‘The Vampire Diaries’: ‘The Originals’ Spinoff Gets the Green Light

"The Vampire Diaries": "The Originals" -- From left: Daniel Gillies, Joseph Morgan and Phoebe Tonkin (Photo: The CW)

Update: The CW has officially picked up “The Vampire Diaries” spinoff, “The Originals,” to series for the 2013-14 TV season, the network announced Friday, the day after the “backdoor pilot” aired.

“As soon as we saw last night’s episode of ‘The Vampire Diaries,’ we knew we wanted more of ‘The Originals’ – Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson have done a fantastic job with ‘The Vampire Diaries,’ which is as fast-paced and well-written as ever, and Julie has created an equally compelling world for ‘The Originals,'” said CW President Mark Pedowitz in a statement.

“The Originals” Episode Recap…

This week’s episode of “The Vampire Diaries” was a backdoor pilot for a proposed spin-off series, “The Originals”, that focused on everyone’s favorite dysfunctional family of ancient vampires. When I heard about the project, I was simultaneously thrilled and concerned. Could Klaus (Joseph Morgan) and the Gang move from antagonists to protagonists? Would the premise be different enough from TVD to merit its own show? Would the new characters that were introduced be interesting? Ultimately, the CW’s executives and the Nielsen households will decide whether “The Originals” earns a timeslot on next fall’s schedule. But in this blogger’s opinion, it should. Sure, there was some very expository dialogue and a few heavy handed moments, but this was an intriguing hour of television that set up a season’s work of intriguing story arcs and created its own mythology. Well played, executive producer Julie Plec.

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Let’s Pretend This Is An Episode of “Vampire Diaries”

The episode was bookended by scenes of Elena (Nina Dobrev), Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder), since ostensibly this is an episode of TVD. In a nutshell, starvation Stefan and Damon are implementing their Torture-Elena-Into-Regaining-Her-Humanity-Plan. Starvation proves ineffective, so Damon feeds her blood laced with vervaine. Unphased, she tells them she looks forward to seeing who breaks first.

A Werewolf in Louisiana

In New Orleans, Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) laments to a bartender that nobody will give her information about her biological family. The bartender tells her that werewolves were run out of New Orleans. She fails to add that Hayley needs to find a really hot packmaster named Alcide. That’s because she, and her fellow bartender, are witches who are sending her on a wild goose chase on the Bayou. Their names are Jane Ann (Malaya Rivera Drew) and Sophie (Daniella Pineda). Jane Ann casts a spell at a cemetery while Hayley drives to the middle of nowhere. Her map bursts into flames. Her engine overheats. She passes out into Sophie’s arms as a group of witches surround her. Worst vacation ever.

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As Anne Rice and “True Blood” Taught Us, Louisiana Is Full of Vampires

How did New Orleans get to be the Official Vampire City? Yes, the city’s real-life Creole-influenced culture theoretically gives it a supernatural flavor, but voodoo is not the same as vampires. How come the undead never show up in Boise, Idaho? Maybe that will be the next spinoff. Klaus roams the French Quarter, attempting to track down the witch Katherine mentioned in her letter to him. It’s none other than Jane Ann Devereaux. A witch who is just hanging out on the sidewalk, as New Orleans witches apparently do, says she can’t talk to him because a vampire named Marcel forbids it. We are introduced to Marcel (Charles Michael Davis) singing “How You Like Me Now” in a bar. Marcel sure seems livelier than the Mystic Falls vampires. The Salvatores like to go to concerts, but they aren’t ready to audition for “The Voice.” Klaus approaches the karaoke master. The two men have a history. Marcel remembers Mikael running Klaus out of town. The other vampires rise up to help Marcel. It appears that they are enemies, but then Marcel says if he knew Klaus was coming back, he’d have thrown a parade. They are vampire bros. In fact, Marcel considers Klaus his mentor. He reveals that in New Orleans, the vampires control the witches. Marcel offers to take him to Jane Ann. They roam through the streets. Another difference between New Orleans and Mystic Falls is that vampires operate in the open. Somehow, Marcel has compelled all humans, including the tourists, to ignore them. There is a vampire hierarchy. Marcel has given all of his minions daywalker rings. The nightwalkers are the¬†lower status “riff raff.” The vampires seem like raucous party animals who like their lifestyle. Some minions bring Jane Ann, whose arms are tied, to the center of a street. Marcel announces she is accused of practicing too much witch craft. She denies it. He offers her leniency if she confesses, then he slashes her throat with a chain. She falls to the ground, dead. Klaus is upset because he wanted to talk to her. Marcel assures him he can find out whatever she knew. Klaus claims that it doesn’t matter now, but he asks a vampire named Jerry if there are more Devereaux witches.

Elijah’s Bad-Ass Entrance

Klaus visits Sophie at the bar. She is scared Marcel will kill her if she talks. Klaus approaches the two vampires who he has noticed are tailing them. He threatens to remove their spines, then buys them expensive scotch in exchange for their silence. The two spy vamps catch Sophie lighting candles, an offense under Marcel’s rules. They menacingly ask her what’s going on with Klaus. Before she can answer, Elijah (Daniel Gilles) kills them both. He may be the most thoughtful, sensitive Original, but he’s fierce in every sense of the word. That’s how you make a dramatic entrance.

Marcel Likes to Withhold Information

Klaus tracks down Marcel at the vampire bar to ask why he is having him followed. Marcel refuses to tell him because he is withholding information for next season. He takes Klaus on a tour of the city, revealing he eats vervaine to build up resistance. He jumps off a roof seemingly to attack a human bartender who will be important later.

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When Christian Allusions and “Teen Mom” Collide

Elijah leads Klaus to a graveyard where Sophie is waiting. She wants him to stop Marcel. She thinks she has the ammunition she needs to motivate him: Hayley is pregnant with his child! Hayley says she knows it's impossible, given that he is a vampire, but she is pregnant with his child. This sort of makes Hayley the Mary of vampire procreation and her future unborn child a possible immortal hybrid like Klaus. Or the savior of vampire kind and the founder of a new religion. Sophie explains this bending of the rules of the show's mythology: He was a werewolf before he was a vampire, and he is an Original, so he can impregnate a wolf. The witches will kill Hayley if Klaus doesn't take down Marcel. Klaus can hear his baby's heart beating inside of Hayley's uterus. For a minute, I thought Klaus would melt like all TV characters who are transformed by fatherhood. Then he tells Elijah, "Kill her and the baby. What do I care?" Awesome. That's the Klaus I know and love.

Elijah, of course, sees it differently. He tells Klaus that this baby is a gift, a chance to start over. Their own parents didn’t want them. Now they can have a family. He makes an impassioned plea that Klaus can stop being defined as the most hated and feared creature and recreate himself as a proud papa. He will stand by him and build a home with him. He tells him to save Hayley and his child. Klaus says, “No.” Bravo, Klaus. Stay true to your terrible, selfish self. This scene reminded me of a really articulate version of all the scenes on “Teen Mom” when the teen dads talk to their friends about fatherhood.

Marcel Proves That Absolute Power Can Lead to Absolute Stupidity

Klaus again asks Marcel about the witches. Marcel again demurs, saying it's his town. These repeated scenes of Klaus saying, "Tell me," and Marcel saying, "No," are the weakest part of the episode. If the question isn't going to be answered, then don't keep asking it. We do get some backstory when Klaus reminds Marcel that 100 years ago he was still recovering from being a slave. I wonder if Marcel crossed paths with the Salvatores during the Civil War. Marcel expositions that Klaus built up New Orleans, but he finished the job. If anyone breaks his rules, they die. He's not the prince of the quarter. He's the king. "Show me some respect." Klaus responds by biting one of Marcel's friends. He points out that he broke one of Marcel's rules but can't be killed because he's immortal. I don't know why Marcel didn't think of that when he was bragging. Klaus reminds him that werewolf bites are fatal for a vampire, then asks, "Who has the power now, friend?"

Full Episodes of “The Vampire Diaries” Are Available on xfinityTV:

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Klaus Meets Another Blonde Who Likes Art

Klaus watches a painter at work on the street, because in New Orleans, creativity is everywhere. He realizes the human bartender that Marcel went after earlier is also watching. So maybe she’s not completely human. Her name tag identified her as Camille (Leah Pipes). She asks to be called Cami. She observes that every artist has a story, then proceeds to describe the painter unaware (or is she?) that she is also describing Klaus: He’s angry, dark, and wishes he could control his demons instead of having his demons control him. She asks if he paints. Klaus acknowledges he does, without sharing that he, like an 11-year-old girl, likes to paint horses.

Put a Fork in Katherine and Elijah

Elijah asks Rebekah to follow him to New Orleans. She's still whining about the cure. He tells her their new family will be better than being human. Rebekah refuses and suggests Elijah stay away from Klaus as well. Katherine, who is hanging out in Mystic Falls now that Klaus is gone, agrees with Rebekah. She wants to hit the road with Elijah. It's their turn. Elijah sexily kisses her forehead, then tells her goodbye.

Klaus Clearly States the Thesis for the Show

Elijah joins Klaus on a park bench. He psychoanalyzes himself talking about how Mikael made him feel powerless. You’d think after over 1,000 years he’d have gotten over his Daddy issues. Marcel has everything he ever wanted. “I made him in my image and he has bettered me. I want what he has. I want to be king.” Elijah asks about the baby. He says, “Every king needs an heir.” I approve of Klaus deciding to save Hayley and his baby for strategic, empire building purposes. Let’s hope the creature ages as fast as a child on a daytime soap, or the other vampire baby, Connor on “Angel“.

Klaus tells Marcel he slept on it and wants to be friends now. He offers his blood to heal the injured vampire. He tells Marcel he would like to stay if he is still welcome. Marcel, who is either really stupid or a great bluffer, grins and agrees.

“The Vampire Diaries” airs Thursdays at 8/7c on The CW.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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