The Originals episode 3 review: Tangled Up In Blue

Caroline still struggles to enjoy The Vampire Diaries spin-off, The Originals, but sees some improvement this week...

This review contains spoilers.

1.3 Tangled Up In Blue

Despite a very, very, very disappointing outcome, Tangled Up in Blue was the first episode of The Originals to show us what this series can do, and what it might be. The first two episodes were essentially two sides of a big long pilot, so we’re only now getting into the show as it will operate. It’s not quite there yet, and some of its problems are maddening, but I’m giving The Originals a chance to sort those out before I give up entirely. Once they got past the characteristic run-on expository scenes, this week’s episode was actually much stronger than the previous instalments.

There’s something going on, for starters. When asking nicely fails, Klaus and Rebekah decide on igniting all out war with Marcel in order to get Elijah back. It’s essentially a heist plot, involving both the witches and the vampires, and it’s thoroughly entertaining. There’s also a costume party, and we know from The Vampire Diaries that an episode with a costume party means we’re guaranteed some slaughter and mayhem. It’s disappointing how little slaughter and mayhem we actually receive, especially since that is what these characters trade in the most, but it’s enough to be getting on with.

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With Elijah still stuck in a box, Klaus and Rebekah are having to team up and figure out how best to manipulate the players without compromising their own safety. Klaus has been using his singular minion to drain more of Marcel’s men of vervane (a very gruesome process) and compel them into taking his side, and Rebekah has discovered where the witch who outed Hayley last week lives. It turns out that said witch is carrying on a not-so-secret relationship with Marcel’s right-hand man, Thierry, and the Mikaelsons find their way in. Manipulating Thierry into killing another vampire for hurting Katie during a raid, they deliver the first blow.

Meanwhile, Rebekah is playing the jealous ex and invites Cami to the ‘Gatsby’ party Marcel is throwing. It serves to distract him from what they’re scheming, as she tells a sceptical Klaus, but she’s also well aware that he’s going to end up having a very bad night. I’m still really unsure about what the writers are trying to do with Cami. I don’t dislike her at all, but having her involved just because she’s a bartender Marcel spotted in the backdoor pilot isn’t enough. He fancies her, for many of the same reasons Klaus once fell for Caroline on The Vampire Diaries, but the love triangle aspect isn’t very welcome this far from Mystic Falls.

There’s no room for external love stories at all, with Katie and Thierry’s misguided affair solidifying the notion that we have more important things to be getting on with. By all means, pair Klaus/Elijah with Hayley, or Rebekah with Marcel, but don’t bring in characters with the sole purpose of being love interests. Cami has the potential to be a strong character, but right now she’s just poking sleeping Klaus/Caroline fans (will she ever make a guest appearance?). Sophie is still very unlikeable, too, and the stupidity of Hayley googling every language except Latin is one of those maddening logic flaws I was talking about.

My main issue with The Originals is still the absence of Elijah. If I’m being honest, I’d grown so bored of The Vampire Diaries the last couple of years that I welcomed any storyline involving Klaus and Rebekah, so a spin-off wasn’t entirely necessary for me. The primary reason for my excitement was the prospect of seeing Elijah week-to-week rather than in sporadic guest arcs that ended too soon. He and Rebekah were my favourite characters and, while I’m getting to enjoy the latter as much as I always did, the former is still eluding me and my TV screen. Its false advertising, and I don’t like it.

But I realise that it’s also a very economical way to build momentum going forwards, as most of us care about Elijah as much as the main cast. Still, I can’t help but think The Originals would be a better show with him on it, and they’re wasting an opportunity. The three main cast members are all very different, and one thing we’ve yet to explore on either show is how Elijah fits in with his siblings on a day to day basis. Maybe the writers are still wondering the same thing, and how to use him? That would be doubly disappointing and, if that’s the case, then maybe he should stay in Davina’s attic.

Next week we’re going to another party, this time on the streets of New Orleans, and Davina is let out into the world to cause trouble. Let’s hope that trouble involves Elijah being undaggered, sharpish. 

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Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, House of the Rising Son, here.

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