Hope uses magic to reunite the siblings in 'The Kindness of Strangers.'

By Samantha Highfill
June 13, 2018 at 11:19 PM EDT
Curtis Baker/The CW
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Elijah Mikaelson is back. The cufflinks are on. The tie is nice and tight. The daylight ring once again rests on his finger. But with all that comes the unbearable truth: He now has to face the fact that Hayley is dead and he could’ve saved her. And as much as it hurts him, I’m pretty sure it hurts me more.

Let’s start at the beginning: Elijah, Klaus, Rebekah, and Kol find themselves in a chambre de chasse — a magical prison they have to find their way out of. As for who created it, Freya shows up just in time to accuse Vincent. And when a white door arrives in the middle of the compound, they realize their task: The door has five locks, which means each of the Mikaelson siblings has to find his or her key. Once they have all five keys, which will be hidden somewhere meaningful, they can open the door.

First things first, as they begin their hunt, Kol takes Elijah far away from Klaus before telling the still memory-less Elijah why they’re not very close. Remember when Elijah and Freya killed Davina? Because Kol does. Elijah asks his younger brother if he ever apologized, to which Kol essentially says, “sort of.” But all that matters is that Kol got Davina back and “not everybody is so lucky.” He’s of course referring to Elijah and Hayley, a fact that still doesn’t resonate with Elijah.

Elsewhere, Klaus finds himself studying the family crest and wondering if it’s the hiding place for his key. Why would it be? Well, let this flashback explain: We jump back 15 years to the first time Hayley saw the compound. Standing in her super-comfy pink cardigan from season 1, Hayley tells Klaus she wants to believe in him. “Don’t let us down,” she says, referring to herself and Hope.

Back in present day, Klaus smashes the crest, but there’s no key to be found. That’s when Marcel is dropped into the magical prison. And he’s got news: Vincent isn’t behind this, Hope is. She’s determined to take back the power that’s split into the four siblings, and when Marcel tried to stop her, she threw him into the chambre de chasse as well.

As the siblings split up and search the house for their keys, Elijah asks Klaus what his relationship was like with his niece, which brings us to another flashback. In this one, Hayley and Klaus are trying to decide on a name for Hope. Zoe? Caitlin? Not so much. “Katherine?” Hayley asks, to which Klaus responds, “God no.” (After all, there’s only one Katherine.) That’s when Klaus tells Hayley about the moment when Elijah thought she’d died. He’d said the family had lost their only Hope. And so, they have a name: Hope Andrea Mikaelson. Back in the present, Klaus tells Elijah he was the one who gave Hope her name.

Down the hall, Kol finds his key in a book of Shakespeare that he sent Hope for her ninth birthday. Marcel tries to ask about Davina. It seems she doesn’t call much, which is one big bummer if you ask me. She’s too busy being happy with Kol, who explains that he spent his entire life wanting to be a part of “always and forever” … until he met a girl.

That’s when Marcel realizes they’re standing in the music room, which hasn’t existed in a century. Therefore, Hope wouldn’t know to recreate it. Freya, on the other hand, would.

When Klaus confronts Freya, she admits to helping Hope. At this point, they’re one sibling reunion away from every firstborn dying, so it was time to take action. Freya reminds Klaus that the one time Hope has acted out in her entire life was because she missed her dad. Imagine what she’d do with a lifetime of missing both parents. Hope’s childhood ended three days ago when she lost her mom, Freya says, and as long as the Hollow’s magic keeps them separated, she’s as good as orphaned.

With that, Freya unlocks her lock and vanishes. It’s the witchy version of a mic-drop. (Next: Hope’s plan works)

Marcel catches up with Rebekah in her old room and quickly proves why he’s the most valuable player in this chambre de chasse — he recalls Rebekah’s old hiding place. She used to hide Marcel’s letters under a floorboard, and that’s where they find her key. Once that’s taken care of, Marcel tells Rebekah he still loves her. (So he’s useful and romantic.) And unlike Cami or Hayley, he’s not going to die. “There are far worse ways that I could destroy you,” she tells him. “You’re doing a pretty good job of it right now,” he responds.

Elsewhere, Klaus finds a box of letters from Hayley, which leads into the next flashback. This one takes us to four years ago — Hope’s 11th birthday — when Klaus decided he was done FaceTiming with Hayley and Hope. “You’ve escaped us,” Klaus tells Hayley, but she swears she’s not giving up on him. And the proof of that is in the large number of letters she wrote him after that day, all of which were returned to sender. In burning those letters, Klaus finds his key.

And yet, it’s the MVP who finds something more. Marcel’s not convinced that Elijah’s memories are gone, and when Elijah calls him “Marcellus,” he takes that information to Klaus. Klaus heads straight to Elijah and calls his brother out on deliberately repressing his memories because he can’t handle the truth about what he did to the woman he loved. But Elijah questions that love. Was his love for Hayley even real?

As the storm escalates, Klaus tells Elijah that his brother was always there for him. Elijah was his greatest ally, his best friend. “You killed him, and I hate you for that,” he says as all of them collapse. It’s happening: Hope is taking the Hollow’s power.

While that’s going on, Marcel — truly the best at puzzles around here — finds Elijah’s key in his coffin. After what happened to Hayley, Marcel figured that Elijah now represents death for Hope. Just like that, they open the door and head into Elijah’s mental maze. They’re back in the white corridor, and Kol is the first to leave, followed by Marcel.

Just as Elijah’s struggling to open the red door, Rebekah stops Klaus from leaving. Remember when Klaus killed their mother? Rebekah does. And somehow, they forgave him for that. So now, Elijah needs his brother.

With that, Rebekah leaves, and Klaus stands beside his brother. “You killed my brother when you let Hayley die,” he tells him before reminding him that he did love Hayley because “she believed in something better for all of us, and because she fought for it when we couldn’t.” Klaus isn’t sure who Elijah will be on the other side of that door, but he knows he can’t open it alone. And so, together, they bust through the red door.

Then Elijah is flooded with memories of Hayley, and as he wakes up, he remembers her death. His siblings sit and watch as he sobs and screams in agony, and I AM NOT OKAY. As a diehard Elijah fan, this is my definition of torture. I hate this so much. (I also love it.)

Sitting next to Elijah, Klaus hands him a vile of his blood so he can cure Antoinette, but when Elijah and Klaus exchange a look, Elijah’s path is clear. He heads to Antoinette, cures her, and then simply says, “forgive me,” before he leaves her behind.

As for Rebekah, she tells Marcel she wants to have children and grow old but she knows she can’t. And even though he tries to convince her that they could have something better — they get to watch history unfold together — she’s not buying it. Marcel’s great at being a vampire because he chose it. For her, it will always be a curse. And she’s angry about it. That’s why she doesn’t want him to promise to be by her side — because she loves him and “won’t let my sadness destroy you.” She kisses him and walks away.

The hour ends as Klaus sits down to read Hayley’s letters and Elijah puts on his suit and heads out to the bayou to say goodbye to the woman he loved.

I have to say, after everything that’s happened this season, there were three major moments I’ve been looking forward to most: Elijah getting his memories back, a proper goodbye to Hayley, and a sibling reunion. This episode managed to do all those things by putting Hayley front and center and creating an hour that was about what she meant to this family and how she saved them. Yes, there was the magical twist with the chambre de chasse, but what this show has always been about and always done best has been heartfelt family drama, and this was an hour about the lengths these people have gone to for one another, the power of forgiveness, and ultimately, the power of love. And, good lord, did it almost destroy me.

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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