At last, The Originals adds real emotion to its random plot twists

Since The Originals started airing, it's never been dull — the Vampire Diaries spinoff has followed in the footsteps of its parent show, throwing in plot twist after plot twist and betrayal on top of betrayal. But last night's episode was the first time any of it felt emotionally powerful.

Spoilers ahead...

This show seems to be finding its groove, slowly but surely, and since it's a pretty big hit by CW standards, it has time to figure out what it wants to be about. Certain characters are starting to feel more fleshed out and real, most notably the ones who didn't come over from TVD originally.

The plot of last night's "Apres Moi, Le Deluge" was pretty simple — everybody finds out Sophie dug up Elijah's ex-girlfriend Celeste. And thenit turns out that if the witches' "Harvest" ritual isn't completed, there will be a series of natural disasters that make Katrina look like a minor breeze. Everybody (except Marcel) gets behind the idea of sacrificing Davina to complete the ritual, on the theory that Davina will be resurrected along with the other sacrifices. But in the end, the ritual doesn't work, although the city is saved. And it turns out that one of the witches is secretly Celeste, back from the dead.

(Oh, and there's a lot of stuff about burying the Originals' mother, to help complete the ritual, which will probably be important down the road but isn't particularly here. And Rebekah continues to dabble in trying to scheme, which is sort of adorable.)

It was an exciting enough episode, purely as another helping of plot sauce. But for the first time, some of the characters felt emotionally alive, and I started to buy into some of these relationships. Notably:

Marcel and Davina. Marcel doesn't seem to have anything to gain from kidnapping Davina from Klaus' compound and preventing her being sacrificed. He seems to care about her for real, and the bit where he apologizes for using her as a weapon against the other witches feels genuine and stark — and his attempts to comfort her as she dreams of the normal life she can't have are kind of lovely. Given that the episode starts with her throwing him against a wall over and over, the reaffirmation of their bond and family status is unexpected, but all the better for that. And then she dies, and he blames Klaus.

And actually, the scene between Klaus and Marcel is the first time Klaus has been interesting in a while, as he talks about how grief-stricken he was 200 years ago when he thought Marcel was dead. Klaus is always best when he wears his heart on his sleeve (and worst when he's just ranting aimlessly.)

Also, the Elijah-Haley relationship, which this show has been trying to push for a while now, suddenly feels a bit more grounded. Both the fact that Haley betrays Elijah and then has to deal with his reaction, and the way that Elijah is portrayed as someone who feels things very deeply and holds on to a few relationships — even with people who've been dead for 250 years. This show has often shorthanded Elijah as "the honorable one," which isn't a terribly interesting way to go, but this glimpse of his slow broken heart is way better.

And Haley's speech to Elijah, in which she points out that he made his promise 200 years ago and "I live in the present," was a really neat moment. "I won't choose the dead over the living, so why are you?" All of a sudden, the Haley-Elijah romance has a bit of a spark.

Oh, and I'm curious to see what it means that Sabine is the super-powerful Celeste — especially since I saw mentioned on another site that Sabine was the one who warned Haley's baby would destroy all witches. Interesting to see where that love triangle is heading.

All in all, a major step forward for The Originals, towards being not just entertaining, but actually affecting.