Wait until he bites Finn.
- Still no? Wait until how that bite turns out.
- Klaus and Hayley’s teaming to massacre of the Kingmaker’s staff. Anyone who feels a wee bit sorry for the humans?
- The enigma of Lucien’s transformation. “Puzzling” is a serious euphemism. Shouldn’t he need Elena’s blood?
- Lucien’s redeeming quality is his eternal one-sided love for Aurora. Sigh.
- Now, it’s Vincent and Davina vs. all Nola witches.
- Finn’s description of his “black horizon”. I never hate Finn for what he did ̶ anyone who gets 900 years robbed off them wouldn’t take it so nicely once out. Don’t try to imagine the mental toll and trauma resulted from being imprisoned in your own head; it’ll drive you crazy. Hearing him describe that sensation only makes it more tragic and heartfelt.
- Finn’s desperate hallucinations of being left alone
- The siblings gathering around and holding his hands on his deathbed so that he won’t feel abandoned. This is by far the most bittersweet scene in this series.
- Kol’s tear and Klaus’s pained and helpless expression. Although they never seemed to be on good terms with Finn, the death of their brother is still much agonizing.
- Finn’s funeral where the remaining siblings bid him farewell. It’s a shame Rebekah never gets a chance to say her farewell to him.
At least he’s free to pass on the afterlife now, where Sage is waiting for him.