Well, that was different. I wasn't looking forward to this special premiere event, because I was sure it was going to be a repeat of the backdoor pilot from last April with a couple of extra scenes tacked on to the beginning and end. So I was very pleasantly surprised to discover this wasn't so much a repeat, as it was a companion piece. It was totally different, and I think it was totally needed.
There was an awful lot of set up here. We got further character development, new characters, new information, and a shocking twist... okay, knowing Klaus, it wasn't that shocking. Still, I didn't see it coming when Klaus daggered Elijah, again. The pain and betrayal on Elijah's face was palpable. There was weight to that moment, because of everything they built up in this episode.
This was really Elijah's episode. It was about how he worked behind the scenes, brokering the deals, paving the way for Klaus to get what he wanted. Has Elijah been doing this all along throughout the centuries? Will Klaus discover that Elijah isn't a vulnerability, but a major asset? Let's hope so, although I understand Daniel Gillies (Elijah) has a second series commitment, so we might not see him as much as I'd like.
As for the buildup I spoke of, well, it had to do with everything Elijah did during the episode. From his role in the spell that repressed Klaus's werewolf half for a thousand years, to the wonderful confession of guilt after a fun and brutal fight with Klaus, those were extra scenes but vital ones, and they both helped to define their relationship in a new an interesting way that we hadn't known about before.
I have to praise the writers and editors for the additions, because all these scenes were blended in seamlessly. Most of them revolved around the witches and Elijah interacting with them and Hayley, all of which further developed the characters and started to establish the world these characters will inhabit. Speaking of Hayley, I liked her here. She was fun and showed more personality then her other appearances in The Vampire Diaries. And that's a good thing if she's going to be a main character.
We also got a few scenes with Rebekah, mostly bitching about Klaus, but it did give us some nice views into her relationship with Elijah. They are the two arguably good Original vampires and will probably be where the hero side of this show might be built. If not, I am at least looking forward to all the siblings interacting more. I also hope we get some more Mikael scenes because I like the actor, and his adversarial relationship with his children is one of the more intriguing parts of their history.
Which brings me to the flashback at the start of the episode. Klaus, Elijah, and Rebekah arriving in the new world 300 years ago felt decidedly like a beginning. It set the tone for the series rather well, conjuring up correlations with Anne Rice's works. Even though it wasn't the oldest flashback, it was the right moment to start things off. It means that were probably going to see some pieces of the Mikaelson family's thousand year history.
One thing is very clear to me. From the wonderful New Orleans setting, to the themes of family and finding a home, this is a dark story. The southern gothic feel set a tone for the series, stating in no uncertain terms that it isn't going to be about romance or teenage angst. This show is going to be about vampires, magic and werewolves, and the fate of an entire group of supernatural beings or maybe an entire city is at stake. It's going to be about building a family and a legacy, and most importantly, redemption. Not in a heroic sense, but a far more human one. Klaus is dead inside, and I think this will a journey about his reclamation, and finding the person he lost centuries before when he let the monster inside of him take over his life.
Sophie, the main witch in the story so far, has linked herself to Hayley. This particular spell is one we've seen before on Vampire Diaries, but it was used effectively here. Secondly, this is a new show, and they need to set up the rules of magic and vampire powers.
We got a flash of Kol in that scene at the beginning when they arrived on the boat. Could be we could see more of him in flashbacks?
They covered the aftermath of Jean-Anne's death. I thought this was well handled, and I really liked how Elijah recovered her body as a way of cementing the deal with the witches before Klaus even agreed to it. It also established Elijah and Marcel's relationship, or at least the introduction of how they will interact going forward. Assuming Elijah is un-daggered soon.
The mansion at the end was gorgeous, and I assume it's going to be a primary location.
Overall this was a solid pilot, and a welcome departure from the other version of this episode. No rating yet, because it's a pilot and its impossible to rate how this episode will stand up to the rest of the series.