The Originals: A journey from villany to redemption

The Originals -- "'The Tale of Two Wolves" -- Image Number: OR512a_0460b3.jpg -- Pictured: Joseph Morgan as Klaus -- Photo: Annette Brown/The CW -- © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
The Originals -- "'The Tale of Two Wolves" -- Image Number: OR512a_0460b3.jpg -- Pictured: Joseph Morgan as Klaus -- Photo: Annette Brown/The CW -- © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved. /

The Originals had a lot of work to do as an aspiring spinoff. Although the Mikaelsons were already charismatic characters, one of the biggest hurdles came from making them protagonists when they had thrived as villains on The Vampire Diaries.

Klaus Mikaelson was one of the most dangerous and complex antagonists in Mystic Falls. When Rebekah, Kol, and Finn eventually joined Klaus and Elijah, the siblings only enhanced the intriguing and scary elements that came with having the Original Vampires in town.

Their existence was not only exciting to have around as characters, but the Mikaelsons also pushed events and storylines forward. Although they only played supporting roles, the siblings became deeply involved in Mystic Falls. The Originals raised mayhem for the entirety of the time they were in Mystic Falls and were nothing less than captivating and compelling.

The Originals had the job of transforming extraordinary villains into protagonists. However, they could not immediately flip into hero roles, as the spinoff still had to represent who the Mikaelsons were up until that point. But, to make Klaus an anti-hero struggling on the tightrope between his antagonistic behavior and the beginning of redemption along with Elijah as his moral compass, The Originals found the perfect balance it needed.

The Originals succeeded in distinguishing itself from The Vampire Diaries early on, branding itself as a more adult story than its teen drama counterpart. As a result, The Originals did not need high school storylines or a continuous love triangle to be interesting, even if there were occasionally romantic conflicts.

Instead, it relied on the complex family issues from a thousand years spent with a vow of “Always and Forever” and the many betrayals the family survived. However, the spinoff also relied on a journey to redemption as one of its main stories.

Elijah Mikaelson had waited an eternity to witness his younger brother’s redemption, standing at his side for nearly all of a thousand years. Throughout The Originals, Klaus strives to be worthy of being Hope’s father, working with his family to make the best decisions. However, The Originals does not dismiss the past.

The Originals never forget the bad things Klaus has done and constantly recalls his sins, whether they be toward vampires he had sired or his family. His wrong choices are never ignored, and even Hope is aware of her father’s wrongdoings in the show’s final two seasons and references them in Legacies.

Klaus always prioritized his family first and continues this trend with his decision to take a piece of the Hollow which means he has to stay away from Hope and his siblings. In season 5, Klaus is willing to die if it means Hope gets to live. Klaus has the Hollow removed from Hope and placed into himself to eliminate their enemy and ensure Hope’s future. Sacrificing himself is a monumental step for a character who always intended to live forever.

As Klaus and Elijah stand before each other ready to die, Klaus for his daughter, and Elijah because he believes his journey is over, Elijah also admits he feels Klaus has redeemed himself.

Klaus and Elijah ended their journeys dying together, but The Originals also needed to fulfill Rebekah and Kol’s resolutions as well. Rebekah and Kol’s time in New Orleans allows them to grow outside of the antagonists they were in Mystic Falls, which earns them solid conclusions.

Rebekah’s wish of leaving vampirism behind is finally gifted as Klaus reveals he had secured Rebekah the cure when Damon Salvatore dies. She even gets her happy ending with Marcel. Finally, Kol receives his conclusion in his relationship with Davina and closure to the long and struggling dynamic with Klaus.

The Originals created an opportunity to flip the script on villains, portraying them at their most vulnerable and expanding on already existing complex and developed characters. But, giving the Mikaelsons a series highlighted their relationships, strengths, and weaknesses in ways The Vampire Diaries never had time to portray.

By its conclusion, The Originals had succeeded at telling a compelling story about a group of people who had once been seen as epic villains. The show also set up the youngest of the Mikaelson clan for her spinoff, where the Mikaelson family’s legacy remains to grow and is engrained in the fabric of the series.

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