By now you know how I feel about flashback-heavy episodes - I'm not a big fan. I understand that we need to get the back story and so they're unavoidable, but they are never my favorite episodes. Bad wigs aside (though, for real, the mens wigs are SO BAD), going way back means there's no room for the right now folks and I'm never going to be thrilled with an episode that shorts me on Caroline. I've learned to live with Matt-less eps but I can't abide leaving Caroline out.
As flashback episodes go, this one was...fine, I guess. It started really slow but managed to pick up momentum at about the half way mark. The acting was great and it looked pretty awesome. But to be honest, the things about the episode I found especially irritating weren't my usual flashback episode issues as much as they were issues with uncharacteristically sloppy writing. I know this isn't a popular opinion, but it seems to me that in their rush to advance this Original story, they're putting the cart before the horse.
Here's the thing, if you're going to flash back to the origins of the Original Family, you need to cast the entire original family. Last week we learned, via Rebekah's memories, how the Originals came to be vampires in the first place. As the story unfolded we saw Rebekah, Klaus, Elijah, Mikael (whom, it turns out, is the Original father - BOOM!), their mother and a much younger brother I'm calling Tiny Tym.
How would they do this? Well, Mama was a witch. Which witch? The Original Witch. Yeah, awesome. So she whipped up a spell that transformed her mortal children and husband into immortal undead beings. She remained mortal because, as Rebekah explains, you can either be a witch or you can be a vampire but you can not be both. Take a note, that'll probably be important later.
Once they were transformed, there was blood lust and rage and Mama ended up dead. Klaus was all "daddy did it!" so Elijah and Rebekah cremated her on a funeral pyre and buried her remains somewhere nearby then swore eternal vengeance against their father. But wait! There's more to the story! Klaus's pants are so totally on fire because he's the one who killed Mommy, and Daddy damn well knows it. He won't rest until Klaus is the kind of dead you don't come back from, which he can do because before his kids set fire to the white oak tree that could kill them, he totally grabbed a branch and whittled himself his very own Mr. Pointy.
Meanwhile, Elena is tired of trying to fix her little Humpty Dumpty so she puts Damon in charge of putting his brother back together again. Damon thinks that what Stefan really needs is a drink so he busts him out of the dungeon and takes him to a bar where he lets him drink the waitress. They run into Mikael who sticks his hand in Damon's chest and feels up his heart, threatening to rip it clean out if Damon doesn't tell him where Klaus is. Turns out that his love for Elena is so not going to be what pulls Stefan out of his Klaus-induced meanness. It will be his love for his brother, which they kind of should have known since that same love kept him from killing Damon even when he thought Damon was going to kill Elena back in season 1. And also because this show repeats the theme of "family is most important" more often than I brush my teeth.
So what is my problem? We know that there are more Originals chillin' in coffins in Klaus's Family Storage Unit. We know because we saw them and also because last season when Elijah let his brother live, it was because Klaus promised he had not sunk the "bodies" of their family members to the bottom of various oceans but, in fact, had "them" all in one place. If the Original family only consisted of the members we met in this flashback then we'd be out of bodies because Elijah and Rebekah are already accounted for, Mikael isn't dead (and wasn't with Klaus), Tiny Tym was never a vampire so no body to keep around, and Mommy was not a vampire and her ashes were buried in Mystic Falls (probably under the House Of Dead Witches because that's totally how this shit works). So why didn't we see any of these other people? Why wouldn't Rebekah's story at least have MENTIONED them like "Mom turned the 6 of us into vampires" or SOMETHING?
Because they haven't written or cast the others yet. Yeah, I know. But that's my point. Don't open a can of worms if you haven't thought about which worms need to be in it. And while we're on the subject, I'm retroactively annoyed that Rebekah wasn't in the flashbacks Elijah laid out for us when he was telling Elena the origins of the curse story last season. She says she was with Klaus right up until he killed her in 1920 so she should have been around when Katherine was mucking up the works in the 17th century. That's slightly less annoying on the grounds that she MAY not have been involved in the planting of the Sun and Moon Curse shenanigans in which case she might have been around at the time but not germane to the story.
While we're talking about Elijah though, I was glad to have him back and he looked as magnificent as I remember (his hair is perfection in any century), I can't believe they brought him in and basically just had him stand around doing and saying nothing. That's a tragic waste of Gillies' talents.
Anyway, it isn't that I didn't like the episode, the reveals, the new information or the origin story itself, I just wish they'd either cast the rest of the family (even if it had to be extras who kept their backs to the camera the whole time) or at least given us a decent reason why we didn't see anyone new. The alternative comes off as sloppy in a way that is well beneath the writers of this show.