Yes! The Witches Are Bad-Ass And There Are Spectacular Family Show-Downs But How Much Does The Originals Deliver For You To Keep Watching?
The Show: The Originals
The Network: CW
The Genre: Supernatural drama
The Challenge: Give a show four episodes with which to draw you in, impress you, challenge you, make you feel something deeply. Four episodes for the chance to find out if you care what happens to the characters you’re watching enough to become invested in the story. If after all that, it does none of those things for you? Then no biggie. You gave it a good shot and you can move on. But if you love it, you’ll be glad you stuck around.
The Premise: Picking up where season 1 left off, Klaus, Hayley, and Elijah are all struggling to cope with the loss of baby Hope, who is still away with her aunt Rebekah. In addition to this loss, Hayley must adjust to life as a hybrid. Davina has brought Mikael back and is holding him captive as a weapon to use against Klaus, whom she hopes to kill as soon as she can figure out how to do so without all of those descended from him bloodline ending up dead too. But these aren’t the only Mikaelsons back in town; Ester and Finn have returned from the dead, albeit in new bodies. Looks like a family reunion’s brewing…
#1: Big Bad Mikaelsons
We already knew that Ester and Finn were back, one of the twist revelations at the end of season one, but this season kicked off with the revelation that new boy in town, Kaleb, was actually Kol. We had expected that these Mikaelsons would keep their return a secret from Klaus and Elijah for as long as conceivably possible but we were pleasantly surprised at it being quite the opposite. Klaus and Elijah learning that all their family had returned, including Mikael, was not only exciting to watch but it kept the pacing of the story up. We had our concerns that this would be something that would drag out, a whole lot of scheming with not enough action, but things have been quite the opposite. Already we’ve seen a few showdowns between the heroes and villains of the Mikaelson clan. We’re particularly happy now that Ester has hopped bodies because the current actress playing her, Sonja Sohn, packs far more of a punch in the role. The scheming of the various family members has also began to pick up. Kol knows that Mikael is back, and has even met him face-to-face, but has not told Ester and Finn about his being back, making us wonder what his true intentions are. It’s great to see the family drama here because even with all the foes we’ve seen Klaus and Elijah fight off, much of their strongest dramatic content has come from their material when in conflict with their family members. It’s great to see that this season’s material is holding steady compared to what we have already seen.
#2: Hayley’s Grown Some Fangs
Hayley wasn’t a bad character in season one, but she didn’t exactly match up the dramatic weight of the Mikaelsons either. However, this season we’re seeing a whole new Hayley. Not just because she is a hybrid now, but because of the way she is dealing with all the difficulties in her life and having to re-find herself. We’re getting the best we’ve seen from Phoebe Tonkin, who is playing these new sides to Hayley remarkably well. Hayley is acting out in a way we’ve never seen before. She’s lost, insecure, but also developing more strengths too. It’s heart-breaking to see her pain for her daughter, but after Elijah pushes Klaus to offer up guidance, the two begin to find their way back from the pain in which they have been wallowing. It’s so refreshing to see Klaus and Hayley actually spend time together like this because despite their being the parents of a child, we didn’t actually as much interaction between the pair of them. It will be important for these two to bond so they can be a more cohesive unit against the adversaries they will face in getting their daughter back.
#3: That Sweet Supe-Action!
In just four episodes, we’ve already seen some great action. Episode one gave us one hell of a show-down between Team Mikaelson and Team Werewolf, something that was required in order to destroy the moon-rings that were leeching off Klaus’ strength and power. There was some tremendous fight choreograph and stunt work, and strong acting performances on top of it all. The one-on-one training session between Elijah and Gia was another sequence that stood out, both for the physicality of it but also the chemistry between the two. What’s great about the action that has been used thus far is that it adds excitement to the show but doesn’t detract from the stories in play. If the rest of the season maintains this balance, then we will be enormously satisfied.
#4: That Family Dinner, Though
One scene to rule them all… that is but one of many things we could say about the single stand-out scene between the Mikaelsons. So much ground was covered, from character insight, revelations, hilariously posh bickering, and one hell of a verbal smack-down from Klaus… it was good that we had to watch it a few extra times, just to enjoy the brilliance of it all. It brought a lightness that the show hadn’t touched on as much in season two, given how immersed in grief the Mikaelson brothers were. Seeing Klaus and Elijah grin at each other like mischievous schoolboys was such fun to watch. So often the bond between the two is shown to be serious and heavy, with all that seems to go wrong around them, and it was a nice switch-up to have this lightness to their relationship. But the culmination of the scene was Klaus’ speech to his mother. This was one of the strongest performances we’ve seen from Joseph Morgan yet and reminded us all what we love so much about the show.
Most of what we’ve seen thus far has been solid. The Originals is holding up rather well, though we’d like to see more of what Marcel is doing. He’s coming into his own as a leader but it’d be a terrible waste for him to be sidelined in favour of the Mikaelson family drama, despite how quality much of that has been. Davina’s arc has been more shaky and we’d like to see her find her footing again so she can go all wrath-of-witch on Klaus. It almost feels like they’re trying to stall her just so the brothers can stay focused on the more pressing matter of their not-dead family members. But with the main trio of Klaus, Elijah, and Hayley, things feel stronger than ever. Joseph Morgan, Daniel Gillies, and Phoebe Tonkin work so well both individually and together that we can’t help but be excited to see more of what’s to come from them.