12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: THE ORIGINALS – SAVIOR

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SAVIOR
MAIN CAST
Joseph Morgan (Immortals)
Daniel Gillies (Young Hercules)
Phoebe Tonkin (Bait)
Charles Michael Davis (Battle Scars)
Leah Pipes (Sorority Row)
Danielle Campbell (Behind Closed Doors)
Yusuf Gatewood (Wonder Boys)
Riley Voelkel (The Newsroom)
GUEST CAST
Claire Holt (Mean Girls 2)
Nathan Parsons (Teeth)
Oliver Ackland (The Proposistion)
Rebecca Breeds (BLue High Water)
Casper Zafer (The Lady Musketeer)
Jason Dohring (Veronica Mars)
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We start with Rebekah’s voiceover discussing how whatever they used on her was not your typical dagger. With this one, she feels everything. (In other words, she definitely did pull a Stefan.) But luckily for her, Elijah paid a couple of men to get her off the ocean floor, and because he’s a good brother, he also shows up to finish the job. (Read: Kill those men and wake Rebekah up.) Of course, all Rebekah wants to know is if she missed Christmas.  Back at the compound, Christmas is only getting started, with Klaus letting Cami heal while he compels his staff to feed him and hang an ornament or two 1,000. Checking in on Cami, Klaus is happy with her improvement. He’s not so happy when she gets a text from Vincent that says Kinney is in trouble. Apparently, the detective’s lack of memory has gotten him fired, and he’s not taking anyone’s calls. With that, Cami is off to his house. In town, Tristan has made his way to Marcel’s bar because apparently whatever belongs to Marcel also belongs to the Strix. (Rich people are always the greediest, amirite?) They inform Marcel that they’ve decided that the young boy whose mother Hayley/Davina killed should be regent, mostly because he’ll do whatever the Strix asks him to do. Marcel nods along but quickly runs to Vincent. Marcel hates the idea of handing nine powerful covens over to some outsider of the city, so instead, he pisses off Vincent to the point where Vincent does the one thing he’s been so ferociously trying to avoid: He uses his magic. Even more than that, he informs Marcel that he will be the next regent and Marcel is not going to like what he does with his new position.
Meanwhile, in the bayou, Hayley begs Jackson to come home. He asks if she loves Elijah, to which she very simply tells him, “You knew when you married me.” Poor Jackson thought her affection for Elijah would fade over time, but it hasn’t. However, she did choose Jackson, and she continues to choose him every day. And right now? It’s Christmas, and Hayley’s more than ready to have the first happy Christmas of her life. She promises him a quiet night with his small family if he returns home. He agrees to meet her there and he even brings his trusty ax (at least he used it to chop down a tree first). But before Jackson can make it into the apartment, he witnesses a few members of the Strix — or as he puts it, vampires dressed like yuppies — following Freya. He shows up in time to decapitate a few of them with his ax, but he’s not fast enough: One of them takes the medallion while another stabs Freya with his ring.
It might not sound like much, but said ring was full of a slow-acting poison. Apparently, it’s a Strix signature. But that’s not the family’s only problem. After Rebekah learns what hell really looks like — the inside of a gas station bathroom — she discovers a skull mark growing on her arm.
Actually, first we save Kinney. When Cami makes her way to Kinney’s house, Klaus — white knight/bodyguard — follows her. And it’s a good thing he does because he’s able to bust down the door before Kinney can shoot himself. Turns out, Lucien’s compulsion about feeling worthless is really sticking. In what might be the nicest Klaus scene ever, the hybrid tells Kinney that “there is beauty in the courage of a fragile fighter, those who persevere despite all they’ve been through, those who still believe there is good in the world.” As he looks at Cami, he tells Kinney, “Us dark things often find we need that light the most.” The kicker? “What you do not see in yourself, others see in you. You do matter.” Klaus tells Kinney to visit his sister and enjoy the holidays. He promises that when he returns, his job will be waiting for him. “You will remember today as your darkest day. Tomorrow will be better. And the day after, better still. You will go on.” Sadly, Cami’s thank you to Klaus is interrupted when Elijah calls with news of their sister predicament. Rebekah might be “the prettiest urgent problem you have ever seen,” but she’s still an urgent problem. Klaus and Cami agree to run to Lucien’s apartment. If the Strix has used that poison for years, Lucien’s sure to have crafted a cure. Meanwhile, Freya informs Rebekah that the stake the Strix used on her was cursed. She’s now infected, and as the mark grows, she will go mad. By the end of it, she’ll be a relentless, unstoppable ripper. Despite her condition, Freya tries to help Rebekah by channeling Finn. Of course, Finn does not think that Rebekah — or any of his siblings — are worth Freya risking her life, but when Elijah enters and offers Freya his blood out of concern, Finn is convinced to give Freya his power.
Sadly, it doesn’t work. Instead, Rebekah’s reunion with Hayley is less than friendly. Ripping into Hayley verbally, Rebekah calls her out on how every time Hayley is looking for someone to blame for her unhappiness, she turns to the Mikaelsons. And remember that time Hayley was going to take Hope away from them? Well, Beks does. And she’s pissed. And don’t even get Rebekah started on the agony that Hayley seems to enjoy causing Elijah. Hayley claims that it kills her to hurt Elijah, but Bekah is more concerned with what will actually be killing Hayley. Elijah steps in just as Rebekah’s eyes go black — so perhaps she’s more demon than ripper? — but she quickly snaps his neck. Klaus then arrives just in time and sends Cami to get Freya the cure to the Strix poison…but not until after Cami hears Rebekah say that Klaus likes to keep Cami behind glass because he’s scared he’ll ruin her, like she’s a breakable object.Once Cami delivers the cure, Freya can complete her spell and rushes down to cut the skull off Rebekah’s arm. Just like that, the family is back together and as normal as they’ve ever been. Hayley thanks Jackson for helping Freya. He tells her: “I was born to love you. If that means I have to deal with the Mikaelsons, then okay. I’m in.” In fact, he’s so in that he’s put together a complete family Christmas for everyone to enjoy. And Rebekah’s brought a little something special to the party: A fire pit. As she, Klaus, and Elijah burn their wishes, they come to the realization that it’s best if the Trinity thinks Rebekah is still at sea. In other words, she can’t stay. But she’s okay with it. As she takes the hands of her two favorite brothers, she says her wish has already come true.
Saying her goodbyes once again, Rebekah apologizes to Hayley, who has finally learned what we all learned in season 3 of The Vampire Diaries — even when you hate Klaus, you love him. As for Klaus, Rebekah tells him, “I’ll run away from love if you’ll run toward it.” Yes, she means Cami. And Klaus seems to like the idea. Sadly, Marcel was not invited to the family Christmas celebration.  Instead, he’s left informing Tristan that Vincent is now regent. The bad news for Tristan is that Vincent is not easily manipulated and is ready to enforce justice on all vampires. The bad news for Vincent is that Tristan has gotten his hands on Finn.  As Elijah and Freya have a lovely bonding moment where she admits that she snuck into a Mikaelson Christmas party 100 years ago and was worried she’d always be an outsider, Klaus and Cami have the moment of their own.   After Cami asks if what Rebekah said about Klaus keeping fragile Cami behind glass was true, Klaus gives what might be one of the my favorite romantic speeches ever. Cami wants to know why Klaus saved Kinney, a stranger, today. “Because you wished it,” he tells her. “Because what’s important to you is important to me. What makes you happy makes me want to keep you so. What scares you I want to tear apart. I do not wish to watch you from behind glass, Camille.” So what does he wish? To kiss her, which he does!
From one beautiful image to another, we cut to an incredibly dapper Elijah walking down the street. When he rounds the corner, we discover that he’s meeting with Rebekah. Freya’s spell/skinning didn’t work. The skull mark is back on her arm. And with that, she hands over a dagger and tells him to hide her body and swear not to tell a soul, especially Klaus, whom she wants to be happy. In a beautiful scene between two of my favorite actors on the show, Elijah refuses to dagger his sister. But Rebekah makes a good argument: It will fulfill the family portion of the prophecy, which will allow the remaining siblings to fully trust one another once again. And once the year that the prophecy foretold is over, Freya can find a cure and wake Rebekah up. With tears in his eyes, Elijah fulfills his sister’s wish … and gives us our Elijah Moment of the Week. But he’s not the only one with tears in his eyes. After Klaus and Cami enjoy a quick makeout, we watch as Cami wakes up and looks startled. Just as we panic that she’s regretting kissing Klaus, we cut to Tristan as he checks in on a freakishly chipper Aurora. It seems Aurora thinks today was a “beautiful day,” which can only mean horrible things. Moments later, Klaus wakes up. Sleeping with his arm around Cami, he sees blood on his hand. Turning Cami over, he realizes her throat’s been slit.
That was an amazing that hour and how anyone who watches will  be in tears come episodes end.  a shocking mid-season finale.
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REVIEW: THE ORIGINALS – THE HALLOWEEN EPISODES

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MAIN CAST

Joseph Morgan (Hex)
Daniel Gillies (Young Hercules)
Phoebe Tonkin (Bait)
Charles Michael Davis (Battle Scars)
Leah Pipes (Sorority Row)
Danielle Campbell (Behind Closed Doors)
Yusuf Gatewoood (The Interpreter)
Riley Voelkel (Prom)

GUEST CAST

Sebastian Roche (Odyssey 5)
Chase Coleman (The Americans)
Steven Krueger (Goosebumps)
Nishi Munshi (Jane The Virgin)
Sonja Sohn (Luke Cage)
Daniel Sharman (Immortals)
Colin Woodell (XOXO)
Andrew lees (Carlotta)
Oliver Ackland (100 Bloody Acres)
Rebecca Breeds (Home and Away)
Tracy Ifeachor (Doctor Who)

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LIVE AND LET DIE

The werewolves who have aligned themselves with Esther and Finn, led by Aiden, crash a party the newly formed vampire community are having in Marcel’s loft. Aiden gives Marcel a final warning telling him that he and his army must leave the city as their old deal no longer applies. Camille is talking to her advisor Vincent, unaware that he is actually Finn Mikaelson. She tells him that New Orleans is a city of death and that the people party to distract them from the inevitability of death. Finn asks her about her relationships with the people in her life who are still living. She tells him that she’s attracted to the wrong kind of guy. She talks about Marcel and how she was just a rebound girl for him and that they’re not compatible. She then talks about Klaus, how nothing ever happened between them but he got under her skin. She says that in spite of Klaus’ dark past, there was good in him. Finn remarks that Camille wanted to save Klaus; Camille states that some people don’t want to be saved.
 Elijah storms into the compound in search of Klaus only to find Hayley instead. After arguing over some of the wolves decisions to choose to side with Esther and wage war against the vampire community; Hayley threatens that those wolves are still her people and if Elijah chooses to hurt any of them, Esther would be the least of his problems.
On a busy street Camille finally manages to get a hold of Davina, who has been missing for a few days after choosing to take Mikael to her family cabin in the woods. Davina tells Camille that she’s fine and that she would return soon before hanging up on her. Unaware that Klaus had been behind her listening to the whole conversation, Camille is surprised when he remarks that it was rude for Davina to hang up, She chastises him because she hasn’t seen him in months and just decides to show up. He tells her he needs to find Davina because she has brought Mikael back from the dead and is controlling him. When Camille says that Davina didn’t say where she was, Klaus deduces from listening in on the phone call that Davina is at her family’s cabin in Terrebonne parish. Camille agrees to go with him to try and reason with Davina.
Elsewhere, Esther and Kol are busy trying to find where Davina is hiding. After attempting a locator spell which quickly goes wrong, Esther remarks what a clever girl Davina is having managed to block their spell. Enter Finn, who quickly begins to argue with Kol over each others failures to keep track of Davina and get information out of Camille. Esther silences them both, then voices her suspicions that Davina holds the white oak stake and encourages Kol to find her and get it back.
At the cabin, Mikael is busy purging himself of the werewolf venom he contracted from the fight in Rousseau’s. He asks Davina how much longer must they have to hide like cowards. Davina remarks that both Elijah and Klaus now know that he is alive so they must remain hidden until she is able to break the link between Klaus and her friends. Mikael retaliates that confrontation is inevitable and her fear would prove to be their greatest weakness. Davina reminds Mikael that while she might be weak, she is still in control having spelled the bracelet, that allows her to control Mikael, so that it won’t fall off again. Mikael scoffs at her, reminding her that magic can only fight half of her battle. Davina then asks Mikael to teach her how to be strong.
Live and Let Die was another high watermark for what is officially one of the best shows on television.
A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE
On the latest episode of “The Originals,” Marcel got the opportunity of his life- literally- when he was invited to a highly exclusive gala thrown by the mysterious Strix from the elusive Tristan (Oliver Ackland) himself, in “A Walk on the Wild Side,” with promises that he could make something more of himself and gain more power and knowledge than he ever dreamed possible.  Meanwhile, the Originals struggled to make more sense out of the elusive prophecy that predicted the downfall of their family. To that end, they sought out Lucien (Andrew Lees), in hopes of getting more information from the psychic Alexis (Stephanie Cleough, “Sleepover Nightmare”). However, much to Lucien’s shock, she was nowhere to be found, leading him to fear she’d been kidnapped, so the search was on. After calling in a favor with Freya (Riley Voelkel, “The Newsroom”), they were able to pinpoint her location, which Lucien identified as the headquarters of Tristan and the Strix, so a party-crashing was clearly in order. However, Elijah had no need to do so, as he was likewise invited to the soiree himself, opting to take Hayley along as his date, after he and Klaus filled her in on everything that was going on. It turned out that was only part of the story, though.
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It would seem that the Strix wasn’t Tristan’s secret society at all, but Elijah’s, who had founded it long ago, as a way of bringing together the best and brightest of the vampires he’d turned over the years. Unfortunately, he’d eventually realized that such elite types could be rather insufferable, and, as such, had abandoned the experiment altogether at a certain point, leaving Tristan to pick up the reins. This, of course, meant that the Strix were strictly comprised of Elijah’s sire line. Given that, then, Elijah wondered, why had they extended an invite to Marcel, who was sired by Klaus? He feared that it was to get to him or, at the very least, to Klaus, through Marcel, by promising him the moon and the stars in order to get him to let his guard down just enough to weaken him, as Klaus’ right-hand man, thus leaving Klaus vulnerable in the process. Or perhaps simply to kill him, as Marcel was the biggest threat to Tristan from Klaus’ side beyond Klaus himself. In some ways, it was a little of both, as Marcel discovered the hard way, when, upon his arrival at the gala, he was told that he had two options: either he played a little game, or he wouldn’t be leaving that night at all. The initiation rite, as it were, in order to become a member of the Strix, was to determine who stole his daylight ring at a certain point at the party. Once Marcel did so, then he would have to fight that person to the death to retrieve said ring, or die in the process. Further, if he couldn’t determine who had stolen his ring, he would also die in the process, so there was no choice but to participate once he had opted to go to the party, despite Elijah’s warnings to the contrary.
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 This last part might have actually been a challenge if the person- or persons, as it were- who took the ring weren’t so obvious. It was clearly Aya (Tracy Ifeachor, “Crossbones”), and since she had made it a point to introduce Marcel to her “mentor” Mohinder (Jaylen Moore, “The Host”), who she noted, had a penchant for not only killing the people he fought, but to bite them as a sort of finishing move, it was likewise obvious that she’d given the ring to him after stealing it from Marcel. So, when the time came to reveal his answer, Marcel had that answer, at least. However, that still left the fight to the death with Mohinder, and the guy was one tough customer, to say the least. Though at times it seemed that Marcel might be doomed, least of all when Mohinder bit him and prepared to finish him off, it turned out that Marcel had a finishing move of his own. Taking Hayley aside at one point, after having determined who the ring thief was, he had her bite him on purpose, knowing that her bite would prove deadly to Mohinder- at least if he didn’t get the proper antidote in time. Of course, the same applied to him as well, but Marcel bet the farm that he’d be able to get Klaus’ help in that matter, which proved ultimately to be true, though Klaus warned him that he would be a keeping a closer eye on Marcel as a result, lest he end up being the friend-turned-foe that the prophecy warned of. However, after informing Mohinder of his impending fate, he also turned to Tristan and informed him that he might join his posh club, but he would not be killing Mohinder to do so. That, he said, would be up to Tristan. However, Tristan had no problem doing just that, as it seemed there was another reason at hand that Mohinder had been chosen for the final fight. Mohinder was apparently plotting against Tristan and the Strix, so it was a two birds, one stone kind of affair. If Marcel lost, then one of Tristan’s biggest competitors on Klaus’ end was out of the way, and if Marcel won, then he would have taken out someone Tristan felt he could no longer trust. So, to that end, Tristan killed Mohinder, returned Marcel his ring, and welcomed him into the fold, as the first member that wasn’t sired by Elijah. All’s well that ends well, it would seem. Or did it?
 Unfortunately for the Originals, the other element in the party, Alexis, had a far less happy ending in store for her. After Klaus and Lucien crashed the party and diverted the attention of Tristan and company by acting boorish- not that they needed any reason in that department, mind you, but still- Freya tracked down Alexis on the property, only to discover that Alexis wanted to be there, and had no intention of leaving. Indeed, she placed a choking spell on Freya, nearly killing her, but not before kissing her and telling her that her family would be her undoing. Freya was able to sucker punch Alexis, knocking her out, and thus, removing the spell, and abscond with Alexis back to the Originals’ compound. There, the plan was for several of them to feed on her in order to further determine elements of the prophecy. However, it would seem that someone had poisoned Alexis at some point, and she dies before she can relate much of anything to all concerned, nearly taking them with her. Thankfully, Hayley realized quickly enough of the danger and had everyone back off before Alexis could do them any harm. But who did the deed? Naturally, Tristan claims that Lucien actually did it, in order to keep any further information about his intentions secret, while Lucien maintains it was Tristan. Either way, Alexis won’t be imparting any more prophecies any time soon, but as it turns out, it was actually neither Tristan nor Lucien, anyway. It seems that New Orleans has yet another new visitor, and it’s none other than Aurora (Rebecca Breeds). That was about it, really, but it was a fun episode, nonetheless, with the knock-down, drag-out fight between Marcel and Mohinder an undeniable highlight. I also got a kick out of Klaus and Lucien’s party-crashing antics, especially when Klaus told Tristan he lacked the “flexibility” to be in his little club, because “he could never get his head that far enough up his own ass” to qualify! Lol. Good stuff.
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Also, it should be noted that Hayley looked fabulous in her red dress that Elijah picked out for her from sister Rebekah’s private stash, and the gala itself was something, a true feast for the eyes and senses. It was sort of like the “Eyes Wide Shut” party crossed with the kind of shindig Gatsby would throw. Pretty cool stuff, and an enjoyable episode all around. Also very much looking forward to seeing what sort of havoc the psychotic Aurora will wreak, especially once she gets back in touch with old lover Klaus.

REVIEW: THE ORIGINALS – SEASON 1 & 2

MAIN CAST

Joseph Morgan (Hex)
Daniel Gillies (Young Hercules)
Claire Holt (Mean Girls 2)
Phoebe Tonkin (Bait)
Charles Michael Davis (The Game)
Daniella Pineda (The Detour)
Leah Pipes (Sorority Row)
Danielle Campbell (Prison Break)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Nathaniel Buzolic (Significant Mother)
Shannon Kane (Brooklyn’s Finest)
Eka Darville (Power Rangers RPM)
Callard Harris (Dallas)
Sebastian Roche (Odyssey 5)
Malaya Rivera Drew (The L Word)
Steven Krueger (Goosebumps)
Raney Branch (Ringside)
Todd Stashwick (Gotham)
Shannon Eubanks (The Patriot)
Yasmine Al-Bustami (Nashville)
Michael Trevino (The Vampire Diaries)
Elyse Levesque (Stargate Universe)
Peta Sergeant (Winners and Losers)
Chase Coleman (Boardwalk Empire)
Nathan Parsons (The Roommate)
Natalie Dreyfuss (2 Broke Girls)
Yusuf Gatewood (The Interpreter)
Daniel Sharman (Immortals)
Nishi Munshi (Bones)
Sonja Sohn (The Wire)
Colin Woodell (XOXO)
Alice Evans (102 Dalmations)
Lloyd Owen (Apollo 18)
Riley Voelkel (Prom)
Maisie Richardson-Sellers (Legends of Tomorrow)
Keri Lynn Pratt (Veronica Mars)
Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries)
Meg Foster (Masters of The Universe)
Claudia Black (Stargate SG.1)

The Originals is a spin-off series based upon characters created and introduced in The Vampire Diaries, and it is a creation of writer Julie Plec, who is the head-writer and showrunner of both series. The concept of the show revolves around a group of characters referred to as being the ‘originals’ – i.e. the first vampires to ever exist. They also happen to be family. These original vampires have existed for centuries and have the longest history of all: a complex back-story which unfolds over the course of the series storytelling, which alternates back and forth with telling the long-running back-story of these original vampires while focusing on a modern day setting in New Orleans.The world of television has spawned an immensely high number of series that take on some sort of science fiction or supernatural aspect, and one of the most popular staples has been found in vampire tales: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, True Blood, and The Vampire Diaries being popular series chiefly placed amongst the pop culture echelon. Then there’s the fact that vampires are popular in films, too (including the teen-sensation series Twilight). Can another show join a lineup of other successful vampire-lore creations? It seems so, as The CW network has once again teamed with the creative mind behind The Vampire Diaries for another successful and entertaining entry in the genre’s growing list of successes.The cast consists of Klaus (Joseph Morgan), Elijah (Daniel Gillies), Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin), Marcel (Charles Michael Davis), Camille (Leah Pipes), Davina (Danielle Campbell), Sophie (Daniella Pineda), and Rebekah (Claire Holt).

The basic plot of the series is to revolve around the story of the original vampire family after they decide to return to their former home in New Orleans. Upon returning, the originals find that the land they once knew has changed a great deal and their home and rule has been replaced by a character they once considered their own: Marcel. Meanwhile, there is also a war is brewing between vampires and witches and things complicate with Marcel working with a powerful young witch named Davina, who has abilities that could pose a threat to all the vampires.

Image result for the originals house of the rising sunKlaus, Elijah, and Rebekah are the main characters of The Originals. They are each returning characters from the Vampire Diaries universe. Klaus continues to make things difficult for everyone with his typical brooding self getting into the way of other vampire’s own agendas. Klaus finds a friend in Camille, a psychologist major who starts to have an unlikely connection to him. Meanwhile, Klaus’s blood-line as a werewolf/vampire hybrid (and his one-night stand with Hayley) results in Hayley’s pregnancy and a cult following for a baby born to a vampire. Elijah acts as if a guardian vampire of sorts who keeps his word (but who can also go totally vampire-bananas at times, as “necessary”), and Rebekah is a insecure and lonely vampire who gets into lots of mischief, causing problems for the originals (amongst others), but who really just wants a friend by her side and to be a normal human again. Of course, these characters (and their back-stories) lead to lots of surprising revelations and storytelling detours over the course of the show.

Marcel is a past connection to the original vampires who is now calling himself ‘the king’ and is ruling over New Orleans vampires as a sort of leader-vampire who calls the shots and has a big company of “minions” working for him (so to speak). Marcel makes vampires do his bidding to keep New Orleans a vampire-safe haven. Vampires will do his bidding to try and earn ‘daylight rings’, which allow for a select few to live in the day. There’s a big history between Marcel and Kalus, too, as Klaus raised him when he was a boy.

Aside from the pilot, which combines too much footage found in the “backdoor pilot” produced on The Vampire Diaries Season 4 under the title “The Originals”, the series finds a distinct and interesting creative voice. The first episode is a bit disappointing for fans of both series as it had borrowed so much (some scenes were basically “copy and paste” versions already featured upon the former), The Originals is interesting, original, and well-made with quality writing/directing. Assembling a hugely talented group of people for the production, the series reunites many of the same behind-the-scenes crew who made The Vampire Diaries a huge success, from some of the cinematographers, to the costume designer, o the composer to the production designer. It’s a big family of creative talents who united to create this compelling drama series.

The Originals has many things in common with its predecessor – starting with the fact that the characters that predominately reside are many of the same characters featured on The Vampire Diaries, but now with expanded roles – and that the group of writers and directors responsible for making the program are largely from the same creative pool. Yet it’s still a standalone series that newcomers who aren’t as familiar to previous lore should be able to discover. It offers a slightly different storytelling approach, though stylistically it shares a lot in common. If one can like The Vampire Diaries then they will surely enjoy The Originals, and vice-versa, so there’s certainly room for the show to both be followed by longtime fans of the characters and perhaps by new audience members.

There have been so many vampire series and films that the market seems flooded with them and it can be a bit frustrating to see so many stories being told simultaneously with this concept. It’s certainly a concept that has been done again and again, and shows no signs of going anywhere. Yet the good news is that there are still writers who are telling vampire stories with writing of note, who are drawing forth more interesting elements by focusing on the dramatic elements more than anything else. This is a perfect example of what is happening here: the writing is elementally the main key to the quality of the program, and in this case, that’s a good thing. The writing here is solid. Fans of quality storytelling who have an inclination towards the supernatural genre will find this to be a well-produced, written, directed, and acted program. Without a good storyline backdrop, one could easily see The Originals being a faltering series. Yet there was more than enough storytelling potential for the core group of characters as seen in the storyline its parent series offered, and the writers have expanded on that universe of ideas so that a fully-fledged program can exist. This is a series well worth seeing out as one of the more interesting programs currently on air. Television viewers who enjoy a well told story will find much to appreciate.

Now that The Originals has made it to season two, the writers aren’t wasting any time with formalities. “Rebirth” brings back some familiar names with brand spanking new faces. This episode doesn’t really introduce viewers to the returning characters, as it makes the broad generalization that you’re already familiar with them from The Vampire Diaries – despite their dramatic new looks. Instead, it delves right into the setting the stage for a reunion that is sure to be memorable.

The Originals branded its second season a family reunion, and that’s exactly what the season premiere sets into motion. The Guerreros are out, and once again the Mikaelson’s are back in – all of them. It’s only a matter of time before Rebekah (Claire Holt) is lured back to New Orleans, and then the fun will really begin. In the meantime, Klaus (Joseph Morgan) has both parents and all his other siblings to occupy his schedule – good thing he doesn’t have changing diapers to distract him from whatever is coming.

Having Claire Holt leave the show full-time was hard last year, but there was a definite sense that she would be coming back, if only for an episode here and there (as has been the case). Now, that’s not a feeling The Originals mid-season finale leaves you with – Claire Holt is no longer occupying the role of Rebekah Mikaelson, and it seems that the whole body-jumping plotline was just leading us to this point.

Rebekah has been around since season three of The Vampire Diaries and, while she never got as much of the spotlight as Klaus, she has been a huge presence ever since. I wrote last week that Claire Holt gives the character something that can’t be replaced, and I honestly don’t know if the show can make me accept another actress as the face of Rebekah. It’ll be hard to keep an open mind, even I’m a little ashamed to admit it.But the episode Map of the Moments was great, with vintage moments for every single character. The long-awaited reunion between Hayley, Klaus and baby Hope didn’t disappoint, for starters, and provided a brief moment of happiness and contentment for a family so often at loggerheads. The moment in which they took a family photo mere moments before having to burn it should have been jarring and ridiculous, but it was actually the highlight of the hour. Looking back on that knowing what would happen to Rebekah by the end makes it even more heartbreaking, and a little bit of sunshine and happiness, albeit still tinged with sadness, was welcome in a show.The Revelation about Freya (the other Mikaelson Sister) being alive was a brilliant revelation along with Esthers sister Dahlia who is hellbent on taking baby hope. this leads to a series of events that brings us to the finale of season 2 . Season two of The Originals puts to rest the oldest family war and instills in its place a familiar mark between warring siblings. Lullabies are spoken and promises are made for the good of innocence and the threat of new evil likely to rear its head in New Orleans come the fall. All in all, the king of wolves and vamps settles in, ready to settle into fatherhood unaware of the future, but believing he has control of it.

There was some gorgeous imagery that fit in quite nicely upon the climax of “Ashes to Ashes.” The episode stood on its own and provided a much needed finality to the old generation of Mikaelsons and their sophisticated rival, Dhalia. The most fascinating aspect was of course how the battle played itself out, leaving the final segments as all too familiar approaches to goodbyes and promises of sardonic revenge. In many ways, it was the highlight of the season saving the best for last.

After linking with Dalia, Klaus stabs himself with the dagger and the two are returned to torpor. Elijah recovers Hope with Freya as Rebekah returns to her original body as a vampire once more. Convinced of Klaus’s plan, Elijah burns the body of their original mother and swaps the ashes with Kol’s when Davina attempts to user her “one time” ability to harness the coven’s power and use resurrection. Instead of Kol, Esther is brought back and captured immediately by the Mikaelsons. Dalia, still possessing power, melts the dagger in Klaus, awakens, steals Freya, and escapes. Klaus, Elijah, and Rebekah later confront Dalia but are subdued by splinters of the white oak stake being ingested through Dalia’s power. Esther distracts Dalia long enough for Klaus to impale the two of them finally killing them both. In a final scene with the pair as their younger selves, Esther relents that she should have stayed by Dalia’s side. The two forgive each other and perish together. Later, during the full moon, Hayley makes Elijah promise to look after Hope even though he had no intention to remain at Klaus’s side. Freya magically heals Rebekah’s human body and Rebekah once more inhabits it with plans to decide which she intends to stay in at a later time. Klaus and Camille share a drink as both are essentially still awkward around each other but later, Klaus settles in with Hope in his arms, commenting on a new chapter in their lives.I had fun watching this season and it leaves you wanting me, with season 3 shapeing up to just as fun, it shows that a spin-off can work.

REVIEW: THE SOCIAL NETWORK

 

CAST

Jesse Eisenberg (Batman v Superman)
Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger)
Justin Timberlake (Friends With Benefits)
Rooney Mara (Her)
Rashia Jones (I Love You, Man)
Josh Pence (The Dark Knight Rises)
Malese Jow (The Vampire Diaries)
Lacey Beeman (Power Rangers Time Force)
Jason Flemyng (Snatch)
Jessie Heiman (Chuck)
Riley Voelkel (The Originals)

David Fincher’s The Social Network is a business procedural played with the intensity of a thriller and the ingenuity of a screwball comedy. It’s something of a departure for the filmmaker, whose pictures lean toward visual pyrotechnics and darker, more disturbing themes. Handling a screenplay by Aaron Sorkin that consists primarily of people in rooms talking, and in which the violence is purely psychological, he curbs his occasional excesses and cooks up his most satisfying film to date. Though mining (with some significant departures from the official record) the origin story of Facebook, a presumably of-the-moment phenomenon, Fincher and Sorkin have made a movie that is about more than its ostensible subject. Yes, The Social Network examines, at least implicitly, the cultural moment that precipitates the explosion of a site that aims specifically to make the social experience a virtual construct. But where the film strikes oil is in understanding the kind of guy who would want to create that experience.

His name is Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), and the opening scene that introduces him is a whiz-bang Sorkin special–a flurry of rat-tat-tat dialogue and cranked-up interplay in which characters talk non-stop while revealing themselves only accidentally. Zuckerberg, a smug Harvard sophomore obsessed with the university social hierarchy that he cannot penetrate, is out with his girlfriend Erica (Rooney Mara); he clearly sees himself as smarter than her (she attends lowly Boston University), but she’s so adroit at conversational maneuvers that before he realizes it, she’s broken up with him. Depressed and half-drunk, he goes back to his dorm, blogs some hurtful things about her, and concocts a website called “facemash” that pulls pictures from campus sites and lets students rank the women against each other. Fincher gives this embryonic sequence the finesse and energy of an action scene–particularly as he intercuts the rich and powerful “club” kids living the life Mark longs for, the velvety seductiveness of the haves in sharp contrast to the laptop tappings of the have-nots.

The program crashes Harvard’s server and gets him called on the university carpet, but it also catches the attention of would-be power broker Divya Narenda (Max Minghella) and irritatingly entitled rich twins Tyler and Cameron Winlevoss (both played by Armie Hammer). The trio approaches Mark with an idea for a new networking site–“The Harvard Connection,” a school-wide apparatus for profiles, pictures, and so on. Mark jumps in, but decides almost immediately that he can do this thing better than they can; he builds on the concept, hits up his best friend–and occasional conscience–Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) for a grand or so in start-up funds, and launches his version, “the facebook.”

The complex saga of the rise of Facebook (and of Zuckerberg) is told in interlocking depositions (“I’m currently in the middle of two lawsuits,” Mark explains, somewhat impatiently), which sounds like the dullest imaginable framework for a narrative. But the picture gets a kick from Sorkin’s distinctive conversational rhythms and considerable skills as a wordsmith. The Social Network is a whirlwind of talk–invigorating, intelligent, fast-paced dialogue, from the throwaway lines to the occasional loquacious show-stopper. Every Sorkin script has one (Nicholson’s “You can’t handle the truth” bit in A Few Good Men is the obvious example, though Baldwin’s “I am God” speech in Malice is nearly as quotable); here, it comes when the Winlevosses’ lawyer asks Mark, “Do I have your full attention?,” unleashing a perfect storm of Sorkinian attitude, snark, and barely-contained impatience. “You have part of my attention–you have the minimum amount,” Mark snaps. “The rest of my attention is back at the offices of Facebook, where my colleagues and I are doing things that no one in this room, including and especially your clients, are intellectually or creatively capable of doing. Did I adequately answer your condescending question?”

Performances are universally strong–Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spiderman) is immensely likable and marginally heartbreaking, Hammer’s double-playing is simple but effective, and Timberlake, as the well-connected but semi-flaky Parker, handily sells his multi-layered portrait of the guy who knows all the angles but can’t quite hide his own rough edges. But Eisenberg’s is the breakthrough performance; as good as he’s been as shy, stuttering, would-be intellectuals in Adventureland and Zomiebland, this is a darker and more complicated piece of work. His performance here is somehow both showy and deftly underplayed–you get the sense, from that very first scene, that he’s already tired of always being the smartest guy in the room.

When The Social Network was announced, it seemed such an oddball project that snickers and jeers were the prevailing response (. But from the unveiling of its mesmerizing trailer, it was clear that this wasn’t just “the Facebook movie,” any more than Citizen Kane was a film about newspapers.