Quick warning: This post is all about speculation and symbolism so if you prefer to stay completely unspoiled, don’t continue.
As I think you all know, there are some fabulous people out there who do full recaps of the show. The lovely Crissy at Vampire-diaries.net, Sarah at OffcolorTV.com, Tiffany at TVPortraits.com, and Lucia at HeroineTV.com. There are others but these are the people I suggest you read for full recaps. Then there are the reaction posts. Gale at Iphignia939.dreamwidth.org does an amazing recap and its usually up before the West Coast airing starts for those of you who want to talk about the episode right away. I myself get to participate in the reaction post at the Salvatore Boarding House with a group of awesome ladies and I highly recommend reading our thoughts. I say this to point out why I choose to still write a recap. There are still points I want to make that don’t necessarily come out in a recap or reaction. Sometimes its because my thoughts are influenced by more than one episode, such as my Defense of Elena or based on fandom commentary like my S1 thought on the Damon/Elena/Stefan debate. (Note that last one was during a time I apparently liked Damon as a character, something I’m sure was a lie). So my recaps aren’t really recaps. For that I suggest you visit one of the above sites. However, if you’ve been in the mood to talk about something I bring up, awesome. Feel free to join in. You can also talk to me about it on twitter (@onlymystory) anytime.
To break down the Michael and the Originals thing, I think we have to establish a few things. Whether symbolism matters in The Vampire Diaries, what symbolism we currently know, what we know about Michael and how Michael in mythology fits with the current mythology referenced in The Vampire Diaries. I also said a few things about this on the IHeartTVD radio show, I encourage you to check it out.
1) So there’s this thing about shows, especially supernatural ones where either the writers are throwing random things out there and there really isn’t a lot of meaning behind it or everything on the show has significance. The Vampire Diaries is absolutely the latter. And they do it in a way that so far has limited the obvious foreshadowing. You know a comment or object is going to come back into play later but you never really know how. So just as this mind control thing of Bill Forbes will be important, I think the origin of the names of each Original is important.
2) Here’s what we know as far as names and mythology. Klaus, as the bastard child has a name with both biblical* and Greek origins. Greek mythology is where the legend of the werewolf originates so that fits well. The biblical side comes from Nicolas who was one of the original 7 deacons of the church. I might be stretching it on that side but 7 Originals Siblings/7 Original Deacons, you decide. (In all honesty, I think more of the symbolism for Niklaus comes from the Greek side). Elijah, Rebekah and now the mother, Esther all have biblical names. Esther is described as a lioness protecting her cubs in the casting notes and the biblical Esther was famous for protecting her people against the Persian king. Elijah was often called a precursor to John the Baptist in Christian mythology, some say that John was a new manifestation of Elijah. Right now this may seem like an off concept but Julie Plec noted that when Daniel Gillies was first cast, Elijah was supposed to be a precursor of Klaus. Like Elijah would show up, give a hint of what was to come and then be gone but because Gillies is awesome, Elijah has stuck around. His original purpose however, fit with the biblical Elijah. Rebekah was known for being manipulative, particularly between her sons and husband which doesn’t fit as well with Rebekah on the show…yet. We don’t know Rebekah too well and that manipulation might transfer to her siblings in this case. Each of these names were also considered prophets, so elite and revered in the eyes of their people, though not all nations. Which would fit considering the Originals are revered/respected among vampires but not everyone else. Also prophets, real prophets not the idiots who predict a rapture every damn month, are defined as being authority figures and able to commission others to do work for them. Fits pretty well into the whole Originals being in charge and able to compel vampires don’t ya think?
*When I say biblical, I mean according to Christian, Jewish and Islamic mythologies. Please note that just because these are also religions, doesn’t mean the cultural mythologies don’t hold water in an objective discussion. Faith is a belief, religion is a series of practices but mythologies are the stories behind it. You don’t have to believe any of this stuff to see the symbolism.*
Moving on, here’s what we know/can deduce about Michael. He’s the vampire hunter. I’ve heard a few people question this but Stefan asks about a vampire hunter, then Rebekah tells Klaus that Stefan was asking about Michael. That’s pretty straight forward. We know that he was hunting down Klaus and Rebekah, based on the pictures he showed Stefan. The way Katherine, Klaus and Rebekah refer to him, implies that Michael has been around a long time and is probably still around. That tells us that he’s supernatural. Finally, Michael met Stefan and didn’t kill him which I believe supports the idea that Michael is specifically after Originals. After all, if Michael managed to trace Klaus & Rebekah, who were much more careful than Ripper Stefan, to Gloria’s bar, he knew who Stefan was and didn’t kill him. So he’s not just a slayer, he’s something more.
There has been some discussion about Michael being Papa Original. I see the potential there but I believe more is going on so I’m not going to discuss the Father angle. Now, since we’ve established that biblical symbolism is important in regards to the Originals, let’s discuss the symbolism of Michael. Michael, in biblical mythology, is an archangel. There are two main archangels, Gabriel and Michael. Gabriel gets sent out on visions a lot, telling people what’s up. There’s more too it but at his core, Gabriel is a messenger. Michael is the avenging angel. He’s the guy that when the evil is so bad that the regular folk can’t beat it, Michael gets sent in to take care of business. He’s the ultimate warrior. In fact, multiple other mythologies have stories of Michael and they are all the same. He’s always the big gun.
Originals can’t be killed. You can put them in a temporary time out (except Klaus) but they can’t be killed. The problem is that since this story is, at its heart, about Elena, Damon, Stefan and Mystic Falls, you can’t keep the Originals around forever. Especially Klaus. At some point he has to die. A danger the show runs into is finding a bigger bad to beat Klaus. Eventually, you can’t find any more evil that is worse than before. That’s where I think Michael the Vampire Hunter comes in. I think that he’s supernatural, either because he’s born into a special family or because the witches gave him a power and that he has the ability to kill an Original, even Klaus. And when I say kill, I mean dead and gone and never coming back. As a hunter of Originals, it tones down the big bad. He has the power to take out an Original but Michael himself isn’t a threat to other people. So there’s still a great deal of potential for more bad guys on the show. I think that on the show, Michael has a mission, to hunt down and kill the Originals.
Finally, here’s why I don’t think that Michael works as the dad of the Originals. We’ve established that Papa Original killed Klaus’ werewolf family and isn’t a big fan of Klaus. So chasing after him makes sense. But Rebekah was also worried about this hunter. Also, Rebekah mentions choosing the winning side and Elijah eludes to the idea that being on Klaus’ side was the smarter move. If Papa Original only hates Klaus, why would his real children be running from him? And furthermore, if even Klaus is afraid of Michael and Michael was Papa Original, it makes more sense to me that Elijah and Rebekah would take their father’s side, knowing he could beat Klaus. I definitely believe there’s a lot more issues and bad blood within the Original family but it just doesn’t line up for me to put Michael the Vampire Hunter as an Original. I also don’t believe he’s a vampire. I think he’s unique, with a specific power to kill an Original. And I don’t think he needs to channel a bunch of witches to do it. I feel like he has a power that if he stakes an Original, they’re dead. Plus the symbolism of Michael the Vampire Hunter vs Michael the Archangel doesn’t put him in a vampire camp but in a category of his own.
Obviously, I could be proven completely wrong but that’s my theory.