'The Originals' Is Doing Everything Right By Forcing Romance to Take a Back Seat
Aside from the fact that the CW's The Originals is the network's new breakout series, there's another even better reason for you to start tuning in. The new vampire drama isn't falling victim to the problem that's plagued its parent series The Vampire Diaries — allowing overlapping relationship plots to run the show — and it's perfect. The show hasn't written off romance altogether but as far as its concerned, the characters' love lives are only a footnote to the rest of its action and by making that decision, they're doing everything right.
We're not saying that there's no romance or possibility for romance on The Originals whatsoever — this is the CW and a Julie Plec-helmed show, after all — but where the show has touched on it, it's done it right. Hayley and Elijah's will-they-won't-they relationship has been the only pairing on the show that's done anything to affect THE show's plot. And even with them, Elijah put a stop to it because he knew that if they went public, it would turn Klaus into the ultimate tyrant.
The Originals is first and foremost a struggle for power and order and it's doing what it can to keep that plot the main focus of the series. Klaus arrived in New Orleans, butted heads with his protégé Marcel and the witches, managed to prevail and take over, and now he's set to face more witches. This show is centered around Klaus's character, even though it's supposed to be about the Original family, and Klaus's character isn't emotionally available. He opened up briefly with Cami and entertained a small romance, before realizing that their relationship was a chink in his armor and abruptly ending it. And even that relationship never even really got off the ground — nor did it become a driving storyline for the series.
There's another reason why The Originals avoidance of the romantic trap is great for the show — it's allowing for strong and independent female characters to develop. We did a power-ranking awhile ago of the show's female cast and they've only gotten stronger (even though Davina's "dead" now) since the show's midseason premiere. We're not saying that the female characters on TVD aren't tough, because they are when they need to be, but they're deeply ingrained in their relationships. Whereas The Originals female cast, even with the opportunities for romance, haven't been defined by emotional connections to others. Even Cami, who was compelled by Klaus and seduced by Marcel, moved on and became powerful in her own right by creating alliances with the rest of the female cast. They're smart women and their characters are developing much faster than if they were running around being "so in love".
Why is any of this important, you ask? Because things aren't getting confusing and we're not getting bored. When The Vampire Diaries premiered, it immediately ran with the Stefan and Elena romance from the start and since then, almost every character has dated each other without any break from relationships in the plot. Granted, the Stefan-Elena-Damon triangle is a defining characteristic of the series, but still — things have gotten incredibly boring and confusing with the constant drama of shuffling lovers. The Originals began with Klaus's baby momma drama with Hayley but never took that to a romantic place — thankfully, because it would be awkward for Klaus, who's characteristically emotionless, to suddenly become the doting father of an unborn baby. (Even though we could obviously tell this week that he was glowing from Caroline admitting that she loved him during TVD's 100th episode.)
It was the right decision to keep him just the way he is, emotionally damaged and closed off, and it's great that Julie Plec and the rest of the showrunners decided to continue to move the series forward with that in mind.
It's saved the show from becoming convoluted in its early episodes — and even though we enjoy watching Hayley and Elijah feel out the boundaries of their attraction and share a few sweet moments here and there, it's refreshing to not have to keep up with who's dating who each week. The Originals is able to focus and remain attached to Klaus and his character traits while developing a strong, independent female cast and that's getting it 100 percent right. Carry on, Originals, carry on.