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A Closer Walk With Thee, an episode that demonstrates some of the best of whatThe Originalshas to offer when it focuses on the adults, and struggles when its handful of kids are around. The chief evidence of this: Mikael, the Original patriarch, is finally an active participant in the shows proceedings. Hes had some important flashback scenes with major revelations earlier in the season, but hasnt been an active participant yet. But thanks to something going on in Mystic Falls involving PurgatoryI havent been keeping up withThe Vampire Diariesbut it sounds like its Bonnies faultMikael can influence the present, disorienting Klaus and Elijah, attempting to kill Hayley, and convincing Davina to resurrect him.

The idea of generational conflict pervades A Closer Walk With Thee, well beyond Mikael. At almost every turn, the older characters attempt to deal with younger ones, and the elder characters are far more interesting. So, after Mikael appears in a dream, we immediately see the witches talking. Genevieve is delivering exposition, but Horrible Monique starts sneering and criticizing. It takes some doing to turn Genevieve into the more sympathetic character, but having Monique be as antagonistic as she is to everyone does the trick.

A far better form of the generational divide occurs shortly after, at the wake for Father Kieran (a convenient title!). Klaus, the youngest sibling, is petulantly nursing his drink when Elijah, the eldest sibling, comes along. And Elijah ison firein this scene: Far better than your process of grief, Niklaus. Denial, rage, and hoarding coffins in basements.

This is followed by a confrontation between Cami and Francesca, the casino owner who now runs the Human Faction. Francesca doesnt have many scenes in this episode, but she controls each of them. Actress Peta Sergeant is clearly reveling in playing the sort of forthright, dominant character who can take over a scene by motioning for a drink, or raising an eyebrow at a rival. Shes older than Cami and Hayley, those rivals in this episodes scenes, and that gives her power that she may not physically possess as a mere human.

Hayley, meanwhile, finds herself trapped by paternalism. Klaus keeps on demanding her presence in the Original household after the terrorist attack, and Hayley rejects the idea. But after confronting Francesca, and after being stricken by Monique, and after fighting with Mikael, Hayley returns to Klaus control. I understand the narrative value of such a movehave your main characters near each otherbut the question of how much agency Hayley actually that has plagued the series for so long, and seemed at least partially resolved, now rears its ugly head again. Is she actually a character, or is she a vessel for the baby and a love interest for Elijah?

Meanwhile, the episode is also fraught with paternalism from the Cami/Marcel pairing. This isnt a quality issueboth actors and character read as roughly the same agebut its got power and mythological age issues. Marcel, the centuries-old, powerful vampire, wants to help Cami but cant help but use his knowledge, in order to attempt to manipulate her. But she knows it, and initially rejects, then attempts to embrace on her own terms.

But the main motivator of A Closer Walk With Thee remains the Original patriarch. Mikaels background has hung over this series since its beginning, and his presence has grown increasingly important since the major flashbacks at the heart of the Rebekah arc.The Originalssimply has to confront who Mikael is and what he means to the series concept. Based on the events of this episode, it knows this, and is working directly toward it (possibly with Mikaels resurrection in the season finale?) Based on Sebastian Roches sheer presence, this will be a very welcome change indeed. Between Mikael, Elijah, and Francesca, this was a great episode for the elder generation.


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