Elijah has to rediscover life in the aftermath of Marcel erasing his memories
Ne Me Quitte Pas
Credit: Annette Brown/The CW
When the Saints Go Marching In

Elijah Mikaelson commanded attention the second he walked onto The Vampire Diaries, gave Rose his word that no harm would come to her and then decapitated Trevor without so much as a second thought. Since that moment, the best dressed of the Original siblings has proven time and again to be one of TV’s most compelling characters, what with his ferocious protection of his family, his devotion to nobility, and more generally, his life spent as the monster in the suit. And tonight, he got what he has always deserved: an entire hour devoted solely to him. Although, the Elijah we saw in this episode was not the stoic Elijah we’ve come to know. Without his memories, this Elijah was just a guy looking for some answers. And he’d find them.

We start by taking things back to seven years ago as Elijah, now memory-less, climbs off a bus. All he knows is that he needs food. But what he doesn’t know is that those pork rinds in the vending machine won’t do the trick. (Also, did you ever think you’d watch Elijah eat pork rinds?!) It doesn’t take long for Elijah to realize what he’s really hungry for when the gas station attendant walks outside and Elijah takes a big ol’ bite out of his neck. One murder later, Elijah has ditched his bloody suit for…wait for it… a trucker hat! (Did I gasp when the camera panned up to Elijah in that hat? YES I DID.)

Now in his victim’s clothes, Elijah steals his victim’s car and heads off to his new life, which is currently filled with a Jesus bobblehead and some Christian country music. You gotta love the vampire driving away in a truck as the song says, “Jesus keep me from all wrong.” Well played, Originals.

Cut to one week later, where Elijah is killing some more people, this time in New York City … and he’s not the only one. When he hears another vampire, he heads over to investigate. He meets a woman, at which point he starts throwing questions her way: Where do we come from — um your mom — what are we? It’s like he’s a baby vamp all over again. The woman, who’s named Antoinette as we later learn, takes him to a nearby diner to explain the many gifts and rules of vampirism, including the fact that he’s wearing a daylight ring. Elijah tells her that he can’t even remember his own name. Based on his cufflink, they agree to call him E seeing as how he’s definitely not an Edmund, Elliot, or an Eleanor.

After coffee, Elijah takes Antoinette to his crappy New York City apartment, which is when she realizes he CLEARLY doesn’t know how to compel or else why would he be living like this? As she tells him, “just by looking deep into someone’s eyes you can make them do whatever you want.” It’s one thing vampires and very pretty people have in common!

Elijah shows her his box of belongings, and based on the suit and cufflinks she says, “Maybe you were a butler.” HOW DARE SHE. Then he shows her the card she found in his pocket. It reads “Don’t Look Back.” And all Elijah knows is that he didn’t write it.

So, he doesn’t look back. After that night, Elijah begins living a new life, one that’s filled with compulsion, fancy new leather jackets, and nights spent with Antoinette. (Although for some reason he doesn’t compel himself a new apartment.) One night, he has a special treat in store for Antoinette — he takes her to a club where vampires go to feed on humans, all the while showing off their sick dance moves. But Antoinette is not a fan. As a vampire who chooses not to wear a daylight ring and not to feed on innocents in that manner, she’s not exactly “accepted” in this particular vampire crowd.

So instead, she and Elijah spend the evening walking through Central Park, where she tells him why she decided to take off her daylight ring: Living in the sun made it too easy to pretend she was still human. It wasn’t until she lived solely in the dark of the night that she could truly embrace what she was. Most vampires prefer to still mingle with humans as if they never died, but she chooses to remember her death, as harsh as it might’ve been. (She was stoned by her village.)

As for how she feeds, she chooses to compel the fear out of her victims, which results in their blood being free of all the cortisol that comes with fear. And once she shows Elijah what she means, he’s hooked.

After they feed together, they stumble upon a piano in the middle of the park. It’s there that Elijah realizes he knows how to play. It’s also there that Marcel shows up and tells Elijah he has to leave. Now.

And yet, when Elijah recognizes Marcel as the face from his memory, he’s determined to get answers. But Antoinette is not interested in going down the dangerous road of Elijah’s past, so with a kiss on the cheek, she bids him farewell.

Elijah stays in NYC and tries to find Marcel, but when he fails, he ends up taking it out on his crappy apartment and a number of people at the vampire-feeding club. It’s a sequence that’s beautifully put together, and I can’t tell you how much I love Elijah’s scream at the end.

Ultimately, Marcel finds Elijah mid-killing spree at the club and tells him that he was the one who wrote the note in his pocket, but he explains that he only wrote it because Elijah asked him to. Marcel tells Elijah that he did all of this for a kid that means everything to him, and if he keeps looking for answers, she’s the one that will pay the price. “You did the right thing. Trust yourself, Elijah,” Marcel tells him. “And make a life somewhere else.”

And so Elijah does just that by following Antoinette to Manosque, France and asking for her forgiveness. The two kiss, which brings us to present day, where the happy couple is sitting behind the piano together. Once they finish their song, Elijah tells Antoinette, “Whoever I am now, I want you, if you’ll have me.” He brings out a ring and she doesn’t even feel the need to say yes. Instead, she runs into the kitchen to get some champagne. (Next: Klaus wants his brother back)

But all she finds in the kitchen is Klaus, who’s here to take his brother home. Klaus compels her to reject Elijah but it seems Antoinette has been taking vervaine. She sits back down at the piano and instructs Elijah to play while she tells him about the man in the kitchen. Elijah tells her to get everyone out of the bar, at which point Elijah comes face-to-face with Klaus.

“Your name is Elijah Mikaelson,” Klaus tells his brother, explaining that their family is in crisis and needs his help. But Elijah is no longer Klaus’ brother, and this is his home. Klaus brings up the vow of always and forever, but Elijah tells him, “You’re talking about somebody else’s life!” Klaus tries to snap his brother’s neck but fails. So, getting desperate, Klaus plays the “Hayley is missing” card, but the name means nothing to Elijah. Just as a broken-hearted Klaus screams “We are your family! You love us! You love me!” Antoinette stakes him. But it doesn’t last long.

Klaus quickly catches up with Elijah and Antoinette, at which point Elijah confesses that he knows exactly who he is. When Marcel called him Elijah in New York, he looked up the family. He knows all about the Mikaelsons, and even Hayley, and as he tells Klaus, “I don’t care about any of you.” And here’s where things get even more upsetting. From what Elijah can tell, Elijah Mikaelson spent his life trying to save his brother and he “can’t imagine a more miserable existence. From what I understand, that poor bastard was lucky to find any moment of pleasure. That’s not me, that’s not who I am. I love this life. I love it all.”

Klaus explains that his brother wasn’t unhappy, that they were two kings who stood side by side. Elijah’s response? He tells Klaus “Elijah Mikaelson is dead” before snapping his brother’s neck.

Once they’re alone, Elijah confronts Antoinette about the fact that she knew a stake wouldn’t kill Klaus. “You knew about me,” he says. Of course she did; the stories about his family are legendary. But his own note said not to look back, so she didn’t want to tell him something that would put him in danger. As for why Elijah never told her what he knew, he says the Mikaelsons are “nothing but chaos and bloodshed.” He didn’t want her to know that part of him.

But that’s not who he is now. As for Klaus, Elijah’s not worried that he’s coming back. As he says, Elijah was Klaus’ North Star, he guided him “through the darkest parts of his pathetic life.” For Elijah to renounce him the way he did, “I watched the light banish from his eyes,” he says. “This immovable man, this legendary NiKlaus Mikaelson was broken.”

In that instant, we cut to Klaus, who calls Freya and claims he didn’t find Elijah in France. “He’s gone,” he says of his brother.

And he’s right. Our Elijah is gone. As he tells Antoinette, Hayley was someone Elijah loved but “that was another lifetime.” He can’t imagine loving anyone the way he loves Antoinette, which brings him back to the proposal. Taking off his daylight ring, he wants Antoinette to know that he’s all in. He then gets down on one knee and she says yes, at which point he throws his daylight ring into his box of belongings and decides to leave his past in ashes…literally.

Standing in front of an open window, he catches himself (and the box) on fire as he says goodbye to Elijah Mikaelson.

AND THAT’S THE END. I could talk about this episode forever. As an enormous Elijah fan, I had very high expectations, and I’ll admit that I did not expect this episode to essentially tell a beautiful love story, but I really loved it. I instantly believed and rooted for that love story, and a part of me is genuinely sad that Elijah can’t have his happily-ever-after with Antoinette.

The thing that impressed me most, however, was that I felt like I was watching the Elijah I knew and loved at the same time as meeting a new character. They somehow struck the balance of giving me an episode of The Originals that also felt like something entirely different in a wonderful way. And then it all culminated in that final confrontation with Klaus, which featured some of Daniel Gillies and Joseph Morgan’s best work. That entire conversation was a heartbreaking reminder of the old Elijah, and as I watched it, I found myself wanting that Elijah back, but also rooting for the man he’d become and the happiness that he’d found. So basically, I love Elijah no matter what, and I’m so happy The Originals took the risk and made this episode.

Episode Recaps

When the Saints Go Marching In
The Originals

Joseph Morgan and Daniel Gillies star as Klaus and Elijah Mikaelson in this Vampire Dairies spin-off about the first family of vampires, their life in New Orleans, and the witches and werewolves who live there.

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