The Originals, Season 2, Episode 2, “Alive and Kicking”
Written by Michelle Paradise and Michael Narducci
Directed by Jeffrey Hunt
Airs Mondays at 8pm EST on The CW
On this week’s The Originals, Marcel and Elijah search for the white oak stake, Klaus helps Hayley combat her savage side, Kaleb treats Davina to a violent dinner, and Mikael attempts to escape.
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.
Unfortunately, The Originals chose to bring Mikaelson mama Esther back in the form of a small and thoroughly non-threatening teenage woman. So far, she’s proved to be fairly underwhelming as a threat. If she’s to be (one of) the season’s big bads, the show really needs to do a better job showcasing what she’s capable of–on The Vampire Diaries, Esther was one of the most formidable threats against Klaus and Elijah. Mikael is already a much more terrifying threat, which is mostly kudos to Sebastian Roché, who has always done an excellent job portraying a hateful father (even now, when he’s helplessly trapped in a room by a young witch). Honestly, the longer the entire Mikaelson clan remains in New Orleans, the better–that family has several centuries of familial drama and story to explore.
“Alive and Kicking” does briefly delve into some Mikaelson history in flashbacks, which are well-done (particularly the brutal Shakespeare performance) but still somewhat unnecessary, aside from highlighting the tensions between Kol, Klaus, and Elijah. The cold open flashback, however, is brilliant. It nicely pairs a modern rock song with a scene set in the 1700s–the juxtaposition is incredibly reminiscent of the entire show, which is also a mix of centuries-old vampires with a modern city and modern life. It’s just a very good scene, overall.
One of the overarching themes of the episode–and, of course, the entire show–is family. At the very center of this theme is Klaus and Hayley, who are grieving over the loss of their child very similarly. This doesn’t bode well for Hayley, who is behaving a lot like Klaus at his brutal worst. Hayley was never really a gentle character–she was always passionate and strong–but her descent into a murderous, savage beast is disheartening. Not only is she capable of being so much more (like an intelligent leader), but also this show only has room for one Klaus. However, by episode’s end, it does appear that the show has bigger plans for the development of her character.
“Alive and Kicking” is a great followup to last week’s excellent opener, but there’s still some wiggle room for improvement. This season still feels a little somber, and a little more serious, than last season, but it’s only a matter of time before Klaus and Elijah strike back against their parents (meaning an uptick in action). Seriously, bringing the rest of the Mikaelson’s into the season is a Grade A move on the show’s part–so much of Elijah and Klaus’s characters are informed by their history with their family. Now that the siblings know their parents are in town, The Originals is about to become much more intriguing and, above all, entertaining.