Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Witches of East End, Season 1, Episode 3: Today I am a Witch

Everyone’s wandering around in the middle of the night; Freya, having a sleep over at Dash’s, goes searching for a glass of water and gets weirded out by the paintings in the mansion before running into Killian. Sexual tension rises and they kiss – and Dash catches them.

Wendy and Ingrid are up reading tarot cards to try and figure out which of Ingrid’s loved ones is doomed to die because of the resurrection spell. Upstairs, Joanna is woken by her evil doppleganger who completely vandalises her headboard with her symbol before disappearing. Hooligan! And back downstairs, Wendy has an answer from the cards – the person who will die is… Ingrid.

Someone she loves is herself? That’s either really self-affirming or really narcissistic. Possibly both.

Ingrid looks at her arms slowly being consumed by black veins and Freya runs through the impossibly huge mansion looking for Dash. I smell dream sequences. Joanna is slowly strangled by her dopplganger carrying a poppet – and wakes up. Followed quickly by her daughters. Told you.

Ingrid goes to Wendy downstairs, for real this time, and expresses her continues unhappiness with all things magical, until Wendy pulls out a magical skylight and points out how wonderful it can be to. Freya runs in, apparently from Dash’s to tell them how her sex dreams about Killian are destroying her sleep and making her feel guilty. She wants a magical solution – which isn’t so simple; but Wendy does want to train them in all things magical (and keep that a secret from their mother).

Which fails since Joanna overhears coming downstairs at that point. After a bit more banter (they’re so good at the banter) she claims she banished the shapeshifter, the threat is over – and throws their grimoire into the fire.

Ok… I call shenanigans and magic

The next day Joanna examines the burned tree left by the shapeshifter and is joined by Wendy – they see the symbol and recognise it as malus amplier. It draws in dark magic and amplifies it; she saw the same symbol in her dreams and where Bill Thatcher was killed. Wendy offers to help by Joanna refuses to use dark magic –the only thing that would help. Wendy also confronts her about the banishment lie, but Joanna wants her daughters to return to their normal, mortal lives free from magic and threat; she demands Wendy keep her daughters safe, away from magic.

Of course she doesn’t mean that and she starts training the sisters on the many ways of magic, the different talents witches have, what they can do and the different ways of doing magic. Wendy is instinctive –her magic comes from her “gut”, Freya emotional, so emotion powers her magic and Ingrid is cerebral, her power comes from her mind; and she wrote her own spells. And Joanna is a “total package” able to do just about everything at full strength – which she shows by quietly restoring the ashes of the grimoire back to the full book when she’s alone.

Move on to Ingrid’s work in the library – and detective Adam dropping by to invite her for a date. Ingrid is a little bemused by that since he did actually arrest her mother for murder which is something of a Mood Killer – but Adam is off the case precisely because he’s so close to it. Freya has her own work romance – she’s overwhelmed at the bar and Killian decides to help out despite her protests and her stress levels cause her to accidently shatter a whole load of glasses. And Killian gets a job at the bar since the boss is impressed by his performance; Freya suspects shenanigans, after all why would Killian need a job? Turns out while his family is extremely rich, he isn’t – and tries not to take their money. He has had a well travelled life tough, which Freya envies. More emotional sexual tension – and more breaking shelves.

Witness by Ingrid (laughing over her sister’s drama) and Adam on their date. Which is going really well until the spectre of Joanna being accused of murder is raised and Adam worries that Ingrid doesn’t realise how serious it is.

Back at the house, Joanna continues to be domestic and generally in deep denial while Wendy focuses on the shapeshifter – and the doll of hair Joanna saw in her dreams (which Joanna dismisses as a “voodoo talisman” but Wendy believes can be used to strip Joanna’s power – seemingly confirmed by the flashes we’ve been getting all episode of the shapeshifter preparing the doll). Tempers flare as Joanna wants to sink further into denial land to shelter her daughters and Wendy fears Joanna isn’t taking the threat seriously enough.

Maybe listening to Wendy, Joanna takes out the big long list of enemies Wendy prepared then goes through her mementoes adding more names to the list with each remembered opponent. As she said, the problem with being immortal and living so long is the sheer number of grudges out there; especially fi you weren’t always a nice person.

Wendy goes to the bar after her fight with Joanna and ends up drinking and talking to Ingrid – who has seized on the idea that she used to write spells in past lives. She wants to write a spell to remove the resurrection curse – and even though she’s a neophyte she has studied witchcraft her whole life (academically).  Ingrid says no no no and again, no.

Ingrid, unsurprisingly, doesn’t listen and she cobbles together her spell in the library. Wendy isn’t a fool and fully expected Ingrid not to listen and arrives to find Ingrid on the floor, in pain, her arms turning grey and veiny – maybe to stone; Wendy reverses the spell.

Freya and Dash bat around Freya’s angst – him being sweet and understanding and her beating herself up about not sharing and telling him everything and spending more time away from him. And we learn the source of the animosity between Dash and Killian – Dash was engaged (and no he didn’t tell Freya this which doesn’t amuse her) and Killian slept with his fiancée. Apparently he keeps hitting on Dash’s girlfriends (and Dash thinks he will try with Freya) which Dash puts down to jealousy since Killian dropped out of school and “screwed up his life,” in Dash’s words.

Freya storms off to find Killian to call him out for trying to use her because of the issues he has with his brother. Killian admits that he slept with Dash’s fiancé but that their relationship was already falling apart – he denies the rest. He insists they have a real connection – she denies it.

And Joanna, cooking in her kitchen, is interrupted by the shapeshifter – she pins Joanna to the fridge, helpless and Freya bursts in. There’s a moment where both pretend to be Joanna, urging Freya to use her powers – and Freya uses magic to throw a knife at the shifter, who turns to smoke and flees (this could be a whole “aww she recognises her mother” moment if it weren’t for the shifter’s glowing green eyes).

At least the saving moment lets Freya and Joanna bond again – though Joanna hates all the lies, she’s focused more on the lies she’s telling Dash. More making up and Joanna agrees to help Freya learn how to use her magic.

Killian and Dash meet for more antler locking – and apparently Dash only told Freya half the story but ominously leaves the rest unsaid.

At the library, Wendy convinces Ingrid that she can’t change the curse – and can’t spend the rest of her life obsessing over it. And Adam arrives – Wendy hastily leaves. Ingrid tries to give him an opt out – their relationship is complicated, there’s too much going on in her life, it’s not fair to him – and he cuts through that; he is old enough to take care of himself. They kiss.

Last relationship to heal – Joanna and Wendy together, Joanna admits she’s out of practice, her wards fail, her enemy is strong and she has problems asking for help. And she has great hair. And adds that, yes, they will stay together and teach her daughters; and she needs their help.

They go into the garden, together, to cast a protection spell around the house and each of them. As they chant, the burned and scarred tree is restored to life.

And with the closing credits we appear to see the shifter – a bald man.

Why is Joanna dismissing a poppet as a “voodoo doll”? As an immortal witch and all? Especially since, before Hollywood and general western demonisation got in on the band wagon, Poppets and the whole “make a doll out of their hair and use it to cause them harm” wasn’t even a Voudou tradition – that was a very European practice (voudou usage of dolls is for very different purposes).

I think this episode was slower than the last 2, but I also think that was kind of necessary. This show started with a rather overwhelming, break neck pace. We needed to pull back for a little while, breathe, get used to everything, establish with of the characters are main, which are recurring and which are teeny tiny bit parts and get the main plots and characterisations sorted out