Let’s Pick Apart an Episode of The Originals


This image caught my attention as I was cruising around Pinterest:


Several things occurred to me all at once as a result. First, obviously the photo is from a TV show or movie; second, WTF with the hair; third, WTF with the earrings; fourth, WTF with the 15th-century belt and pouch on an otherwise clearly pre-15th-century outfit; fifth, WTF with those leather cuffs; sixth, WTF with that trefoil brooch which is solidly pre-10th-century Norse (and therefore in complete opposition to the 15th-century belt and pouch); and sixth, WHERE DO I WATCH THIS TRAIN WRECK OF A COSTUME FLICK??? SO MUCH WTF I NEED TO WATCH IT IMMEDIATELY!!!

Armed with the amazing powers of Google reverse-image search, it was quickly determined that this still came from some vampire TV show The Originals (2014), which, I think, is a spin-off of the better known and just as cheesy Vampire Diaries. Specifically, this is episode 5, called “The Red Door,” from season 2. Not having a TV, therefore not having a single clue what I was about to embark on, I discovered the show was streaming on Netflix, SO OF COURSE I FIRED THAT SHIT UP.

What I quickly gathered in terms of plot, having just jumped midstream into a whole universe of schlocky vampire lore, is that this episode dealt with the first love of one of the protagonists, an “original” vampire named Elijah Mikaelson (Daniel Gillies, aka the David Boreanaz look-alike, minus the charisma and charm), who was apparently born in the 10th-century somewhere Nordic-y, so I was about to be treated to a whole lotta crappy “viking” mythos butchery. If there’s one thing I love/hate more than historical costume butchery, it’s historic culture butchery! BRING ON THE BUTCHERY, BITCHES.

Did I mention I am watching this while taking a medication that had a severe alcohol interaction warning, so I can’t even blunt the pain with booze? Also, it’s 8 a.m. and it might be a tad early to start drinking, even for this member of the Frock Flicks Original Broadway Recording Cast. So, yeah, I’m sober as fuck, yo.

Anyway, Elijah (such a traditional Norse name) spends the bulk of the episode chained in his mother’s basement, which I guess is meant to appeal to the incest/BDSM fetish crowd or something. So, Elijah’s mom is torturing him or some shit, for some undefined plot-y reason that I give literally zero fucks about, and forces him to recall his first love, Tatia (“She, of mystical blood…”), who is the chick in the photo that inspired this post in the first place.


*rubs hands evilly* Dis gon’ be gud.

They flashback to what is allegedly 11th-century Vikinglandia Mystic Falls, Virginia, and we see young Elijah mooning over Tatia at a Samhain party (hey, at least they got the pronunciation right), lamenting the fact that she loves another and some tragical nonsense ensues over a sacrificial pig.


The pig understands my pain.



Clearly the Viking vampires forgot to bring personal hygiene standards with them to the New World.

Let’s stop a minute here so I can rant about how men are portrayed in “medieval” flicks vs. women. Why is it that every guy looks like he hasn’t taken a bath since he was a toddler and has an intense phobia of combs, whereas the ladies are always wearing expertly styled hair and sporting flawlessly blended eyeshadow? You’d think that if one half of the population in your average ye olde time-y setting understands the importance of having one’s eyebrows on fleek, the other half would also place some value on not looking like a hermit that just crawled out of the juniper bushes for the first time in 20 years.


11th-century makeup by M.A.C. Cosmetics.

And one more thing about accents… Why are the accents in this show so bad that even the legitimately British actors sound like they’re faking a British accent? God, this show is bad.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, right, Sunday, October 31, 1002, around 11 p.m.


Just dancing around the pyre upon which we sacrifice historical accuracy.

So, some stuff happens in the modern times, but then we flash back again to the 11th century and this time it’s Klaus, Elijah’s brother, finding out that he’s a werewolf.

Elijah’s costume seems to have been inspired by my high school boyfriend and his ren faire garb. So, I guess that makes it both historical and documentable… sort of.

Tatia, out for her morning stroll in the woods, comes upon the gruesome scene and understandably nopes the fuck out.

the_originals 2014

Good: The linen kirtle. Bad: Everything else.

Well, she tries to nope the fuck out, but then Elijah goes all vampire on her because of some gruesome bleeding wound on her hand that just mysteriously appears, and apparently straight up murders her. And then she’s dead! RIP in peace little dreadlocked lady. The rest of the episode is more boring vampire/werewolf/witches in New Orleans schlock, all of which takes place in modern day times, so that’s where we will have to end this strange little detour. But stay tuned for my next installment of vampire wtf-ery, because we’re heading back in time again to 1492 to visit another one of Tatia’s incarnations on The Vampire Diaries.


Ever heard of The Originals and its time-traveling vampire BS?


About the author

Sarah Lorraine

Sarah has an undergraduate degree in Clothing & Textile Design and a Master's in Art History and Visual Culture, with an emphasis on fashion history. When she’s not caught in paralyzing existential dread, she's drinking craft cocktails and writing about historical costume in film and television. She's been pissing people off on the internet since 1995.

19 Responses

  1. Susan Pola

    I agree about the porcine animal. Haven’t seen this shlock, but may check it out at library.

    At first thought it was a bad parody of Highlander with *sigh* Adrian Paul.

  2. Maritha Holmström

    “If there’s one thing I love/hate more than historical costume butchery, it’s historic culture butchery!” If you had an idea how much I love you for that sentence <3

  3. Andrew.

    That sounds almost as ‘entrancing’ as the samurai sword-wielding hussar, Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter.

  4. Katie

    I watch both The Vampire Diaries and The Originals because it takes me back to being a teenager and writing shitty Anne Rice fanfic, and on that level, I enjoy it. The “historical” flashbacks in both shows run the gamut from “WTF” to “Oh Dear God What is That Thing?!?!” in every respect.

  5. Alys Mackyntoich

    Clearly, this episode is set at Pennsic, because I know I’ve seen those precise outfits there. (I will neither confirm nor deny having worn something vaguely like the woman’s outfit before I learned Things).

    • Lady Hermina De Pagan

      You know you’re right! I thought they looked like they were in the Bog by the Lost Boys camp. Which will explain the mud and masks. As for the lady’s hair, well. I just got back from Birka and I was witness to may a young lady similarly coiffed. I believe that I was in the minority because I ALWAYS cover my head even if it’s just a solid colored bandana.

  6. Charity

    I watch the hell out of this show.

    You should check out the WTF?-ery from the original (The Vampire Diaries) with the Katherine Pierce Civil War flashbacks. Hahahaha.

  7. Sarah F

    I started hate-watching the Vampire Diaries a few years ago; it’s one of those ‘train wreck’ shows. SO BAD, and yet… I can’t look away. I need to watch the wreckage burn.
    Also, when they did a flashback to the Civil War and I saw the clothes I laughed so hard I almost fell off the couch.

    • Sarah Lorraine

      The civil war episode is on my list! True fact: I don’t even bother watching the episodes; I just fast forward to the costumey bits and despair.

  8. Karen K.

    I’d love to know in which culture in history you’d find two brothers named Klaus and Elijah. And I totally agree about the dirty men juxtaposed with the beautiful women’s makeup. Why do all costumers think that everyone in history was dirty? Are dirty men supposed to by sexy? To me, dirty = smelly = NOPE.

  9. Saraquill

    …Is that faux historical episode implying only white people existed in Virginia in the Middle Ages? Was it in this show’s contract to never do a hint of research?

    • Sarah Lorraine

      Yep, that is indeed what they are implying. I think they’re trying to go off the premise that the Norse had a settlement in North America in the 9th-ish century. Except, that theorized settlement was nowhere near Virginia and was way the fuck North in Canada.

      Really, it’s just an excuse to mingle a little Native American cultural appropriation with faux-medieval bullshit.

    • Katie

      Oh, not just Vikings. There are also a few random Africans as well. This was at the point where the Vampire Diaries was still going for the “witches are all African American” thing , which went away in The Originals. Either because they realized it was kinda icky and racist, or because keeping it would mean that half the cast would be African American. And yes, I realize that given the history of New Orleans it is entirely possible that even the witches who’s appearance suggests they are European American could have a fair amount of African ancestry. But that hasn’t been stated, so.

  10. Jessica

    You should watch the 1920s themed episodes as well. So much snarkbto be had.

  11. Liz

    So a vampire show called The Originals found a David Boreanaz lookalike to star as a character with an origin story that bears a rather striking resemblance to that of Eric Northman in True Blood.

    I think I just injured something trying not to fall out of my chair at work.

  12. Jen

    I have this little fantasy that it’s the men doing the ladies’ brows. Like, here’s an essential Viking manhood test: can you pluck a woman’s brows into even, matching bows. Do other Norsemen mock him if her brows aren’t perfect? “Ho ho! Elijah, your woman’s eyebrows are too far apart! Why do you want embarrass her that way? She will pick a new man if you can’t groom her properly! Ha ha!”

    No? Only me?