Samantha Highfill
May 14, 2014 AT 06:31 PM EDT

Coming away from a show as successful as The Vampire Diaries, viewers had high expectations for The Originals‘ first season. And spoiler: It exceeded those expectations. After a more-than-intriguing backdoor pilot, The Originals quickly became one of the most highly-anticipated spin-offs, only to later follow through on every one of its promises. The show was dark, it was twisted, and it was ridiculously delicious.

Sure, the first season had its highs and lows. There are always one or two storylines that don’t catch on, but for the most part, The Originals delivered an intriguing season, culminating in an unforgettable finale. Looking back at the season as a whole, here’s what we consider its highs and lows:

High: Family relationships/drama: The Originals is a family drama. That’s obvious from its title. So it’s a good thing that it excelled in all things family. I’d argue that the most fascinating part of this show is watching the family dynamic. From the siblings’ daily, witty banter to the bigger demons they’re all dealing with, there’s nothing like watching a Mikaelson-on-Mikaelson showdown, particularly when their dastardly father gets involved.

Low: Kieran/the humans: Not surprisingly, in a supernatural universe, one of the more boring parts of the show had to do with the humans involved. It wasn’t until the very end of the season that the human faction even had anything to offer. And let’s face it: Kieran’s death was something they clearly wanted to have dramatic impact based on the time that was dedicated to it, but I just wasn’t involved. I thought Cami was great in those scenes, but Kieran dying? I sort of didn’t care.

High: Flashbacks: One of the great things about the Original family is that they’ve been alive for more than 1,000 years, which means there’s a nearly endless supply of flashback possibilities. And the smart thing about the way the show used the flashbacks is that they weren’t only a tool to discover things about the characters, but they were also able to deliver shocking twists that changed everything we knew about the present day world.

Low: The vampires of the Quarter: Diego, Thierry, and the rest of Marcel’s vamps were essentially nothing but background decoration. Other than Josh, whom I adore, I found myself uninterested in the vamps, which made their eventual death less impactful (even despite my love for Marcel).

High: Twists and crossovers: The twists of this season were on point. From killing Sophie and Davina to Celeste’s reveal and Rebekah’s return (and everything in between), this show kept viewers guessing. And a special shout-out to the show’s Vampire Diaries crossover, because Tyler’s visit to New Orleans was both exciting and heartbreaking.

Low: Klaus’ bloodline: Klaus has a werewolf bloodline somewhere? Great, that’s a solid twist. But by only introducing one member and then sending him away for the rest of the season, this was a huge untapped resource. I’m sure season 2 will go into it further, but it was just one of those things that kept me wondering all year.

High: Breakout Character: The ancestral witches: Celeste, Papa Tunde, Genevieve, and all the fallen witches of the Quarter were a constant presence throughout the show’s first season. And more than that, they were a powerful presence. They consistently provided shocking twists and gave the show a distinct feel. Plus, the strong women of this show proved that girl power is always fun to watch.

Low: Character Rehab: The Crescent wolves: When we first met Jackson, I was intrigued. But then I felt like he barely got a word in for the rest of the season. And Oliver? Eh, I’m not sure how I feel about his character. Needless to say, these wolves need a bit more development, because right now, I’d prefer they stay out in the bayou.

High: GIF of the season: The Original sibling showdown wins this one.

Medium: Ratings reality: The ratings for The Originals fluctuated. There were low points where the show didn’t even garner a million viewers, and then there were times when it matched an all-new episode of Glee. The show’s finale hit a nice high with 2.06 million viewers for The CW.

And now, a parting GIFt for you:

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