Ladies and gentlemen, this is what we in the business call A HOT STREAK. (What is a hot streak?) Three absolutely fantastic episodes in a row, all of them with huge stakes and risky storytelling and the undeniable feeling that we're in the hands of experts. Prior to this particular run The Originals was solid-enough, but now it's basically must-see. Last week Papa Tunde thrilled and chilled me to my very bones mostly because he finally seemed like the colorful, formidable villain that this show needed to get everyone mobilized. While Sabine/Celeste wasn't quite as immediately compelling on the surface, in "Crescent City" she proved that she's a straight-up genius mastermind. Not only were her plans properly ambitious in this episode, it turned out that she'd been laying the groundwork for a witch takeover for a while now. Like, remember when she claimed that Hayley's baby was the anti-christ? Turns out she just made that up so that Elijah would murder a more powerful witch and increase Celeste's power! (Probably just a retcon for a go-nowhere subplot, but still!) Celeste is stone-cold. And now she's got two of the Mikaelsons in custody, she arranged for the murder of my least favorite character on the show, AND she manipulated a gaggle of naked hunks into doing her bidding. Whatever reservations I once had about Celeste are now way, way gone. Celeste is the best. Because she is truly the worst. (And I still love Bastiana so much. Literally welcome back, girl.)
I guess we'll talk about Klaus first because I can't shake the mental image of that self-burrowing dagger disappearing into his chest. What a straight-up nightmare that was! Anyway, the revived witch Bastiana attended Father Kieran's first services at his reopened church (which has an exterior now!) and immediately put a hex on him. It was the same kind of hex that made Cami's brother go on a murder-rampage all those years ago, so obviously he was not thrilled about it. But the it turned out this was a form of witch blackmail: If Cami agreed to bury that ivory witch dagger into Klaus' chest, the witches would undo the hex. So then the question was whether Cami would actually go through with it or not, and in a moment I basically cheered at, she simply immediately turned the dagger over the Klaus and told him everything. "If there's doing to be a war, I want to be on the winning side." Because YES. The Originals will win every war, just as they always had for the last thousand years. Say what you will about Cami's role in this world, but she ain't a dummy. Plus I just love an uneasy friendship born of necessity, you know? Two smart characters teaming up usually leads to good things. Well, except in this case.
After Klaus attempted to help Cami's uncle by bleeding him out (into the holy water!), the compulsion couldn't override his hex, so Klaus resorted to Plan B by kidnapping Sophie's niece Monique (who had hilariously burst out of a tomb in front of a bunch of tourists on a cemetery tour) and attempted to blackmail the witches right back. But after Klaus tussled with Marcel (who was not thrilled about children being used as bargaining chips), Sophie plunged the dagger into Klaus and it disappeared into his chest leaving him a screaming, paralyzed mess. As Papa Tunde told us last week, that dagger would do things to an Original worse than death. And sure enough, that's what it looks like. Poor Klaus!
Meanwhile "Crescent City" also gave us the first real full-moon of the series (right?), which was only useful to Hayley in that it meant she could finally mingle with her reverse-werewolf relatives when they returned to human form for a few hours. So like any former resident of Mystic Falls she knew what she had to do: Throw a house party! It was already a fun scenario when Rebekah offered to help set up (including boiling crawfish), but then the naked hunks began emerging from the woods. This show has gotten a lot right, or at least changed things to become better, but its biggest undeniable shortcoming has been the lack of beefcake. Not anymore! First a naked hunk walked into the kitchen and seduced Rebekah on the spot (she has a thing for beefy blonds apparently), and later another hunk revealed himself to Hayley as the wolf who'd been protecting her in the woods all this time. Oh, and get this: He and she were supposed to get married in an arranged marriage before his werewolf curse was reversed. So yeah. I'm guessing he's going to be a new character and he'll be complicated things in Hayley's life? Unfortunately for Rebekah, her hunk ended up being in league with the witches and she suddenly found herself attacked by werewolves out in the woods. I'm not sure I believed that Rebekah couldn't fend for herself against a couple of angry dogs, but fine. Rebekah has been captured!
Beween Klaus' takedown, Rebekah's abduction, and also Hayley's plantation house burning down, Elijah had to make a tough call. Celeste had incapacitated him with poisoned lipstick, Poison Ivy-style, leaving him with only enough strength to save Klaus, Rebekah, OR Hayley. Obviously he chose Hayley because his siblings are indestructible, but he felt plenty guilty when he couldn't save the other two as well. He arrived back at Marcel's patio nightclub and threw some chairs and vampires and raged about how the vampires needed to get their acts together. Angry Elijah is a good look on him, I have to say. I'm getting the sense that fans love to see Elijah simply stalk the shadows in dapper suits while saying pithy observations but I think it can often verge on boring. I love seeing Elijah get his hands dirty and it looks like he's really going to have to now.
Which brings us to the final, shocking moment of the episode. We were meant to believe that Papa Tunde's death caused one of the original harvested witch girls to be resurrected (thus foreshadowing that Davina will return only when the remaining evil witches are taken down). But it turns out Monique did not return an innocent. In the afterlife (or whatever), she became militant about her pro-witch ancestry, so when Sophie tried to take her out of town to avoid the conflict, Monique HEXED HER TO DEATH. That's right, not only did Sophie ostensibly die, she died in the most gruesome possible way, blood streaming from every orifice, pooling on the asphalt, and flowing into the gutter. Guys, I don't need to tell you how annoying I've always found Sophie. VERY annoying basically. Her plans were always terrible, her motivations always baffling. So yeah, I MAY have clapped when Sophie keeled over. I'm not saying she's dead forever (witch deaths, especially on this show, have become sort of meaningless and temporary), but if she is, it's the final and most powerful example of just how well this show has figured out what wasn't working initially and has changed things for the better. Few shows are born perfect, but the truly great ones fix their own mistakes early on. Consider this mistake fixed! (For now?)
I honestly had no problems whatsoever with "Crescent City." Oh, maybe this one: TWO WEEKS of reruns now? The Originals has just hexed us all!
... Is Sophie gone for good?
... What do you think Rebekah and Marcel did to Genevieve back in the day?
... Have you ever been stabbed in the heart with a self-burrowing knife?
... Who was your favorite nude hunk, the blonde or the brunette?
AIRED ON 5/20/2016
Season 3 : Episode 22