April 19, 2018

SHOWBUZZDAILY Season Premiere Review: “The Originals”


THE ORIGINALS:  Wednesday 9PM on CW

Season 4 of THE ORIGINALS worked very hard to break up its band of vampires, werewolves, witches and hybrids thereof, which meant that the premiere of the show’s fifth and final season had its hands full trying to bring them back together.  Mikaelson family members Klaus (Joseph Morgan), Elijah (Daniel Gillies), Rebekah (Claire Holt) and Kol (Nathaniel Buzolic) were under strict orders not to even be in the same city, because the combined power of the ancient Hollow, divided among the four, would lead its undead spirit straight into the body of Klaus’s daughter Hope, and also cause death, mayhem, and general unpleasantness.

Seven years are supposed to have passed since that point, although between that time jump and the 5-year gap at the start of Season 4, you’d expect there to be flying cars gliding among the buildings of New Orleans, instead of mere 2018 tech.  But no, we entered the action of the season premiere script by Supervising Producer (and one-time Vampire Diaries cast member) Marguerite MacIntyre–in addition, the episode was directed by series creator/showrunner Julie Plec–to discover that little had changed, beyond the fact that Hope (now played by Danielle Rose Russell) had become a rebellious teen.

The various supernatural groups had maintained an uneasy peace in New Orleans, supervised by witches Vincent (Yusuf Gatewood) and Freya (Riley Voelkel), another Mikaelson.  Her siblings were mostly scattered, although Klaus couldn’t resist spending some time near Elijah in Paris, where the latter, who had made himself amnesic so as not even to remember his brothers and sisters, was doing the Billy Joel thing in a piano bar.  Their mere contact caused all liquids near the Mikaelsons worldwide to spontaneously transform into blood, not a great sign.  Nevertheless, by the end of the hour, Klaus was making his way to Mikaelson Central in New Orleans, roused by the sudden disappearance of Hope’s mother Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin).

The Originals has 13 hours to reach its climax, and at least in its opening episode it was taking its time, pausing to once again break up Rebekah and her on-again, off-again love Marcel (Charles Michael Davis), and to make way for a guest appearance by Vampire Diaries OG Caroline (Candice King), whose Hogwartz-like school Hope attends when she’s not being suspended for creating hybrids.  It was pleasant to see the old favorites, and after the tangents of the last few seasons, to concentrate on the core characters, although Plec and her staff will have to toe a line between detours and too much familiarity.

Now that superhero sagas have taken over pop culture, a gothic supernatural romance like The Originals feels comparatively, well… original.  While never as clever or moving as the best of Vampire Diaries, it favored character over action for its own sake, and one hopes it will exit as its best self.  This has been Plec’s mythology from the start, so she should be the right one to bring it home.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."