Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched the series premiere of The Originals, stop reading now. This episode wasn’t the same one that aired as a backdoor pilot during Vampire Diaries last spring. It was told from Elijah’s perspective and included more new characters, more flashbacks, and (gasp!) more dagger action.
We opened with a flashback showing Elijah, Rebekah, and their half-sibling Klaus arriving in New Orleans 300 years ago via ship from Europe with brothers Kol and Finn daggered in coffins. It established that Elijah is the negotiator, Rebekah is easily annoyed by Klaus, and Klaus is bloodthirsty. Also, that we should be prepared for carnage — both serious and kitschy. In the current day, Elijah chatted up Camille, the Big Easy bartender with a grad degree in psychology we met in the pilot. She told him where to find someone who could help him locate Jane-Anne, the witch Klaus believed was conspiring against him. That person was a witch who makes her money as a tour guide. She knew who Elijah was: “Original vampire, always wears a suit.” Swoon. She told him he was too late to speak with Jane-Anne, but Jane-Anne’s sister Sophie would want to speak with him. They found her and the other witches mourning over Jane-Anne’s dead body. Her spirit can’t rest until her body has been properly entered in the cemetery. Who killed her? Marcel, as those who watched the pilot already knew. He made his entrance with his inner circle of athletic vampire friends. I’m digging that about The Originals: The vamps are more physical than they are on TVD. Marcel came off as a total dick: He’d killed Jane-Anne because a little birdie told him she was doing magic, which the witches aren’t allowed to practice in the French Quarter. He took Jane-Anne’s body and won’t give it back until Sophie tells him why Jane-Anne was looking for his old mentor, vampire-werewolf hybrid Klaus. Elijah saw everything from an outdoor balcony — thank you, New Orleans.
Elijah phoned Rebekah and updated her on the situation he and Klaus had walked into. If you watched the TVD premiere (read that recap), you know it was a good night to take a bubble batch on The CW. Elijah wants Rebekah to come help. She’s not ready to. (I suspect the fact that Elijah’s calls stop is what brings Rebekah to New Orleans in the next episode.) Elijah saved Sophie from two of Marcel’s vamps harassing her outside Rousseau’s, where she works as a cook, while she lit candles for her sister. That told new fans Elijah doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty (literally, he ripped out one guy’s heart, which is a bit of a signature move) — though funny how his suit never gets stained. “I’m Elijah. You heard of me?” he asked. YES. He wanted to know what business her family had with Klaus.
Sophie took him to the cemetery, which is sacred ground so vamps have to be invited in. We’ll need to remember that, I bet. Sophie spilled the big shocker from the pilot: Hayley the werewolf is pregnant with Klaus’ baby. Elijah asked to speak with Hayley alone so she could open her mind to him (insert inappropriate joke about opening other things for Elijah — you’re terrible!). Elijah held his hands gently to her head and showed her Klaus’ story as he narrated it. A thousand years ago, Klaus and his siblings were all human, and Klaus and Elijah had bad long hair. After their youngest brother was killed by a werewolf, their father forced their mother, who dabbled in the dark arts, to use black magic to turn them into something stronger, faster, and immortal. The problem: It also made them hungry for human blood. After Klaus killed his first human, his werewolf curse was activated. Their mother had had an affair with a werewolf . The father that raised Klaus made his mother do a spell to suppress Klaus’ werewolf side — and Elijah helped shackle Klaus in place for it. “Your dad was a dick,” Hayley said. Then she introduced herself to Elijah since he was telling her his life story. For new viewers, Elijah continued: After Klaus finally became the Hybrid, he killed his father. It brought him no peace. Maybe this baby would, Elijah told Hayley. That’s what Sophie was hoping Elijah would say. Since Marcel drove the werewolves out of New Orleans decades ago, odds are he won’t be sending a baby present. If Elijah convinces Klaus to overthrow Marcel, the witches won’t tell Marcel about the baby.
Elijah fetched Klaus and took him to the cemetery. Klaus wasn’t happy hearing about the miracle/loophole baby. Sophie said Jane-Anne had died to do the spell that confirmed it was his. So now the witches control the fates of Hayley and her baby. They can protect her, or they can kill her if Klaus doesn’t help them. Elijah offered to kill Marcel himself, but then we wouldn’t have a show. Sophie said they have a clear plan they must follow and there are rules. Uh-oh. “Rules” is not a word Klaus likes. Elijah braced for Klaus to fly off the handle, and he did. But then Elijah told him to listen. Their super vamp hearing could pick up the baby’s heartbeat. Elijah smiled. He thought he’d done it. “Kill her, and the baby, what do I care?” Klaus said. And off he went.
Elijah trailed after him and reminded him that all they’ve ever wanted since their parents turned on them is a family. Daniel Gillies, who plays Elijah, reminded us how great he is in exposition scenes. He gave Klaus the hard sell, said he’d stay and help him reclaim his home and throne. You thought Klaus would say yes. But no. Elijah went back to see the witches, and we learned why they’re not afraid Klaus will just kill them: Jane-Anne’s last spell had linked Sophie to Hayley, so whatever happens to Sophie happens to Hayley. Elijah won’t let Klaus kill them. Knowing how much family means to Elijah, what he’s already sacrificed for it, I have to think Elijah respects Sophie for that play.
Elijah followed Klaus to one of Marcel’s parties. Klaus wanted to know what Marcel has on the witches, and Marcel wasn’t telling. Marcel made the mistake of calling New Orleans his town. “My home, my family, my rules.” Charles Michael Davis, who plays Marcel, is a charmer in real life, so seeing him go all nasty — “And I’m not the prince of the Quarter, friend, I’M THE KING. Show me some respect!” — that’s acting. Klaus’ move: He bit one of Marcel’s friends. A werewolf bite is fatal to vamps. Marcel kills people who break his rules, but as Klaus reminded him, “I am immortal. Who has the power now, friend?” The blood on Joseph Morgan’s mouth just accentuated his rosy lips, right? Focus. FOCUS.
After another call to Rebekah, Elijah tracked down Marcel, who was sitting mafia-style in a bar — back to the wall, facing the door, his people ready to jump to his aid. Marcel wouldn’t tell Elijah how he controls the witches no matter how cheekily he asked. He told him Klaus had come into town all friendly, then looked down his nose at what Marcel had done with the town since the Originals fled 100 years ago — like it was a knockoff of one of Klaus’ paintings. (Yes, Klaus paints, new viewers. And he draws.) “Then he gets pissed off, like a little bitch, and bites one of my guys,” Marcel continued. Elijah told him Klaus’ blood also saves vamps from werewolf bites. In exchange for that, Elijah wanted the body of Jane-Anne to return to the witches. See, Elijah is the master negotiator. He took the body to the witches as proof of his intention to help them. He just needs more time. Either they accept the deal and keep Hayley and the baby alive, or he’ll help Klaus kill the witches.
Next came my favorite scene of the episode. Elijah caught up to Klaus, who was drinking and walking through the closed-up farmers market. I liked seeing Elijah toss Klaus around. Once he had him in a modified headlock, he told him he’d never let go of the idea that Klaus could find redemption. Klaus decided to fight back and gave Elijah a pitch. Elijah ripped off one of the bars from the gate and used it like a bat to beat Klaus as their father used to, to remind him of his humanity, to care about anything. That was hot until Klaus grabbed the rod and used it on Elijah. Then there was a cease-fire. Elijah was on the ground. Klaus stood near him, emotionally spent.
Klaus: You’re beyond pathetic, Elijah.
Elijah: Well who’s more pathetic: The one who sees hope to make his family whole, or the coward who can only see the world through his own fear?
Klaus: I haven’t cared about anything for centuries. Why on earth do you?
Elijah: Well, because I failed you. Because the first time our father laid a hand on you, I should have struck him dead. And I made a promise to you: [Tears in his eyes] Always and forever. Family above all.
Klaus: [Laughs at Elijah's relentlessness, then gives Elijah his hand to help him up and keeps a hold of it] You are a sentimental fool.
Elijah: Perhaps. [Fixes suit jacket] But I’ve lasted this long in spite of it, haven’t I? [Looks in Klaus' eyes, walks off]
I teared up. This is the relationship that will keep me tuning in. And the quality of acting. And that music, which I hope becomes the brothers’ theme.
Next came a voiceover from Elijah about family with another montage: Rebekah ignored another call from Elijah, the witches put Jane-Anne to rest, and Klaus told Elijah that he wants what Marcel has. He wants to be king. Is that all the child means to Klaus? Elijah thinks it can give Klaus the one thing he’s never believed he’s had — the unconditional love of family. New viewers, it’s those moments when Joseph Morgan is teary-eyed that will keep you from hating Klaus. Klaus told Elijah to pass the message along to Sophie: They have a deal.
The next scene in the Originals’ new mansion established the connection between Elijah and the one-night stand caring his brother’s baby. He was the first person to ask Hayley how she feels about being a mother. She’s not sure: Her birth parents abandoned her, and her adoptive parents kicked her out when she turned into a wolf. (Who did she kill? We’ll find out someday, no doubt.) She’s never had a good mother. Elijah assured her he’d always protect her. She has his word on that, he said. So wait, maybe that chemistry was paternal and not sexual between Elijah and Hayley? It’d be a bit too TVD to have the brothers in a love triangle. Klaus said Elijah’s plan for getting him back into Marcel’s good graces had worked: Klaus gave his blood to save the vamp he’d bitten and all is well. Elijah said he thinks the witches are honorable, though they’re hiding something — like what Marcel has on them. Why don’t they want him dead?
Cut to a young woman playing with candlelight in an attic. She can sense when witches do magic. And she doesn’t want the Originals to hurt Marcel. As powerful as she is, Marcel said, they don’t stand a chance. WHAT? Can her magic hurt an Original or just shield him somehow? Back at Original Mansion, Elijah and Klaus discussed Rebekah. Elijah hopes she’ll come to help them fight Marcel’s army of vampires; Klaus hopes she stays away. Klaus has realized there’s one massive vulnerability/weakness that Marcel could exploit: “You,” he told Elijah, putting a dagger in his chest. “Forgive me, my brother. There is no power in love. Mercy makes you weak. Family makes you weak. If I’m going to win this war, I have to do it alone.” He said that, cradling Elijah as he desiccated. That is Klaus’ idea of family. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Klaus dagger Elijah after Elijah came to his rescue (if you’re a TVD fan). But it made me gasp. Partly because I don’t want to see Gillies sidelined for any period of time. Partly because… no, that’s pretty much it. Fix this, Rebekah. And quick.
What did you think of the premiere? Will you keep watching? How many episodes can you stand for Elijah to be in a box?