I don't consider myself a fan of the Originals (except Elijah). So I was surprised by how much I liked this backdoor pilot.
Ah, New Orleans, the vampire city. (Although now that I think of it, we get a lot more vampires on the west coast than the Gulf coast, don't we?) Using such an amazing city as a setting immediately made 'The Originals' seem bigger and darker than friendly little Mystic Falls. New Orleans has so much character -- the French Quarter, the above ground cemeteries -- but it also has a cheezy, sleazy side. They obviously filmed there. Will they continue to do so? If they do, it would add a lot to the look and feel of the series, much like Highlander filming in Paris.
The writers actually thought seriously about the plot and what would work for our three Originals. They made three attempts (that I counted, anyway) to make Klaus more sympathetic:
(1) Marcel is actually a nastier vampire leader than Klaus, seeing as he's taken over the city, subjugated the humans, made witches into second-class citizens, and exiled the werewolves. Marcel's horribleness and the obvious supernatural struggle waiting in the wings gives us a way to root for Klaus to win, especially since he can't just kill everybody and start over. And I liked Marcel. Well, not Marcel the character, but they chose a talented and energetic actor to play him. He's a worthy opponent for Klaus, and there's the added dimension that Klaus is Marcel's sire. I bet we're going to get Klaus/Marcel buddy flashbacks.
(2) Klaus talked briefly about how he could never settle down anywhere because his daddy would show up and ruin everything. Not that that generated sympathy with me, but when you have a character that can't be hurt or killed, you have to do something to make him appear even marginally powerless. And,
(3) Oddly, I find myself intrigued by the Hayley baby plot. And I'm never intrigued by baby plots; it's usually the reverse, as anyone who has read my Angel reviews might recall. Maybe it's because there is no possibility of sickly sweetness. How Klaus will deal with impending fatherhood is a mystery, but he is so utterly uncuddly and not in any way father material; I don't see him shopping online for teddy bears. I bet that Rebekah will find a baby as a blood relative intriguing, too. It's an interesting plot device to bring the Originals back together as an immortal dysfunctional family.
And who is Camille, the blonde bartender who knows karate? Is she going to be Klaus's Caroline-like love interest, yet a fourth plot device to make him more likeable? I liked her; she has possibilities. And I enjoyed her psyching out the street artist while unintentionally describing Klaus. ("Sorry. Overzealous psych major.")
Elijah seemed to be relegated to the background this time. (Rebekah, even more so.) Elijah's role appeared to be sneaking up on Klaus and talking about his desire to redeem him (because there's no way for us to pick up stuff like that if the actors don't tell us). Elijah was sad about his departure from Katherine (will Nina Dobrev be guesting? Will there be crossovers?), but that was pretty much it. Since I like Elijah about a thousand times more than Klaus, I was hoping for more.
Meanwhile back in Mystic Falls, practically nothing happened. Except Elena isn't going to be a pushover in the emotion switch department. She knows that Damon and Stefan love her, and she's using it against them; tough love isn't gonna work on her.
Bits and pieces:
-- Sophie Devereaux is the power behind the subjugated witches. I thought it was going to be Jane Ann, so it was a surprise when Marcel killed her.
-- Marcel regularly eats vervain. So much for one way to take him down.
-- Klaus appeared to be seriously pissed off about all of the daywalker rings. I bet that's set-up for a future plot.
-- Did they write out the other Original family members because they were boring, or will they be returning with the rest of the VD supernatural dead in the season finale?
Katherine: "The one and only. Sort of."
Marcel: "If your blood relations let you down, make your own."
Klaus: "I want to be king."
Elijah: "And what about Hayley and the baby?"
Klaus: "Every king needs an heir."
It's always good when something is better than you expected. Especially since The Originals just went to series about five minutes ago.
Three out of four not-bad-at-all backdoor pilots,
Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for quite some time. More Billie Doux.
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