The supernatural genre is what we thoughtful TV academics call 'hella versatile.' No other genre could support such a mix of horror, comedy, melodrama, science, nature, mysticism, beefcake, gore, or boundary-pushing storytelling. Sure, there are cheap thrills to be had whenever sexually active monsters get mashed-up together in tight quarters, but if an audience can suspend enough disbelief to accept that monsters exist at all, then it's open-minded enough to embrace more sophisticated, twisty, or surprising storytelling. The Originals, of course, is exactly the kind of smorgasbord I'm talking about. This show has EVERYTHING. But if I have one complaint, one thing that I always wish it had more of, it would be street fights. The Originals rarely if ever has street fights, and as a former professional street fighter, I would like to see street fighting get more recognition and representation on network television. But oh my word did "The Battle of New Orleans" feature a good street fight. Not only that, but a straight-up BRAWL, too. Plus tons of other twists, turns, shocks, and surprises that you'd expect from a penultimate episode. This was what the French call a real holy sh** of an episode, pardon my French.
The cold open involved Oliver and Jackson driving home from picking up a few witch supplies, only to get pulled over by the police and then abducted by Marcel. First of all, how weird was it to see characters on The Originals driving a car? Nobody ever drives a car on this show! Part of that is because it takes place in the French Quarter and nobody drives in that neighborhood. Now that I think about it, there should be way more dramatic conversations that happen on antique trolley cars. Anyway, Marcel wanted to know what was up with the werewolves, so he and Diego punched Oliver and Jackson's faces so much until they spilled the beans. I don't mean their faces spilled the beans, that would be disgusting, I meant it as a metaphor for 'giving up secrets.' But when Klaus noticed that they'd gone missing, he bit Josh's neck to poison him and Josh had to spill the beans about where Marcel's secret lair was. There was so much spilling of beans going on basically, but it led to Klaus and Elijah finding Jackson tied up and surrounded by dynamite, but don't worry, they saved him before the building blew up. Whew! And by the way, this was all just in the first ten minutes or so.
Most of the episode's stresses revolved around the moon rings that Klaus wanted to give all the werewolves. Genevieve had agreed to help make them, and in a very promising twist, she used a spell on the rings (well, rocks) that would also increase all the werewolves' super powers, thus giving the werewolves the kind of power upgrade that the witches had been given on this show. But just because Genevieve had seemed pretty chill and reasonable in the last episode didn't mean that was still true: She double crossed Klaus and gave all the enchanted stones to Francesca Correa and her family! The reason this is significant is because, as Cami discovered in her newly uncovered secret exposition room (as located via her brother's secret code), the Correas weren't human at all, they were werewolves! They were a line of werewolves that Marcel had supposedly genocided back in the day and once they got their little enchanted stones, they each murdered their secret service agents (?), activated their werewolf curses, and immediately wolfed out and started biting everybody. It was a cool reveal, if slightly disappointing in that I sort of dug that the human faction had seemed like a powerful mafia family. I mean I guess they still are, they're just werewolves now. Oh well, better luck next time, humans.
While that was all going down, Marcel had rallied basically all the vampires to put a stop to Klaus' werewolf-enhancement schemes, and that brought us to the amazing street fight and courtyard brawl. Elijah single-handedly punched like a thousand vampires! The whole thing was so brutal that blood sprayed everywhere and the courtyard fountain ran red. Meanwhile out in the streets Klaus and Marcel enjoyed a street fight like something out of Super Street Fighter II Turbo. Jump-punches, body blows, kick slaps, all the hottest moves! No upside down spinning bird kicks or hadoukens, but maybe they're saving that stuff for Season 2. Of course Klaus came out on top, he is immortal and invincible and he seemed very ready to just murder Marcel right then and there. But then something weird happened: He started bleeding all over and couldn't get it together! As it turned out, this was another Genevieve double-cross. Whenever the enchanted rocks were being used (in this case, by the Correa family), they siphoned off all his monster strength. Because oh yeah, at this point the Correas were running around biting ALL of the vampires. Diego, mohawk lady, all of them. It was very awesome to see werewolves being scary again, and for a second I felt so bad for the vampires, especially when Elijah ran into the courtyard to find a thousand vampires writhing around on the ground with bloody necks and poison coursing through their veins. I'm guessing the smell was pretty terrible also.
Scariest of all, during the melee Hayley had been kidnapped! This was part of the deal Genevieve had made with Francesca: In exchange for the stones Genevieve was able to spirit Hayley away and murder her baby. Last thing we knew Hayley was being dragged screaming through the church while Monique and Genevieve were holding her down and inducing birth. Hayley screamed this primordial scream that, across town, a helpless Klaus heard and screamed back in agony. I don't know if that's a werewolf distress signal or what, but it was CHILLING and straight-up heartbreaking. And as a viewer it was especially powerful to see Klaus drained of power and totally helpless for the time being. Obviously the full moon was going to go away and he'd regain his strength and start ripping out some werewolf hearts, but just seeing him incapacitated during Hayley's time of need was very wrenching, guys, I don't know what to tell you.
Oh, and since Josh was still dying of Klaus' werewolf bite, it was looking like Davina had no choice but to give in to Ghost Mikael's wishes and resurrect him so that he could murderize Klaus. Because frankly, Davina had HAD IT. I mean, that's what it seemed like after the last scene, that Davina wanted Klaus dead and Mikael seemed to be promising as much. We'll see what happens! All I know for sure is that Klaus is going to be a very busy bee when he has to bleed into all the vampires' mouths to cure them--assuming he can even get to them before they all start running around like hungry maniacs. Something tells me New Orleans is about to become way less fun than usual.
"The Battle of New Orleans" was exactly what you'd expect from a penultimate episode except maybe 200% more awesome. All the characters had fun things to do--even Cami with her secret room and, one hopes, unlimited knowledge of future plot points, and Oliver who cemented his alliance with Francesca while his shirt struggled to get away. I still don't believe that Hayley's baby will be harmed, but it suddenly occurs to me that it might go missing before Season 2. How horrible would that be? This episode was just a very good, action-packed episode and I'm legit beside myself with excitement for the finale. We probably shouldn't expect the same amount of street fighting, but at this point it doesn't matter. The Originals has more than earned our trust. Bring it on, show!
... So Genevieve probably has to die now, right?
... Francesca is such a compelling character, right?
... Wasn't it so weird seeing Josh hang out in the daytime?
... Did Davina ever clean up that glass she threw across the room? Why or why not?
AIRED ON 5/20/2016
Season 3 : Episode 22