In “Ne Me Quitte Pas”, we see the new life Amnesia-Elijah has built for himself over the last seven years, a life he’s not willing to part with, even for “Always and Forever”… Our review of this week’s The Originals.
I’m actually going to begin this review where “Ne Me Quitte Pas” ends…
We know that Elijah Mikaelson has long been in extreme pain. As I said in my review for the Season 5 premiere, Elijah is so central to the Mikaelson family. “I find I’m not good without Elijah,” Klaus tells Caroline, and I don’t imagine any of the Mikaelsons are good without him. Elijah has shouldered a massive responsibility of “Always and Forever,” especially as it relates to the duty and guilt he feels toward Niklaus. Elijah has systematically sacrificed his own happiness and chance at love in order to elevate his own family’s needs. So, maybe it shouldn’t surprise us that once Elijah has spent significant time away from that burden, he wouldn’t be jumping at the chance to return to making those types of sacrifices. This drives him to extreme lengths in order to sever his links to the Mikaelsons, including removing his own daylight ring, ripping back the blinds, so the sun shines in and lights himself on fire. HAVE MERCY.
But let’s backtrack a little…
“Ne Me Quitte Pas” is a particularly interesting episode because it’s almost exclusively Elijah focussed, hence the fandom hashtag #ElijahsJourney. The episode begins seven years earlier, soon after Marcel compels Elijah to forget himself and his family in the Season 4 finale. Someone (presumably Marcel) has placed Elijah on a bus out of town. I was a little upset because Marcel might not have thought this all the way through. Someone needed to stick around to teach Amnesia-Elijah how to vampire! But upon reflection, this situation Elijah finds himself in is an interesting one. After centuries of being an all-powerful, (almost) all-knowing being, we now watch Elijah navigate this world with the confusion and impulsivity of a newborn. It’s a fascinating juxtaposition, made all the more compelling because of Daniel Gillies’ performance! Immediately, Elijah deals with a hunger that no amount of potato chips and pork rinds will satiate. His instincts are still on point because Elijah barely hesitates before taking down the owner of a local shop and drinking him to death. Elijah takes the man’s clothes and car (Jesus bobblehead and all!), then makes his way to New York City. (Perhaps an unconscious draw to Rebekah, who is also in NYC?)
In New York, Elijah continues to struggle with who he is. This doesn’t stop him from glutting himself on human blood. One night, in the process of feeding, he runs into another vampire, Antoinette. And Antoinette changes Elijah’s whole game. She answers his questions about what it means to be a vampire, the gifts, including the power of his daylight ring. But more than that, she pushes Elijah… E, to reclaim some of his humanity. Group feedings and slaughter for the sake of slaughter aren’t Antoinette’s vibe. Though I must say I lovvvvvve getting to see E dancing at a rave. Antoinette teaches E how to treat humans with compassion, even as they are feeding. She helps him to remember that he likes to play piano and that he can speak French… that there are other parts of him that matter and can make his vampire life whole. It’s why Antoinette, herself, gives us the daylight ring, to fully embrace who she now is as a vampire and stop pretending to be human.
A late-night walk through the park is interrupted when Marcel arrives and tells E to leave town. E is incredibly confused, but he recognizes Marcel as the vampire who purged his memory. Elijah demands answers, and Marcel has none for him. Well, he does call E, Elijah, so that’s information he didn’t have before. Marcel is much more concerned with getting Elijah out of town before Rebekah returns and it sets the Hollow and “Always and Forever” drama in motion. Antoinette is not about this drama, so she parts ways with Elijah. And Elijah engages in a massive murder-spree, searching for answers and probably attempting to bring Marcel out of hiding. Marcel does eventually return to Elijah and reminds him why its paramount that he forgets everything and leaves it all behind. Elijah asked to forget who his is, all for the sake of a young girl who matters more than anything.
With this assurance of his sacrifice, Elijah journeys to France and meets Antoinette in her piano bar–the same piano bar where Klaus and Rebekah have been visiting him. Seven years later, Elijah and Antoinette are happy, so much so, that Elijah proposes. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like Antoinette well enough, but I’m here for HAYLIJAH. Klaus must still bank of Elijah’s commitment to Hayley and the Mikaelsons because he returns to the piano bar and attempts to remind Elijah who he is. With Hayley missing, it’s time for the family to come together to save her. Antoinette’s services are no longer required…
This is where alllllllll the secrets come out, that Elijah has known for years that he is a Mikaelson and about “Always and Forever.” But he wants no part of it, has no interest whatsoever in going back to that family and that life, not even for Hayley. Elijah loves the new life that he’s built. He’s so insistent that he physically fights Klaus in order to prevent being separated from Antoinette. Klaus can’t die with a wooden stake to the chest or a neck snap, but it’s enough for Elijah and Antoinette to make their escape.
The extent of Klaus’ devastation and resignation is clear when he calls Freya in NOLA and claims that they are on their own in their search for Hayley because Elijah is no longer in France. A lie told, perhaps in order to cover up his pain and embarrassment and save the rest of the family from knowing that Elijah has knowingly ignored them in their time of need.
Elijah and Antoinette have their own confessions to make. She has been taking vervain since first meeting Elijah in New York. She’s known exactly who Elijah Mikaelson is, but stays quiet. Why? Well, the Mikaelsons have made a lot of enemies, so this is her way of protecting Elijah from that past. She doesn’t want any trouble. And it seems Elijah is of the same mind. He wants nothing to do with the Mikaelsons, either. In order to demonstrate his commitment to Antoinette and their life together, he removes his daylight ring and steps into the sunlight.
I have NO idea why this makes sense. Elijah insists on marriage to Antoinette… and then lights himself on fire? Sunlight can’t kill an Original, so Elijah will likely be extra crispy and need to feed a whole lot in order to recover. Hopefully Antoinette will close those blinds ASAP. This act marks Elijah’s very clear and insistent break from his past and the Mikaelson family. I want Elijah’s happiness, I really do. But I have to agree with Klaus, a little. Though Elijah has the knowledge of events, he has none of the emotions tied to the memories. Honestly, I don’t know where we go from here. But perhaps, this is OK for now, until we can figure out how to defeat the Hollow, once and for all.
The Originals airs Wednesdays at 9:00pm ET|PT on The CW.