The Mikaelson family just lost another member, and it's going to change the trajectory of The Originals completely as we enter the back half of the season.
In a blaze of glory — literally — Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) sacrificed herself to save Hope (Danielle Rose Russell), and the final shots of the episode closed on her burning body as she turned to ash in the sun. Umm, wow, way to break hearts The Originals!
Our hearts aren't the only ones broken though. TV Guide spoke to the cast of The Originals about this huge death and how it will affect the story moving forward in the show's final season.
Klaus (Joseph Morgan), predictably, is going to have one of the toughest times dealing with this sudden loss.
"He really feels the weight and responsibility of being the only parent," Morgan told TV Guide. "That's tremendously difficult for him to deal with. I feel like Hayley's always been a much better parent than him, and she spent the time — she's spent the last seven years, while he's been away, with Hope, and so for him to come back after such a long absence and then to be thrown into this situation where, 'Hey it's just you now with your daughter,' it's a very steep learning curve for him. So that's tremendously upsetting."
On a more personal level, even though Hayley hadn't been a part of the family for 1000 years like the rest of his siblings, Morgan says that Klaus had definitely come to think of her as family, which will take it's toll on him as he grieves the mother of his child.
"You know, he'd rather grown to like her," Morgans says. "I think they, in the beginning, were certainly at odds. They were two people who shared a night together and had a child because of it and would not be in each others' lives if it weren't for that child. And they've learned to live together to the point where they have become a family — a sort of dysfunctional, strange family, but a family nonetheless, and so losing her was definitely a blow. I think that it's losing a family member. So yeah, it was very upsetting and made him rather angry, I think."
Obviously, the other character most immensely affected by Hayley's loss is her daughter, Hope.
[It's] going to have a massive effect on Hope and the rest of the family," Danielle Rose Russell said. "It's going to disrupt Hope's kind of self-journey of figuring out who she is, and so she goes through a really drastic change midway through the season. I think that death really does have a big impact on her."
Poor Hope thought she was off on a mission to save her mother! When she wakes up from her magically induced cat nap, her whole world is going to shatter, which could spell bad things for New Orleans. A grieving super witch is a dangerous super witch, after all.
Ultimately though, the cast agrees that while losing characters is always devastating, it's usually what's best for the show overall.
"I don't think I'm ever surprised when I read that someone is going to die on the show," Claire Holt joked. "Of course, it was shocking, but I think it really ties up the story in a way that fans will relate to or understand."
"I think every time I open up a script of The Vampire Diaries or The Originals... I stress about each page I turn. Am I going to die again?" Nathaniel Buzolic said. "I think it's good that the show kills people - rest in peace - because it is one of those topics in life that definitely needs to be addressed. We will never avoid death, we will never avoid dealing with loss, so it's a real, difficult topic for us to deal with personally, so I think it's good the show deals with it with their characters. Characters that are important to people and characters that are important to other characters... Just like this show, when something comes to an end, you're reminded of the beauty of what it was."
The Originals premieres Wednesday, April 18 at 9/8c on The CW.
(Full Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS, a parent company of The CW).