Bob Mahoney/The CW
Samantha Highfill
June 23, 2017 AT 11:03 AM EDT

For the original family — and quite literally for The Originals spin-off — it all started with Hope Mikaelson. In the show’s backdoor pilot, which aired during The Vampire Diaries‘ fourth season, it was revealed that Hayley was pregnant with Klaus’ child, and in that moment, something shifted for the man we’d only known as one of the greatest monsters the world has ever seen. What would Klaus Mikaelson look like as a father, and would that somehow lead to his redemption? Is redemption even possible for him?

Cut to season 4, where Hope is now 7 years old and as such, has done the impossible: She’s changed Klaus. Yes, he still has his faults and he’s still occasionally a monster, but thanks to the arrival of The Hollow, he has a chance to do something he never would’ve considered all those years ago: Put someone else before himself.

As fans have seen in the promos for tonight’s finale, Vincent has an idea to save Hope from The Hollow, but it involves putting The Hollow into the Mikaelsons, after which they’ll never be able to see one another again. And for a family that’s lived by the vow of “always and forever” for 1,000 years, that’s about the hardest thing that you could ask of them.

“The promise of always and forever, as beautiful as it sounds on the surface, is often, for our characters on this show, a justification to do what they think they need to do, consequences be damned, collateral damage be damned,” executive producer Michael Narducci says, who wrote the finale, tells EW. “Here we are in season 4 after a five-year time cut and we’ve met a now 7-year-old child who is able to bear witness to their behavior and she can decide for herself what is good and what is bad and she’s not someone who is accustomed to making these bad decisions or justifying these bad decisions.”

All season long, the Mikaelsons have struggled with the idea of how to live a life worthy of Hope, and now it has become a question of what they’re willing to do to save Hope. “In episode 4, Hayley says, ‘We have to do better’ and at that moment Elijah’s looking at Hayley and you can just see the look in his eyes — he knows that we’re Mikaelsons, we’ve been doing this for a thousand years, we’re not going to be able to do better. There’s nothing about us that’s good. I think that set the course for everything that was to come. So the arrival of this child who is by definition family but who has a different perspective on always and forever, all the sudden everything starts to come into conflict.”

But regardless of what the Mikaelsons decide to do about The Hollow, Narducci says the finale will provide “a definite end to this story and this chapter of the Mikaelson saga.”

The Originals airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.

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