And the other shoe dropped!
Julie Plec is a master of twists. On both The Vampires and The Originals, she proved she knew how to pull a fast one on the audience like no other. You thought you were watching one story, but then suddenly it would veer off into an unexpected direction (see: the Vampire Diaries season 1 finale, the sun-moon curse, and several others). So, going to into tonight’s episode, I should’ve known there was another Malivore twist waiting around the corner, but I didn’t and wasn’t prepared for the game-changing info-dump the hour unleashed on us. However, what made this episode stand out is that there were strong emotional character moments, too, in between all of the dense yet necessary exposition.
We pick up with MG’s mother telling Clarke to debrief Landon (read: interrogate him) before sending him into Malivore. Once she leaves, Clarke ignores her orders. In fact, he does the opposite and unties Landon because he wants to tell him a story. More specifically, he wants to reveal who Landon’s father is.
Spoiler alert: Malivore is actually Landon’s — and Clarke’s — father.
Once upon a time (a.k.a. a millennia ago), a vampire, werewolf, and witch — a triad, if you will — joined forces to create Malivore, a Gollum tasked with consuming a dragon that was terrorizing humans. Malivore’s hunger was insatiable, and he started devouring every monster he could find, erasing them from history in the process. Eventually, he grew sentient, realized he was alone, and decided to create a companion from mud, which I assume is what you would do if you were an immortal monster-eating monster.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t pleased with his mud-born children because they were sterile, which meant they couldn’t continue his legacy; Clarke was one of those “children” that Malivore tossed aside. Angry over being abandoned, Clarke teamed up with humans and witches to trap Malivore in his mud/pit form using three locks. Classic teenage rebellion!
Over the years, Clarke watched as the humans who caged Malivore essentially sold out and formed Triad Industries, which took on the responsibility of handling anything that went bump in the night (read: tossing monsters in Malivore). But corporations, as we all know, are prone to corruption. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that Triad started throwing people it just didn’t like into the pit. Unbeknownst to Triad, Malivore was absorbing the human DNA. When Triad condemned Landon’s mom to the pit, he saved her, impregnated her with a magical human baby that could procreate, and spat her back out. And thus, Landon, our awesome Phoenix, was born.
Next: Assault on Salvatore School
Why is Clarke telling his brother all of this? Because he had a change of heart over the years. Now, Clarke believes freeing Malivore is the key to destroying Triad Industries; however, he needs Landon’s help because Landon is the only person who can find the third and final lock and free their father. And Landon agrees, but only because Clarke appeals to his desire for family and, more importantly, warns him that Triad poses a real danger to his friends.
While I wouldn’t rank this Malivore twist as high as, say, The Vampire Diaries’ Sun-Moon curse, I do think it’s pretty solid. It’s not too obvious, but it also doesn’t feel like it came out of nowhere. Furthermore, if Malivore becomes an antagonist after being freed, the ensuing conflict will have personal stakes because he is Landon’s father and that’ll put everyone in quite the pickle.
As I mentioned above, though, this episode wasn’t just about Landon learning about his past. “I’ll Tell You a Story” also had some really strong moments between the characters. The best one involved the fallout from Josie and Lizzie’s fight.
Obviously, Josie and Lizzie are still on the outs when the episode begins; however, Lizzie is trying her hardest to get back into her sister’s good graces. Josie, on the other hand, is focused on finding out what the merge is. As their feud goes on, Lizzie starts to spiral, but Josie ignores her because she hopes hitting rock bottom will force Lizzie to start taking her medicine again. Apparently, she stopped taking her meds while they were visiting their mother over break, and Josie believes that’s one of the reasons they ended up in this huge fight.
With some help from her aunt Freya, Hope discovers what the merge is and urges Alaric to tell his daughters about it now because Josie is close to figuring it out on her own. And cue the best the scene of the episode: Alaric giving his girls the lowdown on the merge. Alaric tearfully confesses that he never had the heart to tell them about it because he couldn’t admit there was something he couldn’t protect them from. Matt Davis’ truly heartbreaking performance made me forget all of the questions I have about Alaric’s age.
At the same time, Hope had her own heart-to-heart with an imaginary version of Landon, which was created using one of Emma’s therapy prisms. She confesses that she lied to him about his mother because the sight of him dead in the woods triggered this voice inside her head that shows up every time she loses someone (her mother, her father, her uncle, etc…) and tells her it’s her fault and she’s a cosmic mistake. “I guess I just wanted someone to think I’m worth staying for. I wanted you to stay because I love you,” she says. As Imaginary Landon points out, this is the first time she’s telling him she loves him and it’s not even him. But I kind of loved how this went down because it strikes the perfect balance between a classic high school moment and supernatural goofiness.
Imaginary Landon also leads Hope to another epiphany: There was something fishy about the voicemail Landon left for her and Alaric saying he went camping because he needed time to think. She plays the message for Roman, who uses his vampire hearing and helps her figure out that Triad has him. So, Hope assembles her super friends (the twins, MG, and Kaleb) to take the fight to Triad. Unfortunately, though, Triad is one step ahead of them. By that I mean, the evil company’s troop invades the Salvatore school with wooden stakes and presumably other nasty weapons to kill the supernatural students.
Get ready for the Battle for the Salvatore School.
Small town gossip:
- Emma points out that the school’s purpose is growing and Alaric is equipped to handle it on his own. He initially rejects her concerns, so she decides to take a sabbatical as a way of proving that he needs help. Spoiler alert: This works, and Alaric apologizes to Dorian, who agrees to come back and help him run the school.
- Elsewhere in the episode, Rafael’s mind continues to splinter as a result of the trauma he endures. Hope lends him a ring that’ll let him transform into a wolf on command, which may help him heal himself.
- “I’m going to go full Wonder Woman.”
- How much you want to bet that the witch who created Malivore was a Bennett witch?
This post has been updated.