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The Originals: 10 Most Recurring Tropes From The TV Show

The CW's The Originals has been widely deemed as a successful spin-off and was even able to take some stylistic liberties to improve upon the narrative format of The Vampire Diaries. It's never easy developing a diverse monster universe but The Originals had the benefit of a strong mythology and a historically accurate backstory which made it easier for the viewers to place it in the TVD universe. 

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However, brevity is not something the spin-off was known for and its storylines have often come across as long-winded and somewhat predictable since the show often fell back on familiar recipes and cliches and some of the tropes on the show appeared far more often than others.

10 There Were Too Many Ultimatums

Deadlines and ultimatums do add urgency and drama to every supernatural plot, but it comes across as somewhat ludicrous in a show about immortals. In season 2 alone, there are multiple instances where Mikaelsons have to work with an ultimatum, which forces the siblings or the family to work together, and this trope is a recurring one in the later seasons too, more notably during the series finale where Klaus and Elijah literally die because of the Hollow's ultimatum.

In season 2, the evil Dahlia gives Klaus and Elijah a deadline to turn baby Hope to her, Freya gives Rebekkah and Elijah an ultimatum, and Rebekah is on a deadline to save Hope from Esther who was hunting them. The time crunch usually ends with an explosive climax, and the build-up became predictable after a certain point.

9 Klaus Being The Biggest Problem In The Room

The Mikaelsons have a plethora of enemies and yet many times Klaus himself seemed to be the biggest problem for his family since he refused to compromise with anyone and basically always wanted to carry out his own brand of vendetta. Viewers could easily identify his toxic patterns since the only consistent thing about him was his temper and the bad boy trope had played itself out.

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Klaus wasn't a team player and even when it came to family matters, he refused to budge. The biggest example would be when he daggered Elijah and killed his girlfriend Gia in season 2, which was an extreme reaction. There are other examples too, like when he kept hypnotizing Cami against her will or made no room for diplomacy even in times of crises. 

8 Characters coming back from the dead

Be it Esther, Finn, their aunt Dahlia, Mikael, or even Elijah,  the members of the original family consistently defied their own mythology. The Mikaelsons are hugely powerful, it has been established many times that it’s virtually impossible to kill them off but originals or someone from their past kept coming back to life, be it from a recent death or oblivion or a curse-induced sleep hundred years ago. Their comebacks were almost always unceremonious and badly designed.

It also seemed odd that they rarely mentioned their other family members or past acquaintances unless they had emerged from the dead. After a certain point, this became a really predictable trope because the show seemed to contradict its own claims pertaining to certain legends and characters from the past would just pop up and pose new threats.

7 The Quest Motif

Almost every challenge faced by The Mikaelsons usually involves some sort of a quest or an adventure, be it securing an obscure ingredient for a witch's ritual or hunting someone who's in hiding. For the most part, it adds an element of thrill to the narrative, but eventually, the endless quests came across as somewhat shoddy, often lacking enough context.

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In season 2, when Klaus goes to the bayou looking for the Merlock orchid, an antidote, to save a dying Elijah, it is a long-winded plot device to show Ansel’s concern for his son, but the hunt for the orchid in itself is poorly handled. Broadly speaking, if the orchid was really the only hope for Elijah, why is Klaus the only one looking for it, considering how crucial it is?

6 The Recurring Evil Parents

It’s fair to say that the Mikaelson parents are terribly controversial. Esther and Mikael want to end their own bloodline and want their children to suffer. It’s important to note that a dysfunctional family narrative is a powerful tool in the show, anchoring the personal arcs of the Mikaelson siblings since they knew exactly what not to do when it came to raising Hope. It would have been different if Esther and Mikael were the main antagonists, but since they aren’t, they don’t get top billing as villains and neither can they be dismissed as secondary baddies, which makes it difficult for viewers to place them.

Mikael’s attacks on Klaus in season 2 or Esther’s continued deception throughout seasons 2 and 3, make the storylines really foreseeable and somewhat boring. The ‘toxic parents’ story works great to establish the history of the Mikaelson siblings and certainly works as a backstory, but making the parents recurring threats doesn’t work.

5 The Impossibility Of Hayley And Elijah’s Romance

There’s no reason why Elijah and Hayley could not have a thriving romance as other immortals had in the franchise. But the writers seemed pretty insistent in keeping the two apart, relentlessly implying that their love story was impossible. The love triangle between Hayley, Elijah and Jackson certainly worked to play up the element of drama, but even after Jackson is out of the picture, they're kept apart for five years.

RELATED: 10 Things That Already Haven't Aged Well In The Originals

Hayley and Elijah are simply too busy keeping Hope safe and securing their family’s future to have a life together, despite confessing their feelings. This tense anticipation became a trope that continued throughout the show as both kept saying they could never be together, but the show never offered a valid explanation as to why.

4 Too Many Long-Winded Flashbacks

In The Vampire Diaries universe, flashbacks have proved to be a crucial narrative device, but in The Originals, it comes across as a jaded trope, since it doesn't often contribute much to the storyline. In TVD, audiences were wholly unfamiliar with the lore and the flashbacks offered perspective, but they were familiar with the history by the time The Originals began.

From their Viking heritage to their history with Katherine, to the Mikaelson’s dysfunctional dynamic, a lot had already been established on TVD. On The Originals, the characters could have simply mentioned or outlined crucial aspects but the show did not need long-winded, elaborate flashback sequences.

3 The Level Of Gore

The franchise could not let go of the unnecessary blood spillage and the excessively gory fight scenes when things could have been handled in a more stylized way. Not every vampire drama needs to show hearts being pulled out of bodies and blood gushing out from neck veins or bloody lips over and over.

The Originals is not prestige TV but it was also not designed in the same vein as a teen vampire drama like TVD, so it had a lot more potential. The big fight between Elijah and Marcel’s army in the 21st episode of season 1, for example, or the rampages of the season 2 premiere came across as unnecessarily graphic. 

2 The ‘Klaroline’ Baiting

'Baiting’ may be a harsh term, since the showrunners didn’t share conclusive plans to include Caroline in The Originals, but the fans simply couldn’t let go of Klaus and Caroline’s romance. She was a crucial part of season 5 but to re-introduce such a hugely popular arc only to give it a sad ending was widely panned. This can only be considered a trope for audiences who are aware of Caroline’s whole trajectory, starting from The Vampire Diaries.

On TVD, during an emotional exchange with Bonnie, Caroline admits that she’s tired of ‘never being the one,' of never being someone's first choice. She reunites with Klaus in The Originals right after Stefan died and this reunion teased a happy ending between Caroline and Klaus. But Klaus also leaves her as he gives up his life to save his daughter.

1 The Many, Many Curses

The show featured ancient creatures, witches, vampires, and even hybrids and old-timey curses make for a gripping plot device. But there are only so many curses, prophecies, and ancient myths that can be taken seriously as a challenge, at least in a show that has often attempted to humanize its monsters.

The show simply depended too much on things of the past, which hampered its style. Be it the prophecy about the Mikaelson siblings deaths, the predicted ravages of the Hollow, or even the many ritualistic curses by the witches, these mythical obstacles are in a way, a cop-out since they could legitimize quite a few unbelievable or even obnoxious storylines which would have been otherwise considered unrealistic.

NEXT: 5 Reasons Klaus Was The Scariest Original (& 5 Reasons It Was Elijah) On The Vampire Diaries

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