[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers about Friday's midseason premiere of The Originals. Read at your own risk.]
The more optimistic contingent of the The Originals' fan base got rewarded on Friday when the show returned for the second half of the third season. Aurora (Rebecca Breeds) did not murder Cami (Leah Pipes), but cleverly compelled Klaus' (Joseph Morgan) new love to drink the sire's blood before slitting her own throat. Instead of dying in Klaus' arms, she's becoming a vampire. However, pertradition with The Originals, for every bit of good news comes with twice as much bad. We get to keep Cami for the price of Jackson (Nathan Parsons), who met a literally heart-wrenching end at the hands of Tristan (Oliver Ackland).
The mid-season premiere is a continuation of the Season 3 theme that the Mikaelson family - and everyone who orbits around them - is cursed. "Everybody went into the episode thinking, 'Gosh, I hope Cami is not dead' and not expecting that they would have to worry about one of their other favorite characters not making it through the episode. Even in the midst of life we are in the midst of death," executive producer Michael Narducci explains to TVGuide.com and a small group of journalists at an episode preview event. "It's going to get worse before it gets better."
How much worse is it going to get? Let's break it down.
Say hello to the new Cami
Before you get too excited that Cami survived her first tango with Aurora, remember that transitioning changes a person. Though Cami valiantly fought the impulses of her new immortal fate for the first half of the episode, she became a different person from her first drop of blood. The therapist's dark side is coming to the forefront, which won't only have severe consequences for Cami herself, but for her standing relationships as well.
"She's going to swing in the way of her impulses and embracing the new found power that she has...She might be more inclined to take what she wants because she can. She might be less inclined to be afraid of the people that are stronger than her because she's going to have power," Narducci says. "She's always been crafty and cunning, and she will continue to do so. There are enemies out there and she's going to want to deal with them and not play any kind of victim card, but be a little more physical."
Cami's coach as she embraces her new identity is Klaus- who has the crappiest track record for doing what's best. The eldest Mikaelson is obviously going to enjoy a darker Cami, but inevitably Cami joining the immortal side may ruin what once made them so good for each other.
"I think he'll be a good influence on her in terms of teaching her like how to feed or how to compel and how to vamp," Narducci explains. "I don't think he's going to say, 'Now Cami, I think you should be on a steady diet of rabbits and deer because that's what's morally correct.' That's not who Klaus is. There's a chance that this path might bring out the worst in both of them."
Of course, a newfound power is pointless unless there's someone you want to use it against. Aurora is at the top of Klaus' most wanted list after this stunt, but Narducci teases that Cami will have a more complex reaction when it comes to Klaus' former flame.
"Cami is first going to first have to come to terms with who and what she is. Then she's going to have to decide. She will have an absolute, clear perspective on her feelings towards Aurora going forward," he says. "It's not the kind of feeling that human Cami would have had."
The Jackson of it all - "God giveth and God taketh away"
Klaus may have some fun now that Cami's dark side has come out to play, but it won't be so easy for Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin), who will have to fight her way through the grief of losing her husband.
Hayley watched Tristan rip his heart out but at the same time knows it never would have happened if she hadn't pulled him into the Mikaelson's inner circle. That intricate balance between grief and guilt is going to take a while to work out.
"[Hayley] will show you the natural inclination of someone who has lost someone close to them to rely on the strength of the bonds she was the ones that are living. We'll see a burgeoning of friendship between her and someone whose name I cannot say," the EP teases. "Ultimately, once the dust settles and she manages to be through with her grieving, a pretty definitive and harsh response on her part to get back at those who are responsible for what you saw. That's a very empowered character that I like watching."
The Mikaelsons will reap what they sow
Hayley and Elijah (Daniel Gillies) may make the mistake of thinking that locking Tristan in a storage unit and throwing him to the bottom of the ocean to drown over and over for centuries to come is an adequate punishment for what he did to Jackson. The problem is the Mikaelsons have a bad habit of playing with their food and their enemies without enough worry that their playthings will bite back.
"Sometimes, being very vindictive bites you in the a--," Narducci says. "I would say [not killing Tristan] is exactly what we should do and it's because the Mikaelsons are thus -- it's because Klaus is that way -- that there is no chance for peace."
Season 3 in large part has been a trial for the family to define friends and foes in light of the prophecy that predicts the Originals will be killed one by friend, one by foe and one by family. Banishing Tristan to the bottom of the ocean will actually cause those lines to blur more as the show continues.
"Some people that we really love and thought of as staunch allies turn against the family. Who is that going to be? Who is going to firm up their alliance with the Mikaealson family because they know they should? They tend to win, so maybe it'd be a good thing to maintain alliances," Narducci explains. "The shifting alliances and the changing terrain of who the opposition force is, that's kind of our wheelhouse and what we like to play with."
Cami's humanity and Jackson are not the only losses that fans should prepare for because there's still a lot for the Mikaelson's, specifically Klaus, to learn before the threat of their sires is completely gone.
"The family was shattered in some ways [in Season 2]. We'll see some of that even greater in this season. We're going to see the return of some people. There will be some great moments of hope and romance and love and even forgiveness, and a sense that this family that we think of as cursed will endure," Narducci says. "Then we'll see some really tragic moments that will shake, particularly, Klaus to his core. I think the finale will be heartbreaking as tragic, as our finales tend to be."
The Originals continues Fridays at 9/8c on The CW.
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS, one of The CW's parent companies)