Mar 31
2017

the originals episode 403: ‘haunter of ruins’

During Season 3 of “The Originals,” our executive producer and creator Julie Plec kept a diary of behind-the-scenes tidbits on EW.com for every episode. She’s not doing that this year, so I thought I’d use this space to share some thoughts on the episodes that I co-wrote this season. This is all very stream-of-consciousness — just random stuff that pops into my mind as I scroll through my behind the scenes pics.

Tonight’s episode, “Haunter of Ruins,” was co-written with Declan deBarra. I’ve been looking forward to working with Declan forever because he had a lot to learn from a master of words such as myself. While we were writing this episode, Declan literally quit the show, so obviously my extraordinary talent overwhelmed him. Juuuuust kidding. Declan is an actual genius and he left “The Originals” (after starting with us from day one!) to go create his own show because he’s just that good. It was a great learning experience to write with him. (I mostly learned weird new ways to say “fucking” in fancy Brit-speak, but still.)

Warning: this blog will contain spoilers.

There’s a lot I loved about tonight’s episode. It was my third time working with our director Jeff Hunt. He directed the first episode I ever wrote all on my own, (302, “You Hung the Moon”) so he has a very special place in my heart. The second time he directed one of my episodes, I was dying of pneumonia and my mom was visiting the set and the combination of those two things reduced me to a whiny crybaby, but he soldiered on and 315, “An Old Friend Calls,” turned out awesome. And now, this! They say never work with animals or children if you’re in the film industry. On this shoot, all the children behaved, all the animals behaved (no birds or snakes were harmed…). The grown-up actors were, as always, a whole different story. (Again, kidding, though having all the living Mikaelsons seeking shelter from the sweltering Atlanta heat in one dusty farmhouse bedroom for hours on end did lead to some unmentionable hijinks.)

One of my favorite things about the episode is that we flash back to Season 1, and we see what Vincent was up to while Marcel was ruling New Orleans with an iron fist. I wasn’t a writer on Season 1 of “The Originals” — I was just a very talkative writer’s assistant — and one of the things I regret not being able to explore from that time was the very complicated and dark nature of Marcel’s “rules” for supernatural behavior in the French Quarter. Marcel was born a slave, was a lawyer during the 1960s civil rights era. And yet… when he rose to the height of his power after expelling the werewolves from the Quarter in the early ’90s… his laws for his territory were very reminiscent of Jim Crow laws. Witches could be killed and left to rot in the street without consequence, their customs and traditions were made illegal, their behavior was monitored with no regard for privacy. Vampires murdered, looted, rioted, and intimidated witch territory freely — meanwhile, if a witch was even suspected of threatening a vampire, he or she paid with his life. We even explored the very dire consequences of an interracial (in the supernatural sense) relationship between Thierry and Katie.  The psychological damage — ahem, daddy issues — that might lead Marcel to inflict that kind of oppression on people fascinates me.

Anyway, in this episode we get to see what it was like for Vincent, living outside Marcel’s Quarter but still very much in New Orleans, at that time — which meant we got to bring back one of my best friends, Maisie Richardson-Sellers, who plays his ex-wife, Eva Sinclair. Maisie is currently starring on Legends of Tomorrow, so we were lucky to get her for a couple of days of family dinnerayou know… crushing birds to death and vomiting black oil while suspended from the ceiling. (It’s truly a miracle I have any friends at all.) It was really fun to see Maisie and Yusuf Gatewood act together again — and, after years of Vincent being on the defensive, to see him in a warm, vulnerable moment with his family really touched my heart. This story sheds a little bit of light on the method to our Season 4 villain’s madness — though you’ll see that we broke our usual formula this year and we’re doling out information about our villain a little differently than in previous seasons of “The Originals” or “The Vampire Diaries.”

Anyway, I happen to be pretty #TeamMarcel in his current feud with the Mikaelsons, but I thought it was important to get a reminder that he wasn’t always the benevolent leader that his partnership with Vincent has made him. Vincent is responsible for a lot of the good done in Nola in the last five years… and, as we learn in this episode, that might be in part because he’s atoning for a tragedy he’s been keeping secret for a long time.

Side note: I’m obsessed with Jason Dohring and during this episode I finally, after over a year of working together, gathered the courage to ask him for a selfie. It was a real pivotal moment for me.

Back at the farmhouse, Hope meets her dad for the first time. I’m so happy with how this all turned out – Summer Fontana is a fantastic actress and Joe plays this trepidation so brilliantly. HOWEVER, one of my favorite sequences had to be deleted and I’m going to share that scoop with you now. In the scene where Klaus accuses Hayley of speaking ill of him to Hope, she originally grabbed his hand and let him into her mind — making him privy to every memory made with their daughter over the last five years. We brought back Blake and Charlie, our OG baby Hope, and shot some pieces with Summer. My favorite part about it was that it let Klaus in on some of the pain and extraordinary loneliness Hayley endured over those years. She made herself very vulnerable to him in that moment. Ultimately, we had to cut it because we just didn’t have time to shoot all those little flashes of memory to make the sequence work — there are lots of rules about how many zillions of hours you can work a 7-year-old, apparently. Who knew. Anyway… fan fiction it up, Klayley fans!

ANOTHER thing that got deleted (from the script; we never shot any of it) was a scene where Kol, Freya, and Rebekah got drunk together. It helped inform why Kol had to leave (still unable to fully forgive Freya and Elijah for casting Davina into the ancestral well) but, more than that, it was funny. At least, I thought it was funny. When I was a junior in college my screenwriting prof told me I should stick with drama because I’m just not funny, so. Maybe I’m wrong. We knew that we wouldn’t have time to shoot that scene, so it had to go. Obviously, I’m still mourning the loss. At least we got to keep Kol and Rebekah’s exit — I love that scene. It reminds me of how vibrant these characters can be when they get out from under all their tragedy. It also makes me wish they weren’t all related.

One laugh I got from this episode: WHO LIT ALL THOSE CANDLES IN ELIJAH’S BEDROOM? Does he just leave them burning all the time? “Maybe the house will burn down, but maaaaybe I’ll get laid and need to set the mood!” Sigh. That said, I was soooo happy to get to write Elijah finally telling Hayley that he loves her. I’ve written him almost-then-not saying it so many times!

Which reminds me, one of my favorite lines in this episode was written by one Sir Daniel Gillies. It pains me to admit it, but the little threesome joke he makes when Hayley first arrives on their “date” was all Gillies. I love it because it’s the kind of joke you only make when you’re incredibly confident in your relationship. He can make a joke about there being someone else only because after all this time, they both know that there is no one else. Klaus’s Season 1 jealousies about Elijah usurping the role of father have proven unfounded, Jackson and Hayley’s obligation to her pack are no longer factors, her grief and guilt aren’t in the way. It’s just the two of them, for real, for sure, finally.

Anyway, there’s all the random behind the scenes commentary I have for tonight. Feel free to drop questions in the comments section! Also: the photo up at the top of this page was taken by the awesome Talicia Raggs, one of our new writers this season, who cowrote 402. I shamelessly stole it because I didn’t have one of just the trio.

 

Comments

  1. Your writing is SO GOOD. This episode was so amazing and I didn’t even realise it was written by you till after and then I realised why it was so amazing! Just one simple episode gave me such a roller coaster of emotions. This season is looking very promising. Much love to you and everyone creating this show, ❤️ Your blog and tweets

  2. You are a brilliant writer! Both of you. Also I love the idea of your blog and posting BTS photos. This episode was by far the BEST!! But I’m sad about deleting the Klayley scene, I think it’s important and it will fill up many gaps. I do hope that we will have a chance to see it later ♥️

    BTW, THANK YOU for posting that Klaylope pic, it made me forgive you about deleting that Klayley scene 😉

  3. NOELENE says:

    Hey Carina 🙂 I just wanted to ask … Is there a chance that Davina returns ? Or at least a small Kolvina reunion ?
    Btw i like your writing !!

  4. I noticed you said Tristen is never getting out of the shipping crate at the bottom of the ocean. Can you rethink that decision? I love him!

  5. Klaus painting with Hope – be still my heart! I love Klaus’ journal from maniacal monster to overprotective dad. It’s a true pleasure to see where you all’s writing and Joseph Morgan’s acting take this character every episode.