‘The Originals’ Season Finale Recap: Life, Love, Loyalty and Hope

A few weeks ago I said I was quitting my blog.

I tried.

It lasted a few weeks.

I’m back.

I don’t like quitting.

So, if you like what I have to say and how I say it, you can thank CW’s show The Originals because they’re the inspiration for my return. How you say? Well, if you watch the show then you know it was incredible – so much so there was no other outlet I could think of to share just how much I loved it than here, and with you, my lovely readers.

So, Nightstand woke up. It was a short nap.

Now, let’s dive in. The Originals….

Anyone who knows me, knows I love stories of the supernatural. I love the supernatural because it’s not real. And we all need an escape from life sometimes. A break from the tough moments. The moments that break you. The moments that test your strength. The moments that remind you how frail humanity can be.

But those moments also teach you. They teach you about yourself. Your strength. Your ability to persevere, no matter how hard the battle. That humanity is incredibly strong and beautiful. And for that reason, I love the supernatural because often the stories centered in the supernatural world are just that: they’re about strength of character, of love, of life. About family. About the ties that bind us and keep us connected, no matter how crazy the world can be. Stories that are, incredibly human.

So yes, life is tough. But it’s also inescapably humbling, and breathtaking, and completely unexpected and beautiful with the most delightful joy in unexpected places.

I enjoy both aspects. I’m a dichotomy. But then again I never promised to be anything else than what I am. And that is someone that laughs, that cries, that loves. I fall, I get up, I move on. I am if nothing, incredibly human.

That’s why last night’s season one finale of The Originals got to me. It reached into my heart and squeezed tight. There was so much life in that one hour — even though witches were squaring off against vampires and werewolves, and plotting the sacrifice of a newborn hybrid, while turning the city of New Orleans into a supernatural war zone —  that at one point I had to pause everything I had seen so far, and catch my breath for the remainder of it.

You may think I’m crazy but any fan of the show knows, last night’s finale was OFF THE HOOK CRAZY GOOD. It answered so many questions, brought so many relationships and story lines full circle. It connected what I thought were loose ends that were due to kinks being worked out in its freshman season and tied everything together perfectly, showing us that every story line, every episode had tracked to this one hour, setting in motion story lines that would unravel next season and well into future ones. For this finale I have to say to producer Julie Plec… Well done, well mother lovin’ done (and that pun on the “mother” was intentional.) You promised it would be mind blowing and well, consider my mind completely blown. There were so many moments that were palpable I actually found myself holding my breath. That scene with Hayley and Hope…. I can’t. even. take it. It hit me like a ton of bricks in a really, really profound way, sending chills up my spine.

In an hour we got to see a monster who has terrorized just about everyone he has ever known, be brought to his knees by his newborn daughter.  We saw a family bond that had been broken, with little hope of repair, mend with new commitment and loyalty.  We learned  the ties that bind us, have the power to bring us back…sometimes even from the dead.

We were also introduced to new characters, the return of some original ones (catch the pun there?), and a feeling of hope, thanks to the arrival of one sweet baby girl of the same name. The episode was sheer poetry and by far, the best episode of the season not to mention, perhaps the best show of all seasons of the Vampire Diaries (its sister show) and The Originals combined.

Now sadly, we must wait to see how everything unfurls next season and I will be left wondering all summer… will Elijah and Hayley finally get together? Will Esther and her son (presumably Finn) make their way out of the bodies they stole and be put out of their misery so sweet baby Hope can return? Will Rebekah return for good (Claire Holt is divine), or will she head to somewhere close say, Mystic Falls, so we can see her lovely face more often? That scene by the way – with Rebekah and Klaus – was sheer magic. Their bond has always been complicated, but the fact he trusts her, above all others to keep his daugher safe, speaks volumes about the soul that lies in the heart of Klaus, reminding you that despite everything they have done, has always, and will always be, for their family.

 

So much to ponder. Let the countdown to next fall begin.

Until then, check out The Originals soundtrack. There’s been some great artists featured this year. Here’s two of my favorites from the finale .

“Open Hands” by Ingrid Michaelson

“Shallows” by Daughter

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Cool Songs in Movies (and on TV): Mariah, Mercy, a McDonald and a Matthew

I was disappointed in Oz The Great and Powerful. As far as movies go, I was left wanting more. I thought the colors were incredible, but the talent of Rachel Weisz and James Franco incredibly wasted, and Michelle Williams too soft and vapid. Mila Kunis was gorgeous, but her Wicked Witch of the West paled in comparison to Margaret Hamilton, who to this day is the only actress to portray the character beyond imagination. I said all this months back when the movie first hit theaters. You can check out my review here.

All this said, now that it has hit the Starz channel and on rotation nearly daily, I’ve had a chance to watch it again and while I still think it was capable of so much more I did discover the second go around, a gem – a song during the end credits that I may have caught had perhaps I stuck around the theater long enough the first time. But I hadn’t. I broke my golden rule. Credits = music, and assuming the score would be as much of a bore as the flick, I hightailed it out of there instead of sticking around for hidden surprises like behind the scenes outtakes, sneak peek’s at future movies and well, music. After all, the end credits were the best part of the first Twilight film; the samples from the soundtrack that accompanied the millions of names scrolling up the screen  worth the hour and a half of bad teen angst acting.

But I digress….

Back to Oz.

I had to Shazam it because I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. For a music lover with a deep appreciation for the human voice, I was stunned. The tune was glorious in the way only one accompanying a major Hollywood film would be, but it was that voice. It was familiar, but almost forgotten; its divinity  lost years ago.  It was …Mariah Carey? A non-shrieking, solid vocal performance from the diva whose music I once sang along to before she got all Honey on me? Mon dieu!

I have never heard this song until a few days ago, but have to say, I was impressed and hope there is more tricks left in MC’s bag. I sure hope so. The Emancipation of Mimi album was LONG overdue and I am anxious for another solid album.

“Almost Home” by Mariah Carey

Two other recent discoveries come from the CW’s new show, The Originals. I am a huge fan of The Vampire Diaries’ spinoff. Set in the city of New Orleans (my kindred soul mate, if a city could be one), the show focuses on the remaining members of the original vampire family – siblings Klaus, Elijah and Rebekah. The acting is solid  – both Joseph Morgan and Claire Holt incredibly talented, stealing many scenes of TVD episodes over the past few seasons – and plot line compelling, a well written new spin on the witches vs. vampires tale started over on TVD and carried deliciously over to The Originals. And…like most CW shows, the music featured in each episode is just the way I like it: indie and emo, with a tad of edge to keep it interesting.  Many of the artists featured in episodes so far I was introduced to through TVD. But so far this season a couple of favorites are singles from Mercy and Moby featured in episode 3, “Tangled Up in Blue.”

“Mercy” from Hurts

“A Case for Shame (with Cold Specks)” from Moby

I also must share a new tune discovery from one of my fun favorites Drop Dead Diva – a show which thankfully found new life after having been cancelled by its home network and producer, Lifetime.

Sometimes the emotions in a friendship are stronger than words can describe, and Shawn McDonald’s song “Through it All” was the perfect song choice for Season 5’s Episode 11, which saw best friends Jane and Stacey finding meeting in the middle after…well, you just need to watch the show because it’s too hard to explain. But it was after an “oh no she didn’t!” moment that I thought nothing could repair.

I found the version of the song they used in the episode on iTunes, but all of the videos on You Tube are a different version and trust me, the one from the show was incredible.  So, for now, a small clip will have to do. Click here and then click on the song title, “Through it All.”

And lastly, this ethereal beauty was discovered in last week’s episode of Witches of East End on Lifetime. And before you judge me, I will say the show is fabulous! I thought it would be a cross between Desperate Housewives and that tragic show about scandalous maids on Lifetime, but it’s not. It’s fabulous and wicked and I hope (fingers crossed) good enough to make it another season.

Matthew Perryman Jones’ “Canción de la Noche” caught me totally by surprise.  It was quiet, and simple, and haunting, and everything about music I love. A song that reached into my chest and squeezed tight. It’s a powerful song, telling a story that seems to be of both this world and another. Check it out, you’ll see.

That’s it for now. But I have a ton of shows to catch up on, so don’t be surprised if you see another post in the days following with more delightful discoveries. Until then download these finds, slip on your headphones, and drift slowly off to sleep.

Moview Review: The Great Gatsby

I didn’t get a chance to see The Great Gatsby when it hit theaters this past spring. I was anxious to see it. I really love Baz Luhrman’s work. It’s over the top and visually stimulating, and always good about pin-pointing a period of time with a subtle weave of modern day accessibility via score and soundtrack. Also, I am a huge F. Scott Fitzgerald fan. A few of the story nuances may have gotten tangled in that cobweb filled, lit-obsessed mind of mine, but the story is synonymous with everything I love about his work:  the decadence, idealism, and excess of the Jazz Age, coupled alongside impractical and incredibly tender and eloquent stories of youth and love that is often suffocated and tainted by the greed filled society that surrounds them. (Phew, wish I could have summed up my words like THAT in college).

I will admit, I wasn’t a fan of the 1974 film starring Robert Redford. The man is gorgeous, of course. I mean, stunning in the way J. Gatsby should be. But the film always failed to bring out the opulence of the Jazz Age, and Mia Farrow’s Daisy Buchanan always appeared dingy and flighty, not self centered or narcissistic in the way those of us who have a love/hate relationship with Fitzgerald’s Daisy imagine her to be.  Check out the original trailer below, you will see what I mean.

Stark contrast to the high energy, totally stunning, reel you in trailer from Luhrman:

Farrow’s Daisy  also wasn’t nearly as stunning as Carey Mulligan’s Daisy. I know movies have changed a lot in the past 35 years, so maybe some of the look in feel of the film and its characters were transformed in a way now, that they couldn’t be, then. But Farrow’s Daisy was always off and that ruins a movie for me…when you can’t love/hate the character the same way on the screen as you do in the book because of bad casting. (You hear me Kristen Stewart??)

People can say what they want about Leo DiCaprio, but I happen to like the actor. I think he has gotten unfairly overlooked by the Academy over the years. Some of his films have been incredible – Blood Diamond and Inception to name a few. But I feel like no one has ever really given him a fair chance since Titanic. To this I have to say come on! You gave Kate Winslet a chance to move past the film, people really should let Leo move on, too. And he didn’t look too bad. His “old sport” was a bit irritating, but they were in the book as well. There is actually a point in the movie where I am so in love with the both of them (Caprio’s Gatsy and Mulligan’s Daisy), they look that good together, that I almost forget Daisy is a self obsessed snob and he, nothing but a bootlegger.

Luhrman was careful not to forget to focus on the exquisite writing of Fitzgerald using key moments in the film to underscore the brilliance of his work by bringing the words to life on screen, including my favorite line from the book, uttered by Nick Carraway: “I was both within and without.” Poetic. Every time I read the story it gets me. Every. Single. Time.

Last but not least, I want to say a hearty well done to Jay Z for his work on the soundtrack – an effort he brought to life through collaborations with many amazing, talented artists that I happen to love including Lana Del Ray, Florence + the Machine, The xx, and Nero, to name a few. Who cares what this rambling review from the Village Voice says. It’s fabulous and I am only sorry it took me four months to discover it. I love it that much. Don’t trust me? Check out the following tracks: Lana Del Ray’s “Young and Beautiful,” Florence + the Machine’s “Over the Love,” The xx’s “Together,” Gotye’s “Hearts A Mess,” and Nero’s “Into the Past.” Of course Jack White’s cover of U2’s “Love is Blindness” — as heard in the soundtrack — is incredible. But I would have loved to have heard the two collaborate on that.

I’m not a huge Tobey Macguire fan, but he plays a pretty good clueless Nick Carraway and Isla Fisher has little screen time as Myrtle.  Joel Edgerton is a solid Tom Buchanan. I really liked him in The Odd Life of Timothy Green . He’s an actor I am going to pay a bit more attention to in the future.

All in all a film I really, really, really enjoyed and the beautiful architecture of the Jazz Age captured brilliantly in the films many, many, many marketing pieces such as the cast photo below.

“The Great Gatsby” is now out on PPV and DVD and Blu-Ray.

https://i0.wp.com/upload.luckyworld.net/diskboard/2013/08/13/0813_6175.jpg

Cool Songs in Movies featuring Evanescence, Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse, and Joy Formidable

It’s been awhile my friends. I’m sorry. I’ve had a lot going on. Everything has suffered. My writing. My working out. My sanity.

But alas. It’s back — my writing, not my sanity — and what better way to return from a short detour, than with a fun post around music.

I watched a handful of movies this weekend, but it wasn’t the movies that stuck with me, rather,  the musical gems hidden towards and at the end of two flicks I’ve seen countless times, two featuring vampires and one about love (shocker, right?)

So, please add the two songs to the download queue. They’re pretty great.


“Made of Stone” by Evanescence – heard during the end credits for Underworld: Awakening.


“Revenge” by Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse featuring The Flaming Lips – heard in the end scene of Crazy, Stupid, Love


“Endtaps” by Joy Formidable – heard during the end credits of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – I

New Blog Feature: Cool Songs in Movies

It dawned on me the other day that while many movies don’t get their own review (really, who has time to write reviews on every single movie they’ve seen), many do feature songs I totally dig. And, given my love of music those songs could very well could be worth a post. So, moving forward I am going to start a new blog featured called “Cool Songs in Movies.” Figured when it comes to some titles, simplicity is best.

To kick it off, a round up of some recent favorites:

“The Funeral” by Band of Horses – heard in closing of Battleship

“Ready to Go” by Panic! At The Disco – heard during credits in The Smurfs (I have a 4yo, give me a break!)

“Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons – heard in trailer for The Host and during the movie’s credits 

“Under Your Spell” by Desire- featured in Drive