The Originals: Rebirth

Elijah: "I suppose we'll have to call this your white period."
Klaus: "I am missing a crucial color in my palette. That of my enemies' blood."
Elijah: "I recommend a venetian red with a hint of rust."

I didn't know what I wanted from this episode before going in, but I can say that whatever timid hopefulness that I had for the show I fell in love with was exceedingly surpassed.

The Guerreros were really nothing more than a means to introduce what this season will really be about. They were a way for our "heroes" to get revenge, a soft introduction for Mikael, Esther, Finn and Kol into the mix and also a plausible story line that would allow this season to hit the ground running. I loved every minute of it. Second seasons for shows that did as well as The Originals did last season can be tricky. There is a lot to live up to, but this show is making none of the usual mistakes as far as I can tell.

Elijah, Hayley and Klaus are all still grieving in their own beautiful ways. This might have been the first time that I was fully on Klaus' side. I could never see him as anything but a damaged villain before, but seeing him so upset about not being with his daughter really tore me up. Some of that had to do with the fact that he didn't lash out at the people he cared about. If he had daggered Elijah or not trusted Marcel or refused to let Cami help or sent Hayley away from their home, then there would have been too many holes in the plan. I mean he only had so many paint brushes, right? Elijah, of course, is trying to use his pain as way to bolster himself up and be a comfort to those around him. Hayley is the one that broke my heart a few times over. Once, when she found the doll in the bayou. Next, when she caught Elijah taking the crib apart and again, when she finally got Francesca's head on a platter but found no peace in her revenge. She very clearly found out that she had been sent away as a baby as a way of saving her life, and was clearly elated about giving her daughter the family and stability she never had. Then she couldn't. She didn't want to be a hybrid, but the witches took that choice from her when they slit her throat. If it were me, I might be biting peoples' heads off too.

Esther and Mikael have always been very interesting villains. Far more deadly to their children than Francesca could ever be. While they had little to do this week, I think it was good for us to ease into the family reunion that Esther is so eager to arrange. Mikael of course wants to kill Klaus, but what about Elijah and Rebekah? For that matter, how will he feel about Esther, Finn and Kol? I can't imagine he'll be too thrilled about Hayley becoming a hybrid, either. Esther's plans are more unclear. The last time she came back, she wanted all of her children dead. I can see Finn helping in that plan since he has helped her before, but I wonder how much Kol knows. As a fan favorite, maybe he'll switch sides and become a double agent. (Also, if someone could tell me where that accent came from, I'd appreciate it.) I'm sure it's been said before, but I'll say it again... with parents like these it's no wonder that the Mikaelson clan is as nutty as they are.

I'm worried about Davina, you guys. She is clearly very powerful. Her revelation to only unleash Mikael on Klaus after she finds a way to unlink his sire line is pretty inspired. She's thinking ahead. I like that. She even cloaked the dagger from Esther, which I can only imagine wouldn't be an easy thing to hide from such a powerful witch, and all that might mean something if Mikael didn't have centuries of experience outwitting his enemies. She has successfully told the coven to back off so they aren't going to come running if she ever needs to ask for help. Hopefully Josh can talk some sense into her now that he can return to the quarter. Either way, she has a dangerous individual on a leash.

Speaking of witches, aside from Davina, they really haven't been painted as ambiguous at all. Murderous, deal-welching baby killers. And having Esther walking around New Orleans can only mean that their PR image is going to get a lot worse. I wonder if that's on purpose or if the writers plan for this to payoff someday?? Or is it just Esthers influence?

Cami and Marcel "stringlessly" shacking up was cute even if it was a little contrived. It was the only part of this episode that didn't work me. I have no qualms with them coupling. They compliment each other well and their chemistry is undeniable, but why put them together at all if the only purpose was to give Marcel someone to talk to the first half of the episode? If that's all it was then go ahead and give Josh more lines. We like Josh.

4 out of 4 Heads on a silver platter

Bits and pieces

There was a point somewhere that I noted the lack of chemistry between Elijah and Hayley and I wondered if it was on purpose. Apparently it was. Kudos to the actors. It can't be easy to turn that kind of thing on and off. (Otherwise the whole Logan/Veronica/Duncan situation would've ended differently.)

Embarrassingly I was frantically trying to keep track of the twelve moonlight rings. Who was wearing them, who was taking them off. Where. etc etc etc. About halfway through the montage of ring-finger-palooza I realized that the Guerreros weren't going to be sticking around past this episode. Whoops.

Elijah stopping to make an observation about Al Capone was fantastic. His crossing the threshold and Francesca's quivering lip were even better. The devil is in the details after all.

I remember there being some talk last season about a Hayley/Elijah/Klaus love triangle and I basically laughed it off as something that could never believably happen. Then Elijah and Hayley had the pow wow in the nursery and I could feel people unshipping. Then the writers gave us the scene at the end between the grieving parents. I watched it three times before it sunk in. These writers can do anything they want to do, and quite possibly might have access to magics.

I wonder if Esther has any plans of dragging Rebekah and consequently Hope back to New Orleans for the reunion.

Rebekah: "Little did they know that the king and his brother would not rest until their enemies were vanquished."

Esther/Cassie: "She's unraveling. Poor thing. Cracking under the pressure."
Finn: "I suppose that was Elijah and Niklaus' plan all along."
Ester: "Say what you will, but your brothers are impressive strategists."
Finn: "A trait they inherited from you, dear Mother."
Ester: "I suppose they did."

Francesca: "I'm the top dog. Your job is to ensure that the fight doesn't come to me."

Hayley: "Did I mention that I've had a rotten couple of months?"


Billie Doux said...

Lots of great set-up, and I'm looking forward to this season.

That's a really good point about the love triangle. I was shipping Hayley and Elijah last season while thinking that Hayley ever reconnecting with Klaus was impossible. Not any more. They went through something major together, and it shows.

I was oddly disappointed in Cami for hooking up with Marcel. I just don't seem to want to like Marcel. Maybe it was the way he was burying his friends in his underground "garden" that turned me off of the character. And it's weird, because I don't ever seem to dislike Klaus, and he can be a rampaging monster.

Terrific review, LaureMack.

J.D. Balthazar said...

First off, thank you so much for taking over reviewing this show Laurie!!!

I gotta start with the unexpected chemistry between Hayley and Klaus, I totally didn't see that ship coming. Perhaps it was changes that Klaus has been going through. My secret hope though is that Elijah wins out in the end, and Caroline shows up for Klaus. Yes I'm an unabashed Caroline/Klaus shipper. Sue me.

Marcel is hard to like, because he's kind of a borderline antagonist. He will never be a real threat to the Mikaelson family unless an unexpected opportunity arises. At the same time I can also see him faltering at the last minute, unable to actually kill Klaus.

Loved the Rebekah stuff in the prologue. The writers really have given us a way to keep Rebekah in the game, but totally removed from the action.

Cami... oh Cami why doesn't she follow in her Uncle's footsteps? She wants to help people, she literally has the family legacy to do that exact thing. Sigh... my hope is it doesn't take her too long to step up.

As much as I'm looking forward to a Mikaelson family reunion, it's a shame Ester, Finn, and Kol are not being played by their original actors (pun intended). It feels almost like a cheat, since we've never had everyone in the same place at the same time (except in flashbacks) before.

Yeah, I really have no idea what they are doing with the witches. I hope when Ester is finally defeated the surviving members of the coven turn out to be decent people who have had psychotic leaders up until now.

Anyway, great review. I'm really looking forward to this season.

Patrick said...

As much as I loved the first season of this show, this episode exceeded all my expectations in terms of the quality of execution, even if I'm not necessarily on board with 100% of the story choices they're making so far.

I honestly didn't expect the Guerreras to be dispatched so early in the season, kudos to the writers. I loved that they were totally freaking out at the lack of aggression from Elijah & especially Klaus. Elijah definitely knows how to get in his enemies' heads. Watching the battle play out was incredible. The look on Klaus' face each time one more ring was removed and his strength increased was expertly acted by Joseph Morgan. But the highlight was definitely the scene at the doorway between Elijah and the Guerreras, as he revealed that he could in fact enter. It was clear when he showed up that he'd be stepping inside somehow, but the reveal that he wasn't using some supernatural talisman or other mystical means, but good old-fashioned lawyering was just priceless. I mean seriously, you'd think bad guys everywhere would have learned by now. If you value your existence, DO NOT f--- with Elijah's family!

The only part of this episode I'm not thrilled with is this potential love triangle between Elijah, Hayley and Klaus. I get that Klaus & Hayley have this shared trauma, and it's right that they should bond over it and the fact that she's a hybrid now too. But the chemistry between Elijah & Hayley last season was so fantastic, I'd be very disappointed if they didn't find their way back to each other. And I think her having any kind of romantic entanglement with his brother would just mess it all up and remind me of the juvenile stuff I don't like about The Vampire Diaries.

Morgan India said...

I really, really enjoyed this episode and I really, really enjoyed this review.

I honestly think that the Cassie/Vincent/Kaleb bodies are merely temporary vessels for Esther/Finn/Kol, because the last time we saw Finn or Kol, their bodies had been incinerated by the WOS. I reckon that eventually they'll be able to return to their own bodies thanks to Esther's magic. But please can they keep Daniel Sharman on for a long time? He's so lovely to look at and it's so good to hear him using a variation of his normal accent.

I'm also really liking the Klaus/Hayley interactions, but then I'm always sort of shipped them as dysfunctional parents, not completely romantically. And I also like that they've put the Elijah/Hayley thing on the backburner for now because Hayley is clearly not in the right frame of mind to be pursuing a relationship for the time being, at least not until she gets Hope back.

I'm glad that they dispatched the Guerreras so quickly, although I will miss Peta Sargaent's crazy eyes a lot. But with having both Esther and Mikael back I can see why they got rid of them in the first episode.

Doc said...

I enjoyed your review, LaureMack, and look forward to reading future reviews as the season progresses.

I wasn't surprised that they wrapped up the Guerreros thread quickly; one of the things that struck me about at least the early TVD seasons (I stopped watching mid-season 4) was that the writers moved the plot along at a breakneck pace, executing in only a few episodes story arcs that other shows might have stretched across an entire season, and from my reading of the writing and production credits, TO is basically being run by the writers and producers of early TVD.

I thought this was a great episode, but I can't help feel a little cheated regarding the presence of Finn and Kol--the writers laid groundwork for *one* resurrection, not three, after all. I hope they give us a good explanation of how Esther brought her dead boys along for the ride.