Tis the final season of The Originals and I've decided to do these write-ups since we'll be visiting Mystic Falls and the boarding house formerly known as the Salvatore Boarding House, now the Salvatore Boarding School For The Gifted. And, more importantly, my beloved Caroline Forbes Salvatore and not-as-beloved, but oh, heck, I still love him, Alaric Saltzman will both be in a handful of episodes. How many I don't know, but more than one and that's enough for me. So, on we go...
To start, I wanted to talk a bit about some of the casting and acting on The Originals. I've stated it now and again during cross-overs that I actually prefer Joseph Morgan's Klaus on the spin-off than I did on The Vampire Diaries and watching this premiere, that continues to hold true. Of all of the characters that originated on my beloved show, his is the only one that was matured and enriched on The Originals with more nuance and development allowed without sacrificing the history already presented. The same can't be said for Daniel Gillies' Elijah or Claire Holt's Rebekah, but at least both actors continue to give sublime performances. As long as I ignore the contradictions of their backstories on The Vampire Diaries—and obviously there is so much more on The Originals now—I can enjoy the beauty of what they give on-screen… and it is beautiful. Gillies' especially is just killing it as an Elijah who has no memory of himself, and yet that elegant, worldly air with the touch of benevolence that is so very Elijah is all about him.
Of the rest of the returning cast, Riley Voelkel as Freya continues to be awesome. I love her. Nathaniel Buzolic (Kol) in his one scene continues to not be good, but that's par for the course. Steven Krueger, who plays, Josh (Davina's bestie, turned into a vampire in the first season), was upped to a series regular this final season. I can only hope that was a cruel trick meaning he will at least be done for, but I doubt it. I've never particularly been fond of him. Not the character; I find the actor's performance incredibly annoying and just plain bad. Of course, not Olga Fonda levels of bad, but still… bad.
Then there are the newbies… Torrence Coombs (Bash of Reign a few years back) sporting an "Irish" accent is charming and delightful as Hayley's non-boyfriend. Of course, I could be biased as I've always liked him. Now, he could turn out to be some secret bad guy… because, you know, that's how Julie Plec plays, but upon first viewing, he's so charming and adorable and has such pretty eyes!
Finally, we have the aged up Hope. The younger Hope from last season was some pretty horrible casting in my opinion. (Looks-wise as a progeny of Klaus and Hayley—she looked *nothing* coloring/facial structure at all like them—and acting-wise in terms of how much weight they gave the young actress to carry.) This year, it's the exact opposite. Physically-speaking, Danielle Rose Russell looks like she could genuinely be the offspring of Joseph Morgan and Phoebe Tonkin. And it's only one episode in, but in terms of her performance, she's doing a lovely job so far.
The bulk of that performance revolved around her pain over her daddy issues, pulling what she perceived as just a teenage stunt. However, when the consequences of her actions began to sink in deeper and deeper, Russell allowed us to see the different shades of what Hope was feeling. She's an incredibly powerful witch, who happens to be the daughter of the most powerful hybrid on the planet. And she's been protected her whole life because she's that powerful, and she's that special and she knows it. So there was some arrogance, some hubris there, way too much unthinking teen spirit. Then there was the pain, the loss, the feelings of abandonment conflicting with the love she knows she has from her family. All of that tied into that bit of hope, yes, hope in the end when she heard her father's voice. Yeah, Russell did a very good job.
Oh, and hearing her father's voice? That was a two-way street of an emotional rollercoaster. While I'm sure that Klaus would be a wee bit concerned about Hayley's disappearing, I highly doubt that he'd go suddenly running back to New Orleans when he's kept his distance for ten years without finding out more information first. It's not as if he can't call Rebekah. Nope, after that conversation with Caroline—more on that later—and hearing his daughter's first, hearing call him 'Dad,' he simply could not stay away. And Hayley's disappearance was just the excuse he needed to come home and see her. Which isn't a surprise because like The Vampire Diaries, at the heart of it, the Originals has always been about family too. And even if we barely saw the family at the heart of this show interact in this episode—other than Hope and Hayley, their relationships was the very heart of it all. (Well, OK, except for Kol… OF COURSE. He's such a wanker.) They really did such a wonderful job in showcasing the love and how the loss of that love has devastated the siblings. Always and forever being torn asunder is ripping them apart.
We saw that keenly in the area of romantic love. I mentioned Hayley's non-boyfriend, Declan above. Well, he's her "non" boyfriend because she's not willing to fully commit as long as she's got Hope in the picture (she says), but really it's about the whole situation with the Mikaelsons. She may not technically be one… but she so is in every other way and everyone knows it. She's been keeping Declan at arm's length and it's all because he's not a part of the family.
And then there is Rebekah and Marcel, and Freya and Keelin. Coming from different positions, both couples invariably wound up in the same position. Marcel (as always) wanted Rebekah to choose him over her family, proposing marriage but there was trouble a'brewing with Klaus' inability to stay away from Elijah and Hope's shenanigans. And so (as always), Rebekah chose her family over Marcel. (YES!) That parenthetical reaction of joy is due to the fact that I still don't buy this great love story of Rebekah and Marcel and Claire Holt and Charles Michael Davis still don't have much chemistry at all. Pfft.
On the other hand, there is Freya and Keelin. Voelkel's Freya and Christina Moses as Keelin are wonderful and believable and, in my opinion, the best couple this show has. Voelkel and Moses have a lovely, easygoing chemistry that can also heat up nicely when called for and the yearning both feel to be with one another feels real. Plus, Keelin's understanding for Freya's loyalty and love for her family is beautiful and such a testament of *her* love for Freya. And then there is Freya who is so devoted to her siblings and her niece who finally, finally, made the decision to put her happiness first… and everything began to fall apart so of course she won't be able to.
All because of Klaus! And his offspring… but it's OK-ish, because Caroline (Forbes Salvatore !!) is here to save the day. Or at least give him some tough love. Oh… Caroline and Klaus. I haz some thoughts. Now, ya'll know I am a die-hard Caroline and Stefan shipper, loved them to the end. With that said, I'm OK with any kind of romance between Caroline and Klaus now because it's been ten years since Stefan died. If they had not done a time-jump and had gone a few months, even just a year, it would be different, but ten years definitely gives a passage of time that allows me the willingness to accept Caroline and Klaus.
I enjoy Klaus so much more on The Originals. He's three-dimensional, a much more real character and I've always felt that Morgan and Candice King have chemistry so that works for me. Plus, with their history and with the both of them having children now that adds even more to it. And, of course, Caroline knows Hope so there's that too. Plus, Caroline calls Klaus on his shit so delightfully. Seriously, this bit of dialogue was my everything:
:Klaus: I know what it's like to be raised by a monster.The message itself, I mean, stop using the whole 'my daddy was mean to me, wah!' was fabulous, but really King's delivery was fabulous. I loved it. And Morgan's reaction was utterly priceless! These two really are so good together.
Caroline: Oh, my... Come on, that was, like, a thousand years ago. Really? "Mean dad"? Newsflash: The guy's dead. Get over it! Stop using Michael as an excuse to be a bad father.
OK, then, random thoughts…
- He may not have been a favorite of mine, but still… Dorian popping up! The Vampire Diaries' own Dorian showing up. Whee! And the mention of "Mr. Saltzman." Hehehe. And… and… and the title card of "Mystic Falls, Virginia." Aww.
- And, of course (this gets its own bullet), we visited a room and the halls of the Salvatore Boarding School for the Gifted a.k.a. the Salvatore Boarding House a.k.a. the place where Damon and Elena had the sexytiems. Squee!
- Aww, I love that Rebekah thought of Caroline to get to Klaus. Because most of the time that Rebekah spent with Caroline she was also with Matt. Aww, Rebekah and Matt. *sigh*
- The flowers dying and the water turning to blood was pretty cool culminating with the bloody rain falling on Vincent at the end.
- The brewing of stuff between werewolves and vampires starting again nicely done. And you know that witches are just there in the background.
Overall, Marguerite McIntyre (our always lovely Sheriff Liz Forbes) did a great love writing the premiere episode. It was a good return back to this world.