Not many television series can successfully pull off a 5 year jump in their stories, but I’m happy to say The Originals has. When season three ended, the future for the Mikelsons looked pretty bleak, with Kol, Rebecca, Freya, and Elijah in a coma induced state to prevent their death from Marcel’s bite, while Klaus was a prisoner of Marcel’s. Meanwhile Hayley was left to find a cure for Marcel’s deadly bite and simultaneously raise her daughter Hope.
When season four picks up, Hayley is closer than ever to finding a cure and, with some help from a werewolf named Keelin, she succeeds. Freya is able to create a cure to save her vampire siblings. Keelin is an interesting new addition to the cast considering show writers have written off (aka killed) past strong female characters, including Davina and Cami. I’m still bitter over Cami’s death.
Initially, I did not realize Keelin would be more than a 1 or 2 episode guest star but she continues to pop up throughout the course of the first half of the season and she has made a strong addition to the cast.
When the Mikaelson’s awaken from their 5 year slumber the reunion is bittersweet. I’ll admit that the reunion of long time lovers Hayley and Elijah was more than enough of a reward for the long wait between seasons. Now reunited, the Mikaelsons and Hayley spearhead an effort to infiltrate New Orleans once again and free Klaus from his tormented imprisonment.
Surprisingly enough, Klaus has still maintained some semblance of sanity but begins hallucinating his past love Camille, as she encourages him not to give up. The Mikaelsons are able to distract Marcel temporarily and free Klaus. They then escape to outside the city and return to the country home where Hayley has been raising Hope along with Mary’s help. To jog your memory, Mary is a werewolf and Jackson’s (Hayley’s deceased husband) grandmother. It’s a relief to hear that Hayley has had some help raising Hope for the past five years.
One of the most intriguing, newest aspects of this season of The Originals is the addition of newcomer Summer Fontana, as seven year old Hope, Klaus and Hayley’s young daughter. I had my doubts as to if young actress could master the part, but I’m ecstatic that Fontana has done such a wonderful job so far.
It sounds cliché, but the show is worth watching for Hope alone. Hope is not only a vampire-werewolf hybrid, but also a witch of the Mikealson bloodline, making her extremely powerful, perhaps even more powerful than many viewers first thought. She grew up in a reclusive setting as her mother and her moved around quite a bit and as you can imagine, she lacks some of the social skills young girls her age may have.
Klaus and Hope’s first reunion is startlingly good, as both struggle to connect considering their experiences over the past five years. Klaus is determined to reconnect with his daughter though and the two do find common ground. Watching Klaus develop his human and nurturing side is fascinating as he continually struggles to find himself again after having lost himself to mindless agony while imprisoned by Marcel.
Meanwhile back in New Orleans, supernaturals have existed in relative harmony for the past five years with Marcel as their vampire king. Witch Vincent continues to work alongside Marcel and begins investigating disturbing rumors of children missing when the season initially picks up.
Now let’s get to the crux, or in this case villain, of this season: the Hollow. Seven episodes in and I’m not impressed. There has been a gradual steady build up, which has contributed to the mystery and potential threat of this new antagonist.
Pursuing a lead on one of the missing children, Vincent visits an abandoned house where he is attacked by a strange blue supernatural light. Yes, it sounds as weird as it looks. He somehow realizes that this light posses a serious threat not only to witches but to all the inhabitants, including children, of New Orleans.
Further research and investigation into the blue light leads Vincent and Marcel to discover that the evil is called the Hollow and that it is a secret cult like coven that is abducting children to sacrifice in order to restore the Hollow to a pure evil form.
Now while not in New Orleans, Hope still begins feeling tendrils of the Hollow’s power due to the extent of her witch abilities. The Hollow eventually besieges Hope with a spell intending to use her as one of the sacrifices. Klaus and Marcel are forced to work together to not only save Hope’s life but also the lives of many other children. They succeed but not before the Hollow temporarily possess both of them.
They are then forced to fight their own personal demons before they kill each other in a fight to the death. With Sofya’s, Marcel’s advisor and friend, help and Freya’s help they manage to avoid a new crisis. Sofya has selfish plans of her own though, which revolve around killing Klaus once and for all, and after Klaus inadvertently spills Marcel’s super potent hybrid blood, she received a gift from the Hollow, which had absorbed Marcel’s blood. Sofya now has a vine imbued with Marcel’s blood that can kill an Original vampire.
Over the course of the season the Hollow is somehow able to possess or control servants of it to do its bidding, as it is unable to take corporal form. It is a bit tedious watching the Hollow jump between bodies or servants and this is where the writers struggle. There is no doubt that this new villain is a huge threat, as the Mikealsons can’t find it directly, but viewers like myself are left a little confused since we still have no idea what the Hollow is exactly.
Themes this season of The Originals seem to focus quite a bit on are character development and discovery. Klaus focuses on discovering his role as a father to Hope, while Elijah steps into more of a darker enforcer role now that Klaus’ focus is on Hope. Freya tests her power limits and leans on Keelin, even developing burgeoning romantic feelings for her.
Even Hope excels and, while she continues to remain unfazed in dangerous situations, you do see moments of weakness and innocence. Marcel and Hope share a poignant scene that remains one of my favorites to this day. It’s sometimes hard to forget that she’s only seven years old, but with her unorthodox upbringing and her bloodlines she is an exceptional child.
Hayley also ventures down a new path and begins to learn that her own deceased parents had been involved somehow with the Hollow and she launches her own investigation into their deaths. With Freya and Keelin’s help she recalls memories from her childhood and, through them, discovers a ancient skull that her father hid. The Mikaelsons realize that it is a bone that the Hollow seeks, likely needs as part of its plan to restore its true form.
The Hollow is a very different type of antagonist in comparison to past antagonists on the show. It’s lack of corporal form and ties to many characters’ pasts introduces a new novel threat, one which the show hasn’t really explored in the past.
It may not be the best plot in the history of The Originals, but I’ll admit that it is rather intriguing and the show hasn’t lost me yet. Compared to The Vampire Diaries, The Originals stands well above its predecessor, due in part to its adult characters and lack of ignorance or innocence.
It’s hard to incorporate children successfully in shows like The Originals, but they have done a fantastic job so far with integrating Hope, her relationship with her family, and developing her over the course of the first half of the season. I am eager to see where the show will take Hope and the Mikaelsons.
If you haven’t heard already, The Originals was just renewed for a season 5, although Michael Narducci is stepping down as show runner and will instead hand over the reigns to Julie Plec, former Vampire Diaries show runner.