The Originals premiered tonight with an episode that updated the backdoor pilot that aired during Season 4 of The Vampire Diaries. More footage, details, and some awesome new phone conversations shared with Rebekah as she read literature and sipped champagne in a tub.
The Originals is darker and, already, more cutthroat than The Vampire Diaries. By the way, no mention yet of those Mystic Falls cheerleader vamps or those pesky Salvatore brothers, but why bother? As “Always and Forever” showed, Elijah (Daniel Gillies) has his hands full trying to convince the volatile Klaus (Joseph Morgan) to support the birth of the Mikaelson family’s first ever miracle baby. Klaus, meanwhile, is simply hell-bent on ruining the stolen legacy swiped by the cocky vampire Marcel (Charles Michael Davis), who in Klaus’ absence has fortified the vampire kingdom within the party strip of modern day New Orleans. Skip town for a few dozen decades, and what do you know, Klaus? Someone stepped in to finish your job! Of course, the reason why Klaus leads his own spinoff series is because we support him in no matter what he chooses to do. Spoiler Alert: No Caroline. Here is the Recap and Review of Season 1 Episode 1 of The Originals, “Always and Forever”!
The Mikaelsons drift into Louisiana, christening their debut with a few solid decapitations, as if to say, “We’ve arrived!” Of course, we first arrived ashore the banks of the Mississippi River about 300 years back, back when Elena Gilbert was nothing more than nothingness. Rebekah (Claire Holt) joined her brothers, Elijah and Klaus, as they compelled the dock guard to drag their bags into town. The Original family is the original royalty, after all.
Flash forward to the future, and a suave and suited Elijah is seated at a bar with the intriguing Camille (Leah Pipes), who barely popped up during this week’s premiere, yet managed to deliver quite a few jabs at the mere thought of Klaus and his ego. Insecurity and power normally don’t mix very well. The wise words of a lady bartender. She’s a keeper, writers! Elijah seemed interested enough. Is that chemistry we feel? Well, she should be doing something come episode 2, so why not do Elijah? Ooh, there is, of course, the matter of what happened by the episode’s close… More on that later!
Most of the premiere revisited, as previously stated, the past episode of this show’s predecessor which detailed Klaus’ trip back to New Orleans well enough. I’d say well enough wasn’t good enough, but I don’t think that was the case. I guess Julie Plec and company simply had to clue in the four viewers who’d never heard of The Vampire Diaries, including one of the fools I watched this show with, as to who these mega-vampires actually are. For the rest of us real viewers, the premiere filled us in on more of the behind-the-scenes action that surrounded the unexpected drama down south. You see, poor she-wolf Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) has been dragged into the mix, as her one night stand with hybrid Klaus has resulted in the embryo we’ve become acquainted with as “miracle baby!” Or as Elijah chose to put it, “A chance at the unconditional love of family!” Or as Klaus chose to put it, “Eh.”
First, a bit of background information on the Mikaelson family. Long, long ago in a time that is reminiscent of Xena, warrior princess, lived the Mikaelson family. The family seemed to be a joyous sort, playing with swords and tinkering with silly black magic, yet tragedy would strike. A poor young son is slain by the ultimate monster of the time, a werewolf. To protect her family from further attacks, the Mikaelson clan mother casts a spell that transforms them into… The Originals! The tradeoff was, of course, that this power came paired with an uncontrollable hunger. Klaus exhibited this insatiable thirst more so than his siblings, yet he was unaware as to what the consequences would be for his feasting. A sudden painful transformation would strike, alerting his “father” to something very unfortunate; Klaus was of werewolf blood, and his mother had clearly had an affair. (If you were wondering, a werewolf’s curse is activated upon its first kill. Also, I’m seeing a theme of paternity issues on The Originals. Where’s Maury?) Shamed, Klaus’ father forced his mother to bind the werewolf side of the non-son he would come to disown, and not even kind Elijah would step in to help his half-brother. Zap ahead quite a few hundred years into the future, and Klaus still carried the biggest of chips on his shoulder, craving family even more than he lusts for blood.
Before Klaus and his siblings even arrived in present day New Orleans, trouble was a’ brewin’ between the overpowered vampire population and the local witches, who have been forced into subjugation by the likes of leader Marcel and his makeshift family. Sophie Deveraux (Danielle Pineda) heads the witches’ movement to covertly push Marcel out of town, drawing Klaus and his family in to serve as their muscle. The story began to unfold that Sophie’s sister, Jane Ann, lost her life in casting the spell that would verify the paternity of the child inside of Hayley, who’d been lured down to the bayou as well. Openly practicing magic has been made illegal by Marcel, yet we’d come to wonder how indeed he’d have eyes all over the city. (Later, it would be revealed that he has his own mystery witch on his side. A prisoner? Vampire/ witch romance? Jealous, Bonnie Bennett?) In any case, Jane Ann would end up executed for her crime, dying as a result of her part in her people’s fight for freedom from the vampire oppression; however, Marcel would hold on to her body as collateral, refusing to let her family lay her to rest until their true cause for conjuring Klaus was revealed.
Elijah would do most of the digging, in truth. Once Sophie would inform him of the mere possibility of a child in his family, the original vampire would do all in his power to convince the loose cannon, Klaus, to set aside his pride in favor of joining forces with the witches. Klaus, of course, doesn’t take orders from anyone. Whether or not he and the witches served the same purpose was of no matter. The fact that they’d baited him into voyaging down to their territory was enough to infuriate the hybrid into a state of blind rage. An important scene this week was the introduction of Klaus to his unborn child. Elijah, surrounded by witches concealed by sacred territory, pleaded with his brother to listen for the baby’s heartbeat. Klaus, obliging, welled up with tears for a moment, only to shut down the entire operation in one swift bout of anger that followed. This scene was necessary to invite new viewers to appreciate Klaus, who could have otherwise, as the main character, come off as unlikable. Most viewers have come to love Klaus over several seasons of The Vampire Diaries, but this episode was chock full of loads of information to take in. On top of that, new viewers had to become acquainted with the lovable Klaus. Well, new viewers had to come to like Klaus.
New scenes between Elijah and Rebekah would be interjected during the episode, peppering the ongoing drama and turmoil of New Orleans with just a few moments of calm back at Mystic Falls. Rebekah would soak in a bubble bath or read a novel in bed, while simultaneously attempting to convince Elijah to give up on Klaus and simply enjoy a life of immortality. The Mikaelson clan had once taken a pact, though, to back each other in honor of their familial love. Klaus, meanwhile, had shredded that pact to pieces countless times, “daggering” his kin in order to wreak havoc without the threat of those of equal power gazing over his shoulder. “Daggering,” for those of you who are wondering, is the process with which an original vampire is staked with an enchanted blade, cursing them to an eternal slumber until someone willing or incredibly stupid comes along to yank the weapon out of their chest.
Klaus spent the premiere fixated on the reign of Marcel, his former protégé whom he’d sired some time back. With Klaus out of the picture, Marcel had risen up, ruling the New Orleans strip with an iron fist. The other fist, of course, held a bottle of bourbon. The booze and the blood don’t stop flowing when Marcel is in charge. Of course, humans and witches are deemed expendable party favors, and Klaus is stamped as second best. Ugh, Klaus, fix that. Klaus is the kind of hybrid who shows up at your kindergarten birthday party and needs to blow out the candles on your ice cream cake. If you beg to differ, he’ll poison you with a deadly werewolf bite that sends you spiraling into a crippling couple of days of torment before your body decays rapidly into a venom-ridden mess of death. Happy Birthday! In other words, Marcel’s refusal to bend the knee to a newly returned Klaus ended up landing one of his minions, a real
live friend, a whopping hybrid bite that took his lifespan down from “forever and ever” to “sometime around Tuesday.”
The reasonable Elijah would seize the opportunity to set his plan into motion, absolutely dedicated to protecting the life of his unborn niece or nephew. The situation continued to grow stickier as the episode rolled on. The witches, especially Sophie, grew restless with Elijah’s pleas for more time, eventually revealing the fact that Jane Ann had not only sacrificed her own life to prove Klaus to be the child’s father, but that she’d done so to bind Hayley’s life to Sophie’s. If Sophie is harmed in any way, so is Hayley. In a clever move, Elijah sideswiped Marcel at the local bar with an offer. He’d promise to procure the cure for his friend’s werewolf bite, Klaus’ blood, in exchange for Jane Ann’s captive body. The exchange went smoothly enough, and his peace offering to the witches did indeed buy him more time to convince Klaus to stick around to fight the good fight.
Klaus, of course, is fueled by rage and resentment. As Elijah spent the premiere carefully negotiating with the witches and vampires of the strip, Klaus found himself growing more and more enraged by the minute. As it turned out, though, the two brothers would inevitably come to a place where both of their goals could be met by the same path. Protecting Hayley and the witches would involve driving Marcel and his band of vampire hooligans out of town. The more important question wasn’t whether or not Klaus would comply, but rather, whether his heart was in the right place. It certainly seemed that way during The Vampire Diaries special, yet The Originals handled things slightly differently. Two of my favorite scenes this week had to be the moments at night when Elijah forced, even going as far as to physically beat, heart-to-heart conversations with Klaus into motion. The central theme of the show seems, thus far, to be that love, specifically that of the family, is true power. For a minute there, it seemed like Klaus was on board. Elijah gave a long overdo heartfelt apology for not striking down their father the moment he turned on his brother. Klaus seemed to accept, yet not long after, things would change.
The deal with the witches afforded Hayley the freedom to leave their confines, and the trio moved themselves into a swanky old manor on the bayou. I was a slightly upset with Elijah, who’s gifted with super speed, for letting pregnant Hayley do all of the dusting and cleaning while he stood around barking on and on about the baby. I was, however, pleased that he finally asked Hayley what the child would mean to her. Hayley was abandoned as an infant, then ditched, yet again, by her adoptive parents when the werewolf curse came into effect. It seemed like we had a new family brewing here in New Orleans. That is, until Klaus pulled one over on Elijah, daggering him, yet again, for fear of his brother’s “weakness” ruining his own plan to overthrow that wannabe Marcel. To Klaus, family is not power, it’s an obstacle.
Oh, Elijah. To quote Klaus:
You are a sentimental fool.
What did you think of The Originals Season 1 Episode 1? Did you like the way the series premiere reinvented the backdoor pilot put up by The Vampire Diaries? Will it be Rebekah who changes Klaus’ perception of things? Will you be tuning in next week?
Thanks for reading my Recap and Review of The Originals Series Premiere, “Always and Forever”!