Ah, remember the old days when we met the Originals and they were so incredibly awesome and we all thought, “That family needs its own series!”? TV dreams do come true, my friends, but rarely do they look so good (and sound so good) as The Originals did on Thursday night. Serving as the backdoor pilot for the series — which has already been picked up! — the episode was framed with Mystic Falls action, but its heart was in New Orleans.
In The Originals we see Klaus return to a city he loves, to a city he was once happy in with his family, and he finds it better run by his protégé Marcel. All that Klaus has ever wanted Marcel has; he has “bettered” him. And with Mikael no longer the driving force behind Klaus’s choices, he can have a home, a family, an empire, and power that stems from a mix of loyalty and fear. Elijah is crucial in directing that choice: his “pep talk” encourages his brother to make a choice that seems to scare him more than a little bit. This is what he earnestly wants, and together they might just be able to pull off the coup.
And boy can Joseph Morgan pull off the task of leading a series: he’s long shown us that Klaus can be more than just a villain opposite the Mystic Falls kids, but that he’s a legitimately compelling leading man in his own right. And in The Originals he finally gets his. Besides his deep affection for Caroline (who’s made it abundantly clear she’s not going to be swayed by his charms any time soon), what reason does Klaus have to stay in Mystic Falls? Stefan will not be his best mate, Silas has the cure making Klaus safe from his mind games, and chasing down Tyler and Katherine always seemed like more of a diversion than a purpose. With Elena a vampire, and there being next to no chance of her becoming human again, Klaus has no doppelganger blood source with which to rebuild his hybrid gang — and they were a flop anyway. It’s no surprise that Klaus is drawn to the city again, to its culture and vibrancy, and to the potential it holds for giving him all he’s dreamed of.
But there’s the pesky problem of Marcel. Here’s hoping that Klaus and the witches never, ever, ever succeed in getting rid of Marcel, because he is a ridiculously charismatic badass. Has there ever been or will there ever be again a karaoke debut scene that’s so killer? Marcel has a devil-may-care, cavalier attitude, but his every choice and his every word is precise and deliberate. He gives Klaus a warm welcome to town, but he is careful to demonstrate how in control of the vampires, witches, local humans, and out-of-towners he is — and that he learned his rules for ruling from Klaus himself. I could watch these two stand off against each other for hours on end (and I will – next fall on The CW!). While Marcel pops vervain (again, very deliberately in front of Klaus to let him know he can’t be compelled), Klaus makes it clear that he has one thing Marcel will never have: true immortality. There is only one weapon in the world that can kill Klaus, and he is in possession of it. In addition to that power, he now has some valuable allies: the witches of the French Quarter, once a force to be reckoned with.
I adored how witchy this episode was, establishing a new-to-us and entrenched-for-them tension between the witches and vampires, which has never been front and center on The Vampire Diaries in such a vital way. There is a community of oppressed witches ready to rise up, and a powerful clan of vampires determined to keep them down — instead of being focused on an individual witch and her personal struggle, the Devereaux sisters were ready to die fighting in taking down Marcel. And what Sophie figures out — that Hayley is Klaus’s baby momma — helps her rope in the Original brothers to their side. Judging by the reactions on Twitter, for most people the pregnancy twist landed like an unwelcome surprise. But does this have to be awful? I think there’s a good chance it could be awesome. Let’s keep in mind that there is no baby yet — there’s a fetus, and a pregnant lady who will have a giant target on her back if anyone finds out Klaus is the father — and this show has at its reins a woman who is just as cognizant of the dangers of babies Renesmee and Connor and all the lame ways this could play out; she’s as much a fan of supernatural stories as we are. Let’s have some faith that Julie knows what she’s doing and where she’s going with this. Because what this twist has done, so far, is give hope to Elijah and Klaus, a renewed sense of family to the Mikaelsons (even if Rebekah is a holdout for now), an uneasy alliance between the witches and the Original brothers, and a reason for the one and only Phoebe Tonkin to stick around.
Family has always been at the core of The Vampire Diaries, whether it’s the Salvatores or the Gilberts, or the Mikaelsons or the families characters choose for themselves. Elijah sees a chance to get what they have always wanted: the isolation that drives Klaus, the desperation that Rebekah feels could be assuaged. Elijah himself is willing to say goodbye to Katerina in order to be a brother to Klaus, in order to help him be the king of New Orleans.
There’s a new kind of original on the way, and I for one am beyond proud of the TVD team for creating this supernatural offspring of its own.
Compelling moment: Marcel declaring himself King. Thank the powers-that-be that we have more Marcel to look forward to when The Originals goes to series. Hot damn.
The Rules: Jane Anne snatches some of Hayley’s hair to use in her Pregnancy Test spell. When a hybrid and a werewolf
love each other get very drunk… Though vampires cannot procreate (“but they sure love to try”), Klaus as a werewolf-vampire hybrid and Hayley managed it, which Sophie describes as one of “Nature’s loopholes.”
Foggy moments: Why didn’t Jane Anne and Sophie let Nature take its course, and figure out if Hayley was pregnant that way? They could kidnap Hayley and keep her in the alligator bayou, if they need to. What’s so urgent about their situation that it’s worth Jane Anne losing her life over? If Marcel has been controlling them for what seems like a while, a few more months wouldn’t make a big difference, would they?
Other thoughts & questions before She Comes Undone (EP421):
- Is it a coincidence that Cammie the Brave Bartender is “new blood,” which I take to mean new to town, i.e., she just happens to arrive at the same time as Klaus…? Overthinking it or suspicious?
- How does Marcel know what the witches are up to?!
- How wide of a reach does Marcel’s witchy-control have? Could a witch go on vacation to, say, Mystic Falls and do magic that Marcel wouldn’t know about? Is his power linked to the individual witch from NOLA or to the specific territory?
- How far along into her supernatural pregnancy is Hayley? And do werewolf-hybrid offspring come to term in 9 months like a human?
- Could any hybrid procreate or is Klaus special in some way? (I mean besides the obvious ways he’s special.) Is there something special about Hayley’s werewolf line?
- How much does Katherine know about what’s going on — does she know Hayley is preggers, or that witches are looking to revolt against Marcel?
- Why doesn’t Sophie want Elijah to just kill Marcel right away? (Besides the fact that it would ruin the series’ premise…)
- Who’s gonna break first: Elena or the Salvatore brothers?
What did you think of the backdoor pilot for The Originals? Will you watch in the fall? Sound off below!
Crissy Calhoun is currently writing her Season 4 Love You to Death companion guide to The Vampire Diaries with her kickass co-author, and Vampire-Diaries.net’s co-founder, Heather Vee. The first three volumes are available here: Season 1, Season 2, and Season 3. Find Crissy online at crissycalhoun.com and tweeting @crissycalhoun.
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