The cast and crew of Legacies were hyping up this episode all the way to its premiere. This was the game-changing episode we all needed to prepare for. They weren’t kidding. Everything that could happen did happen in “The Boy Who Still Has a Lot of Good To Do.” This episode touched on so many topics like the definition of truth, the things that divide us, intolerance, religion, chosen families, and Landon’s supernatural status. And that’s only to name a few. It also felt like a punch to the gut and a twist of the knife when we thought Landon had died. I didn’t want to believe that they would kill him, let alone anyone else, off this early in the series. I guess you could argue he did die, but we just got really lucky that Landon’s supernatural powers decided to kick in and aid him in rising from the ashes as the true Phoenix he is.
Too Many Big Bads
There were a lot of Big Bads to keep track of in this episode. Some turned out to be familiar faces, others turned out to be new faces, and some were forces working against everyone involved. I found this to be quite enjoyable because it broke the formula we are used to: a new monster makes its way to the Salvatore School to find a way to take an artifact to Malivore to gain freedom and peace.
Some of the aspects of that formula did remain in this episode. MG looked for a freedom and a peace within his relationship with his father. That led to one of the forces working against he characters we know and love: intolerance. MG’s father is unmovable in his dedication to his faith, even though it means villainizing and then killing off his own child in his mind. I understand being afraid initially, but to let go of any future relationship with a son he presumed dead seems harsh and cruel. MG was only trying to live by the motto his father instilled in him when he revealed his true identity to him. MG even said, “You taught me to live by my truth and I want to honor that.” MG’s father could only accept MG’s truth when it aligned with the version of MG that worked best for him. That’s devastating. The dynamic between MG and his father reminded me a lot of Caroline Forbes and her father’s relationship in The Vampire Diaries. TVD fans, do you agree? I’m not someone who condones unconsentual compelling, however, when Kaleb said, “I’ll compel his intolerant ass,” I felt that.
Another force working against these characters is a clear division between the supernatural factions that has existed way before their time. The werewolves and the vampires were meant to be separated and feared by the other. This old way of thinking is exemplified in the episode when Rafael and Kaleb immediately turn against each other when MG and Landon’s lives are at stake. Their argument was born out of frustration, desperation, and sadness at the near loss of the people who mean the most to them, yet their words proved to be divisive on the basis of their faction. Even though the Salvatore School is clearly doing incredible work at building bridges and fostering a safe place for all supernatural factions, it is clear that there is still an undercurrent of division and hatred these teenagers will need to overcome. That is why I found it so interesting that Hope was the one to step up and silence everyone with an act of compassion. Her epic love had just died at the hands of a vampire and that didn’t stop her from saving MG’s life. Hope, who is a tribrid and the only one of her kind, is able to push back against those boundaries set before her just by existing but also by being so kindhearted.
Choosing to Be Good
A common theme in this episode was choosing goodness, how to do it, and the consequences of doing so. One blatant example of this is Hope saving MG’s life. Ric knew she would do it. He knows her heart. He knows what she’s capable of because he knows she is better than others, and even herself at times, lets her believe.
The debate about vampirism that has taken place throughout the series was complicated and expanded on in this episode by two speeches, one by MG and one by Kaleb. MG’s speech was a result of trying to get his father to see that he is not a demon and can still do all the good he is mean to do. MG told his father, “I’m a vampire. And I know you don’t understand that, and I barely understand it myself, but that doesn’t mean that I’m evil. I just have to try harder to be good.” MG’s words embody everything he has been trying to say about vampires over the course of the past episodes. Yes, there are vampires who are evil and do the most evil of things, but it doesn’t have to be that way for every single vampire. Goodness is an option; it may be the harder road to walk down but it is the one that is best for all involved. This idea is carried in Kaleb’s speech to MG towards the end of the episode. Kaleb said, “Look, MG, being a vampire ain’t everything I say it is. It ain’t about power or blood. Or being better than other people. I guess I just say that stuff to make myself feel okay with the fact that people like you and me, we got a big struggle ahead of us. A hard life.” In this speech, Kaleb showed his hand. He finally let us as viewers and his best friend in on why he has stood by the beliefs he has about vampires. They were a defense mechanism for the very complicated and immortal life he has to live. That makes sense; leaning into the stereotypical and problematic tendencies of vampires that have been accepted by society is much easier than choosing goodness and challenging those preexisting systems.
Another moment of choosing goodness that shouldn’t be overlooked is when Landon urged his best friend and brother Rafael to open up to him. Landon knew the truth about Raf’s feelings for Hope and knew that he wouldn’t act on those feelings, yet Landon still wanted Rafael to voice those feelings. It’s the better, healthier option. Landon said, “I have seen what happens when you bottle stuff up inside. Sooner or later, that bottle’s gonna shatter. And I hate seeing you in pain.” Like Hope choosing to save MG, Landon makes a decision for the betterment of someone he cares about. Landon could have gotten mad and shut his best friend out. Instead, Landon begged Rafael to be honest with him so that Rafael doesn’t break. Landon prioritizes Rafael’s mental health and well-being and has seen how detrimental it can be to bottle things up. This can also be commentary on men (and everyone, really) in our society today. Men are taught to bottle up their feelings and express them in physical or violent ways. Landon and Rafael are shattering that stereotype in this scene.
Legacies — “The Boy Who Still Has a Lot of Good To Do” — Image Number: LGC111a_0031bc.jpg — Pictured: Danielle Rose Russell as Hope — Photo: Bob Mahoney/The CW — ÃÂ© 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
The TVD Universe has never been one to shy away from trauma narratives and Legacies is further proof of that. Most, if not all, of the characters have different triggers to their own specific traumas. Hope Mikaelson is someone who has a past of trauma but also a past of so much love and incredible experiences. Trauma is a part of her; it is not all of her. This episode saw Hope confront some of that and sometimes that came with what looked to be panic attacks.
Rafael is someone else who dealt with trauma in this episode. Emma is the one to speak on a lot of what Rafael may be experiencing, since Rafael spent the majority of the episode in a mind warp. Emma stresses the importance in protecting the division of Rafael’s mind, between the werewolf side and the human side. From what I understand, that division exists to suppress any trauma. Ric solidified this when he told Rafael, “Watching Landon die was too traumatic, too human, so you reverted back and scrambled your memory.” It’s a survival technique.
I don’t have any grand conclusion to draw about this topic. I simply believe that it is very important to see trauma narratives depicted on screen in as many ways as possible. Everyone experiences trauma differently and that should be represented in the media we consume. Yes, Legacies does represent trauma through the eyes of a teenage girl who is a tribrid, a teenage boy who is a werewolf, and more, but that doesn’t make their narratives less worthy to be told. I am glad Legacies is telling these stories.
It is abundantly clear Ric has created a place in the Salvatore School that encourages chosen families. The arrangement he had with MG’s mom is a great piece of evidence of that fact. MG’s family couldn’t cope with his new supernatural status and his mother made the decision of sending him away from the family MG knew and loved. Ric had to do what was best for MG and gave him a home, a safe place to fall, where he can meet people like him. That is priceless. Through the school, MG was able to find Kaleb who told MG, “But we can be in it together. It don’t matter that your family don’t get it. It ain’t black and white like that. Maybe they’ll come around, maybe they won’t. But here this, brother. I’m your family now. Me.” That is the kind of love and support MG needed and he found it in the Salvatore School.
Landon and Rafael are two people who have found a chosen family with each other, which has carried over into the Salvatore School. Those two will do quite literally anything for each other and that is admirable. Their loyalty to each other isn’t exclusive, though. They take MG under their wing and this episode. They come to his aid when his mother rejects him and his father disowns him. They assure MG that he deserves better and his parents are the ones missing out. Those are affirmations that MG deserves and he gets them from his chosen family.
Other Spelltacular Moments:
- “It’s a family recipe from my mom’s side, the Crescent Pack.” – Hope Mikaelson giving us the Hayley Marshall mention we deserve.
- I would by Faction Feud because I am confident that I would win every round with my TVD-Universe knowledge.
- Kaleb’s shark slippers
- Penelope helped the boys with a cloaking spell because Raf dumped Lizzie on her birthday? Sounds like Penelope Park.
- MG is a member of the Holiday Committee? I need to know more right now.
- “Except for Jesus. And Lazarus.” – Landon firing back at MG’s mom
- “You’re a teenager, Kaleb. A smart one. Too smart sometimes. But when you have been through what I have been through and seen what I have seen, you’ll learn that life is rarely that simple.” – Alaric Saltzman
- “Landon wouldn’t want this. He wanted us to be better. Give him that respect.” – Hope Mikaelson to Rafael Waithe.
- Ric brought Kaleb as his wing-man because he knew MG would need one. I’m totally not crying.
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