Good news! Against all odds, the casting director geniuses at The CW have found someone with the same balance of attractiveness, charisma, and menacing terror as Joseph Morgan. The potential Vampire Diaries spinoff, “The Originals,” which should unquestionably earn a spot on the network’s fall lineup, introduced us to our newest TV crush: Charles Michael Davis.
The actor plays Marcel, the HVIC (head vampire in charge) of New Orleans, whose dimples are just as adorable as JoMo’s. A long, long time ago, the Mikaelsons (mostly Klaus) helped found the gorgeous, electric city of New Orleans. Marcel is Klaus’ onetime protege who now runs the city — and who is every bit the ruthless killer as his former mentor. I’d like imagine Klaus picked him up from the gutter, Fagin-style, made him adopt a charming British accent, and turned Marcel into the Oliver Twist of his merry band of vampire thugs.
For all we know, that could have happened. But what we do know is that at some point, Klaus and his bros peaced out, while Marcel stayed and turned the city into his own little kingdom. He drove the werewolves away, terrorized the witches so they wouldn’t practice magic within city limits, and made New Orleans a vampire’s paradise.
Naturally, this means the New Orleans witches aren’t happy. Enter Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin), who’d spent a few weeks drinking at various bars around the city while she searched for clues about her family history. A pair of witch sisters noticed something different about her and cast a spell to determine whether their hunch was correct. It was.
A bunch of other stuff happened, Elijah made his way to town (and was super hot and badass in the process, like always), blah blah blah, HAYLEY IS PREGNANT WITH KLAUS’ BABY. The Nawlins witches want Klaus’ help to take down Marcel, and they’re holding Hayley (and Klaus’ unborn child) hostage until he helps them out.
Unfortunately, Klaus didn’t actually care about his baby or his one night stand, so he not-so-politely declined their offer. Enter Elijah, the voice of reason, who appealed to Klaus’ narcissism and mades his brother realize that an heir is exactly what their family needs. Maybe this thing is gonna work out after all!
Here’s the thing about the pregnancy — the loophole the writers created to allow Klaus the ability to impregnate someone, that werewolves can procreate even though vampires can’t, is totally believable. It’s got that WTF?! element of most of TVD‘s best plot twists, and adds an urgent, emotional layer to the storyline. Although kids make everything complicated, this is a fascinating complication that I have no doubt the talented TVD/Originals writing team can make even more complicated and interesting (in the best way possible).
The other new character of note, Camille (Leah Pipes) — or Cami, as she’d prefer to be known— seems a worthy, gorgeous love interest for Klaus. But even though there’s crazy romance potential there, it was comforting to see the hybrid call his Mystic Falls object of affection, Caroline, instead of engaging this new girl. He was standing in a city he loved and he wanted to be with the girl he loves (even if that love isn’t exactly reciprocated).
Back in Mystic Falls, Rebekah remained resolute that she would not help Klaus. Seems like she’ll eventually come around, though, considering she’s supposed to be a series regular on the new show. Also, Stefan and Damon are desiccating Elena until she gets weak enough to scare some humanity into her. This was the only Mystic Falls-related revelation we learned all night. And guess what? I hardly noticed.
“The Originals” felt darker and more mature than TVD — as advertised — but the most striking thing about the episode is how it felt like a natural evolution of the vampire drama we love so much. It also felt like a natural extension of the story. This was no forced spinoff. The characters belong in the world of New Orleans, and there’s plenty of story to be told. If The CW doesn’t announce in the next two days that it’s already picked up 22 episodes of the new show for its fall schedule, then they’re more oblivious than Bonnie Bennett.
Follow Jean on Twitter @hijean