This review contains spoilers.
1.21 The Battle Of New Orleans
It could only have ever ended with the birth. With this penultimate episode of The Originals’ first season, The Battle Of New Orleans, we leave our ragtag bunch of creatures all in pretty precarious positions. I mentioned last week that pretty much every character has some investment in Hayley’s baby and, with that fake bump getting bigger and bigger every week, it was clear where we were headed. Will the show do the unthinkable and kill the kid before it becomes a character, or will Klaus, Elijah and friends find some way of saving Hayley before the witches and humans/wolves can enact their plan?
As penultimate episodes go, this was a pretty good example of a show carefully setting up pieces exactly where they need to be for an explosive final hour. There were a couple of twists, some good action and something for every character to do, but there was also an inordinate amount of setup. That would be a problem if placed anywhere else in the season’s trajectory, which it has been on this delightful mess of a series, but for now it teased us just enough. We might not always have been leading up to this point, given the fast pace of the show, but it still feels like a lot of what we’ve already seen will feed into the finale.
And that’s really the test – if The Originals can manage to tie these last two episodes into the many, many disparate themes that have run through it since the pilot, then that’s a big achievement. Fatherhood is a big one, of course, with the showdown between Klaus and Marcel always about that twisted father/son relationship and the prospect of Mikael returning before we wrap up, but the New Orleans race war that’s been a pretty big focus at least since Christmas also needs to be addressed. The reveal of Francesca as not a human, but a member of another werewolf pack will presumably play into this.
But as mentioned, it’s all about the birth. This episode was very action-orientated, harkening back to the old days of The Vampire Diaries in which they’d have their big apocalypse the week before the finale, and I would hazard a guess that the finale will be a more contemplative affair. As it stands, the werewolves and witches are winning the war and Klaus, Elijah and Hayley have fallen foul of their short-sightedness. But any episode in which Elijah gets to be the ruthless, violent-when-he-needs-to-be character we met back at the start is going to instantly win me over, and that’s exactly what we got here.
It doesn’t mean he won the fight, though, as Francesca’s element of surprise managed to incapacitate Elijah, trick Klaus into siphoning his power into the moonlight rings and capture Hayley just in time for her to go into labour. Add that to Klaus’ ironic part in Mikael’s resurrection – biting Josh so as to give his late father a bargaining chip with Davina – and the Mikaelson clan have a lot of business to attend to next week. Heck, basically all of the vampires, including Elijah, are fighting off werewolf venom and, with Klaus holding the only cure, he might just spend the whole hour handing out blood samples.
But the biggest cliffhanger is what might happen to Hayley and, once born, the baby. Will Mikael’s return come in time for the season finale, or will he be the main villain of season two? I’d vote for the latter, simply because he’s become such a compelling presence on the show and has so much potential to mess with Klaus and Elijah that it would be a shame to have him come and go in the same episode. They already killed him once and, providing he sticks around for long enough, there’s so much potential in having another dysfunctional Mikaelson vampire around.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, A Closer Walk With Thee, here.
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