The Originals 1.06 “Fruit of the Poisoned Tree”A tv review article by: Shawn Hill
Is that a metaphor I sense winding its way through the various plot threads of this episode? If so, it’s kind of a first for this show, which has been so much about plot histrionics and its own convoluted mythology (hey, at least it has one, I guess, putting it ahead of other, more muddled fantasy shows), we haven’t really had much resonance with the vampire tendency to ruminate on love, gender, marriage and desire.
Marcel is the character who’s come closest to this level of added potential meaning, as he was literally a slave who was freed by Klaus (not out of any moral superiority, just out of empathy with a downtrodden underdog and an indifference to human social mores). So the power struggle for New Orleans between him and the Nordic European Mikaelsons is one that at least glances at race. They are both his liberators and his rivals, in the midst of negotiating a partnership that could lead to all-out war if diplomacy fails.
The show has complicated this by making the witches the other power player in town (the less organized wolves are, as always, the wild cards; but then Klaus too is a wolf), where Marcel has rescued his own vulnerable young charge, Davina. And this episode underlies the presence of the human collaborators as well, especially the Catholic priest who has family ties to Camille and Sean. The latter of which is a rich vein the show needs to tap further, as even Klaus was impressed by the Father‘s defiance, and Camille’s portrayer, Leah Pipes, can actually act.
But back to fruit and apples and multiple meanings. Klaus makes a peace offering to Elijah, a “fruit” in the form of a dead woman bleeding out on their coffee table. Klaus shows no interest, but does have assignments for everyone. Rebekah is reduced to cleaning up their messes, and so decides to head out of town to avoid this familiar fate. But not before a sexy goodbye to Marcel, and it’s hard to tell which one is the more forbidden fruit to the other in that tryst.
There’s another attack on Hayley’s unholy baby, this from Agnes’ fearful witch faction, which is just pure darkness, regardless of how evil the baby might become. All the Mikaelsons are called into the fold by her plight, but luckily Elijah is on top of that one, too.
Because he’s offered his own tempting prize to Davina, in the form of a knot only she can untie (quite literally, hardly a metaphor at all in this case, but nice special effects as she must do it telekinetically) using pages torn from his mother’s spellbook. If she succeeds, she will also quite coincidentally unravel the spell that is harming Hayley, which is a neat, if totally unexplained, trick.
Ultimately, Marcel follows the apples back to the plantation where the Mikaelsons are secretly holed up, and he deals them a bit of a blow because it also happens to be the one once owned by his former master, who would never let the slaves eat the apples in the orchards they worked.
Heavy-handed for any other show, but a leap in the right direction for this one, I’d say. They might even get in the ballpark of subtlety one day.
Shawn Hill knows two things: comics and art history. Find his art at http://cornekopia.net.