(note: this post heavily spoils last weeks episode of The Vampire Diaries)
This past Thursday, The CW unveiled a very special episode of their hit show The Vampire Diaries. This episode, entitled “The Originals,” was meant to serve as a backdoor pilot for a new spinoff series. The episode focused on the remaining siblings of the original family of vampires, the Mikaelson family: Klaus, Elijah, and Rebekah (even though Rebekah was conveniently absent for most of the episode, still perturbed at Klaus).
Since news broke that the creators and writers of TVD were going to take a stab at a more adult, darker spinoff, I sat idly by, excited over all the possibilities a potential new show could offer. I was even more excited when they announced this possible show would take place in New Orleans, Louisiana (a city that I’ve been desperate to visit for a long time now). Not only could the creators explore a new world for these characters, they could incorporate the rich history and culture of New Orleans.
After receiving a tip from fan favorite character, Katherine, that stated witches were conspiring against him, Klaus headed down to New Orleans. This was the city him and his family members had helped build; they considered New Orleans their kingdom, their home. Worried that his brother’s confrontation would lead to a witch massacre, Elijah hesitantly followed his brother to New Orleans (Rebekah refusing to even acknowledge Klaus was her brother, hoping the witches had found a way to finally kill him). It turned out Klaus and Elijah weren’t the only visitors from Mystic Falls though, werewolf Hayley had also been exploring the city, hoping to find information on her family and where she came from.
Unable to find the witch he was looking for, Klaus reunited with his former protege, Marcel, in hopes he could get some friendly assistance. It didn’t take long for Klaus to realize the hold Marcel had on New Orleans. He was the one in charge, he was the King. He controlled all the supernaturals in the city, including the witches, and had convinced the humans of the city to casually look the other way to their shenanigans. Marcel had banned any and all witches from practicing magic and as soon as he found one who did, he executed her in a vampire filled New Orleans street. Unfortunately, this witch had also been the one Klaus had been searching for. He soon conveniently tracked down her sister, but had been followed by Marcel’s men, who were intent on finding out exactly what Klaus was doing in New Orleans.
With Marcel’s men on his tail, Klaus was failing to obtain the information he needed. But, one person did. Elijah made his grand entrance (by killing Marcel’s men in a classic, heart snatching, Elijah way) and informed his brother he had found the witches AND the answers Klaus was seeking. Klaus reluctantly followed his brother to a cemetery. The witches (led by a young girl named Sophie) presented Hayley, hoping she would help make him cooperate. Klaus, about to lose it, laughed at the thought of them thinking he cared about Hayley (she was only a drunken, one night stand after all). That’s when the witches revealed their hold on Klaus and why Hayley was the key: their one night stand had led to a little puppy growing inside Hayley. That’s right, Hayley was pregnant. The witches explained that vampires could not breed, but wolves could, and Klaus having been made a vampire by magic and originally born a wolf, could in fact procreate. Sophie hoped this news would make Klaus want to help them take down Marcel, they would protect Hayley and her child if he did.
Elijah was delighted. Klaus appalled. Elijah tried convincing Klaus to stay in New Orleans, help Hayley, and start and rebuild their family. Klaus was seeking one thing and one thing only: power. “Family is power,” Elijah relented, but to no avail.
Klaus was upset, angry, and was only interested in taking New Orleans back from Marcel. In a heated, party filled confrontation (“What’s mine is yours, but IT IS MINE,” Marcel reminded Klaus), Klaus angrily bit one of Marcel’s men, asserting his power. In one more, emotional filled conversation with his brother, Klaus lamented that maybe staying in New Orleans wasn’t such a bad idea, especially if he could have the power he always wanted and have an heir to teach. They decided they would indeed help Sophie and the other witches. Klaus was to apologize and work his way into Marcel’s world and Elijah would stand by his brother’s side, hoping to find the redemption he knew was somewhere deep within Klaus. This was their new beginning.
Thursday’s episode was enough for The CW and the very next day “The Originals” was picked up to series. I may be in the minority of people who enjoyed this episode. Let me rephrase, I enjoyed this episode EXCEPT for the baby macguffin. At first I thought the witches were tricking Klaus with magic to force him to take down Marcel, to have something to use against him and that Elijah was really working with the witches and not his brother. This was not the case and as far as it stands, the little wolf inside Hayley is real. This was a cheap roadblock that I feel could really hinder the series from greatness. I thought the exterior scenes (especially in the historic Lafayette Cemetery) were beautiful and I saw a lot of potential to incorporate different New Orleans landmarks into the show. The tone of the episode was darker and more mature than most episodes of The Vampire Diaries and as a 23 year old viewer, I appreciated the new direction.
I also fell in love with new vampire Marcel. He was mysterious, charismatic, and very nice to look at. Sophie and the witches were also intriguing. Why couldn’t they practice magic? What did Marcel have to hold over them? Their potential of an uprising and as characters who could assert themselves could add a new, unseen twist to the show. One more character, Cami, a human bartender was introduced. Not much is known about Cami, but she seemed like a strong and independent female character that a show filled with men in power could use.
With only three members of the Mikaelson family remaining, one can only hope that flashbacks would be implemented to show how they built the city and how Klaus and Marcel formally met (they made a reference that Klaus may have saved Marcel from slavery). Unfortunately, The Vampire Diaries hasn’t been on the forefront of diverse casting and handling people of color and other minority characters. In the city of New Orleans, with a large African American population, there is a potential to do these previously failed efforts right and with dignity. The originals continue to be my favorite characters on the show and only time will tell what this new series will bring us. One thing is for sure, the backdoor pilot sparked my curiosity and I will be tuning in come fall.