Elena is desiccating in the basement of Vamp Villa after going wild at the prom, and Damon’s surprised at how calm she is. Stefan knows she won’t beg for blood because that would require desperation, an emotion she can’t feel right now. Damon wonders how long they need to wait before they can torture her into turning her emotions back on. Stefan says it’ll be a while. Fortunately, Katherine’s here to give them something to do while they wait. She tells the guys that Klaus is gone, thanks to Hayley.
Hayley’s currently in New Orleans’ French Quarter, where she’s been frequenting a bar called Rousseau’s. She talks to a bartender, Jane-Anne, about her fruitless search for anyone who remembers her biological family. Jane-Anne tells her that people like her were run out of the area years ago. Hayley asks for more information as Jane-Anne’s sister, Sophie, looks on disapprovingly. Jane-Anne tells Hayley to ask around in the bayou. As Hayley leaves, Jane-Anne snags a few strands of her hair.
While Hayley drives to the bayou, Sophie and Jane-Anne go to a cemetery (known locally as the City of the Dead) to do a spell. Sophie doesn’t want to do it, even though Jane-Anne says it’s the only way they can get to Klaus. The other witches they know are too scared to do the spell in case they get caught. Jane-Anne says they have no other options.
As the sun sets, Jane-Anne sends Sophie away while she does the spell. It makes the map Hayley’s following catch on fire. Then her car breaks down. When she tries to call a tow truck, Jane-Anne hums and Hayley hears loud feedback in her phone. Witches surround her, including Sophie, and when Jane-Anne blows out a candle, Hayley passes out.
Sometime later, Klaus arrives in the French Quarter. Back in Mystic Falls, Elijah tells Rebekah that witches are conspiring against Klaus in New Orleans. Rebekah knows that French Quarter witches are fierce, and she wonders if they’ve found a way to kill Klaus. Elijah advises her not to look so happy about the possibility that a family member will die. Rebekah disagrees that they’re family – they’re “three distrustful acquaintances who happen to share a bloodline.” She hopes someone can put Klaus down.
Klaus approaches a fortune-teller (whom we’ll learn in the spin-off is named Agnes) who knows exactly who he is. Elijah tells Rebekah he’s going to do some digging into who’s plotting against Klaus. He’ll either stop them or help them, depending on how he feels. Klaus tells Agnes he’s looking for Jane-Anne. She says she’s not familiar with Jane-Anne but she’s obviously lying. Klaus knows that Agnes is a real witch, unlike the others around her who just put on an act for the tourists. She tells him that “the vampire” doesn’t allow them to talk about each other in the French Quarter. She doesn’t break Marcel’s rules. Klaus asks where he might find Marcel.
The answer is a bar, where Marcel is performing karaoke for a delighted crowd. Klaus glares at him, and when Marcel gets off-stage, his minions take notice, expecting a fight. Marcel and Klaus knew each other about 100 years ago, and they last saw each other when Mikael came to New Orleans and Klaus fled. Klaus reveals that he killed Mikael, which makes Marcel’s minions even more worried about a confrontation. But Klaus and Marcel are just goofing around – they’re actually very happy to see each other, especially since Klaus thought Marcel was dead. He sired Marcel and was his mentor.
They go to a back room for a drink, and Klaus asks if Marcel is responsible for Bourbon Street becoming a hotbed of tourist activity. Marcel says they need that tourism to stay alive. Klaus notices that Marcel’s vampire minions all have daylight rings. Marcel only gives them to his inner circle, the people he considers family. The witches make the rings because Marcel has total control over them. Klaus asks about Jane-Anne, so Marcel offers to take him to her.
It’s night now, so all of Marcel’s vampires can go out and cause trouble. Marcel asks Klaus how his family is. “Those who live hate me more than ever,” Klaus replies. Marcel is in the same camp as Klaus about making your own family when your blood relations let you down. He welcomes Klaus to whatever he wants in New Orleans. Klaus notes that the nightwalkers – the members of Marcel’s crew who don’t have daylight rings – don’t worry too much about humans seeing them running around.
The vampires have captured Jane-Anne, and they bring her to Klaus and Marcel. She’s accused of practicing witchcraft in violation of Marcel’s rules. Marcel basically puts her on trial right in the street. Then he asks Klaus if his judicial proceedings sound authentic – he studied law in the ’50s. Jane-Anne denies doing anything, but the vampires know she’s lying. Marcel taunts that the witches hate that he always knows when they use magic. He offers Jane-Anne leniency if she’ll tell him what kind of magic she was using. She scoffs at the idea that he’s “a merciful man” and tells him to rot in Hell.
Marcel offers her a second chance, but then he whips her with a branch he’s carrying and slits her throat. The vampires cheer while Klaus watches Jane-Anne bleed to death, suddenly realizing how brutal his former protégé is. He confronts Marcel, who thinks his actions were reasonable – he has rules, Jane-Anne broke them, and he punished her accordingly. He’s sorry he got caught up in things and forgot that Klaus wanted to talk to her. He can’t let the witches believe they still have power. Klaus taught Marcel not to let an opportunity for a show of force pass him by. Marcel can find out anything Klaus wants to know himself. Klaus backs off, but as the vampires head out to have dinner, he asks a minion named Thierry if there are other Deveraux witches.
He goes to Rousseau’s, where Sophie is cooking even though she’s just learned that her sister is dead. He asks why Jane-Anne wanted to talk to him. She won’t tell him, since two of Marcel’s minions are there, and she’s not about to break the rules about talking about magic. “I know you built this town, but this is his town now,” she tells Klaus. Klaus busts the minions for following him and threatens to kill them if they don’t leave him alone. They’re interrupted by a bartender named Cami, whom Klaus distracts by buying scotch for the minions with a $100 bill. He tells the minions that if Marcel wants to know what he’s up to, he can ask Klaus himself.
Sophie goes to the alley behind the bar, where she’s lit a bunch of candles. The minions follow her and accuse her of doing magic. She says she’s just honoring Jane-Anne. The minions ask why Klaus wanted to talk to Jane-Anne, which Sophie says is witch business. The guys are ready to attack her but Elijah is suddenly there, and he takes them out. He asks Sophie if she’s heard of him (yes), then asks what business her family has with Klaus.
Klaus finds a bunch of Marcel’s vampires partying with and feeding on humans. He asks a minion, Diego, where Marcel is, but Diego’s loyalties lie with Marcel, so he won’t say. Klaus threatens to bite him. Marcel calmly intervenes and defends Diego for looking out for him. Klaus asks why Marcel had minions follow him. Marcel tells him to let it go.
They go up to a balcony and look down on the city, which has become a vampire paradise. Tourism is booming, and the locals look the other way while the vampires feed. Klaus asks about the witches, who used to be powerful but now live in fear. How does Marcel know when they’re using magic? Marcel says he may have a secret weapon that allows him to have control over all the magic in New Orleans. He takes some vervain, explaining that he likes to limit the amount of things he’s vulnerable to.
Marcel wants to smooth things over about the minions following Klaus. He just wants to look out for his old friend. They spot Cami on the street below, and since she’s walking by herself, Klaus comments that she’s “either brave or dumb.” What do you mean, “either”? Marcel decides that if she’s brave, he’ll let her live. If she’s dumb, he’ll eat her. He jumps down to talk to her, and she edges into the “brave” column by telling him she has a black belt in karate.
Elijah joins Klaus on the balcony and announces that he may have figured out who’s conspiring against him. He takes Klaus to the City of the Dead to see Sophie. She tells Klaus that the witches in New Orleans know all about his backstory and how he made Marcel what he is. Marcel’s out of control now, and Sophie plans to stop him with Klaus’ help.
Klaus has no interest in that, but Elijah wants him to keep listening. So does Hayley, who arrives with a bunch of witches. Klaus laughs at her, calling her a one-night stand who doesn’t mean anything to him. Sophie says that while Marcel’s rules keep the witches from practicing real magic, they still know when something new is emerging in nature. Sophie herself has a gift for sensing when someone’s pregnant. Guess who got knocked up during her one-night stand with Klaus?
He denies that that’s possible, but Sophie notes that only vampires are unable to procreate – werewolves can, and Klaus is half werewolf. The pregnancy is “one of nature’s loopholes.” Klaus accuses Hayley of sleeping with someone else, but she points out that the witches have been holding her hostage for days, so if the baby were someone else’s, she would have said something. Sophie says the spell Jane-Anne did confirmed the pregnancy. I don’t know, I feel like they could have found a different way to do that. You know, without Jane-Anne risking the wrath of Marcel. Anyway, Jane-Anne sacrificed herself for Hayley, basically, and now Hayley and the baby are under the witches’ control. If Klaus doesn’t help them take down Marcel, they’ll kill Hayley.
Elijah offers to just kill Marcel himself, but Sophie says they have a plan all ready to go. Klaus isn’t about to obey anyone’s commands, and he doesn’t appreciate the witches using what they see as his weaknesses against him. Plus, he still doesn’t believe Hayley’s pregnant. As he’s about to storm out, Elijah stops him and tells him to listen. Everyone goes quiet and Klaus is able to hear the baby’s heartbeat inside Hayley. But even knowing the truth doesn’t make Klaus want to help the witches. He tells Elijah to kill Hayley and the baby because he doesn’t care about them. Bro, you will if you want to star in the spin-off!
Elijah follows Klaus back to the French Quarter and tells him this is a chance for the family to start over. It’s a gift that will allow them to take back everything they’ve lost. Their parents ruined the family and came to despise their own children. The Mikaelsons have only ever wanted a family – well, here’s a new family member. Klaus thinks he’s being manipulated, but Elijah says it doesn’t matter.
Klaus vows to kill all the witches, though Elijah knows that after that, he’ll just go back to the unfulfilling life he’s been living in Mystic Falls. Why is it so important for him to make people fear him? Klaus says it’s about power, and a child won’t give him that. Elijah argues that the love and loyalty of family are power. The two of them and Rebekah made their “always and forever” promise centuries ago, before Klaus became an egomaniac. Elijah promises to stay by Klaus’ side and build a home with him in New Orleans so he can have the family he’s always wanted. Klaus still refuses.
Elijah calls Rebekah and tells her that, once again, Klaus is running away from something that could make him happy. Rebekah doesn’t care, and she thinks the baby will be better off without Klaus anyway. Elijah needs to stop seeking redemption for Klaus since he only brings them pain. Elijah says he’ll stop seeking it when he believes there’s no possibility it exists.
Katherine lets herself into Rebekah’s house and, having eavesdropped on the phone call, tells her Klaus will change his mind. Elijah will keep at it until he talks Klaus into doing the right thing. Rebekah’s like, “Just because you know the Salvatores really well doesn’t mean you know all brothers really well.” Katherine doesn’t think Klaus will be able to walk away from his chance at having a family because he’s just like her. Yes, they manipulate and seek control, but their actions are driven by loneliness. She asks Rebekah to tell Elijah to call her when he gets home.
Klaus returns to Marcel and his minions’ party and asks what’s up with the kibosh on magic. Marcel won’t explain it – it’s his business and his town. Klaus notes that 100 years ago, Marcel was still weak and scared, but now he’s prince of the city. Klaus wants to know how he accomplished that. Marcel thinks he’s jealous since Klaus ran away and Marcel took over. Vampires run the city now and no longer have to hide in the shadows. The locals “know their place,” the werewolves took off, and the witches obey the rules. It’s a nonstop party for the vampires.
If Klaus wants to stay for a while, he can partake in anything Marcel has, but it still belongs to Marcel. It’s his home, his family, and his rules. Klaus asks what happens if someone breaks the rules. Marcel confirms that they die. Klaus taught him that mercy is for the weak. P.S. Marcel isn’t the prince of the French Quarter, he’s the king. Klaus needs to show the king some respect. Instead, Klaus bites Thierry. Now Marcel’s in a pickle – Klaus broke a rule, so he should be killed, but he can’t be killed. “Who has the power now, friend?” Klaus asks.
He heads back out into the French Quarter, where clueless humans are enjoying street performances. He and Cami run into each other while watching a man paint a giant portrait. She comments that every artist has a story, and she thinks this one is angry because he doesn’t feel safe. “He wishes he could control his demons instead of having his demons control him,” she says. “He’s lost. Alone.” Cami realizes she got a little dark there with her psychoanalysis. Klaus thinks she’s right, though.
He ditches her and finds a bench in a quiet part of the quarter so he can do some thinking. Elijah joins him and they remember how happy their family was when they lived there. Klaus admits that he lived in fear for 1,000 years when Mikael was pursuing him. He hated feeling so powerless. New Orleans was his home once, and after he left, Marcel got everything Klaus ever wanted – loyalty and family. “I made him in my image and he has bettered me,” he says. Klaus wants what Marcel has. He wants to be king. Elijah asks about Hayley and the baby. “Every king needs an heir,” Klaus replies.
The next day, Elijah goes to the City of the Dead to ask Sophie what the witches’ plan is. The first step is for Klaus to infiltrate Marcel’s inner circle so they can hit him where it’ll hurt the most. Klaus goes to Marcel to say he’s not an enemy. Marcel succeeded where Klaus failed. He offers Thierry his blood as proof that he’s calling a truce. Klaus asks to stay in the French Quarter a little while, if it’s okay with Marcel. Klaus then calls Caroline and leaves her a message saying he wishes she were there with him in the city he loves. Maybe one day she’ll agree to visit with him.
Elijah goes back to Mystic Falls and tells Rebekah that he and Klaus are moving to New Orleans. She doesn’t want to go with them, since she still hasn’t gotten the things she came to Mystic Falls to get. She wonders if her brothers will dagger her if she doesn’t agree to move with them. Elijah tells her that her family needs her, but she gets to make the decision. She replies that she doesn’t owe Klaus anything, and she doesn’t wish anything good for him. She’s staying in Mystic Falls, and if Elijah’s smart, he’ll do the same.
After she leaves, Katherine appears and tells Elijah that Rebekah’s right. Klaus is crazy and irredeemable. She wants to go off and have an adventure with Elijah. They’ve already lost too much of their lives to Klaus. Elijah calls her Katerina again, and he seems tempted by the idea of being with her, but he’s going to choose his brother over her.
Damon checks on Elena, bringing her the first blood she’s been allowed to have in days. It’s full of vervain, though, because the guys want her to either get mad or be afraid that things are going to get worse. Elena tries to escape her cell, but Stefan’s blocking the doorway. She tells the guys she’s ready to submit to whatever games they have in store for her. They’ll see who breaks first, her or them.
Etc.: This episode and the spin-off really make me want to go to New Orleans.
Joseph Morgan (Klaus) and Charles Michael Davis (Marcel) were poker buddies before the series, and I bet that friendship helped them establish a past connection between their characters, instead of being two strangers having to pretend they’d known each other for decades.
Marcel’s introductory scene is so good.
Pretending to hate your longtime friend when you see each other for the first time in 100 years – is that a guy thing? I don’t get it.
Knowing what we know later about Marcel, it’s hilarious that he casually asks Klaus how his family is, when we know he really just wants to know how Rebekah is.
Here we go with the freaking “the baby is a loophole” thing, which we won’t stop hearing about for years. Imagine what people who complain about people being snowflakes think about a kid knowing they’re literally one of a kind and were basically willed into being by nature.
It would have been nice if someone had asked Hayley what she wanted. Maybe she doesn’t want to co-parent with Klaus. Maybe she doesn’t want a baby at all. I would expect Elijah to be respectful enough to ask instead of just making decisions for everyone.