“Sinners and Saints” – The Originals

Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 9.13.02 PMWow. This week’s episode of The Originals has officially cemented the show as our favorite of the season. Not favorite new show, not favorite show on The CW or favorite show about vampires. Flat out, simple favorite show. Why? We’re not even sure we can put our finger on it. We’re inclined to think that, mostly, it’s because The Originals – unlike most other shows on air at the moment – seems to wholly believe that mystery is compelling, but only in small doses. The writers of The Originals know that a good mystery can keep an audience hooked, but also know that dragging that mystery out for too long is as likely to turn an audience off as it is to keep them tuning in.

That understanding couldn’t have been more obvious in “Sinners and Saints” if it had jumped up and down screaming ‘I did magic in the quarter’. One of the more notable aspects of The Originals is that it, somewhat ironically, dispensed with the origin story. We mentioned this before – how the show is likely to be able to make great use of flashbacks because so much is unknown. And that remains true. We got an explanation about why Klaus and the rest of the Mikaelson clan were going to be in New Orleans but, beyond that, we knew very little.

And as the season has progressed, we have more questions rather than fewer, mostly about Davina – who she is, why the witches want her so badly, why she’s so much more powerful than the other witches, and why she’s so close to Marcel. This episode answered those, and Continue reading

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“House of the Rising Son” – The Originals

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 1.24.41 PMVast improvement over last week’s offering here. Blessedly all new scenes, and what scenes they were.

“House of the Rising Son” showed Rebekah’s arrival in New Orleans and the fairly predictable fallout from it. She’s never exactly been the model of emotional stability. It also gave us some background into Klaus’ relationship with Marcel (Klaus saved a young Marcel from a whipping) and Rebekah’s relationship with Marcel (steamy and, no doubt, something to be more deeply explored). It dealt with the issue of abortion (quite well) and showed us Klaus’ paternal side. It gave us a better look at Davina (Marcel’s resident witch, with Carrie-esque powers of persuasion [relative newcomer Danielle Campbell]). And it amped us up for the thrust of the season – unseating Marcel.

Though it’s likely that that particular eventuality will be quite a long way off. The first step for the remaining (undaggered) Mikaelsons will be rescuing Elijah. The need for a rescue is, of course, Klaus’ fault. Giving the daggered Elijah to Marcel in a show of faith was not only cold, it was a bit dumb. Rebekah, finding Elijah with Davina, sees that immediately and, despite Klaus’ deviously ingenious plan to infiltrate Marcel’s inner circle, the Mikaelson priorities will change.

Perhaps most importantly, “House of the Rising Son” also provided us with one important ingredient Continue reading

“The Originals” – Vampire Diaries

Screen Shot 2013-04-30 at 10.31.31 PMWhile we were certainly looking forward to this backdoor pilot for The Originals, we were also somewhat skeptical about the likelihood of its success. Consider us converts to the cause. We’re staunchly pro-Originals now. As pilots go, this sure knew what it was doing. It had intrigue, laughs, drama and twists in all the right amounts. It gave us a taste of what a full-length show might offer, showing us everything from series regulars right down to the potential soundtrack (a hint of edgy indie pop-rock with a sprinkling of New Orleans jazz and blues). It set up the entire run of the first season – which has now been announced as a certainty – by introducing us to potential villains, frenemies and partners. It tantalized us with the prospect of Klaus puppies (how cute would they be?) and a transferral of Klaroline from Mystic Falls to NOLA. Aside from romance and plot, it also gave us the strange feeling that we were watching a better written, less-convoluted version of Treme – embracing the culture and music of New Orleans, without failing to point out that the city is a shadow of its former self.

A little summary of the episode, to set us up for its full season run: Klaus heads to New Orleans to find a witch who is out to get him, but not in the way that he thinks. Here, he meets his old mentee, Marcel (Charles Michael Davis, Grey’s AnatomyThe GameSwitched at Birth), who now runs the city and has turned it into a vampire’s paradise. Through Marcel he finds the witch, Jane-Anne (Malaya Rivera Drew, The L WordER), who is promptly killed. Klaus is wise enough to know that that doesn’t mean the end of anything, and tracks down her sister, Sophie (relative unknown Daniella Pineda). Sophie and the other witches have Hayley captive and demand that Klaus help them to take out Marcel. If he doesn’t Continue reading

“Pictures of You” – Vampire Diaries

Screen Shot 2013-04-21 at 8.42.32 PMWe can’t describe how much we love that Vampire Diaries took time out from its dramatic storylines (sort of) to let the kids go to prom. After week on week of ‘Silas this’ and ‘Elena that’ and ‘Bonnie the other’, this episode gave us a chance to breathe and blow the cobwebs out. It is VD, so we didn’t have a thoroughly drama-free episode by any means, but the action and intrigue was spread out somewhat, leaving us pleasantly calm and brain-fuzz-free by the end of it.

And adding to our enjoyment? Just as prom is a night heavily caked in nostalgia, “Pictures of You” gave us the opportunity to reminisce in our own small way – Jeremy and Tyler made welcome, if temporary, returns to the show. Jeremy appeared as one of Silas’s many guises to screw with Bonnie, while Tyler showed up to give Caroline her perfect prom night.

Elements running through the prom were the continuing fight for the cure (Elijah had promised it to Rebekah on the condition that she go a whole day without using any of her vampy powers), Elena’s continued evilness, and Silas’s continued assholeness. There were a few nice moments – Bonnie and Matt winning prom king and queen, Rebekah and Matt’s touching moment (not literally) after she potentially sacrifices being a human just to act like one, and Caroline going to Klaus for help about her dress – but the rest of it was fraught with drama, even if it was far more manageable than usual. Elena going completely off the deep end and trying to kill Bonnie (and failing spectacularly) was the icing on a somewhat evil cake.

The big stories going forward will be Continue reading

“American Gothic” – Vampire Diaries

This episode of Vampire Diaries was a vast improvement on last week’s. Not that that’s hard. This week didn’t have to be exciting, or groundbreaking, or jaw-dropping. It didn’t have to be full of edge-of-your-seat drama, or life or death situations. It didn’t have to have twists in the plot or, in fact, any plot development at all. And it didn’t have any of those things. What it did have was great storytelling, and a stripped-back, (relatively) pressure-free look at the characters. And, like “After School Special”, that made all the difference. We’re beginning to think that VD is at its best when it focuses more on the people than the mysticism.

Not that this episode was completely devoid of that. Silas features (briefly), this time in the guise of Caroline, and there is still that constant thread relating to the cure. The drama surrounding the cure has been upped, though not significantly. While it is now heading toward Mystic Falls – surprisingly enough, in the hands of Elijah ‘where has he been ‘til now’ Mikaelson – we’re no more concerned or enlightened than we were last week, or the week before, or the week before that. We’re just a little more curious. But only a little bit.

There was a smidge of drama in the form of Damon letting Rebekah take what they both thought was the cure (we were never fooled) because, on some level, he preferred vampire Elena to I’m-allowed-to-make-my-own-decisions-(sometimes)-cos-I’m-human Elena. That drama was short lived (Damon realized his mistake as quickly as Rebekah downed that “cure”), and served only to inspire Stefan to make a decision – when Elena is cured he’s going to break his and Damon’s pattern of falling for (and fighting over) the same girls, and will make sure Elena’s out of his life for good. We don’t think he’s going to kill her, so where does that leave us? Will they be going to different colleges in the Fall, or something?

The most concentrated drama (possibly in all VD history*) came in the form of Elena finally and completely flipping her lid. This also marked the point at which we stopped preferring vampire Elena to I-don’t-kill-innocent-people-who-are-just-trying-to-give-me-my-free-refill Elena. We are finally willing to admit that she’s not better when she’s being bad – this week, she just went too far. Though this does land our boys in a sticky predicament – do they keep trying to convince Elena to take the cure, thereby risking innocent lives, or wait for her to figure it out on her own damn time? We all know she’s eventually going to be human again. Now all that’s left is to find out how. Are we the only ones wishing the writers would just get that over with already?

Charming romance (read: screaming matches and sizzling, off-the-charts tension) was prevalent between Klaus and Caroline. And that’s something else we wish the writers would just get on with. It’s been long enough to make it believable if Caroline gives in. So make it happen, thanks. In the meantime, we’ll just have to make do with the smoldering glances and lingering pauses. And the joy of watching Caroline being slowly proven wrong about someone.

Our only problem with the episode was what wasn’t in it – Bonnie. After the dramatic twist to the end of last week’s episode, we were hoping for some scenes in which Bonnie wrestled with her guilt and grief over Jeremy’s death. This sounds sadistic, we know, but we were sort of looking forward to some real, human moments. Maybe we’ll get them next week.

And now we end on some broad supposition and speculation. As we move forward, here’s where we stand: the cure is completely in Mikaelson hands. Elijah doesn’t immediately matter to the outcome. He just wants to give Klaus the cure in exchange for his girlfriend Katherine’s freedom. What happens next is really anyone’s guess. Will Klaus give it to Silas, let his sister have it, or cram it down Elena’s throat so that he gets his doppelgänger back? Until this week, we probably would have been Team Rebekah, but now? We’re not so sure. We’re dying to get Elena back (for the aforementioned reasons and to see how things with she and Damon play out), but we’re also curious about what they would face with Silas. Whether he gets his cure or not, he’s certainly going to be the Big Bad next season. All that remains to be seen is how the pieces will align against him, and what exactly they’ll be fighting. – K

Quoteworthy:

“She lied.”

“I hate to say I told you so, but… duh!”

– Elijah, Elena

 

*(We’re lying…