With a nice, cold glass of Pinot Grigio in hand, I sat down for tonight's first official Rebekah Mikaelson-less episode of The Originals, hoping beyond hope that I wouldn't be too disappointed to know that the original sister wasn't coming back.
I wasn't disappointed. Okay, maybe a little bit. (I'll get to that in a minute.)
After giving myself a week to process Claire Holt's exit from The Originals, and after seeing tonight's installment, I'm confidently convinced that this can work. And that's due, at least in part, to the fantastic way the writers set up the last part of Season 1 with The Originals Season 1 Episode 17.
If I have one complaint about this episode, and really, I think I just have the one, it's that it featured a one-month time jump and the series won't return until April 15.
Given that last Tuesday was so emotionally powerful, that would have been the episode at which the season should have broken and tonight's episode should have been the April return.
However, I can see why the writers and producers decided to move forward with tonight's episode so that when we come back in April, we're jumping right into the action that will carry us through the Season 1 finale.
(Is it weird to anyone beside me that we're already discussing finales for this television season? Didn't they all just premiere yesterday?)
Now that Marcel has been exiled and the original siblings have had a falling out, the city of New Orleans is in a state of chaos. Vampires are feeding on people in the daylight. Witches are retaliating in the streets. The humans are running scared. And the werewolves are eagerly awaiting the next full moon to find out if Celeste's concoction really will break their curse.
Elijah knows that something must be done, but Klaus has returned to his easel and is now making Genevieve his frequent bed partner. To say that he's less than ready to lead the city again is something of an understatement.
Klaus doesn't seem to care if the city burns to the ground (again) and might just be the one to light the torch.
That's not good enough for Elijah who decides that he'll take the reins. Elijah is the older brother, so I'm only slightly peeved that he didn't just go ahead and do this anyway. I'll tell myself that it was noble Elijah trying to rule with his brother instead of ruling his brother and then move on from that little, tiny weakness.
In calling together a meeting of the minds regarding how the various factions might broker a peace in the city, Elijah leaves out the werewolves on the grounds that they aren't living within the French Quarter, and really, that's a weak (and untrue) reason. Hayley is justifiably upset as its clearly more than just the werewolves location which caused Elijah to neglect inviting them to the table.
He sees them as lesser creatures and in that moment, she sees that he sees them as such. This will, no doubt, become a sore spot between the would-be romantic partners and create tension in what is sure to become the burgeoning Elijah-Hayley-Jackson triangle.
(God, I lovehate a love triangle.)
What's the best way to broker peace between warring groups? Why, throw a party, of course, and invite all the people who hate each other to get drunk under the same roof. Nothing ever goes wrong with that plan. Ever.
Until, of course, it does go wrong, and it very nearly did go wrong for Elijah when Oliver and Diego got into a (justifiable) fight leaving Jackson and Elijah to break them up and Hayley to challenge both men to go ahead and kill their opponent.
Let's give Hayley a round of applause tonight, shall we? Absolutely everything she had to say about why the werewolves deserve to be a part of the peace treaty and then her missive to everyone in the room to get along or go ahead and fight it out were spot-on perfection.
She's smart enough to see that this peace is tenuous at best. While she signed her name to that treaty and spilled her own blood for it, she knows that there are allegiance issues which can trump any treaty.
She's seen it in the bond among the werewolves. She's seen it in the bond between Klaus and Elijah. She knows there's a good chance this treaty won't last long.
Klaus knows it too and is part of the reason it will fail. He's also the part I understand least about tonight but that's because I try very hard not to assume I know what will happen or seek out additional information or spoilers about my favorite series'. I like the element of surprise that comes with seeing something go down and not knowing exactly what the master plan is until it's revealed.
Klaus giving Jackson the moonlight ring is very obviously part of some plan Klaus has to wrestle away New Orleans once again, but how? And why?
Does he plan to have Genevieve create the rings for all of the werewolves, or at least those who will pledge some sort of allegiance to him, and then use the werewolves to control the city again?
That would seem very Klaus-like.
Or maybe he's ready to get to know his werewolf side a little more and plans to bring his own pack to power, turning against his brother. That would certainly make for an interesting backend of the season.
I just re-watched the episode to add The Originals quotes and now I have a new working theory:
Klaus and Elijah are working together to have the werewolves do their heavy lifting and then they'll rule the city with a werewolf army thanks to moonlight rings. It was all Klaus' idea and the reason he told Elijah to throw the party in the first place. And also a ploy to bring his werewolf clan back to New Orleans. Except NO! They aren't working together. The final scene says I'm wrong.
Klaus, you sneaky, sneaky hybrid.
Speaking of sneaky, Marcel learned from the master and is now using his knowledge to make an end run around both Elijah and Klaus, the witches, and the werewolves to control the city of New Orleans once again. And he just might be successful.
Is it bad that I'm rooting for Marcel to be successful? Not because I don't love Elijah and Klaus, but because I enjoy pulling for the underdog (and I'm firmly Team Vampire so that's why I'm not pulling for Jackson).
Marcel is slowly assembling an army to dethrone Klaus and he's doing the one thing Klaus has never been able to do. He's making friends instead of enemies.
And that's where we get to the alternate title for this review: How Davina and Cami Got Their Grooves Back.
Even though Davina doesn't trust him, Marcel is still doing what he can to help her. He hears her struggles with practicing magic (thanks to the seldom-used vampire hearing which we saw employed twice tonight) and tells Josh that he has to help Davina figure out how to do magic again. She needs it as much to protect herself as she needs it for anything.
Josh is able to help Davina figure out how to channel her magic and the look on Monique's face when she saw Davina surrounded by roses was better than any physical bitchslap the teen witches could have administered or receieved.
And then there's Cami.
Marcel doesn't seem to be nursing his Rebekah-broken heart any longer as he and Cami seem to have taken their friendship to the next level, only if for a night. But they have a codeword and everything: "What if one of us wants more bourbon?"
GO CAMI! Get it, girl!
But this brings me to the second thing I'm confused about for tonight.
After Cami and Marcel's tryst, he walked over to a bookshelf and removed a wicked looking dream catcher which Genevieve had been using to spy on them. He later destroyed it in front of Thierry while wooing his former right hand man back to his side. But did he know what the dream catcher was because he'd seen one before somewhere else or did he put it there?
Was the dream catcher a plant so that Genevieve could take information about Cami back to Klaus? And if so, did she plant it there or did Marcel?
Is Marcel working with Genevieve? He said he knew a witch who could help him with a boundary spell to keep Kieran in one room.
If he used Cami, I hope she stabs him with Tunde's blade. If Genevieve is playing them both, I hope she gets stabbed with Tunde's blade.
I'm more than ready to find out more about Marcel's alliances and what that will mean for Klaus and Elijah and their alliances.
What did you think of The Originals Season 1 Episode 17? Did Marcel plant the dream catcher in Cami's apartment? Will this alliance Elijah has formed among the supernaturals work? Most importantly, did The Originals work without Rebekah?
Here is your first look at The Originals Season 1 Episode 18, which airs on April 15 and is titled "The Big Uneasy."
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.