The Originals Season 3 Episode 1 – TV Review
The Originals has got a lot of work ahead of it if it hopes to wash off the stink of season 2.
And they don’t have the benefit of a lead actor departure to shake things up.
But the focus is already being pushed far, far away from Hope, so goddamn, that’s a good sign.
TL;DR The Originals might actually focus on the Originals, again, as a vampire civil war brews; Klaus and Elijah remain at odds; the werewolves are being hunted down by an evil corporation; Davina, predictably, struggles as the leader of the witches; Marcel is still a paperweight; flashbacks bring in all five Original children as they play Reign.
Oh, God, we don’t need more fucking Reign.
So Klaus, despite defeating his nefarious aunt, is still not on speaking terms with Elijah, and is having trouble with getting a sympathetic ear from anyone. Except Camille, who he forces into “chats” with him and mercilessly twat-teases. Which means Klaus is pretty excited when Lucien, a vampire from his distant past, shows up in New Orleans to party. And also deliver news that vampires worldwide are stirring a civil war and will soon be hunting each of the three remaining originals to attempt to kill them in order to eliminate their bloodlines. What a buzzkill. Meanwhile, Elijah, while trying to have his monthly meeting with Hayley, finds a bunch of mercenaries hunting and killing werewolves. He dispatches them, but is still worried about a missing Hayley. But don’t worry, Davina’s got her locked up for something or other. Witches, you know? As for Davina, she’s facing insubordination from the witches, and refuses to do any favours for Marcel so as to not be seen as vampire lenient. Marcel, meanwhile, has opened a gym in the church to test the might of potential vampire recruits. And in the strangest development of all, Camille (at Actual Vincent’s suggestion) is called in to help investigate a serial killer. Oh, and there are flashbacks to a freshly vampirised Original Five as they impersonate some noblemen at a castle somewhere, which is where they meet Lucien the lowly slave boy.
From slave boy to cutting his own face open for kicks. Look at how far he’s come.
I honestly wasn’t prepared to be so impressed with The Originals so quickly off the mark. Season 2’s second half was mired in tensionless drama surrounding baby Hope, and I didn’t expect that to let up anytime soon.
But Hope barely gets a mention this episode. Freya’s essentially just around to babysit (I’ll bet Camille is relieved), and Klaus and Elijah get to have entire plots that don’t involve her.
The Originals is actually about vampire drama again. And not baby drama
Why I hate this episode:
Hope is still here, though, which means Freya is stuck babysitting her all the time. Elijah even calls her back from a night of drunk dancing on tables to come look after Hope while he hunts the mercenaries. Boo.
Marcel is still struggling to find his place. His subplot about opening a Fight Club in the church is fuckin’ dumb. He only exists to be a sounding board for Davina, who herself is pretty annoying.
Davina is shocked that there is dissent in the witch ranks. You mean they don’t want to some vampire-friendly teen girl leading every witch in New Orleans? That’s crazy.
The flashbacks worry me. Firstly, everyone is wearing bad wigs. Not that bad wigs are new to the Original vampire flashbacks, but, like, every male character (Klaus, Elijah, Kol, Finn, Lucien) is wearing a bad wig. It’s distracting.
They also feel a lot like Reign, which I abandoned early into season 2 because it was a tedious bore. I know The CW likes to be frugal, but yeesh.
Also, much like the huge problem Arrow keeps revisiting, flashbacks in later seasons constantly prompt the viewer to question “well, why didn’t you mention that earlier?” There’s apparently some vampire hierarchy or something that’s at least organised strongly enough to enable a civil war to break out. And the Originals have never thought to talk about this before now?
I’m loving that Camille almost seems to be forming as the new female lead (Re-black-ah is still MIA, and Hayley is a wolf most of the time), but her subplot is fucking preposterous. Jason Dohring is a homicide detective who asks Vincent (I’m name upgrading him from Actual Vincent. Because it’s time) to bring in Camille to help profile the killer based on the victim. Is there seriously not anyone actually qualified to do this available? Camille is a barely-graduated therapist. She is not up to this task, baby.
Vincent is still around.
Lucien implies that some white oak remains out there somewhere. How many bloody Wickery Bridges could there be?
Oh, and Klaus and Camille are still tiptoeing around their aching lust for each other.
But it’s not all bad:
They totally want each other, though. Klaus has been having pseudo therapy sessions with Camille which he calls “chats,” and he breaks into her place at the end of the episode for another. She is pissed off and tries to turf him out. She calls him an insensitive disappointment, but then immediately regrets it when she sees how instantly it crushes Klaus. This is the kind of sexual tension that could rival Norma and Romero. And that’s high praise coming from me.
This is then backed up by Klaus telling her he made a painting for her (oh, yeah, did I mention Klaus has an art gallery showing this episode? Cute), and he leaves despondently. Oh, you two.
Camille’s appointment as profiler may be dumb as hell, but it’s good to see her getting a subplot of her own. She deduces the victims (there’s another later) were compelled to bleed out without making a sound, and they both have Glasgow Smiles. Camille recognises the timing of Lucien’s arrival in town coinciding with the murders, and it’s all but confirmed for us, the viewers, when Lucien carves a Glasgow Smile into his own face later. Bitch cray.
The episode’s greatest strength is that it brings back existing TVD-verse lore to prop up the plot, rather than inventing something new and arbitrary. Lucien tells Klaus that stories of Klaus’ tribulations in New Orleans have made the rounds globally, and, coupled with the observed effects of Kol and Finn’s deaths, the factions now see the tactical advantage of killing the Original sire of their enemies. That’s pretty clever.
The flashbacks don’t mean much yet, but it’s great to see the actors for all five Original children back together again. Now all we need is for Claire Holt to man up and come back to present day New Orleans.
The Five struggle with their bloodlust and kill a family of nobles. They get the idea to impersonate the family at a castle party. They then discover Lucien, their servant, alive, and vote to have him aide in the ruse. It turns out Lucien doesn’t much like being a slave, and he couldn’t care less if his vampire captors ravaged his boss. But he is in love with his boss’ daughter, Aurora (Aussie Chick from PLL).
Aurora, as it turns out, is some kind of powerful present day vampire. She gets a letter that makes her unhappy. And when she’s unhappy, she murders the messenger. I admire her fervour.
Best line of the episode goes to Klaus. He’s enjoyed partying with Lucien, and has experienced a vision of the future from a clairvoyant witch Lucien has him meet with. Lucien, being from Klaus’ sire line, proposes an alliance and promises Klaus can trust him. But Klaus is Klaus: “I don’t trust anyone.” The delivery is more resigned and tortured than boastful.
Elijah does a good job of fucking up the mercenaries out in the bayou. It turns out that Lucien is the owner of the company employing the mercenaries to hunt werewolves (but nobody knows that yet). Elijah doesn’t find Hayley’s wolf body, but is it too much to hope that Jackson’s rotting, flea-bitten corpse is in the back of that ute?
Marcel suggests Davina should use a show of force to pull the witches back in line, and Davina later ends up with Hayley as her kinda-prisoner, and she needs her for something. The Originals is always at its best when witches are dying.
Oh, and I’m reminded about how unfair Phoebe Tonkin’s face is.