[This is a review of The Originals season 3, episode 1. There will be SPOILERS.]
Season 3 of The Originals kicks off with a look at just how bad wigs were in 1002 A.D. Unfortunately, as we saw in flashbacks throughout the rest of the episode, wig technology just didn't get any better over the next few hundred years.
While it's always fun to jump back through time and see the earlier days of the first family of vampires, this show has never managed to get wigs that look better than your typical box-store Halloween costume. I get that CW budgets aren't on par with HBO, or even AMC, apparently, but can someone invest some money into making their hair look believable?
At least it was fun to see Claire Holt return as Rebekah for yet another guest appearance. I always thought she was one of the stronger personalities on the show, and a much-needed distraction from the testosterone-fueled sibling rivalry between Klaus (Joseph Morgan) and Elijah (Daniel Gillies). The Originals has never been quite the same without her, and big sister Freya just isn't up to the task -- something she admits to readily enough in a letter to Rebekah.
With Rebekah (in any body) away from the show in the present, the most exciting character to watch remains Elijah. I know Klaus is the reason for the existence of this Vampire Diaries spinoff, but there is something about the way Gillies portrays Elijah. He's so calm and collected and downright menacing at the same time. Watching him hunt the wolf hunters was a thing of beauty. All of the Mikaelsons have a penchant for drama, but no one can deliver a monlogue like Gillies -- and look so sharp in a suit, while slaughtering killers.
That's not to say Klaus' journey from the dark side -- which was supposed to be his arc for this series -- hasn't been interesting to watch. He's got a long way to go, and he's got a new challenge to his burgeoning humanity in the form of his progeny, Lucien.
Lucien arrives in New Orleans with dire news about sire lines. As we've learned on this and TVD, if a vampire is killed, then every vampire he or she sired dies also. As the Mikaelsons are original vampires, their deaths mean a lot of vampire deaths, which would certainly be beneficial to any other sire lines seeking to leverage their own positions for power. Vampire politics. How very True Blood of you, Originals.
Lucien basically told Klaus he needed to get back to living up to his centuries-old reputation as the absolutely terrifying original vampire-werewolf hybrid that he is. It was shortly after this meeting that Klaus responded to a critic of his art by eviscerating him in an alley. But he also paid Camille (Leah Pipes) a late-night visit. She's been cold to him in recent months, standing up to his bullying ways and temper tantrums. I'll be honest, I thought that Lucien's words had gotten in Klaus' head and he was going to start threatening Camille when she shut him down again, but he didn't. Instead, he told her he'd painted her a picture and disappeared.
It was almost touching. Camille will be the one to bring his humanity out, but at the same time is this necessarily a good thing? If you're at the top of the food chain, doesn't that mean everyone is gunning for you? It's a dangerous time to be an original vampire. Perhaps finding his softer side is a bad idea for someone in Klaus' position. That said, Elijah and Rebekah both have managed to find that balance where you don't want to mess with them, but they've still learned how to care about other people.
Elijah's love for Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) and the rest of her pack is why he ruthlessly slaughtered the men sent to hunt the wolves in the woods. As you'll recall, she and her pack have been cursed to only be human during the full moon. To add tension to her dire situation, a new owner bought the land they've been living on and is looking to clear it of dangerous wildlife. We know at least one female werewolf aside from Hayley survived, but many wolves did not. It remains to be seen what Hayley's fate will be, as Davina spirited her away from the wo0ds for her own reasons.
Now that she's in charge of the witches, Davina's feeling the pressure. The witches aren't respecting her, and disrespect leads to rebellion. Davina has to decide if she's going to fight back and maintain her position of power, or give it up. How Hayley will play into that remains to be seen, but hopefully it will result in Hayley being able to stay human again.
She's been sidelined from the show and her baby long enough already. Tonkin deserves to stand on her own two legs and rejoin the cast. Plus, having her back would create just one more bit of tension for Klaus as he would have to share his baby with her mother. And as if all of that wasn't enough, there's a serial killer on the loose. The end of the episode seems to make it pretty clear who it is, which brings into question what Lucien is really in town for. When he told Klaus he was the only person Klaus could trust, every red flag in my house went up, and I was actually happy when Klaus said he trusts no one.
The ritual killings are going to start to cause a problem in New Orleans, which could be bad for Marcel and his vampires -- which he has back under his control -- as well as the first family. Something's brewing and things are going to get dark.
It's kind of funny, but as I'm writing this, I can't help but think about Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff Angel. There are obvious similarities between that pair of shows and this pair of shows, including the fact that the parent series has a decidedly lighter tone than the spinoff. Angel was brooding just as The Originals is brooding. BTVS was much lighter than TVD, but still there are some striking similarities.
The slight difference being that I would say Elijah is more the Angel of this show. Klaus is clearly Spike.
The Originals continues next Thursday with 'You Hung the Moon' @9pm on The CW. Check out a preview below: