Legacies delivers its strongest episode this season with Season 3 Episode 9, “Do All Malivore Monsters Have This Level of Emotional Insight?” Legacies turns against my earlier perception that Hope Mikaelson could be teetering towards the dark side, pulling the show along with her, taking both in a new direction. Instead, the series falls back on the campy nature of an adorable turned disgusting Gremlin to bring the Super Squad closer together.
It’s going to take some time for Legacies to move past the monotonous and often frustrating patterns the characters kept getting swept up in during the last nine episodes. This episode is a massive step in the right direction. Not only does it move the larger plot of the season forward (with new details about the mysterious artifact and the being creeping in the woods), it has strong character-driven moments that make the plot worth investing in finally.
The stakes haven’t been high this season thus far because they’ve been about whether Landon will live or die. It finally appears that Legacies is ready to advance its stories beyond that, which is more than welcomed this far into the season. Now the stakes can be about whether Mystic Falls, Virginia or the world could end because of this still mysterious artifact.
Hope and Lizzie Find Common Ground
Hope and Lizzie’s argument is compelling because it’s easy to see things from both perspectives. It’s much easier to agree with Lizzie’s take since Hope is continuously more than willing to sacrifice everyone and everything for Landon. It would have been a little more realistic had the show let Lizzie and Hope’s division brew longer, but it’s very Legacies for a Gremlin to be the thing to force them to compliment each other.
It’s a quick and easy supernatural fix to a problem, and sometimes that’s what’s necessary to move the story along. It’s also silly and wonderful. Lizzie and Hope start with digs disguised as compliments, move to surface-level niceties, and then reveal more profound truths about each other. It becomes less about them trying to defeat the enlarged Gremlin and more about lifting each other up after an episode of doing the opposite.
It could have taken Legacies in another direction had they not found common ground with each other this week. Despite my earlier wishes for just that, I welcome Hope and Lizzie being friends and working together much more. Hope and Lizzie rebuilding their friendship works in favor of moving beyond their primary relationships. Lizzie handles the distance from Josie in far less deadly ways than Hope does before Landon returns. Lizzie needs someone to lean on now that Josie and MG are in Mystic Falls, and Hope needs someone to lean on now that she’s working to be more aware of her blind spot.
It tracks that the only way Hope comes to this realization is when Landon points it out to her. She was never going to hear anyone else out. Landon says earlier in the episode that he’d always be on Hope’s side, which immediately sparked in me that maybe that’s not the best thing. What Hope did to get him back, which wasn’t even the thing that brought him back, was dangerous, reckless, and selfish. It was all for love, but that doesn’t exclude the rest of the context. That’s why it’s nice that Legacies follows through with this and has Landon point out that things don’t have to be this way.
It’s a little jarring that MG is at Mystic Falls High at first. That conversation must’ve been one that happened off-screen. I genuinely thought he was visiting Josie on their lunch breaks that happen to be at the same time. I quickly got over the logistics because MG being at Mystic Falls High means we get to see more of him and Josie.
As fun as it is to see Cleo inducted into the Super Squad (Let’s be honest, they need her), this episode excels when it comes to MG and Ethan’s budding friendship.
I don’t know how many more times I can write that Ric needs a lesson in consent because he shouldn’t be the one making the executive decision about whether MG should wipe a kid’s mind or not. It’s also well-known that MG is against compulsion. Ric goes against what MG wants by telling him to go through with it. I also find it incredibly hard to believe that Sheriff Mac would leave Ric to look after Ethan. That bit of information is so bizarre because when has Ric checked up on Ethan since his mom and sister left town?
The best part of this otherwise uncomfortable scene is that I could tell straight away that Ethan pretended to be compelled. I have seen too many people do this on TVD Universe not to catch it with Ethan.
All of this is to say that I am thrilled MG decides not to compel Ethan to forget that MG’s a vampire. Their friendship will be stronger for it because it’s not built on lies. I hope they continue to chat about comics while passing a football. With this friendship, Legacies gives Ethan a place on this show that he’s a series regular on now. His bond with Josie and now MG makes me think he’ll be more present moving forward.
Letting Go Isn’t Always a Bad Thing
Hope learns that letting go or at least taking a step back from Landon isn’t a bad thing. It gives her room to breathe — to be — without her and vice versa. I’m more than excited to see how this finally develops on Legacies. Lizzie deals with the same truth now that Josie is at Mystic Falls High.
Ric is coming to terms with his version of that truth as well. Ric has yet to realize that it may be best for him to step back from the Salvatore School. Dorian is the best person for the job. Ric wouldn’t have to turn to Dorian every time there’s a new monster or artifact if he wasn’t. Ric could be the Vice Principal to Dorian’s Headmaster, which would already be better than where the Salvatore School is now.
The most touching Ric moment (and the most I’ve liked this character in a while) is when he walks Josie home. Home, for now, is the rebuilt Gilbert house. As they should, Damon and Elena live there and have opened up their home to their old friends’ daughter and best friend. It’s touching without ever seeing a guest appearance by either Nina Dobrev or Ian Somerhalder. That house is enough for any TVD fan to take a deep inhale and brush away some tears.
That’s why it works so well that Ric opens up to Josie as they sit on the stairs to the porch. It takes us back to the Ric we knew then. The Gilbert house holds many memories for Ric. You can see it on his face when Josie invites him in for Elena’s home-cooked, old Salvatore family recipe. Understandably, Ric struggles with letting Josie out from under his wing, but you see him realize that she needs to be able to grow.
Ric was like a father figure to Elena. There were moments throughout The Vampire Diaries where he had to let her go and let her grow. How fitting that he tells one of his daughters a very similar thing on Elena’s porch?
Ric saying that Damon is the last person he wants to give Josie relationship advice is the cherry on top of this scene. It’s precisely something Ric would say about his drinking buddy. It also proves that though time has passed, no time has passed at all. Some things never change. Even though Ric, Elena, and Damon have been living busy lives, they keep in touch. They’re family, no matter how much time has passed or the distance between them. The same is true of Josie and Ric. They’ll keep in touch, and they’ll be just fine. Maybe Lizzie could even join them for a big family dinner soon.
Other Spelltacular Moments:
- Landon waving at the Gremlin
- Lizzie putting a “NO TRIBRIDS ALLOWED” sign on her door
- Landon’s face when Hope remembered a nerdy thing
- Cleo said the title!
- Josie’s outfit
- The Finch mention
What did you think of “Do All Malivore Monsters Provide This Level of Emotional Insight?”? Let us know in the comments below!
Legacies is new Thursdays at 9/8c on The CW.