Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Salem, Season One, Episode Five: Lies

Rose leaves the brothel and heads into the woods where she is met by Hale and the elders. It seems that the elders believe that John is a distraction to Mary. They reveal to Hale that Alden killed Hooke to protect a secret - a secret they believe that Alden wouldn't want Mary to know. It seems the plan is to use necromancy to force Hooke to reveal Alden's secret and then blackmail Alden into leaving town.

At the Sibley residence, Mary and Tituba consider whether or not it is time to kill Mercy because Mercy has revealed that she is aware that Mary is a witch.  Mary however believes that Mercy is worth more alive than dead and so she heads to confront her. Mary puts her cards on the table and questions what Mercy is going to do with what she has learned and what she wants.  Mercy says that she wants the torture, torment and suffering to stop, or she will reveal Mary to the citizens of Salem.  Mary tells Mercy to give in and that she will know only pleasure but Mercy cries that Mary tortured her.  Mary makes it clear that Mercy is only alive because she allows it and this shockingly surprises Mercy. Mercy may be angry about what has happened to her but she is still clearly an innocent.

After a struggle, Alden manages to open the box he took of the ship and inside he finds a carved apple. When John embraces the apple, he sees scores of dead people and drops it in shock.

Gloriana arrives at Cotton's after being summoned and Cotton suggests that he will pay Glorianna double what she makes if she will agree to stop being with other men.  Tears run down Glorianna's face and she says that this is as close as man like Cotton comes to an apology. Cotton admits that it was painful to see Gloriana with another man and in response, Gloriana rightfully slaps him across the face. Cotton again asks Glorianna if she will be his and this time Gloriana initiates and kiss and the two begin to have sex. They are interrupted by Alden who shows them the box.

A group of young women knock on Mercy's door and she invites them in.  Oh this is so not going to end well. They question when Mercy sees witches, what it's like and if it hurts.  It seems that the girls believe that this is a game and they point out that no one in Salem has ever had that kind of power.

Mary is now at the port and is informed that Hooke has not picked up his parcels.  As Mary strolls with Tituba, Tituba makes it clear that no on will ever find Hooke and Mary demands that the situation be contained. Hale approaches them and asks to borrow (cause she is not a person) Tituba claiming that his wife has food poisoning and is in need of aid.  Hale leaves with Tituba and Mary asks Richard for a list of items left behind by Hooke.

Tituba tells Hale that his lie is obvious and demands to know what he wants.  Hale tells Tituba that he wants to get Alden out of Salem forever.

Glorianna is now gone and Cotton examines the box with Alden.  John points out that Glorianna is the girl  Cotton punched Hooke over.  Cotton deflects by asking about the visions and John explains about the mass death he saw.  Cotton starts looking the box up in a book and learns that it is part of the grand right.  Cotton says that the object is evil and that it consecrates the earth. Cotton wants to inform the selectmen but Alden points out that they have something the witches want.

Hale is making his way through a field of rotting bodies to find Hooke, with some sort of creature. The creature takes a knife and cuts off what is left of Hooke's face.

Tituba is about to leave the Sibley residence when she is confronted by Mary about what Hale really wanted. Tituba follows the script and confirms that Mrs. Hale is sick and so Mary questions where Tituba is headed now. Tituba again lies to Mary.

Mercy is gathered with the girls and she shows them iron casings she was forced to wear when Cotton dragged her through the market like a dog.  Instead of being repelled the girls fantasize about being lead about in chains by Cotton.  Okay, these girls are truly weird. Again they cackle about Mercy pointing her finger and Elizabeth that her father should be accused because he makes her beg in the streets and then takes the money and drinks it away. Elizabeth then reveals that her father plans to sell her to the whore house in a month.

Alden and Ann meet in the square and she tries to leave quickly but Alden follows. Finally, Alden is forced to ask if he has offended Anne in some way.  Ann suggests that Alden had lead her on because the whole time, he has been in love with Mary. They are interrupted by Mary and so Ann leaves in a huff.  Mark snarks about Ann having a tantrum and adds that she was never that young.

Tituba is in the woods and she makes her way to Hale and is handed Hooke's face. Hale announces that Tituba is to report to him the moment her task is done before leaving.

Mary makes her way through the square and meets up with Mrs. Banning, who comments that Mary has not taken her eyes off of Alden.  Mary of course denies this.  Alden is talking to Cotton and they make plans for this evening.

The Hales are talking about Anne's sulking and Mrs. Hale suggests that Ann will be happy once she has married Cotton.

Mrs. Banning wonders if Mary had been allowed to marry Alden, if he would still be so appealing because Mary would not have the wealth and power that she does now.  Mrs Banning tells Mary that she must stop staring at Alden in public because it weakens her.  Mary suggests that she has outgrown Bannings advice.

The girls are walking through town with Mercy on a leash. They call out that Mercy will show them the witch as she fakes a fit. A stunned Mary quickly heads to see Cotton demanding that Mercy be stopped.

In the woods, Tituba is working on a spell to reach Hook.  When Hooke arrives, Tituba demands to know Alden's secret but Hooke tells Tituba to meet him in hell. Tituba threatens that there are worse places and demands that Hooke speak.

In the square, Mercy charges towards Mary and Mary trembles.  Without saying a word, it's clear that the two have come to an understanding.  Mercy makes her way towards Henry, the father of Elizabeth, who just happens to be the man that Mary wanted her to label as a witch.  Henry is quickly arrested.

Cotton begins to look through his books and Mary questions why he isn't at the jail investigating the witch or with Mercy. Suddenly, Mary begins to cry and she says that the selectmen fear that Mercy has gone mad with power.  Mary talks about how overwhelming this has all been for her and Cotton assures her that he will make the determination on Mercy and keep things moving.  As Mary makes her exit, she finds the drawing of the artifact.  Cotton claims that he is doing research because it is associated with the grand right.  Mary questions why this object in particular has peaked his interest, but Cotton simply says that he is interested in anything involving Salem.  Mary makes her exist saying that Salem will owe its future  Cotton.

Hale heads to see Mrs. Banning to report that the secret is a gambling debt and Mrs. Banning immediately laughs and suggests that Tituba lied. Hale suggests beating it out of Tituba but Mrs. Banning says that Tituba wants the grand right and that she will probably reveal it in time to control Mary. Mrs. Banning then reveals that the object Hooke was to deliver is missing and that they must be prepared for every eventuality. Mrs. Banning them reveals that John Alden has the Mallum.

Mary confronts Tituba about her absence from the market and when Tituba lies, Mary threatens to kill her. Tituba asks Mary why she would threaten her one true ally and Mary realizes that all of the witches have turned against her. Tituba informs Mary that the witches meet in secret to talk about Mary's weakness and that they are working on a way of getting rid of John Alden. Mary argues that she is herself but Tituba tells Mary that she is not herself because she is in love. Tituba then tells Mary that not only is John a murderer, he killed Hooke to keep his secret.  Tituba says that if she tells the magistrate that they will take John and hang him. As tears run down Mary's face, Tituba tells her that if she wants John to live, that she will complete the grand right, which means killing more before the next full moon.

Elizabeth goes to visit  Henry and taunts him about being a witch. Henry says that he is a drunk and a card shark and laughs at the notion that he is a witch.  Henry then adds that he will be released soon and that he will sell her as he has planned but Elizabeth says that instead, Henry will burn.

Elizabeth turns to leave but she is stopped by Ann who has a basket to help with her sufferings.  Anne promises that she will make sure that Hale gives Henry a fair trial. Ann brings up watching her friend die and says that she will not do that again.  Ann encourages Elizabeth to stay strong.

John returns him to find a fire burning and Mary sitting in front of it.  Mary tells John that it's time for truth and that she believed in goodness once because she saw it in him.  Mary then reveals that she has learned about John being a murderer.  John screams that Mary does not know him and that he killed 20 innocent men. Mary suggests that sometimes people make choices and this  forces a person to make other choices which lead to unwanted actions.  John repeats that he murdered 20 men and asks if he is going to be arrested. Mary says that she is the only one that knows and she kisses John before leaving. Dit d they just include this scene for angst value?

In the woods, the girls dance around a fire singing about the prince of darkness and the father of evil. They continue singing dancing as they disrobe. Mary makes her appearance and Mercy says that their deal no longer pleases her. Mary asks Mercy what she wants and Mercy answers that she wants to be just like Mary.

John is lying in bed sleeping and someone quietly opens the door and attempts to take the object but instead, falls the floor. This wakes John and he heads downstairs with his gun and is met by Cotton.  When they lift the veil of the intruder, it is revealed to be Mrs. Banning

Okay, quite a bit happened in this episode.  The balance of power seem to be shifting and all sides are now struggling for control.

Let's start with Cotton and Glorianna simply because they were the must disgusting aspect of this episode. Last week, Cotton raped Glorianna in a fit of jealous rage after seeing her in a tavern with Hooke.  Glorianna manages to hold on to her anger for a New York minute.  Cotton does not apologise and actually buys her like she is a piece of meat hanging on a rack. This makes Gloriana unrapeable which a dangerous depiction to portray given the real world violence against sex trade workers.  It is further disgusting that Glorianna seems to continue her affection for Cotton given that he is her rapist.  The rape is simply wiped away with the exchange of money like it never happened.

From the beginning, more Mercy has been a victim - a tool to be used by the witches to achieve their goal.  Now that Mercy is free, she doesn't seek retribution, she wants power.  Given the role of women in a Puritan society, this makes perfect sense.  She has witnessed Mary's meteoric rise since her marriage to George and the social power it allows her wield.  It was also rather easy for Mercy to accuse Henry given what she learned about him. It made me wonder if Henry will truly count as an innocent when he dies. With Mercy and Elizabeth in control who is accused of witches, Salem is moving back to actual historical events. The problem of course is that in the end, not only will the innocent die, the plot demands that the witches do as well and as we all know, those who died in the Salem witch trials were most certainly innocent. Salem is still playing too fast and loose for my comfort.

It is disturbing to me that Tituba has so much power and is still a slave.  I suppose that Salem can hide behind historical accuracy on this one but it doesn't explain why they have turned Tituba into such a complete servant.  Tituba is either acting on behalf of the witches council, or she is acting on behalf of Mary.  Not once have I seen Tituba use her power to benefit herself in some manner.  She has absolutely no agency though this fact is cleverly disguised.

One of the things I do like about Salem is it's strong female characters.  This women are both good and evil. They go after what they want and in most cases unashamedly state their desires.  I love that Anne is determined to see justice done, even if she has to go up against her father to do so. I even love Mercy turning the tables on Mary.  The men in Salem may bluster about and give orders but it is the women who are running this town.

From the arrest of Henry, it's clear that everyone has a secret; it's only a matter of which secret comes to light.  Mercy is now a power hungry liar, Mary is a witch, John a murder, Cotton a rapist hypocrite etc,. This is a town of secrets, shame and accusations.  The only  questions is whose secrets will come to light first.