The Mikaelson family is extremely complicated, and who better to untangle that drama than Julie Plec? The Originals showrunner will blog each week’s installment throughout the season exclusively for EW. From answering burning questions to giving behind-the-scenes stories and more, this is a place for fans to hear directly from Plec about the episode they just watched.
In the immortal words of Marcel Gerard, “Damn, girl!” That was one hell of an episode. Thanks for watching “Give ‘Em Hell Kid,” written by Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson and directed by Jeff Hunt.
The penultimate episode — a.k.a. second-to-last episode (I’m not trying to be condescending; I had no idea what it meant until I started writing television) — of any season of television is always a crapshoot. There are a lot of factors that go into it: do you want your finale to be more plot-driven or more emotional? If the latter, you need to wrap up a lot of your mythology early. Have you mapped out your story arc properly or are you scrambling to either stall or to race through as much story as you can because you’ve run out of time to tell it? How many of your recurring guest stars have booked pilots and are suddenly unavailable? I’ll admit it now, years later, the “Isobel” episode of TVD felt like a stall when we were writing it. We knew how to end the season, but we still had one episode left before the finale. It turned out well enough, but it’s not one of our most memorable. In contrast, we knew we wanted season 2 of TVD to wrap up all the crazy mythology (Sun and Moon Curse? Rings of Fire???) in the second-to-last episode, leaving the finale to be free to make big shifts in the character stories. As a result, the finale packed less of a plot punch, but boy oh boy did it shake up the lives of the characters.
This year on The Originals, we knew we had to answer the questions presented by the prophecy. Who would be friend, foe, and family? We knew very early on that Marcel would take the form of the “beast” in the prophecy — be friend, foe, AND family — and we had to make sure we earned it. In a lot of ways, this episode packed enough punch to feel like a season finale. We knew we wanted half our team to avenge Davina’s death and set a massive shift in motion, while our Mikaelson family scrambled to keep each other safe at any cost. We felt like if we delivered on the mystery of the prophecy by the penultimate episode, we could spend the finale watching it all go down: Marcel as the villain. But is he wrong? As he’s said, “If you’re not a Mikaelson, you’re cannon fodder.” He was right. They are responsible for Davina’s death. Marcel has a valid point, which will make him very dangerous.
Speaking of Davina, it is now time to properly say goodbye to the lovely Danielle Campbell. I remember when this beautiful 17 year old walked into the casting office on her senior year spring break. She reminded me of Katie Holmes when I met her, back when Katie was about the same age. She had poise, maturity, and intelligence, and yet she was also still a delightful, youthful, sweet, and fun young girl. We had to work around her senior prom. This year, we all got together to celebrate her 21st birthday, marveling about how she has grown into a powerhouse of a woman. You can shed tears for Davina Claire (we all have), but don’t cry for Danielle Campbell — she’s about to set the world on fire.
Tidbits from Ashley and Bart:
- Our set decoration team always works to make our world feel as authentically New Orleans as possible, which means there are lots of lovely details that don’t necessarily make it to the screen. During Cami’s second line funeral — in addition to the dancers, mourners, musicians and tourists — there were our ubiquitous fortune-telling stands, complete with candles, crystals, and tarot cards, which is how I ended up getting talked into divining Daniel’s future between takes. For the record, he is the King of Wands, a “natural born leader,” and a “visionary.” He did not disagree with this assessment.
- The S.W.A.T. team Kinney enlists to take down the witches at the bodega was comprised of very real S.W.A.T. people — and our action-loving director Jeff was pretty much a kid at Christmas when they arrived on set. Needless to say, they were a bit of an intimidating bunch — at least at first (they’re all actually very nice guys!). However, we’re pretty sure there was less goofing around than usual around that night.
- Also to be filed under things that were very, very real: the cockroaches in Vincent’s old house. Apparently we got a bit lucky with the ones that climbed up the wall… turns out, cockroaches don’t respond to verbal commands all that well, and they pretty much do as they please. Go figure. Personally, as a former New Yorker with a bit of insect phobia, I’m hoping that next time we can locate some tiny, realistic roach robots. *Shudder*
- There are few things in production as challenging — and mildly disorienting — as true night shoots, especially when you’re in a new and far-flung location. For two nights in a row, the entire production worked from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. to get the pivotal bridge scenes between Klaus, Marcel, and Elijah, which is how a bunch of the crew ended up celebrating a good day of shooting with a nightcap in the lobby of our hotel… just as all the other guests were starting to line up for their pancakes.
- Davina’s big hero moment — ultimately her revenge on the ancestors — was, in part, inspired by the movie Terminator 2, when the character of Miles Dyson (also known as Olivia Pope’s dad!) manages to hold on just long enough to blow up the Cyberdyne labs. Of course, we’d like to think that Davina’s sacrifice was equally heroic, with just a *touch* more romance thrown in for good measure. [Note: I’m crying as I write this.]