After months of grief, the Originals strike back against Francesca, and more of Esther's plan is revealed.

By Samantha Highfill
April 02, 2015 at 08:22 PM EDT
Bob Mahoney/The CW
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After a thousand years on this magical earth, the Originals have learned a lot. They know how to create an appearance; they know how to survive; and they know how to keep things interesting. And thankfully, they also know what it takes to entertain (and we’re not just talking about dinner parties).

The Originals, after only a year in TV world, has taken on some of those qualities as well: For starters, its characters are always well-groomed. (And even when they’re not, they’re still freakishly attractive.) Then comes the dialogue: Viewers will never get sick of listening to the Shakespearean banter of the vengeful family. And finally, they have perfected the twist. After so many years of trying to keep themselves occupied, the Originals get bored easily, which is how they keep viewers on their toes. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that their list of enemies is endless and also immortal.

It feels good to be back, doesn’t it? After a season 1 finale filled with everything a viewer could want, season 2 kicked off with a solid hour of drama, twists, and as always, some emotional turmoil.

Act One: Gothic Fairytale

Once upon a time, there was a majestic king and his noble brother, both of whom lived in a colorful kingdom in an enchanted land full of demons, a powerful sorceress, and so on. At least, that’s the story that Rebekah—Rebekah!—is telling baby Hope when we pick up. Succinctly summing up the first season in a few sentences, Rebekah talks of the time that the kingdom fell, after which, the castle closed its doors. And within those closed castle doors is where we find Elijah, placing a supportive hand on his brother’s back. The king and his brother have one goal: To heal their kingdom and bring the princess home for her happily ever after.

And the first part of that goal seems to involve the historical preservation society, which Elijah has joined—because that man knows how to preserve some history (in the form of his own gorgeous face). Basically, with Klaus trapped at home being drained by the moonlight rings every full moon, Elijah now gets his kicks by dressing in gorgeous suits and denying Francesca’s requests to demolish perfectly weaponizable buildings.

As for Klaus, he gets his kicks painting. Well, he would if only he could find the right shade of red. You know, the one that he’d create with his enemies’ blood? And no, it’s not the same as Venetian red with a dash of rust. Good try though, Elijah. The good news, however, is that Elijah has located the last of the 12 rings that drain Klaus’ power. Now if only they could figure out where the White Oak stake is hiding, they could make a move.

Elsewhere, Hayley prefers to deal with her grief alone by going for a nice jog as a wolf and/or visiting the super depressing site of the wolves’ former home in the bayou, which has been vacated now that the wolves own the French Quarter. Or more specifically, Francesca owns the Quarter. Running things out of her home, the new queen wolf is losing her mind over the fact that Klaus hasn’t made a move yet. As Marcel puts it, “if anyone can mourn and murder at the same time, it’s him.”

But Cassie/Esther and Vincent/Finn know the real deal. In fact, they’re impressed by their family’s strategy, and they’ve only seen phase one. After Cami pays a visit to the compound and recommends the assistance of her friend-with-benefit Marcel, Klaus kicks off phase two with a visit to his one-time protege, who’s having trouble finding enough “warriors” to rebuild his vampire army. However, all that’s put aside when Klaus shows up, bringing memories of the good ole days. Marcel explains how he got rid of the wolves the last time: a four-day battle alongside people like Joe, a new character we meet at the record store when high school student Davina saves him from Oliver and company. Joe agrees to help Klaus and Marcel take down the wolves again, and once Klaus realizes that the wolves would’ve attacked already if they had the stake, he sets a plan in motion.

NEXT: The truth about Kaleb

Act Two: Wolf Hunt

In order for the wolf hunt to be successful, everyone has to play their parts. First up, Joe tells Francesca that the White Oak stake is still around. And when Cassie/Esther can’t find it—Davina’s better at magic, in case you were wondering—Joe finishes up his part by telling them that the stake somehow ended up in Kieran’s hands.

From there, Cami gives the wolves an address and a key, which takes us back to the building that Francesca wanted to demolish just half an hour ago, where Marcel turns on some wolf bane-laced sprinklers and kills the wolves to removes their rings.

With Marcel holding down his station, Hayley takes on the wolves who show up at the compound, and with each ring removed, Klaus gets some of his power back. By the time Elijah shows up at Francesca’s, Klaus is nearly strong enough to paint again. In fact, after he puts paintbrushes into the throats of two wolves, he finally finds that perfect shade of red. Yes, he paints using their blood. Good lord, I love this man.

But not as much as I love Elijah, who throws a severed head through Francesca’s doorway, thereby re-entering her life in my Elijah moment of the week, which can be summed up with this line: “You mobsters all suffer from such hubris.” Standing in Francesca’s doorway, he informs her that the “devil’s in the details.” In other words, he convinced the city to invoke imminent domain on her beautiful home, thereby making it belong to the public. And just like that, he enters her vampire-proof home. And yes, just for the record, that is the hardest scruffy Elijah’s ever had to work to get into a woman’s home. I mean, please.

By the time Elijah returns home, Klaus asks about the 12th and final ring. It’s then that we see that Elijah let Francesca “get away.” Basically, he let Hayley get her vengeance.

Act Three: Things Are Different Now

Back at Marcel’s place, Marcel is listening to Thierry’s jazz album—naturally—when Josh comes along asking questions about life and immortality and what it all means. Joe died last night and for what? Well, young Josh, he died because he’s a warrior, someone who fights for what he believes in. And for Joe, he went down fighting for the soul of this city (and probably just a little bit for the beignets). So what will you fight for, Josh?

Random thought: Marcel’s warriors versus Olivia Pope’s gladiators—who wins?

Spoiler: Hayley does. Well, not really. After killing Francesca, Hayley returns to the compound and starts destroying Hope’s room. In tears, she tells Elijah that she doesn’t feel peace. She killed eight wolves in addition to Francesca, and she’s having trouble finding the nobility in that (for good reason). She acted no better than a vampire tonight, and that’s something she can’t handle just yet. As for Elijah? Well, he doesn’t look at her the same way. “I was a mother, and now I’m a monster,” she says, and the oh-so-poetic Elijah is either too stunned to speak or he agrees.

Regardless, Elijah’s next task is destroying the moonlight rings. As Elijah eliminates the rings, Klaus breaks down, wondering how things would have been different if he’d just accepted Hayley’s pregnancy in the first place and not tried to play king. Did his greed rob him of his daughter? Probably, but otherwise, season 1 would’ve been very boring. But leave it up to Elijah, the poised older brother, to assure Klaus that his quest for redemption is not endless. “No mountain is endless,” Elijah says. “Some are just steeper than others.” Seriously, where’s my WWED bracelet?

From there, Klaus comforts Hayley and convinces her that they can regain the trust of the wolves. After all, she is their queen. He promises her that they can do anything if they just stand united, as a family. Speaking of family, we discover that there are more Originals back than we’d realized. Not only is Vincent/Finn serving as Cami’s college, but Kaleb? Yeah, he’s actually freaking Kol. Take a second and let that sink in. He is KOL.

All in all, the Original family is poised for one heck of a reunion. We’ve got Finn, the tall one. Esther, the strategist. Mikael, the destroyer. Kol, the one whose accent sounded a little Scottish in that last scene. Rebekah, the good aunt. And Klaus and Elijah, the united brothers. Here’s to hoping they reunite soon—and maybe over a viking feast, just for old times sake.

Now, be sure to check out our post-mortem to get Phoebe Tonkin’s reaction to Hayley’s revenge and find out what’s next this season.

Joseph Morgan and Daniel Gillies star as Klaus and Elijah Mikaelson in this Vampire Dairies spin-off about the first family of vampires, their life in New Orleans, and the witches and werewolves who live there.
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