In the “When The Levee Breaks” episode of The CW series The Originals, Dahlia (Claudia Black) gives Klaus (Joseph Morgan) and Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) a deadline to turn over baby Hope, setting the stage for a bloody showdown. And when Elijah (Daniel Gillies) attempts to convince Klaus that they all need to work together in their fight against Dahlia, Klaus decides to forge ahead with his own dangerous plan, leaving everyone concerned about his next steps and wondering whose side they should take.
Following a screening of the episode at the offices of The CW, executive producer Michael Narducci spoke to a handful of press about the beginning of the storm that will run through the end of the season, what fans should brace themselves for, going into the finale, whether Mikael (Sebastian Roché) is truly gone this time, the character he wishes they’d gotten some more time with, establishing Dahlia’s weaknesses, the Elijah-Hayley-Jackson triangle, and whether anyone on The Originals can ever truly have a happy ending. Be aware that there are some spoilers.
Question: How would you tease this episode?
MICHAEL NARDUCCI: This is the beginning of the storm, and this is the storm that will take us through the end of the season. The family begins the episode on a little bit of a slightly humorous conflict. “I can’t believe you killed Mikael. Yes, he’s a jerk. Yes, he hunted us for centuries. But you killed him in front of our sister, Freya, and you risked this unity that we need to fight Dahlia.” Over the course of this episode, you see the family disintegrate, more and more and more. By the end of it, they are a house divided. I don’t think anyone is suspecting, at the start of this episode, or at the middle of this episode when Klaus and Elijah are standing united against the wolves, that by the end of the episode, the divide will be what it is. It is shocking and it puts the people that we care about in the most jeopardy we’ve ever seen them in. That is the story that we’re going to tell in these last three episodes.
What should fans brace themselves for, in regard to the coming finale?
NARDUCCI: Nobody on our show has an easy go of it, for the rest of the season. The question is, will they be able to survive? Who is going to live, and who is going to die? Who is going to be changed forever? What relationships are going to be destroyed? What relationships may have a chance at being healed? Things are going to get worse before they get better, but there is a ray of hope. We’re shooting the finale right now and the dailies are coming in, and they are amazing. The performances are amazing. The fundamental thesis of this show is how we draw strength from the people who we are born with and who we choose to be our family. If there’s any hope for these people, it comes from that, and that is the story that we’re telling. So, I think that we will make that story manifest in the finale. Strength is drawn from the people that we love and who we are bound to by family.
Might we ever see Mikael again?
NARDUCCI: You won’t be seeing a corporeal Mikael, anytime soon. He’s dead. That death was meant to be the definitive finale between Mikael and Klaus. That last conversation between them was meant to put everything on the table, and it was intentionally inconclusive. When he says, “I don’t know why I didn’t love you,” I think that’s more hurtful for Klaus to hear than if he had said, “Yeah, I didn’t like you because you weren’t my kid.” It was before that, that Mikael had started to dislike Klaus.
Is there a permanent death that you think happened too soon?
NARDUCCI: That’s a great question. I wouldn’t say that I regret it, but I love these characters and I love the actors that play them. In particular, I would have liked a little bit more time to get to know Ansel. Lloyd Owen is an incredible actor, and I think he was amazing, but for our story, it felt like Esther’s ultimatum was, “You can be happy, and here’s your real father.” If Klaus allowed himself to enjoy that too much, it didn’t seem true to who Klaus was. Klaus is the kind of guy who, if you’re trying to woo him and you offer him a beautiful turkey sandwich, he takes it and throws it in your face and says, “To hell with you! I don’t make deals with people I hate.” That’s what he had to do with Ansel, in order to send a message to his mother.
When you devise a character like Dahlia who is so powerful that she could rip apart this entire town and everyone in it, was it important to also develop, at the same time, what her weakness would be and how you could defeat her, so you knew how that could play out?
NARDUCCI: That’s a great question. There’s always a loophole with magic, and the source of someone’s magic tends to be a big part of where those loopholes come from. In the same way that Esther founded her spell to create the Originals on the white oak tree, lo and behold, the white oak tree is the thing that can be used against them. So, we knew that there was that built-in logic to our magical science. We talked a lot about where Dahlia would draw her strength from, and we will see more of her origin story, as well. She seems to be a witch who is channeling power from her relationships with these other witches, first Esther, and then Freya, and now she desires Hope. Why? Because she wants Hope’s power. So, we came up with this idea that the soil where she was born, the ash of the Vikings who were terrible to her and who were the source of her hatred, and the blood of the very witch who was her love, are the source of her power and, when combined, are her weakness. We came up with that pretty early on, when we knew that this was a person who we were going to have to figure out a way to find a weakness for. But how that is used, and whether all of those ingredients are 100% useful, and whether there’s a twist within that equation remains to be seen.
Hayley and Jackson have grown closer together while things with Hayley and Elijah have become more contentious. Is there still hope for Hayley and Elijah, or is she determined to make it work with Jackson?
NARDUCCI: Hayley made the decision to marry Jackson because it was the right thing to do for her child and for the people that she cares about. It’s also clear that this guy loves her and is a really good guy. Over the course of preparing for that marriage, she found herself having legitimate feelings about it being the right thing for her. In these next episodes, we’re going to see where that relationship is going and we’re going to see just how far both of them are willing to go to stand up for one another. At the same time, clearly she had strong feelings for Elijah, for a very long time. He told her that that was not going to happen, and he suggested that she go off and marry Jackson. We all know that Elijah is someone who’s principle focus is family, above all, always and forever, and it’s a very difficult situation for him to be in, to be in love with the woman who is the mother of his brother’s child. Also, it’s clear that he still loves her. It’s clear in the way that he looks at her, the way he protects her, and the way he wants to safeguard her. He may suppress that and bury that, and it may be one of the things he has to hide behind his red door. But, the pain and the conflict of loving this person that he can never be with is very present in that character.
Can anyone truly have a happy ending, on this show?
NARDUCCI: This is a show about vampires, and vampires are immortal. In order to understand the gift of immortality and the drag of being immortal, you have to juxtapose that with the story of mortals whose life spans are all too finite. That’s one of the reasons there’s so much death in a vampire show. You love someone, and then they are gone. These characters have a big struggle coming up, but there is absolutely reason to believe that not only their family bonds, but some of their romantic bonds will bear the beautiful moments that we want from those romances.
The other thing to remember is that it’s not the end of the novel. We’re very fortunate that The CW has picked us up for Season 3. We’re already in the room talking about it and breaking it, and one of the things that we’re really excited about is the ability, on our part, to have even more romance on the show. Family is the core, but romance leads to family, so that’s a big part of it, as well. This was our Empire Strikes Back season. There are some bad things coming, and at the end of it, if we’ve done our job correctly, you will be devastated, but you will see that these people are not yet defeated. You can be destroyed, but not defeated. And then, Season 3 is the story of them figuring things out and coming back together.
The Originals airs on Monday nights on The CW.