You’ve got to give The Originals credit for one thing and that’s consistency. They know their characters and manage to progress them logically through any twisted situation that comes their way. Take Klaus for example. In the season two opener, “Rebirth,” we learned that his dark, brooding paintings are fueled creatively when bloodlust is pumping through his veins. After spending months in isolation and hiding, he can’t paint or creative the art that truly expresses his mood. He needs the blood of his enemies. He needs to know that revenge has been served. Without that, he has nothing more to stare at than boring canvases.
On the flip side we have new hybrid Hayley, who has taken to the backwoods for her isolation. Hers is a similar pain. She craves that revenge as well. It’s all that dominates her being. She’s haunted by the subtle reminders of her child, like the burned up doll in the ashes of her old werewolf camp. They keep those feelings of her loss fresh and those memories fuel her plot of retribution.
It’s Elijah though keeping both at bay, because his pure vampire nature (no hot burning werewolf blood in his veins) knows how to exercise patience and persistence in regaining control. His first priority is removing the moon curse that’s plaguing Klaus. He must retrieve the 12 rings. In order to do that, he has to find them all. That takes time, and that time is tearing away at the two he most holds dear right now. In other words, he’s the one that has to help them pull it all together. Lucky for him, the episode starts with him finding the final ring under the guise of historical society director.
Elijah knows exactly where to turn. Marcel has been in hiding, licking his wounds as well, and they need allies to execute the complex plan to retrieve the rings. Klaus is the best person to get Marcel on board, and that visit also provides Klaus with the hope that pretty soon they’ll be able to make their move. Their reunion is like old times, because both believe in fighting for the home that is rightfully theirs. Marcel did it back in the 1920’s when the werewolves took over and he knows he can do it again. Having the right allies with the right passion makes it possible. That’s why he knows that when recruiting vampires to be part of the cause, only the true believers will come forward. The ones that have something to fight for like Joe, who are willing die to preserve the town they love. The love needs to run that deep.
Cami and Davina are fighting too in their own ways. Davina has broken from the coven and is keeping her secret weapon in the attic. It’s interesting that Michael seems to be playing along with her scheme, agreeing with her that it’s best to be patient and strike when the time is right. Whether he’s doing that out of manipulation or because he truly believes in Davina remains to be seen, but it’s nice to see the comfortable rapport the two have with each other. They both seem to care of each other’s welfare underneath it all, but who knows if that’ll last when push comes to shove. Cami is sleeping with Marcel while working her own alliances with Klaus and Elijah. The constant stalking by the werewolves has pushed her patience over the edge and she too wants to fight for her home.
In the center of this all is the missing white oak stake. You remember, the one created by Esther back in season three of The Vampire Diaries that Alaric was supposed to used to kill the originals (did I mention how thrilled I am that Alaric is back?). Part of Klaus’ isolation was his fear that the werewolves had it, but considering they hadn’t gone after him all these months gave him the hint that they didn’t. Marcel didn’t have it, and even if he did he wouldn’t use it otherwise they would all be dead. Enter the clever scheme, make the werewolves think Kiernan had it and Cami knows where it is. That setup the perfect trap to neutralize a bunch of the werewolves with wolfsbane and steal one of the rings. Still, that didn’t solve the mystery, who’s got the stake? Seems like that will be answered next week when they discover Michael in the attic, who was seen in this episode practicing his stabbing with it.
Ultimately while Klaus was able to rise into contentment as the wolves and the rings were taken one by one by Elijah, Hayley, and Marcel, giving him the ability to paint with that blood he so craved, poor Hayley learned that revenge doesn’t fill that gaping hole. She killed several of her wolf family (although she spared Oliver), and took out Francesca rather easily (leading to the only anti-climatic part of the evening), but that didn’t make things better or satisfying at all. Elijah tried to comfort her, but in the end, only one could relate, the only other hybrid in existence. This is where Klaus is at his finest, that vulnerable side that can offer wisdom and consolation through all the pain. This is the start of a new bond between Hayley and Klaus, and this can only manage to push Elijah further out of the romantic picture. I don’t mind.
Oh, let’s not forget the twist! There’s always a twist. In the form of Claire we learned that she is indeed Esther, and her companion Vincent is none other than Finn. But…there’s another! That handsome Scottish stranger that was flirting with Davina in the record store was revealed to be…you’ve got it…Kol! They have to know that Michael is in the clutches of Davina, don’t they? It seems obvious otherwise why would Kol take an interest in Davina? Esther is promising a family reunion and oh boy, I can’t wait. The most screwed up family in the history of the world. It makes for awesome television. Now, can they eventually get their original bodies back? That would be awesome.
What I liked the most about “Rebirth” is they managed to unfold a very twisty plot while keeping us in the very emotional headspace of the characters. It didn’t feel overwhelming or leave you with the feeling that the kitchen sink was being thrown at you. It felt natural. It’s when episodes did this in season one that they excelled and now episode one of season two can join that group. Well plotted, well written, well acted, and dammit I’m ready to see what happens next. The Originals is in full stride and that’s the perfect way to kick off a new season.