Man, season 3 is building up quite the body count. SPOILERS ahead.

In addition to basically killing off every character relevant to the Sire Line War, Jackson, Finn, Cami, Davina, and now Marcel have all bitten the dust this season.

She’s dead.

He’s dead.

She’s dead.

She’s dead, and went out like a motherfuckin’ champ.

He’s dead.

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Yes, I know Marcel drank the Super Serum and is coming back, but we all know that’s not going to end well for him. I think his final death will be the exclamation point on what has, by far, been the bloodiest season yet.

And many more.

But what makes this show so good is that each death had its own context. Each of the above is a morality tale. You can look back on each of these characters and clearly see “this is who they were, and this why they died.” Except, maybe, Finn... Who’s death merely served to show how nasty Lucien had become.

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The Originals are at their best when colored with loss but still pursuing their goals. The sheer amount of death and destruction they’ve endured this season seems to justify their characteristic aloofness and brooding. This is a family that defies the Grim Reaper at every turn, baring their teeth and spitting their fury at the inevitable with all of their impressive might.

But The Originals, like its predecessor The Vampire Diaries, is a show rooted in loss. The characters are constantly either dealing with loss or trying to prevent it. No one is trying to save (or destroy) the world. There’s no metaphor for the supernatural elements somehow representing real life struggles. The characters want to keep what they have and will do anything to prevent losing those they love. The stakes are raised when they actually do everything they can to prevent the death of a loved one, only to witness it in bloody detail.

Take this whole Prophecy business, for example. Since Klaus’s introduction way back in season 2 of TVD, we’ve known he’s super powerful, super paranoid, and has plenty of enemies. To be honest, I like Klaus best when the reasons for his paranoia are being explored. He’s had other narrative goals before, like unlocking his wolf side and taking control of New Orleans, but he’s at his best when fighting like hell to keep what he loves. His miracle daughter, Hope, is the embodiment of that and basically the premise of the show.

Which makes the Prophecy Klaus’s ultimate enemy. The declaration that all of his family will die, some by betrayal, no doubt cements the very thing that Klaus has feared ever since their ascension to immortality. As we saw in flashbacks this season, Klaus’s reaction to eternal life was initially joy, but now it’s fear. Death will only come for him if he allows it, and he is not going gently into that good night.

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Yet we have seen for the first time Klaus’s acceptance of his own eventual demise this season. When he says his farewell to Cami, he hopes to see her again when he passes on. This thoughtful, almost resigned version of Klaus was a complete surprise, and artfully portrayed by Joseph Morgan.

Speaking of, this dude deserves an Emmy. I know he won’t get one, because this is a CW show about vampires, werewolves, and witches, but goddamn this guy is just killing it. I haven’t had my heartstrings pulled like they were when he was saying goodbye to Cami in a long time.

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And how about the whole Lucian arc? I have never been happier to see a heart ripped out. I also find myself wondering if they use the same heart prop for every kill. I mean, they all look the same, right? Freya going all “means to an end” on poor Davina was a hell of a twist, too. As soon as Davina died I knew there would be an attempt to resurrect her, but I didn’t think it would fail just because Freya said “fuck it. I’m stealing some Ancestor power.” That chick was super scary in those moments.

But Davina’s arc came to a solid close. She ended up majorly fucking over the Ancestors, and they pretty much deserved it. Remember when she was supposed to be a ritual sacrifice for them? Instead Marcel saved her and she stole their power for her own ends. Then they made her Regent, deposed her, and cursed the man she loved into killing her. Then they shredded her soul into little bits. She fired back by severing their link to the mortal world and sending them all into oblivion. And damn if they didn’t have it coming.

Which leaves Klaus, Kol, Elijah,and Freya to figure out how to deal with the Prophecy. With Rebecca daggered by Elijah, only friend and foe are left to deal with. Marcel will likely be both and to be honest he kind of has a good point. “If you’re not a Mikaelson, you’re cannon fodder.”

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Is there anything scarier that a righteous villain? The Originals has never been a show about “good guys” and “bad guys,” but it has always had clear protagonists and antagonists. Marcel is now the opposition to the Mikaelsons, and the writers have made it clear that Freya won’t be able to play the “Steal the Ancestors’ Magic” card again. Dude’s days are numbered, as much as I love him.

In conclusion, I have loved this season of The Originals. I loved it more than last season, which starred the fabulous Claudia Black and had a gay werewolf/vampire star-crossed romance (!). If you haven’t been watching this show, I order you to go watch the second and third seasons of The Vampire Diaries and then get up to speed on The Originals so I can have more people to discuss with.