Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Originals: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
As Original vampire-werewolf hybrid Klaus Mikaelson returned to the vibrant, supernaturally charged city of New Orleans in season one, he was stunned to learn — along with his siblings Elijah and Rebekah — that Hayley, a werewolf, was pregnant with his child, and his vampire protégé, Marcel, whom the Original siblings had thought long dead, was ruling the French Quarter. Soon, a bloody war escalated between vampires and witches — the stakes raised by powerful teenage witch Davina and by Klaus’s bond with Cami, a student with a painful past — and a ruthless pack of wolves seized the opportunity to stage a violent coup. Now, in season two, a new status quo must be adjusted to, as the newly empowered werewolves control the city. Klaus struggles with weaknesses as Elijah desperately tries to save Hayley — now a hybrid — from a vicious spiral of self-destruction. Meanwhile, with the re-emergence of several Mikaelsons, “family is power” takes on new meaning.
Show (4 out of 5 stars)
Vampire-werewolf hybrid Niklaus aka Klaus Mikaelson (Joseph Morgan) is the true original. All vampires can be traced to his family and would cease to exist if harm were to come to Klaus. The Mikaelson siblings Elijah (Daniel Gillies) and Rebecca (Claire Holt) are at the center of it all, and are vampires but not hybrids like Klaus. 

In season one, The Mikaelsons returned to their former home New Orleans. Klaus thought his protégé Marcel (Charles Michael Davis) was dead but he had in fact been ruling the French quarter. The werewolf Haley (Phoebe Tonkin) was pregnant with Klaus’ child and vampires and witches were at war. This child was a threat to vampires, werewolves and witches.

As season two begins, the Mikaelsons are in mourning and the balance of power has shifted. Witch Davina (Danielle Campbell) wants to hurt Klaus and Cami (Leah Pipes) is one of the few people close to him. Hayley is now a hybrid herself and other members of the Mikaelson family are back (some from the dead) as New Orleans sees more than its share of supernatural drama. Secrets of the past are revealed and many of the main characters face futures they never imagined.

The Originals: The Complete Second Season contains the following episode on three Blu-ray discs:

Disc One

1. Rebirth – Klaus is ready to leave the compound and exact revenge on the Guerrera werewolves.
2. Alive and Kicking – Klaus encourages Hayley to reconnect with her pack as she struggles to connect with Elijah.  Davina has Mikael on a very short leash.
3.  Every Mother’s Son – A witch named Lenore helps Klaus, Elijah and Hayley deal with Esther but there is more magic in play than they realize.
4. Live and Let Die – Cami alerts Klaus to Davina’s hiding place.  She struggles to keep Mikael under control hoping to cut Klaus’ ties to her friends so she can harm him without hurting anyone else.
5. Red Door – Elijah is forced to look back at a time when he loved Tatia, the original doppelganger.  Elijah’s recollection of events is different than reality.
6. Wheel Inside the Wheel – Esther inhabits a new body and offers to body jump her children into human beings.
7. Chasing the Devil’s Tail – Klaus looks for an antidote to help Elijah as Kaleb gets closer to Davina.
8. The Brothers That Care Forgot – Esther has located Rebekah and Klaus’ secret is in jeopardy.  Klaus plans to stop Esther and hopefully rid her from their lives.

Disc Two

9. The Map of Moments - A few brief moments of happiness are had by Klaus and his siblings.  Kaleb starts to tell Davina his secrets and shows his power.
10. Gonna Set Your Flag on Fire – Vincent sets a trap as Hayley and Jackson attempt to bring about a vampire werewolf truce.
11. Brotherhood of the Damned – Vincent has a spell to trap Klaus and Elijah as they need to be free the most.  Hayley learns about the wedding rituals that will be required to seal her union with Jackson.
12. Sanctuary – Josh and Marcel need to be rescued and Davina needs help to save them. 
13. The Devil is Damned – Elijah is caught off guard and fights for his life.  Kaleb has life changing decisions to make.
14. I Love You, Goodbye – Hayley is unsure that her marriage to Jackson will have the intended results as she prepares for the mystical union.
15. They All Asked For You – Freya seeks to help but Klaus questions her motives.   Klaus isn’t playing well with Hayley and Jackson, becoming easily agitated.
16.  Save My Soul – Klaus allows Freya into the compound seeking to learn more and determine if he can use her skills to win his war.

Disc Three

17. Exquisite Corpse - Rebekah’s life is in jeopardy and Freya may be the only one who can save her. Meanwhile Josephine reveals new information about Hayley.
18. Night Has a Thousand Eyes - Klaus meets Mikael as he tries to rid the world of Dahlia saving his loved ones.
19. When the Levee Breaks – Dahlia demands the sacrifice that is owed to her and Freya has demands of her own.
20. City Beneath the Sea – Hayley is caught between the conflict with Elijah and Jackson.  Davina has an offer to consider and tensions flare.
21. Fire with Fire – Davina continues to weigh her options.  Hayley and Jackson flee a flooded bayou. Marcel finds himself in danger.
22. Ashes to Ashes – In the season finale the Mikaelsons prepare for war against Dahlia.

Season one had me interested, season two has me hooked. "Vampire Diaries" fans debate whether to be Team Stefan or Team Elena. I am team Klaus. I loved watching the man who has committed unthinkable evils bond with his family. It is amazing that he has a soft side buried so deep. I especially liked his speeches about family and his warnings to those who threaten them. With vampires, witches and werewolves there is a lot going on in the French Quarter. As season two ends, it has not become too much…not yet.  I hope they don’t go the way of True Blood, over-complicating an awesome world. I hope "The Originals" will learn to do less really well instead of touching on every topic, never being able to fully explore any.  My new found love for Klaus is rivaled by my love for his brother Elijah.  They are my new favorite supernatural duo.   Klaus and the Mikaelsons are more than enough to fill a season with drama, danger, intrigue and a few laughs.
Video (4 out of 5 stars)
The dark and bruiting world of New Orleans (even if filmed in Georgia) comes alive on "The Originals" Blu-ray.  The show is presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen 16x9 ratio.  You’ll notice the varying red hues as the blood flows.  With their daylight rings all creatures have the chance to see the sunlight and the show looks great indoors and out.  The skin tones are often intentionally pale and the veins and pupil reactions of the various creatures is noticeable.
Audio (4 out of 5 stars)
The DTS-HD Master Audio presentation includes a score that supports but never overwhelms the action.  The music certainly enhances the drama.  Dialogue is intelligible and consistent and the sounds of the city crowds and the bayou creatures are impressive.
Extras (4 out of 5 stars)
The Blu-ray discs contain a good list of special features that are well worth the time.

Disc One
  • Deleted Scenes from the episode “Rebirth”
Disc Two
  • Deleted Scenes from the episodes “The Map of Moments”, “I Love You Goodbye” and “Save My Soul”
Disc Three
  • The Originals: Always and Forever (13:00) – Executive Producers and Cast discuss the Mikaelson family and their impact on the Quarter.
  • The Awakening Web Series
  • Gag Reel (4:31) – Line flubs, prop fails and even a batman voice make the cast laugh through their scenes.
  • Come Visit Georgia PSA (2:41) – A unique and inventive public service announcement highlighting Georgia, which doubles for New Orleans in The Originals.
  • The Originals Comic Con Panel 2014 (29:56) – Jarett Wieselman moderates the panel in Ballroom 20 at last year’s Comic Con.  Includes discussion of season one with hints about season two with cast, executive producer and creator.   Fan questions are answered as well.
  • Deleted Scenes from “Night Has a Thousand Eyes”, “City Beneath the Sea” and “Ashes to Ashes”
Summary (4 out of 5 stars)
The Originals:  The Complete Second season has pulled off a rare feat having a second season better than the first.  The writing, character development and acting has been taken to the next level and the show deserves a third season and more.  The Blu-ray contains some interesting special features including Comic Con coverage and a gag reel which is more amusing because it’s such a serious show.  If you haven’t seen season one I urge you to go back and start there so you have the background and understanding of the characters and their motives.  You could watch The Originals without having seen The Vampire Diaries but they are very much from the same universe and have connections that mean a lot even if the episodes aren’t crossovers.  Recommended.

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