I watched both The Vampire Diaries and The Originals last night (the latter online) because not only did it fit my busy schedule, but considering both were born of the same cloth I thought it would be interesting to see how each are handling story and character development seven episodes into their seasons.  It’s a rather fascinating comparison to say the least.

The Vampire Diaries for a couple of seasons now has suffered from what I call “short attention span theater.”  It’s been a game of how much crazy story can one show cram into 42 minutes rather than focusing on things like character growth and us just giving a damn about what’s happening.  For example, I’m certain that Bonnie’s long, drawn out “I’m dead but no matter because Jeremy can see me” story line looked great on paper.  Heck, I thought it made for a rather juicy spoiler.  However, a lot of the emotional impact was lost because this whole Silas, Tessa, Amarra crap with all its smoke and mirrors dominated the entire landscape (although major kudos to Nina Dobrev for pulling off three characters at once in the same scene).  The only character I ended relating to during the entire saga was Damon, because he was as sick of this s*** as I was.  It was an overloaded, burdensome story line that brought characters front and center than I couldn’t give a rats ass about.  As a result, it drowned us over and over again, just like poor Stefan, leaving us with more agony than relief. 

On the flip side, The Originals is taking its time unfolding story lines, despite the fact that it’s a very busy plot.  This is how series pacing is supposed to be done; never overwhelm your audiences but at the same time keep us very engaged.  Win!  “Bloodletting” was another awesome story that didn’t go the way I predicted but left me very strangely satisfied in the end. 

So, everything was all hunky dory with the Mikaelsons last week after Elijah took care of the witch matter, right?  Hee, what a delusional idea.  Klaus and his self-destructive tendencies pretty much ruined all that, and anything else would have been sorely out of character. 

Klaus and Elijah both were quick to confront Marcel, who was holding his fight night gala in the courtyard.  Nothing like watching vampires beat the living crap out of each other.  You root for…no one.  Marcel admits to meeting Hayley, but he didn’t take her.  No, that was the one guy whose sudden appearance was hardly a well-kept secret, Tyler Lockwood.  He needed Hayley to test a theory.  After drawing blood from her abdomen, he was able to make a hybrid.  Thus he makes the leap to assuming that Klaus is using the child as a way to build that hybrid army he always wanted. 

Yeah, I could see that Tyler’s hatred could lead to such paranoid thinking, but Klaus already figured out a while ago that even when sired, hybrids are a disloyal lot and will turn against him.  That’s why he massacred them all, except Tyler who ran.  I love how he shared that little story, including the confession of killing Carol Lockwood, with Elijah.  It was just the story that pushed Elijah’s growing doubts toward the wrong direction, which never sits well with Klaus.  Everyone always thinks the worst of him.  Of course, he through the years has done enough evil impulsive crap to give no one a reason to believe him, so naturally it bites him when he wasn’t involved in wrong doing this time.  The hybrid who cried wolf.

Tyler tells Hayley that the baby is all part of a master plan and it must be killed.  Of course Tyler in his blind rage didn’t take time to think that his newly created hybrid came to Hayley’s rescue, meaning he was sired to her.  How’s that going to help Klaus’ plot of world domination again?  Elijah rescues Hayley in the woods (after she managed to get away thanks to her loyal hybrid meeting an end from Tyler) and he also believes the worst about Klaus without getting the whole story.  Bad idea.  After Klaus bests Tyler in a fight and lets him live so he can suffer (death is too good for him), he confronts Elijah over believing that he was using the child for a plot.  In a fit of rage, he bites Elijah and leaves.  We learned from Rebekah in The Vampire Diaries that wolfs venom will not kill an original, but man will they suffer.  So Elijah’s got that to look forward to next episode.  That’s probably why it’s a flashback one. 

On top of all this Marcel is turning on his charm to convince Rebekah to be with him and help him kill Klaus.  That’s when Rebekah FINALLY tells him why this is a totally bad idea.  If Klaus dies, he does too, as well as the entire cast of The Vampire Diaries.  It severs the bloodline.  So Marcel adapts the plan, keep Klaus imprisoned in the Garden for all eternity.  Rebekah isn’t sure, but when she talks to Klaus later and finds out what he did to Elijah, she lies and says that Marcel is not plotting against him. 

Poor Rebekah.  Elijah grants her freedom that she desperately wants but Klaus takes it away.  He orders her to stay and help him.  She knows she can’t run, and any disobedience has cost her time desiccated in a coffin.  She feels trapped, knowing that she can’t break free because she’s had 1,000 years of this crap and it never changes.  Marcel is offering her some hope in a desperate hour.  Naturally she’s going to consider it. 

It all ends with Tyler telling Marcel about the baby and how it will bring the end of all vampires.  Just like the witches think it’ll bring the end to all witches.  Gee, anyone think it’s just going to be a baby?  Despite the fact her Dad is an unstable and very dangerous jerk, she does have the backing of a moral uncle and a good mother.  One under the protection of the scattered royal family of werewolves in the area that have the same tattoo.  Luckily they didn’t try to overwhelm the plot by exploring that tidbit and just planted it for us to remember later.  This is episodic TV after all, which is a marathon, not a race.

Please show, don’t ever kill Josh the Gay Vampire.  Make him your Matt Donovan, please?  I’ve always kind of liked him, but now that he’s had a character defining moment with Davina, I positively adore him.  This is how to bring forth your secondary characters, give them a little personality and charm.  Take time for us to get to know them.  After all marathon, not race.  I love how Davina didn’t wipe his memories like ordered, so they’ll always have this moment between them.  I’m also thinking that Marcel isn’t too bad a guy either, since he gave Josh a chance because he was compelled by Klaus. 

So, where does this all go?  Next week the show is off so it can stop being one episode ahead of companion Supernatural.  So no disappointment when it’s not there on your DVR!  According to my scorecard Elijah suffers (and will get some loving care from Hayley), we’ll learn about another time in the past when Klaus and Elijah were at odds, Rebekah will continue to scheme with Marcel and I have no clue what’s up for Tyler Lockwood next.  I think there’s more room for him in this series than The Vampire Diaries right now.  Or maybe he can lead the next spinoff based on that backwoods werewolf clan.  I’ve heard worse ideas. 

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