"The Originals," a backdoor pilot of "The Vampire Diaries," introduced an intriguing New Orleans setting, a charming and dangerous new character, and a pregnancy twist.
Fans and critics gave the series a thumbs-up, and The CW responded by picking it up for the fall.
"The Originals has a lot of promise," TV Line proclaims. Entertainment Weekly loves the new character, Marcel. "Charles Michael Davis totally held his own. He had an energy that filled the screen. I want to see more of him." Liane Bonin Starr of HitFix writes, "This mash-up of new and interesting with oldies-but-goodies sounds like a gumbo worthy of my time."
Just watched last nights Vampire Diaries, I really hope that The Originals gets picked up. I loved it :)— Fix A Heart(@Lovatic_Love114) April 26, 2013
"The Originals" starts out in Mystic Falls, with Elena locked up and desiccating in the Salvatore cell. Damon and Stefan are shocked when Katherine shows up, because she's been running from Klaus for hundreds of years. "Klaus is gone," she says with a shrug. He's left to track down the witch, Jane-Anne, that she warned him about.
In NOLA, Hayley is still searching for information about her family. She meets Jane-Anne, who gives her a map to a remote part of the bayou. As she leaves, Jane-Anne steals a lock of Hayley's hair. Jane-Anne's sister, Sophie, is really worried about what she's planning -- some kind of spell that involves the werewolf. In the bayou, the spell knocks Hayley out cold.
Klaus arrives in the Big Easy and presents himself to Marcel, his fun-loving, charming protégé. Even though Klaus built this town, his father ran him out of it over a hundred years ago. And now Marcel rules it with an iron fist in a velvet glove. He's persuaded the humans to look the other way, chased away the werewolves, and locked down the witches with some kind of secret "thing."
When Klaus reveals why he's back in the city -- to look for Jane-Anne -- Marcel has his minions drag the witch out into the street and holds a showy public "trial." She broke his rules not to do magic -- and she pays the price with her life. Even Klaus looks disturbed by Marcel's murderous pageantry -- and this is superevil Klaus we're talking about!
Still, Klaus really wants to know what Jane-Anne was up to, so he goes looking for her sister, Sophie. She won't talk to him, though, because he's been tailed by two of Marcel's minions. This pisses off Klaus, who warns them not to follow him anymore. When Sophie heads to the basement, the minions come after her, but she's saved by Elijah (swoon!). He asks her what her family wants from his.
Klaus storms into one of Marcel's parties (when isn't he having a good time?) and asks for an explanation. Marcel placates him and mentions that he has something that controls the witches. Or maybe he doesn't -- maybe he's bluffing. They spy a blond bartender walking alone, and Marcel jumps away to flirt with her.
Elijah shows up and draws Klaus away to the cemetery, where Sophie is waiting. She reveals that the witches want to get rid of Marcel, but they need Klaus's help. Right, why should he help them? They bring in Hayley, and Sophie tells him that one of nature's loopholes has left her pregnant -- with Klaus's baby!
Go behind the scenes of the making of "The Originals":
Jane-Anne's spell confirmed the pregnancy but also gave them control over the baby. If he wants it to live, he has to go along with their plan. Klaus hears the baby's heartbeat -- it's real, it's true. But no matter. "Kill her and the baby. What do I care?" he says.
Elijah chases Klaus down and begs him to reconsider. This is their chance to start over, to have the family they always craved. But Klaus still refuses.
He goes to Marcel again, demanding to know what he has over the witches. The protégé turns cold. This is his town now; Klaus may have built it, but he ran away. Because of him, the party never stops and the blood keeps flowing. "What's mine is yours. But it is mine," Marcel says. And anybody who breaks the rules dies.
Infuriated, Klaus bites one of Marcel's minions. He broke a rule, but he cannot be killed. "Who has the power now?"
Out on the street, Klaus comes across a man furiously painting on a canvas. He spies the blond bartender, Camille. She says every artist has a story; this one is angry, lost, and alone. She's describing Klaus himself. He tears up and disappears.
Elijah finds his brother sitting on a bench, looking thoughtful.
"This town was my home once, and in my absence, Marcel has gotten everything I ever wanted: loyalty, family. I made him in my own image, and he has bettered me," Klaus muses. "I want what he has. I want to be king."
Then, he adds with a smile, "Every king needs an heir." The baby will live!
Sophie outlines her plan to Klaus: He needs to become part of Marcel's inner circle and find out if he really has something to control the witches. To do that, Klaus makes peace and heals the minion he bit. He requests Marcel's permission to stay in town for a while.
Back in Mystic Falls, Elijah is trying to persuade Rebekah to join them in New Orleans, but she refuses. "I owe him nothing. I wish him no joy," she says of Klaus. She wants to stay and make her own life here.
Katherine comes in, and says that's a good idea -- one her and Elijah should follow together. She suggest they run away together, but Elijah kisses her on the forehead and tells her goodbye.
In the Salvatore cell, Elena still looks awful when Damon comes in with a bag of blood. Eagerly, she gulps it down -- but it's been vervained. Is she angry, scared, frustrated -- anything? Any emotion?
Nope. She's still Robot Vampire Elena. And if they want to play games, she's in it to win.
What did you think of 'The Originals' as a spinoff? Are you excited to see Klaus take on Marcel in New Orleans?
Watch a preview of the next episode of "Vampire Diaries":
"The Vampire Diaries" airs Thursdays at 8 PM on The CW.