6:00pm PT by Philiana Ng
'The Originals' Boss on Season 2 Premiere Shockers, Unexpected Family Reunion
[WARNING: Spoilers ahead from Monday's season-two premiere of The Originals, "Rebirth."]
The entire Original family is back — well, almost — and they're about to wreak havoc on New Orleans.
The Originals revealed at the end of last season the return of Esther, now in the body of Cassie (Natalie Dreyfuss). Now, she has two more toys to play with. Monday's season-two premiere ended with Esther reuniting with her previously-dead sons, Finn and Kol — now in the bodies of Cami's college adviser Vincent (Yusuf Gatewood) and Davina's new love interest Kaleb (Daniel Sharman) respectively — and enacting a grand scheme that will become one of the prime focuses for the season.
“Our hope was that this would be the season about the return of mother and father, and the return of the brothers. They’ve been displaced in these bodies and there is a lot of family stuff that we need to get out," said co-executive producer Michael Narducci. "That’s the big theme of this season: the past returning to haunt you — enemies who are even more dangerous because they know you intimately." That meant any strings from last season had to be tied up in a timely fashion so that focus could be spent on the titular family. "As awesome as Francesca (Peta Sergeant) was, she is the last remnant of last season," he admitted.
Bringing in new actors to take on Esther, Finn and Kol, who have been well-established on The Vampire Diaries, was a tall task for the writers — and wasn't without its challenges. If they were to resurrect other members of the Original family and bring them in to The Originals, it had to be now. "We hit upon this idea of the Other Side collapsing [on The Vampire Diaries], and if we were ever going to see these characters ever again, the time was now. When the Other Side goes away, these characters are gone," Narducci said.
After figuring out the machinations of how Esther would brought back (it was decided early on that Esther return as Harvest girl/witch, Cassie, a character introduced in season one of The Originals), Narducci emphasized the importance of finding an actress who could display the same "regal authority" that original portrayer Alice Evans had. "Episode two is a great showcase for [Natalie] to play Esther," he said.
Narducci likened this new iteration of Finn to Norman Bates, and "[who] has an obsessive need to appease his mother," Narducci said. "We're going to explain where that comes from and why he's so adamantly on Esther's side. We needed someone who had this creepy presence but who also, once you get to know him, [you realize] he has a perspective, there's a mission statement behind what he's doing. There's a world where you're kind of rooting for him too."
As for Kol 2.0, Narducci called him "the Loki of our story" — "mischievous, never knowing where you stand with this guy, what is he up to." "I absolutely believe that Esther brings him back to be on her side and to be a force that she can use to do what ultimately she wants to do: eliminate vampires. But where does he fall in terms of his loyalties and alliances?" he said.
That's not to say the original actors who played Finn and Kol, Casper Zafer and Nathaniel Buzolic, won't be reprising their roles. Narducci revealed that there will be "even more flashbacks" featuring Buzolic in episode two, as well as the two Mikaelson brothers as young children. As for what the flashbacks in episode two and three entail, expect the origins of the Mikaelson family, the children's relationships with Esther and Mikael (and each other), how the Originals left Europe and arrived in the U.S. (with Vampire Diaries nods) and the Mikaelsons as humans to be explored.
Another Original that made an unexpected appearance at the top of the hour was Rebekah (Claire Holt), who was safe and sound with Klaus and Hayley's baby, Hope. That won't be the last viewers will see of Rebekah.
"We're going to see Rebekah. We're going to see baby Hope," Narducci reassured. "That's going to be an important thing as to what Esther's plan for that baby is. Esther thinks the baby died, Esther doesn't know where Rebekah is. She's coming back with a definite agenda that we will see unpacked in episodes two and three." Unfortunately for Klaus and Elijah, they will be the first ones to discover the horrific news that Esther has returned from the dead. "That's going spread out to wherever Rebekah has hidden herself with the baby," he added.
The Hollywood Reporter rounds up six more teases for the new season.
Why is Josh sticking around? "It's very interesting to me why Josh is sticking around in New Orleans. He's Marcel's last guy from that old regime, that old community. He's trying to figure out 'What am I fighting for and what is this all about?,' " Narducci said. "Coming down the line we are going to tell some really great romantic stories. Josh has a really great story coming up."
What is Hayley and Elijah's future? "Elijah sees how broken and devastated Hayley is, not just by the loss of having to give up her child but the loss of her pure-blooded werewolf aspect [now that] she's a hybrid," Narducci said. "She's going through all the after-effects of somebody recently becoming a vampire... She's a mess and Elijah sees that and yet at the same time he recognizes, 'I can only help her so much because I am not what she is. The person who is what she is and understands what she's going through is my brother [Klaus].' " Next week's episode will be the aftermath. The motives behind Klaus' big speech to Hayley will also raise questions: "Was that infused with some desire to connect with this person romantically? Was that a sincere desire to reach out to someone who had fallen? Was that a less-than-sincere desire by someone who craves power to manipulate someone else into a place where they can help him get what he wants?"
What are Kol's intentions with Davina? The second explores Kol's interests "and it takes off from there." While Esther may be dead-set on accomplishing her end-goal, Davina's presence (described as a "wild card") will be an obstacle she'll be forced to contend with. Kol, "who happened to be placed into the body of an extremely handsome and charming British witch might be the best guy to find out what's going on with Davina," Narducci said of Esther's plans.
Will Esther and Mikael reunite? At the moment, they do not know the other is back. "That's something else we'll have a little fun with and play with," Narducci said. Whether or not Esther and Mikael — who will attempt to escape from Davina's shackles — would be friends or foes should they meet again is a big question. "We will see that somewhere down the line," he hinted, alluding to a potentially ugly reunion.
What do Finn and Esther want with Cami? "They have one of the coolest reasons possible for wanting to get to know Cami and at first, you're going to think it's one thing and when you find out what it really is, you will be impressed," Narducci teased. "When the pitch came into the [writers'] room, I thought, 'Wow, that's freaky.' "
Will people begin to suspect that Hope is actually alive? Without confirming, Narducci alluded to that being a big possibility down the line: "That would be awful and that would also lead to great dramatic conflict."
The Originals airs 8 p.m. Mondays on The CW.