The Originals Season 1 Review “Always & Forever”

On the premiere of the new “The Vampire Diaries” spin-off “The Originals,” we basically got a recap of the history of the clan of original vampires, aka the Mikaelson siblings, as currently made up of the sinister Klaus (Joseph Morgan), the more reasonable and level-headed Elijah (Daniel Gillies), and the brooding and petulant Rebekah (Claire Holt). There’s also the MIA siblings Kol and Finn, who, for the time being at least, are in hibernation, as it were, with Kol having been staked by Jeremy Gilbert in a previous episode of “Vampire Diaries” and Finn by Elena and Matt working together in tandem on the same, if I recall correctly. As the Originals are immortals, they can only be staked, not killed, so I presume the others will eventually be back later on in the series.

In “Always & Forever,” we began with a flashback from 300 years ago, showing how the Mikaelsons first came to New Orleans, a town they basically ran for years afterward, at least until the return of their father sent them running. Or, at least, the return of most of the family’s father, since, as “TVD” fans will recall, Klaus has a different father from the rest, the result of an affair on the part of his mother. This illicit affair was with a werewolf, causing Klaus to become a hybrid of a werewolf and a vampire, thus making him well-nigh unstoppable.

The rest of the family was made into vampires due to a curse placed upon them by their witch mother, who was forced to do so by their grieving father, who was reeling from the death of another of his children and wanted them to all be made immortal, thus ensuring none of them would ever die. Later on, he had second thoughts and went after them, but as we know, all were eventually revived over the years on “TVD.”

Given all this massive back-story, I suppose it’s inevitable that this episode would serve as a sort of recap of previous events, making it a bit of a no-brainer for longtime fans of “TVD,” but a nice refresher course for those who needed a reminder on the convoluted history of the Mikaelson clan. As the vast majority of the episode was spent recounting all this, not a whole lot happened that fans didn’t already know about. Still, as this show is clearly aiming for a more adult tone than its predecessor, in hopes of gaining a new audience, no doubt, I suppose it was a necessary evil.

To that end, I will also be proceeding from here on out assuming that everyone is essentially on the same page as well, so if you’re looking for a recap, you’ve come to the wrong place. In the future, this will be more a review than a recap, so fair warning on that front. That said, all things considered, this episode was a bit of a wash, save being a nice reminder of past events already covered on “TVD.”

Given that, it was a decent enough semi-pilot. (I say “semi,” because as “TVD” fans know, there was already an episode of that show that actually served as a sort of “back-door” pilot to “The Originals” previously.) It did a good job of bringing everyone else up to speed, though, honestly, it’s kind of hard to imagine anyone watching this that didn’t already watch its sister show. There is just way too much to contend with for a newbie to get involved, honestly. You never know, though, perhaps the gambit will pay off and there will be some new recruits, if all the back-story didn’t scare them off.

I will say that the new show does have a darker, more adult tone than “TVD” so it does seem like it will have an altogether different vibe than that show, which I suppose is a good thing, otherwise, why bother? I do think the Mikaelsons are fascinating, and it has been fun getting to know them over the years on “TVD,” so a spin-off isn’t a bad idea, though it’s way too soon to determine whether they warrant their own show or not.

For one thing, Rebekah is still on “TVD” for now, though previews of the upcoming season show that she will be joining her siblings in New Orleans soon enough. And then, as if having her in another place and two of the brothers down already weren’t enough, Elijah was also summarily dispatched in the premiere as well, after successfully managing to broker a deal to rescue Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin), a werewolf that’s carrying Klaus’ child from a coven of witches in exchange for the body of one of their own, Jane-Ann, who was killed in the previous pilot, and was being held hostage by Marcel (Charles Michael Davis), who’s the “Vampire King” of NO.

That’s too bad, as I really like the Elijah character. He was sort of the heart of the clan, the one member of the family who genuinely tried to do the right thing more often than not, as evidenced by his work in this episode to try and bring everyone together for the sake of the family as a whole. Fat lot of good it did him in the end.

Of course, being immortal, he can’t be killed, so I imagine he’ll be back, but for the time being, there’s only two siblings alive and kicking and one of them isn’t even in town yet, so that seems a bit disingenuous on the part of the show this early on. After all, the show is called “The Originals,” not “One Original and a Bunch of Other People.” I think it would have been nice if everyone was up and about, at least early on in the show, that way there were more of the actual, you know, Originals involved.

That said, Klaus being Klaus, it does make sense that he wouldn’t make the best decisions, as already evident by his actions thus far. It will be interesting to see how he manages to maneuver in NO, given the current state of the city, and his complete and utter lack of back-up support from… well, anyone, really. Even his former protégé isn’t exactly rolling out the welcome wagon for him, though you can hardly blame him, given Klaus’ actions so far. And one can’t help but feel for poor Hayley, who might have had the absolute worst one-night-stand ever, short of actually being killed wholesale. I can’t imagine that pregnancy will be a particularly happy one, given Klaus’ utter lack of interest in the baby thus far.

So, not a bad premiere, all things considered, with some interesting characters involved, notably Sophie (Daniella Pineda), the late Jane-Ann’s sister; and Davina (Danielle Campbell), Marcel’s mysterious ace-in-the-hole, who keeps tabs on the witches on his behalf, though for what reason has yet to be determined. It seems like Marcel and Davina might be romantically involved, so I guess that could explain part of it, but not why she’s on the opposite team of her fellow witches, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see what’s really going on there.

What did you think of the premiere of “The Originals”? Disappointed that Elijah was staked so soon? Doubtful of Klaus’ actions thus far? Curious as to how they’ll proceed from here? Let me know what you think down below in the comments section, and I’ll see you next week for the show’s new time slot!