For two seasons, The Originals’s theme has been heavily focused on family, and this is extra apparent in “Ashes to Ashes” as the Mikaelson siblings–despite a heavy lack of trust and an excess of anger–team up to defeat a common enemy.
“Fire with Fire” is an immense improvement over last week’s lackluster episode, mainly because Klaus’s apparent regression/lack of character development is proven to be a ruse. While Klaus remains a frustratingly fickle and emotional character, “Fire with Fire” is proof not only that Klaus is capable of character growth, but also that the show’s writers have the intention of developing him further.
Last week, Klaus was arguably the biggest weakness in an otherwise excellent episode, and not much has changed this week: he remains frustratingly temperamental and fickle in “City Beneath the Sea,” an episode that tries to garner sympathy for Dahlia and Klaus, two villains who believe themselves to be unjustly accused, and only serves as a reminder that they are, without a doubt, the villains of this story.
“When the Levee Breaks” is undeniably one of season two’s best offerings; it’s simultaneously heartbreaking, thrilling, and incredibly tense. The Originals consistently operates at peak performance when a finale looms near, and this episode is no exception.
After several long weeks of hemming and hawing, The Originals finally makes good on their promise of Dahlia’s arrival, and she absolutely does not disappoint. “Night Has a Thousand Eyes” is the best episode the show has offered in a while, as The Originals finally feels like it has some genuine momentum going forward.
After several long weeks of stilted storylines, The Originals is finally wrapping up loose ends (Eva Sinclair, Esther) in prepartion for Dahlia’s extra long-awaited arrival. As a result, “Exquisite Corpse” contains more momentum and action than the last few episodes the show’s offered, and that’s a good thing–The Originals operates best when it’s surging forward, rather than stumbling aimlessly along.
“Save My Soul” could’ve easily been a lackluster episode, thanks to large chunks of exposition, flashbacks, and slow forward momentum, but, luckily, The Originals keeps the episode interesting by honing in on the various characters’ relationships while simultaneously teasing the arrival of future Big Bad Dahlia.
While by no means bad, “They All Asked For You” feels exactly like an episode in statis; nothing of real significance happens, aside from some character bonding and set-up for future episodes (particularly with Rebekah and Freya).
“I Love You, Goodbye” would be a relatively flawless episode–emotional and beautiful and well-done–if it weren’t for one fatal flaw: The Originals’s insistence that death doesn’t mean one is permanently dead and gone. Seriously, the episode is borderline fantastic, and it expertly welds the happy moments with the tragic, until Rebekah insists, as Kol dies, that she will do anything to bring him back. And, looking at the show’s history (even in the episode itself, where someone is literally brought back from the dead), there’s almost no doubt that she will succeed.
While not as eventful or informative as last week’s episode, “Sanctuary” is still a decent, but not particularly involving, episode of The Originals. To be honest, the episode feels a whole lot like filler, but there are still some gems to be found among the hour, especially in regards to character development and subtle shifts in power–a lot of new knowledge was shared between characters, if not with the audience.
While “Brotherhood of the Damned” isn’t The Originals at peak performance, it’s still a pretty solid and well-told hour. Though the spotlight is undeniably on Marcel for the majority of the episode, the most intense moments occur when the four Mikaelson brothers are forced into a mental trophy room together; season 2 has already proved unafraid to delve into the psychological struggles of being immortal and 1,000 years old, and “Brotherhood of the Damned” only furthers this theme.
The Originals, Ep. 2.10, “Gonna Set Your Flag on Fire” stumbles with uncharacteristic behavior, cheap ploys
After such a seemingly-long winter hiatus, The Originals is finally back; unfortunately, the premiere is a decidedly weak opening in the wake of such an excellent midseason finale. The episode isn’t all bad–Cami and Elijah’s brief trivia match is a definite highlight–but the episode is bogged down by some unexpectedly cheap ploys and uncharacteristic character moments.
The Originals may only be halfway through its sophomore season, but the show sure knows how to deliver a solid, and thoroughly entertaining, mid-season finale. Of course, it helps that the episode features both Elijah and Klaus cooing over a baby girl, as well as enough familial drama, surprise twists, and romantic encounters to keep fans satiated until January.
The Originals, Ep. 2.08, “The Brothers That Care Forgot” highlights the division between werewolves, vampires
“The Brothers That Care Forgot” is one of the best episodes of the season, and not just because Rebekah and Hope make a rare appearance, though how many vampire dramas can beat the sight of an ancient vampire as handsome as Daniel Gillies cradling a newborn? Baby cuddling aside, the episode does an excellent job shifting the character dynamics around–several new teams are formed with surprising players.
While “Chasing the Devil’s Tail” is by no means a bad episode, it’s not a particularly stunning one, either. Rather than significantly advance the plot, the episode mainly sets up future, and probably more eventful, episodes. Character relationships are deepened or fundamentally shifted, and several key players are moved into new, more dangerous locations.
As per usual this season, “Wheel Inside the Wheel” is another episode stuffed with family drama, bloodshed, and some interesting new revelations, particularly with regard to Esther.
Though “Red Door” is full of exposition–both visual and vocal via Esther–quite a lot still happens to progress this season’s story forward. Season 2 is very heavy with information about the original family, but a family as old as the Mickaelsons has an awful lot of exciting and emotional and interesting stories to tell, both in the past and in the present.
The Originals loves its dynamic cast of characters, and the show especially loves playing with new teams and one-on-one pair-ups for an extra layer of character development. While “Live and Let Die” does stick some old friends together–Cami and Klaus, Marcel and Elijah–the episode also introduces quite a few new, and very fun, partnerships, like Hayley and Marcel, Elijah and Gia, and Josh and Aiden. The end result is an extremely satisfying hour of character-driven television.
It may be more true in horror than in any other genre that certain subgenres ebb and flow in popularity over time. Vampires were hot in the mid-’90s when you had Interview with the Vampire, From Dusk Till Dawn, Blade and the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Then, vampires sat out of popular discourse for the next ten years or so, until the double whammy of Twilight and True Blood hitting in 2008, causing a tidal wave of vampiric fiction from the arty (Only Lovers Left Alive, Byzantium) to the schlocky (Dracula Untold, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter) that hasn’t slowed down since.
The majority of “Every Mother’s Son” is a set-up for future episodes, and the episode is pretty good for what it ultimately is. A lot of grade-A decisions are made during the hour that’ll only make future episodes better and more compelling. After only three episodes, this season seems to be on relatively-solid footing, and “Every Mother’s Son” does a good job fleshing out what to expect in the forthcoming weeks.
The Originals is so much more fun with the whole family around. Despite being named after the first vampire family, The Originals began with only half of it’s namesake present; of course, the majority of them were dead. But, it’s a good thing the show found a way around this minor problem, because no other family on earth is capable of creating the same level of drama as the titular Mikaelson’s.
There’s no fear of the sophomore slump here–The Originals is a show that clearly knows what it’s doing. The second season opener is just as intense, well-acted, and well-shot as the very best episodes of the first season. Even comparisons to sister show The Vampire Diaries are no longer relevant here, as The Originals is quickly becoming its own beast.
The (undead) beating heart of this series has been, from the very beginning, family. Fittingly, the first season of the series ends on a thoroughly familial note, with several generations of originals gathered together once again. Despite last week’s not-so-excellent episode, “From a Cradle to a Grave” proves how genuinely great this show still is and can be.