If The Originals is all about family, then the question Marcel poses is: Who exactly makes up that family? Is it simply those with the Mikaelson blood running through their veins? Is there any room for someone who once felt like an adopted son? Or is “always and forever” a vow meant to shut others out in the name of “family”? It’s a question Klaus now has to ask himself, and it’s one he needs an answer to … fast.
Act One: Funerals on Funerals
We start the hour with two funerals: Cami gets her Irish wake while Vincent, Josh, Marcel, and Kol gather at the cemetery to say goodbye to their beloved Davina. After Josh shares the heartbreaking story of how he came out to Davina, Kol can’t bring himself to say anything. Marcel shares the sentiment, but he does want to say one thing: “The Mikaelsons need to answer for this. I’m going to make them answer. I promise.”
At Cami’s wake, Detective Kinney makes his return, and he has a few questions about Cami’s death. Klaus assures him it was an accident, but the best part of their interaction has to be Kinney calling Cami “special,” and Klaus simply saying, “There’s no polite summation that will do her justice. But you’re brave to try, and she would’ve admired that.” (For the record, I’d like that to be my epitaph.)
But it’s Marcel’s presence at Cami’s wake that catches Klaus’ eyes. Elijah tells his brother to give Marcel time, but Klaus assures him that Marcel’s anger is justified, which means that Klaus needs to reach out to him “before than anger hardens into something worse.”
Speaking of anger, Kol finds Freya back at the compound. She’s trying to channel the remains of Lucien’s oracle to see if the prophecy still holds true, but all Kol knows is that his family can all rot in hell. He’s planning to leave town anyway. As he tells Freya, she might’ve spent 1,000 years trying to find her family, but “I never for a second wanted you.”
After the memorials, Josh and Marcel return to the loft, where Josh discovers his love of binge-drinking and Marcel clues him in on the serum of it all. Josh’s spot-on response? “Oh cool, so you’re gonna die soon too.” Josh, not a fan of the idea, doesn’t think it’s what Davina would’ve wanted. But could he be too late?
When Elijah stops by to check on Freya, it’s his touch that triggers the visions. Together, they see the prophecy playing out, with Marcel as the beast of the story. And as Freya discovers that the serum is missing from Aurora, Elijah runs out to find and warn his brother.
Spoiler: His brother is already with Marcel. Klaus tries to convince Marcel that his family had no choice but to kill Davina, but as Marcel puts it, the Mikaelsons are “willing to watch the world burn as long as you survive.” He asks, “What am I to you, Klaus?” Klaus tells him that they are bonded by blood. “We quarrel, but that is what family does.”
But Marcel’s not family, not from where he’s standing. “You were my mentor, my savior, my sire, but you’ve never been my brother. And now, you’re nothing to me.” Klaus asks for one last chance to prove Marcel wrong. Marcel follows behind him, with the serum in his pocket the entire time.
Act Two: To Drink or Not To Drink
While the vampires worry about Marcel, Vincent and his new ally, Detective Kinney, work to destroy the ancestors. At his old house from when he was married to Eva, Vincent shows Kinney the key to his plan: a mystical battery cell capable of storing all kinds of negative mojo. His wife used it to try and siphon the power of the ancestors. To stop them, Vincent will put it in the right place and set it off, like a bomb, in order to sever the ancestors’ connection to the world of the living.
It’s a plan that Kol wants in on after Davina pays him a visit. He knows she’s reaching out to him, and he has to reach back. As he explains, fragments of Davina’s soul are bound to those she loved. And he needs to see her.
Elsewhere, Klaus takes Marcel to the bridge where he’d taken him years earlier to scatter his father’s ashes. At the time, Marcel was still new to vampirism, and Klaus was worried he’d be “lost in a cloud of rage,” so he brought him to the bridge they’d crossed when they entered New Orleans, the threshold between Marcel’s new life and his old life. Klaus explains that his love for New Orleans was born alongside his love for Marcel. “Hatred only marks you as my kin,” he tells him. And when Klaus brought him to the bridge all those years ago, “You did something I never could: You released your hate to the wind. It was the day I saw your full potential, and I knew you to be my son.”
But Klaus’ plan isn’t working. “Being a part of your life hasn’t exactly been a gift,” Marcel tells him. Marcel refuses to owe Klaus aything; he paid back his debts a long time ago. Yet all Klaus sees is the man he raised in his image. Klaus admits that the moment Marcel started to thrive, he allowed his worst fears to take root. Instead of feeling pride, he felt distrust, he feared Marcel would become his better. “I never wanted to be better than you, not until you started trying to hold me down,” Marcel fires back.
Just as Klaus tells Marcel that they’re bonded by fate, by history, and by blood, he says the magic words: “You, Marcel, will always be my family.” However, Elijah’s entrance snaps Marcel back to reality.
NEXT: Elijah makes a deadly decision
When Elijah simply asks Marcel to tell him where it is, Marcel pulls the serum out of his pocket. “Loyalty never got my anywhere,” Marcel explains. “The only thing you respond to is a show of force.” But what would the serum even mean? It would make Marcel an equal, an idea Klaus could never live with. “You have to be the king,” Marcel tells Klaus. “The thing about kings though … eventually they all fall. Even you, Klaus.”
As Elijah sees the prophecy come to life in front of him, he starts to panic. Klaus asks for the serum because he can’t allow Marcel “the means to destroy my family.” Once again, Marcel is not part of that familial equation. Marcel says he used to admire the “always and forever” vow. “It gave me back the thing that had been beaten out of me: faith in those you love.” But Marcel was a fool. “Always and forever is just an excuse to do whatever the hell you want. Maybe it’s time someone put an end to that.”
They manage to stop Marcel from drinking the serum, but the moment Marcel starts threatening Klaus, Elijah does the only thing he can think of: He rips out Marcel’s heart, sending Marcel’s body crashing into the river below.
Act Three: Awaken The Beast
With Josh acting as their link to the world of the living, Vincent and Kol kill themselves in order to head to witch purgatory to plant their bomb. Once there, they quickly find Davina. And it’s she who sends Vincent back the moment he sets up the mystical bomb. She then asks Kol to deliver some messages for her: She wants to tell Josh not to be sad, to let him know that one really good friend is more than enough. She wants to thank Marcel for being her family. As for Kol, she has no idea how to say goodbye, but he does.
Remembering the first time he saw her outside a church where she used her magic to bring a few flowers back to life, Kol tells her, “Something inside of me cracked wide open. I was dead for ages, Davina Claire, and only then did I feel alive again.” They share one last “I love you” and one last kiss before she sends Kol back to the land of the living and severs the ancestors’ link. In the end, Davina gets her revenge.
But the same can’t be said for Marcel, whose body is taken away by the current. Klaus, angry at Elijah, tells his brother that he could’ve talked him down. The moment Elijah asks if Klaus could’ve watched their family’s extinction at the hands of Marcel, Klaus says the words Marcel would’ve loved to hear as he screams, “He was one of us!” But as Elijah points out, the moment they sacrificed Davina, Marcel went from family to foe. “We betrayed him. I had no choice,” Elijah says. But when Klaus asks if he really believes that, Elijah feels the weight of what he’s done.
Returning home to Hayley, we get our heartbreaking Elijah Moment of the Week as Elijah falls to his knees and asks Hayley to forgive him. When he tells her what he’s done, all she does is hold him. (And yeah, I’m going to need about 500 tissues, thanks.)
Hayley then goes to Klaus to more or less defend Elijah. Freya showed her the prophecy, and so far, it’s never been wrong. “All the pain you have put him through, he has always forgiven you,” she tells Klaus. “You have to forgive him.” His response? “You sound like Camille.”
But the bigger problem might be Elijah forgiving himself. When Hayley tries to talk to him, he simply turns to leave the room. The only thing stopping him? His love for Hayley. So instead, he turns around and kisses her. (!!!)
By the time Josh and Vincent get back to Marcel’s loft, Klaus is there to inform them that he’s dead. Only, Vincent doesn’t seem too upset. That’s probably because Marcel took the serum the moment Vincent offered it to him. He simply didn’t want the Mikaelsons to know that. “He didn’t even hesitate,” Vincent tells Josh.
Just like that, Marcel, who’s currently at the bottom of the river, opens his eyes. And he’s no longer a regular vampire, if you catch my drift.
For one thing, I’m very happy that Marcel’s alive. But the thing I admire most about this hour — and furthermore, about this season — is the show questioning the very thing it’s about. For years, The Originals has thrived on its familial bonds, betrayals, and everything in between. But by asking what it means to be family, it’s questioned everything that once formed its foundation and created its most dynamic and compelling season yet.