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The Originals Season 4 Finale: What Are the Mikaelsons Without "Always and Forever"?

Michael Narducci weighs in on the family breakup

Megan Vick

It was a breakup more heartbreaking than any before in The Originals Season 4 finale.

The Mikaelson family has disbanded in order to separate the parts of the evil spirit The Hollow that Klaus (Joseph Morgan), Elijah (Daniel Gillies), Rebekah (Claire Holt) and Kol (Nathaniel Buzcolic) each harbor inside them. The Hollow was drawn and quartered to prevent her from ever possessing young Hope (Summer Fontana) ever again. However, the sacrifice not only means that the Hollow-harboring Mikaelson siblings can never see each other again -- they can never see Hope either.

For Klaus, that means spending the rest of his days without his family or his daughter, who has inspired him to be the absolute best version of himself. Rebekah and Kol will never see the siblings they promised "always and forever" to over a thousand years ago and Elijah is forced to accept that he and Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) can never be together again. To deal with the pain of separation, Elijah goes the extra mile of having Marcel (Charles Michael Davis) compel him to forget his connection to his siblings.

This sacrifice is even worse than the end of Season 3 when the Mikaelsons were all rendered incapacitated for five years. At least then, Elijah, Kol, Rebekah and Freya (Riley Voelkel) were able to be together in their dreamscape until Hayley found a cure for their poison bites. It was only Klaus that truly suffered until they could be united again.

The Originals Season 4 Finale: The Mikaelsons Have a Heartbreaking Choice to Make

TVGuide.com talked to executive producer Michael Narducci, who is leaving the show ahead of Season 5 for a development deal at ABC, about why this was the last story he wanted to write for The Originals and who the Mikaelsons are if they no longer have "always and forever." See his answers below.

Daniel Gillies and Joseph Morgan, The Originals​

Daniel Gillies and Joseph Morgan, The Originals

Bob Mahoney, Bob Mahoney/The CW

Earlier this season, you told us that this was the last Originals story you wanted to tell. What is it about this story that makes it the one for you?

Michael Narducci: I think a lot of people, as they watch the episode, will focus on the fact that we've destroyed "always and forever" and we've separated the family. We've separated Klaus from his child. That is sad. However, what I think that we have done is made good on a promise that we made a long time ago: to show these characters change and grow. For a thousand years, they've been exactly the same. They've been treacherous and monstrous and selfish and egomaniacal and narcissistic. When Klaus found out he was going to have a child, he didn't care. He did not care one bit and was hoping that Hayley would go off and leave him alone. He didn't want to admit that it was his kid. Slowly but surely, he grew to accept the role of fatherhood to the point where that child became what he considered, perhaps, the great love of his life and the great redemptive possibility of his life.

When he knew that he had to give up his role in her life in order to best protect her, he did so without hesitating. That, to me, shows a selfless love that I don't think Klaus was capable of before we told this story. The Mikaelsons, who have always been a family that's feuded and have had a lot of problems between one another, they actually came closest to loving each other the best when they decided to do the right thing and go their separate ways. There is an irony there that is worthy of being a closing chapter in these characters' lives.

Do you think that a Mikaelson separation is actually a healthy thing for the time being?

Narducci: You could argue that one of the reasons why these people have been able to cling to their humanity is the fact that they have had, throughout their existence, access to brothers and sisters who care about them and who they've been through all these tumultuous vampiric adventures with. Having those siblings alongside them may have been the one thing that really kept them from really going off the rails.

On the other hand, you might also say that given some time and space alone, they might be free to find another kind of peace. That's one of the questions we all ask of ourselves. An obsession with family is too much and not having any family at all is not enough, so where do you find the balance?

Klaus says in the finale that his backslide into mayhem and chaos is inevitable. Do you think that's true?

Narducci: If he doubts that he's going to be able to maintain any type of semblance of peace and sanity, then there's a kernel of truth in that fear. In fact, I think if Klaus was just going to go off on his own and be absolutely fine, it really wouldn't be much of a sacrifice. I think the sacrifice weighs heavily on him. I think there's a good chance that when we see Klaus again, that he could be at his absolute worst because he doesn't have Elijah to keep him in check and he doesn't have either of his children to force him to be the best version of himself. There's a strong possibility that [his backslide] is the case. Who knows? We'll see what Julie [Plec] and the writers of Season 5 have in store for us.

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At the end of the episode there is that key moment between Klaus and Elijah in the bar. Has Elijah forgotten his family entirely at this point or does he just have no emotional attachment to them?

Narducci: I don't want to give the audience a strict interpretation of that moment. I'd much rather that be something that they can discuss. It sure seems to me that Elijah looks at him and doesn't recognize him as a brother. He just kind of nods and goes back to what he loves doing in that moment, which is playing piano. We can have the audience debate, does he just not recognize Klaus at all or does he just recognize him as someone that he used to know? Will this amnesia wear off? Is it temporary? Can we imagine a world where the Elijah we know is reborn or returns to us? I think all of that is great stuff for writers of Season 5 to play with and for fans to talk about during the hiatus between seasons.

Something else fans are going to be talking about is Elijah not in a suit. Can you talk about whether that was purely a costume decision? Did Daniel weigh in on that outfit at all? How did the look of Elijah, free of the Mikaelsson bond, come about?

Narducci: We've talked a lot in the past in our series about [how] Elijah gets dressed up in a suit because he wants to present himself as pristine and neat and the height of aristocratic fashion, when in fact, at the inner most core of his being, he is a violent, viking, monster vampire. It's kind of wearing a mask. I like the notion that freed of the thing that has caused him to become his most monstrous -- his obsession with protecting Klaus and keeping the family together -- if that part of him is allowed to rest and a little bit of time has passed, I like the notion of him feeling that he could be something other than the Elijah who wears a suit all the time. Certainly, we see him and he's embracing his joy. We talked about in the past how he loves music, from when he first met Davina and fixed her violin to when he was teaching Gia about how vampires need to adjust when they play music. He's never really been allowed to embrace that love. Now he is embracing it and I think that is a healthy thing. It's a moment that suggests maybe he's found some semblance of peace.

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What can you say about how this separation will affect Season 5 and what can you tease about where the show goes from here?

Narducci: I know for a fact that Julie and the writers are hard at work. I had dinner with Julie a few nights ago. We talked a lot and caught up. It was great. I didn't ask and she didn't tell me anything about the new season. The one thing I will say is that I know who is writing the premiere and I know who is directing the premiere and I love them both very much. I am very, very excited to see what they do and what direction the writers take the show. I'm really eager to be able to watch as a fan because I think the story and the characters are so rich. There is so much to explore and these characters are worthy of more story to come. I just can't wait to enjoy it like all the other fans.

The Originals returns next season on The CW.

(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS, The CW's parent company)