As Original vampire Elijah on “The Originals,” Daniel Gillies is smooth, suit-wearing sophistication. In real life, Gillies may not drink blood (I'm assuming) but certainly he shares his character's thoughtful, smart perspective. The season finale is upon us (Tues. May 13 at 8:00 p.m. ET on the CW), and we already know, with Hayley in labor, big problems are afoot. The episode description suggests Klaus will be making a “heartbreaking decision,” but we're given no clues about what challenges Elijah faces — and you know there will be challenges. I talked to Gillies about whether or not Elijah will save the day (fingers crossed), why we both think Elijah is more invested in saving Hayley than anyone else and why Elijah will always be Team Klaus (and not Team Mikael).
When we left Elijah and Klaus at the end of last week's episode, Elijah seemed to be the only Original in working condition.
I did just get mauled by werewolves, though. There is a bit of a recovery stage. We play with that throughout the finale, too.
Still, Elijah seems to be the Hayley's only hope at the moment.
One would hope. The family needs a great white hope now. This is the weakest hour of the Original family, and the situation is dire.
Now that Hayley's baby is at risk, Klaus is determined to save the baby, but I'd argue that Elijah is even more committed to help given his connection to both Hayley and the baby.
I would argue that too. It's a really fair statement. I don't think the writers saw that initially, but in the finale, when we sat down to talk about things, I definitely communicated how I felt. You can't control what an actor thinks, but when we started discussing things, I said that I thought his commitment to Haley and the baby was much greater than Klaus' because he's invested in both of them.
We saw that Mikael is nagging Davina to get back into the picture. Elijah is clearly Team Klaus, but do you think Elijah ever feels conflicted about turning against his dad?
I think Mikael being awful to Elijah and the family by virtue of trying to kill Klaus all these years has ensured Elijah does not feel conflicted about this. If you talk to any sibling of anyone who was victimized or abused, the other siblings are just as tortured by this if not more so than the person being abused. They may not be directly receiving the rage and the awful behavior, but they indirectly are. Elijah was a recipient of Mikael's violence, and he was forced to shackle his brother, remember, so I don't think he'll ever forgive him.
Elijah was invited to be a co-author of the abuse at times, and to aid and assist Mikael in these atrocities has left Elijah with a tremendous guilt that creates the structure that is, for Elijah, the fabric of his soul. He will always choose his brother over his father, because that injustice was the worst thing he ever faced. He'll never forgive him, and when he talks about family he doesn't include Mikael in that definition. He is his father, but I don't think he feels any loyalty to him. When he crossed a certain line, that of hunting his own children, there are certain transgressions that can never be forgotten.
When this show began, I thought it was going to be about Marcel and Klaus duking it out. I never expected the witches and werewolves to become such valid adversaries. Has that surprised you as well?
It certainly has. It's been fascinating to watch the evolution of the show, and constructing that threat is the tapestry you want to see created. Without great enemies, this show would be so boring. It's like “The Avengers” without Robert Downey Jr. You need enemies, and you need people to be able to fall and break and die. The more indelible we made those creatures, the scarier the imagination came for their writers. They're going to dream up new enemies for these guys, and we need it, because it's not an interesting world without threat and adversity. It's like a room full of Jedis and Han Solo. There's something so boring about absolute power and absolute control. It's nice to know they have an Achilles heel. And this race for power did surprise me. No one could have anticipated it.
I know you can't give us any spoilers, but can you give us a broad sense of what's coming in the finale?
There's always a cliffhanger; there's always something at the end. There's no way there couldn't be, because it's the way Julie and the writers write. They would never not leave you with something enigmatic and thrilling. I can't speak to [Klaus'] heartbreaking decision, but this episode, in shooting it, I felt we were doing something special, exhausting, and merciless. It feels non-stop when you watch it. You're gonna get pummeled.
On a happier note, do you get to take a break now that filming is over?
Thank you for asking. I don't have a vacation. I go straight into shooting another show in Canada, “Saving Hope,” and I'm looking forward to living in the same city as my daughter, whom I only get to see once a week because of filming now. So, in that sense it's a vacation.