Is it possible to lead a normal life when you grew up under such complicated circumstances? Will you be able to right the wrongs of previous generations without destroying your identity? That’s part of the premise behind the second season of the CW’s “The Originals,” which had one family suffering from a very complicated background that still impacted their present day lives. The show has managed to evolve into a complex supernatural family soap opera full of drama, monsters and love triangles.
“The Originals” followed Klaus Mikaelson (Joseph Morgan) who was one of the original vampires that helped to create generations of blood thirsty vampires. His quest for power and blood lust have been legendary, but he secretly craved to be loved and accepted for who he was. Klaus was a hybrid; both vampire and werewolf, that couldn’t be killed; unless someone garnered a white oak stake to do the deed. Sadly, Klaus’ new enemy Davina Claire (Danielle Campbell) had the stake in her possession. Davina was a young witch who was tired of being manipulated by Klaus and his family. She stole the stake and resurrected his long hated father from the dead to help her kill Klaus. The only problem was that she would kill her friend/Klaus’ protégé Marcel Gerard (Charles Michael Davis) in the process, which was a dilemma that she struggled with. Meanwhile, Klaus’ brother Elijah (Daniel Gillies) was trying to keep things together after the family lied about baby Hope’s death to protect her from their recently resurrected mother Esther. When in actual fact, Hope was in hiding with Klaus’ sister Rebekah (Claire Holt) under supernatural magic to hide them from Esther. While Klaus and Hayley Marshall (Phoebe Tonkin) grieved for the child that they couldn’t hold, Hayley was struggling with now becoming a hybrid like Klaus and accepting that her werewolf community won’t look at her the same way. In the meantime, the family had to deal with their fracturing bonds, such as Hayley and Elijah’s once promising relationship being sidelined forever by Hayley having to marry her pack’s Alpha wolf in order to unite the werewolves. As Esther continued to threaten her children, the people that they cared about were becoming targets. Klaus’ friend Camille O’Connell (Leah Pipes) was manipulated into becoming a human pawn in order for Klaus to submit to Esther’s demands. Will Klaus give his mother what she wants or will he kill her for good this time?
In terms of questions, the show’s biggest villains often turned out to be within the ranks of the Mikaelson family where betrayal happened more often than many would care to admit. It was nice to see the bad guys this time lurk a little closer to home than in the previous season. Klaus’ relationships with Marcel and Rebekah remained cordial but strained after the events of last season threatened to destroy all of them. Now, Klaus and Marcel have a reason to be allies with the fact that they share one common enemy in Esther who plotting to use everyone order her to get what she wanted. Holt’s change to recurring status this season also made sense for her part in betraying her brother last season, which was a way to write her out of the show with the intention of bringing her on every once in a while when the situation warranted it. It’s just a shame that her departure meant that Rebekah would no longer be the regular sounding board for both of her brothers. With Rebekah’s exit, characters that were often given smaller roles last season had the chance to be given more opportunities this season. Campbell’s Davina was given a chance to become a viable threat to Klaus’ well being and Pipes’ Camille had the chance to explore her developing on-screen friendship with Klaus that could turn into something more if they allowed it to. Camille was Klaus’ human conscience that prevented him from giving into his worst impulses sometimes. The arrival of Esther helped to provide context for a strong villain that could be a bigger threat to everyone around Klaus rather than a complete stranger because her motives appeared to be motherly when a darker meaning lurked underneath. Another storyline changed was sidelining the developing relationship between Hayley and Elijah based on circumstances that led Hayley into getting married for the benefit of her wolf pack. It’s a shame because Tonkin’s Hayley and Gillies’ Elijah had plenty of chemistry to spare. Hopefully, this doesn’t mean the end of their storyline just yet. Only time will tell if that’s the case.
As for breakout performances, Morgan, Tonkin, and Gillies led the pack for various reasons that helped to streamline the current season by focusing on a more central villain storyline. Morgan’s Klaus has evolved from the resident villain turned anti-hero on “The Vampire Diaries” into a complicated good guy who does bad things every so often because it was in his nature to do so. He made Klaus someone who wanted to have a normal life, but his quest for the power he never had when he was younger also consumed him in the worst way possible. It caused him to manipulate and even kill people to get his way. When Klaus found out he was going to be a father, the character was given a purpose to protect an innocent baby above all others, including his back from the dead biological father that he couldn’t trust. Morgan’s Klaus expressed his anguish over killing his father even as he struck the fatal blow. He also had strong chemistry with both Tonkin and Pipes in different degrees. Tonkin’s Hayley was now part of the family, since they have a child together and that he would always look out for her. With Pipes’ Camille, they had a chemistry that could turn romantic if both of them allowed for the possibility if they avoided the reality that she was mortal and he wasn’t. Let’s hope that the writers won’t change that circumstance anytime soon. Tonkin’s Hayley had evolved from being a werewolf without a family into a hybrid with enough family to spare. She turned into a tough warrior who was willing to get her hands dirty when necessary. She was also a larger part of the action this season as she got into the fray with some of Klaus’ schemes. Gillies, on the other hand, had the challenging task of playing peacekeeper when he wasn’t feeling very peaceful after Elijah was kidnapped and tortured by his mother. He also lost the woman he loved as Hayley decided to marry someone else. Tonkin and Gillies shared a strong chemistry that was evident from the first episode and won’t likely be extinguished anytime soon. Fingers crossed for another type of supernatural love triangle.
“The Originals” returns from its winter hiatus on January 19th and airs Mondays at 8:00 PM on the CW.
Verdict: The show’s latest season has managed to up the stakes and made the villains members of the Original family, which helped to add a personal element that wasn’t there last season.
TV Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)