The Mikaelsons say farewell to not one, but two members of their family.

By Samantha Highfill
August 01, 2018 at 10:00 PM EDT
Bob Mahoney/The CW
S5 E13
B+
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From the moment we met Elijah Mikaelson on The Vampire Diaries, his life has revolved around his brother Klaus. In more than a thousand years, Elijah hasn’t loved anyone the way he loves NiKlaus, and that’s why Klaus’ death could only mean one thing for the suit-loving vampire: Elijah had to die too.

For anyone who’s read just about anything I’ve written on The Originals, you know that Elijah is one of my favorite characters of any show … ever. That noble man stole my heart the second he told Damon and Stefan, “To whom it may concern: You’re making a grave mistake if you think that you can beat me. You can’t.” So one might assume that I hated Elijah’s decision in this finale. But I didn’t. Sure, I cried more than I would like to admit, but something rang very true to me about the idea that Elijah’s story would end when Klaus’ did. As much as I would like to think that, had Elijah lived, he would’ve gone on to enjoy a happy life, who are we kidding? Elijah’s life was Klaus. That was the very reason he had to erase his memory at the end of last season; he knew he wouldn’t be able to physically stay away from his brother. So the question of “who is Elijah without Klaus?” is one that I’m not sure would’ve had a happy answer.

There’s also the question that this show has debated at length: How long is too long to live? At what point does immortality become a curse? Perhaps by ending their lives, these brothers now have a real chance at happiness.

I know, I know. I’m already talking about the final moments of this episode, but I can’t help it! And yet, seeing as how this entire hour was a journey to get to that moment, let’s start at the beginning.

Just as Klaus is about to stake himself and take out the Hollow’s magic for good, Hope returns from her first transformation and knocks her father out before he can end his life. Back in New Orleans, Klaus’ siblings chain him up and try to figure out what to do next, which, for Kol, is obvious: leave. He’s no longer interested in his family’s melodrama and he wants to get back home to his wife.

But Rebekah’s not having that. She stands in the middle of the road and physically stops Kol from leaving town. The two having a heart-to-heart about how happiness is a choice. As far as Rebekah is concerned, happiness can wait; their brother is finally putting everyone else before himself, and if he’s really dying, she wants the family to be by his side.

While Rebekah deals with that drama, Freya is, as always, trying to find a way to save the day. The magic inside of Klaus will drive him mad within a matter of hours if she’s not able to find a cycling spell to temporarily offload some of the darkness. Helping Freya look for the spell? Vincent, who claims he’s leaving New Orleans for good … at least until Freya asks him to be the father of her child with Keelin. More on that later.

Meanwhile, Klaus is going mad, and in his madness, he hallucinates an angel and a devil on his shoulders: Of course, the devil is Mikael himself — so happy they brought him back for the finale! — and the angel is none other than Cami. While Mikael tries to convince Klaus to kill Hope, Cami reminds him that she knows his heart.

Klaus manages to escape his chains, but before he can make any rash decisions, Elijah snaps his neck, and by the time Klaus wakes up, Freya has transferred some of the dark magic onto Elijah so that Klaus can say his goodbyes. I love this exchange between the brothers, because it sums them up so perfectly:

Klaus: “What have you done?”
Elijah: “What I’ve always done. Followed you into the fire.”

But Klaus isn’t a fan of goodbyes; he’d much rather die in peace. At least until Caroline shows up! Turns out, she kept that voicemail that Klaus left her in the backdoor pilot for The Originals, during his first trip back to New Orleans. And, according to her, he still owes her a tour.

Sitting at a bar, Klaus asks Caroline if she’d have come if he had longer to live. She tells him that she probably would’ve let him chase her around for a few more centuries. “That was always the fun part anyway,” she says. She then tells Klaus to say goodbye to his daughter, and because it’s Caroline, he admits that he doesn’t know how. Caroline tells him, “Try this: one of you stands, walks to the door, doesn’t turn back, even if their heart aches for just one more look, one more moment. But you’ll know that the not looking just means I’ll never forget you.” She then leans in, kisses Klaus, and walks away … without looking back. And that is how their story ends.

With that, Klaus returns home to say goodbye to his daughter. He tells Hope that although he hasn’t lived an honorable life, he can have an honorable death because of her. She has helped him feel something he never thought possible: unconditional love. After a hug, the two head downstairs, where Rebekah and Marcel recently rekindled things. Apparently Kol was right. Happiness is a choice, and Beks is choosing it!

Along with Rebekah and Marcel, Freya, Keelin, Elijah, and even Kol have gathered to share Klaus stories. Klaus arrives, gives Kol a hug (seeing as how he “secretly adores his youngest brother”) and the entire family sits around a table to share what must be their happiest meal since they became vampires. So much of this show has been about the burden of immortality, and this moment sums that up best: These people are at their happiest partially because the end is in sight, at least for Klaus. Today is worth celebrating because there won’t be a tomorrow. (Next: Two brothers, one goodbye)

After Marcel promises Hope that he will never abandon her — new father figure? — Rebekah announces it’s time for the classic Mikaelson wish-burning ceremony. After Elijah doesn’t burn a wish for himself — a telling move — Klaus tells his family that they mean everything to him. Their loyalty, council, and love is what has kept him alive, and it’s why he knows that they will continue to come together after he’s gone. It’s why he’s not worried about Hope.

Elijah chimes in, quoting something he said in the first episode of The Originals: “We’re bound forever to those with whom we share blood. And while we may not choose our family, that bond is our greatest strength.” He leaves out the part about it potentially being their deepest regret. Klaus tacks on, “Though I may be leaving you tonight, this is not the end of the Mikaelsons.” With one final “always and forever,” Klaus says goodbye to Hope, who promises to make him proud and do right by the Mikaelson name.

Klaus, Rebekah, and Elijah then head to a familiar bench in the French Quarter. Klaus apologizes to his sister for all the times he got in the way of her happiness, and to make it up to her, he asked Caroline to get the cure from Damon when he’s ready to go in a handful of decades. It’s Rebekah’s if she wants it. Rebekah hugs Klaus before turning to Elijah, and when she goes to hug him, it’s clear something’s off. That was a goodbye if I ever saw one.

Sitting on the bench next to his brother, Elijah snaps the white oak stake into two pieces, telling his brother, “I intend to die by your side.” At first, Klaus doesn’t understand his brother’s decision. Once Klaus dies, Elijah is free to do whatever his heart desires — but, Elijah assures him, this is what he desires. “We didn’t choose to become what we are,” Elijah tells Klaus. “To be or not to be was taken from us; Esther and Mikael stole it from us, NiKlaus. I’m stealing it back.” He’s choosing not to be.

Elijah explains that during the wish-burning ceremony, he envisioned a future for everyone he loved. But when he looked at his own, he realized that the purpose of his life was always Klaus’ redemption. And now, he truly believes his brother has been redeemed. Furthermore, Elijah told the family of his plan after the ceremony, and they each gave him their blessing. As for Hope, she’ll have Marcel, Rebekah, Freya, and Kol.

Speaking of Hope, we cut to her painting a family portrait as Hayley watches with a smile. Downstairs, Vincent returns to tell Freya and Keelin that he’s willing to be their baby daddy in what I hope is a new sitcom called Two Witches and a Werewolf.

As for Marcel, he’s getting all the vampires out of New Orleans for good. And that includes Rebekah, who tells him of her plan to live a human life, a life she’d like to share with him. So if he’ll have her, she’d like to be his wife for the rest of her human life. As she hands him the envelope that reads “If you say yes,” he says, “I do” and they kiss.

And that brings us back to Elijah and Klaus.

Klaus: “What if there’s nothing after this, no peace, just darkness?
Elijah: “We face it together. As always.”

Together, they stand, and Klaus tells Elijah, “I don’t deserve the love you’ve given me, brother. But I am so grateful.” Elijah responds, “It’s been a glorious ride, NiKlaus. And my greatest honor.”

The series then ends as the brother’s stake each other and turn to bask in the New Orleans night.

I can’t say that I ever imagined this ending for the series, but for a show about family and immortality, it seems only fitting that it would end with our central brothers leaving this earth together. There were some smaller things that I could call out for feeling a bit chunky or rushed, but in the end, I can walk away from this ending feeling satisfied.

Also, be sure to check out what showrunner Julie Plec had to say about those deaths and how the Vampire Diaries finale affected Klaroline’s ending.

Episode Recaps

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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