The Originals boss breaks down that heartbreaking finale, Elijah's shocking decision
Spoiler alert: This post contains plot from the season 4 finale of The Originals.
It finally happened. Something was able to separate the Mikaelsons for good (or at least until season 5).
When Vincent came up with a plan to defeat The Hollow in the season 4 finale of The Originals, the decision was simple: Lose Hope forever, or allow Vincent to put The Hollow into all four siblings, after which they’d have to scatter and never see one another again (lest The Hollow get free). So, after saying their goodbyes, Klaus, Rebekah, Elijah, and Kol all left New Orleans (and their family behind).
But one sibling took things a step further. Elijah, knowing full well that his commitment to his brother wouldn’t allow him to stay away, asked Marcel to compel him. And so Marcel compelled Elijah to forget the “always and forever” vow, to forget his siblings. In other words, he erased the most fundamental aspect of Elijah.
In the episode’s final moments, Rebekah and Marcel reunited in New York, Kol ordered an engagement ring for Davina in San Francisco, and Elijah found a new home in France, where Klaus paid him a quick visit (though Elijah didn’t recognize him). And although the show has another season, this was the final episode for executive producer Michael Narducci, who penned the hour.
We talked to Narducci about the episode and saying goodbye.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: From the beginning, there’s been talk of this show being about Klaus’ redemption. I loved the way you all addressed that, in this finale, particularly Elijah saying the idea of redemption was nothing more than a “wonderful sentiment.”
MICHAEL NARDUCCI: That was an idea that we had very early on in the season, and we just kept that idea alive in the room. I knew at some point somebody was going to speak those words. We really wanted that statement to be made — that it’s just not valid to say you do one good thing and all of your past evils are forgiven. You have to choose every day to do right, and even then, you have to live with what you’ve done. I think that’s a tough sentence for vampires who are 1,000 years old and who have committed a lot of evils, so there is no easy peace, and there is no easy redemption. But in this episode, they did what they had to do to do the right thing, even though that meant sacrificing this sacred vow and having to leave each other. They made a very painful sacrifice, but they did it for the right reasons. So while I can never forgive them all of the bad things they’ve done, in that moment, I have to give them credit for what they were able to do.
I’m so interested in the decision to have Elijah basically erase who he is. How did that come about?
I think it was episode 316 last year where Finn wants the White Oak to not be destroyed because he someday may want to use it to end his miserable existence. And the look on Elijah’s face [in that moment] says to me that he, too, has contemplated a quiet, peaceful end. We’re talking about suicide right now, and I think that’s a very touchy subject, but when you imagine 1,000 years of a tortured, tormented existence where you’re not fulfilled, I think that that’s on the table for these characters. And I think Elijah commits a form of suicide in the finale of season 4. He amputates the most important thing in his life, the thing that had given him at least a modicum of solace — his commitment to these brothers and sisters. Will that be a good decision for him or a bad decision? Will he find himself enlightened, or will he spiral into madness without his siblings? That remains to be seen, but I like the glimpse of him playing the piano.
His very first words on the show, in our pilot voiceover, he says, “Over the course of my long life, I have come to believe that we are bound forever to those with whom we share blood. And while we may not choose our family, that bond can be our greatest strength or our deepest regret. This unfortunate truth has haunted me for as long as I can recall.” The idea that that’s what’s causing him so much pain, this unfortunate truth — what if he could just forget it? The idea of the red door, that he has sublimated his grief and his most violent tendencies and put them behind that red door — what if he could sublimate even more? And when Klaus says to him in the finale, “I’m going to go crazy without you and without my daughter, but we can never be together again, so when you see that I’m going crazy, don’t come find me,” Elijah says, “I will not come find you,” but the only way for him to keep that promise is to do what he then does. I thought that that’s as close to a heroic act as a 1,000-year-old vampire killer is capable of.
Speaking of Elijah moments, I loved the line this season where Hayley said she was hesitant to be with Elijah, not because of the horrible things he’s done, but because she was worried Hope would see that she’s okay with them.
Hayley would be a hypocrite if she called Elijah a monster and said he was evil. She herself has done a lot of monstrous and evil things, but there’s that ability to say “I want to change” and “I want to be better.” Hayley has embraced that concept, and I think Elijah, to an extent, knows that that may be impossible for him and, in fact, is impossible for him. Hayley got to see that firsthand by going into his mind and seeing the core aspect of who he is. It’s a very frightening thing to bear witness to, and I really like how we took those characters from there.
Did a part of you write this thinking it might be the series finale?
Realistically, we were aware that we had not been picked up for a season 5, and I knew as I wrote this that it was going to be my last episode with the show and with these characters. I’ve been writing Klaus’ character since the first time he appeared in Vampire Diaries episode 218 when he was inside Alaric’s body and threatening Elena and Bonnie at the 70’s decade dance. It was the end of a long run for me, and I quite love these characters, and I love our cast, and so there was a poignancy there. But to be honest, I never thought that this was the end of the entire book on the Mikaelsons. They have a thousand years of story. There’s so much to explore, and I’m very happy that Julie [Plec] and the team get to continue. I think season 5 will be the best season yet. I’m excited to be a fan and to watch it.
I’m interested in the timing of the decision to have Hope attend Alaric and Caroline’s school. Was that something you knew would happen all season?
No, I think that that was a discovery that we made over the course of the season. I’m pretty sure that Julie had a strong opinion that that school was going to exist, and wouldn’t it be great if that school were a place where Hope could find not only mentorship but also something that has kind of been denied her, which is companionship from people her own age. It’s really tragic in a beautiful way that she refers to Marcel as her friend. I love that they’re friends, but she’s a 7-year-old witch, and he’s a 200-plus-year-old vampire, so she needs maybe some friends that are a little bit more on the same age level and are dealing with some of the same things. When Julie pitched that idea, I think I just sat back in my chair and smiled. I wanted throughout the season to protect Hope and to make sure that she had a great ending, and I think this is a great ending for that character for now.
With this being your last episode with the show, is there anything else you want to say?
It has been a great run for me, and I really love the people I have collaborated with. It has been a true pleasure. The fans have been fantastic. I met a lot of them at Comic-Con and different places, and I love the idea that people will watch this show with their brothers and their sisters and their moms and dads, and they cry, or they really love it, or they get mad at some of our choices, and then they turn the show off, and then they talk to the people in their lives about the show, and, in doing so, they realize it’s a TV show, it’s a story. And hopefully it’s given you some entertainment and maybe a hint of empathy for these people and their bizarre and fantastical lives, and perhaps it’s given some perspective on your own life and makes you love your brother a little bit more, love your sister a little bit more, love your parents, love your children. Or at least know that life is short and we should make the most of it because we’re not necessarily always going to be together.
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.