Have you been feeling a brooding-vampire-contrived-and-inconsistent-magical-system-hot-actor shaped hole in your heart? Look no further, for The Originals has returned.

The first episode of the delayed season 4 starts off with the aftermath of what, to me, was a completely unexpected season finale. Klaus remains imprisoned. Haley has been raising Hope, who is now a five-year-old girl.

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Lots of Klaus’s enemies have come forth to watch him suffer and decay in agony. One in particular wants to see him die painfully. Marcel, knowing that control of Klaus is the basis of his seat of power, invites one of Klaus’ rivals to a show of vengeance that ultimately results in bloody reversal. It was a terribly remarkable reminder of what an asshole Klaus is. He apparently compelled this guy to murder his own family, and when the poor vamp tried to take his (totally justified) revenge, Klaus is temporarily let loose from his bonds to shut that shit down.

Klaus’s current limitations restrict him to being nothing more than a bulldog who bites what ever he is pointed at. Yet he retains the menace of being someone everyone should fear. Oh, and Marcel stabs him with the voodoo torture dagger because he mouths off a little too much after doing Marcel’s bidding. I’m sure that won’t come back to bite him in the ass.

And Hayley was great. This actress has grown a ton since her bland introduction in The Vampire Diaries. Her fight scene was the highlight, with her wolfing out at the end just for fun. Elijah’s return was so well done, with him doing immediate and severe bodily damage to those who opposed her.

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Freya remains behind the scenes, of course. The uber-witch of the Mikaelsons has her own narrative arc for a bit: reviving her siblings one by one while making sure their respective maladies are addressed. Her casual brain melt of the hapless vampire who interrupted her WakeUpElijah spell was epic.

Meanwhile, Marcel and Vincent work their butts off to keep the NOLA supernatural community together. I know this was supposed to be an “A” story, but it only managed “B” story status. As much as I love seeing Josh and Vincent be besties, this show is about the Mikaelsons.

Which brings us to our last point: the inevitable return to NOLA for the witch civil war thing that is blatantly being telegraphed. As many things as this show is, subtle it is not. Our intrepid Originals have endured an attempted coupe, a crazy aunt, a league of rogue werewolves, a murderous dad, a kinda evil mom, and a successful coupe. Let’s see how quickly Elijah, Kol, and Rebecca start ripping out hearts once they get up from their 5-year nap and meet up with lil’ bro Klaus.

Your thoughts?