Research can be really hard, you guys.
When I decided to watch and write about The Originals, I didn't know too much about the show but it appealed to me and I figured I'd be able to jump right in. I also knew it was a show created by the same people who brought us The Vampire Diaries. What I didn’t realize at first is that it’s actually a direct spin-off. But, true to my profession (that’s writing, not watching TV, although sometimes it’s hard to tell) I put in some serious research time.
I decided to watch every single episode of The Vampire Diaries to catch me up and fill me in. While I enjoyed watching four seasons’ worth of the Salvatore brothers fighting over Elena Gilbert, a more serious storyline was developing. Turns out the show isn't completely a teen drama. Or maybe it is and I’ve fallen right into its trap. Whatever it is, I’m completely fan-girling over it. And the secondary storyline about the original vampires – hence, The Originals – started to become more and more of a focus through last year, season four, so it's no surprise the crew got its own show.
Ian Somerhalder (who plays Damon on TVD) expressed concern over his show losing three great cast members and their accompanying storylines. I don’t disagree, necessarily, but I also see the value in breaking the two stories apart and giving The Originals their due. I'm sure Damon will find himself in some sort of situation regardless of who's causing him the trouble.
The series premiere of The Originals served as a good introduction to the three original vampires (Klaus, Elijah and Rebekah Mikaelson) for anyone unfamiliar with the storyline. You don’t have to have watched The Vampire Diaries at all to pick up with The Originals although I'm guessing most viewers tuned in because they're TVD fans. And for those already-fans, this series premiere was a touch tedious. Some scenes were even exactly repeated from a late season four episode of TVD. We saw some scenes from Klaus and Elijah's visit to New Orleans from that episode plus the in-between moments that helped fill out the details.
That said, Elijah's opening narrative perfectly set the scene for a feuding family. “Over the course of my long life, I have come to believe that we are bound forever to those with whom we share blood. And while we may not choose our family, that bond can be our greatest strength. Or… our deepest regret. This unfortunate truth has haunted me for as long as I can recall."
We got a glimpse into when and how the original family landed in New Orleans "300 years ago" and then the present-day storyline gets underway.
Klaus, the ringleader of the original family, had been drawn to Mystic Falls in TVD but now has more reason to be in New Orleans. As it turns out, hybrid vampire-werewolf Klaus’s one-night stand left Hayley, a young lady werewolf, knocked up. Now, the Big Easy witches are using the prenatal pup as leverage to help them drive their own evil vampire ringleader Marcel from town because they believe Klaus is the only one who can help them. After all, he taught Marcel everything he knows.
What we already knew: Elijah's charming, Klaus has anger issues, Rebekah is a brat with her brothers and hard-headed but kind of reminds us of one of our girlfriends. We know Sophie Deveraux is leading the witches' charge against Marcel, the vampire "king of the Quarter" in New Orleans who suppresses and controls them. Hayley is less than excited to be carrying Klaus's baby. Klaus wants the power Marcel holds.
What we learn in the premiere: Sophie Deveraux has linked herself to Hayley so nobody can hurt her or the baby. Klaus, Elijah and Hayley move into a home the originals apparently still owned in New Orleans. Elijah tells Klaus he thinks the child can offer him something he's never really believed he had: the unconditional love of family.
What we didn't expect: Klaus to stake Elijah in the first episode.
The intrigue particularly picked up towards the end of the episode when we found out Marcel has something he uses to control the witches. His secret weapon appears to be a young witch named Davina who can sense when other witches are practicing magic. Klaus doesn't yet know this, but he will, especially since he declared in his scariest voice that he's determined to steal from Marcel that which he holds most dear.
“If I am going to win this war, I have to do it alone," says Klaus. And we won't be missing a moment of it!
Stick with us during this season as we recap each episode. You can find our recaps in our Daily Whisper section, every Wednesday morning after it airs on Tuesday nights!