Here at EW, we’re starting a new weekly series in which we — and readers — weigh in on ways to rehab much-maligned characters on some of our favorite shows.
There are characters that you love to hate, and then there are characters that you simply despise. Werewolf Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) fell in to the latter category on The Vampire Diaries, which is why some fans weren’t exactly thrilled to hear she’ll be a regular sight on the upcoming spinoff, The Originals. This is a young woman whose mission on TVD was to set 12 werewolf-vampire hybrids up for slaughter by Klaus (Joseph Morgan) — to get a step closer to finding the family she’s never known. She later had hate-sex with Klaus, another lost, lonely soul, and, we learned in an episode last April, is now carrying Klaus’ child. (He was born a werewolf before magic made him a vampire, so he’s “nature’s loophole”). The Originals, which debuts on The CW this fall, will be “as much about Hayley’s redemption as anyone else’s,” according to exec producer Julie Plec. So let’s accept that we’re not getting a break from Hayley anytime soon, and pitch ways for the writers to take advantage of this chance to reintroduce her and make her tolerable. I’ll go first:
• Get her a female friend, stat: Maybe I’ve just watched too many seasons of The Bachelor, but I’m naturally distrustful of women who don’t have any female friends. Since the witches of New Orleans threatened to kill her in that TVD episode if Klaus doesn’t help them overthrow Marcel (Charles Michael Davis), Klaus’ former protégé now serving as the unofficial king of the Big Easy, we’ll understand if it takes her a little while to warm up to them on The Originals. In the meantime, perhaps she and Klaus’ sister, Rebekah (Claire Holt), can bond. We’re not suggesting they become BFFs right away; they could be like Rebekah and emotionless Elena were on TVD — two people who make the best of having a common goal. They’re women who want a family: Hayley’s never known hers; Rebekah feels betrayed by hers. Neither of them are fans of Klaus at this particular moment and both know what it’s like to be a pawn in his game. Plus, we know Rebekah wants children and can’t have them. This is her chance to experience pregnancy through Hayley — and then babysit.
• Give us a reason to root for Hayley: The backdoor pilot seemed to be headed in this direction, having her trapped between the witches and Klaus. On The Originals, that should bring out the protective instincts of Klaus’ noble brother Elijah, which will be enjoyable to watch — as long as there’s no sexual tension between Hayley and Elijah (she’s not worthy). It also has us anticipating more tiffs between Hayley and Klaus and those rare moments when he’s (gulp) kind to her for the baby’s sake — also fun. The witches aren’t the only ones who could threaten the child’s safety. What if Klaus wants to somehow use Hayley to distract Marcel, and Marcel learns out about the pregnancy? He could force Hayley into a mutually-beneficial friendship where Hayley trades information on Klaus’ plans for details about her family (which longtime New Orleans resident Marcel should have). Or, Marcel could develop a genuine soft spot for Hayley and help her find her family because he knows what it’s like to want a community. Either way, let’s say Hayley finally finds her relatives, and they’re not thrilled at the idea of having her child, a potential hybrid, in the bloodline. We’d feel sorry for her then, right? And we’d root for her to protect the pregnancy and see the Originals as her family.
• If all else fails, have her die giving birth to the baby: It worked for Darla on Angel.