Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Salem, Season 2, Episode 2: Blood Kiss

In response to the elders’ death last episode, Mary leads the men of Salem into the crags around the town to finish off the witches. They go among all the dead bodies they have littering the outskirts of town (rather unsanitary) and burn them all. And Mercy’s witches lying among them. Mary goes a step further and has the men shoot the witches while they burn.

Mary continues to exhort against Mercy to the town while in private Tituba keeps heckling her to get on with the magical master plan. Apparently, the people have Salem haven’t learned their lesson and will soon dump the plagued bodies in the crags (filly them with “hell blood”) a comet is due and the combination of both will let their “dark lord” incarnate.

But there’s a loose end – Isaac being alive. Tituba wants Mary to kill him.

Of to see the doctor who tells Mary everything is awful – but Isaac is awake and repeating her name. She goes to see him – and fins him all apologetic about not obeying her, blaming himself for the plague. A tearful Mary can’t bring herself to poison him.

But she does begin the rest of her plan, convincing the doctor to remove the bodies of the plague victims to the crags on the pretext of fighting infection (much to the disapproval of the reverend and Hawthorne). Hawthorne is outraged that good puritan bodies are being treated like slaves or criminals.

At home her little demon child John Junior tortures her husband George who she’s hexed to be unable to pretty much do anything.

That night Mary sees movement in John’s old house so naturally goes to check it out – turns out Doctor Love Interest has moved in. The doctor takes the chance to describe how he not only believes in the equality of women but their superiority due to being able to withstand the pain of childbirth. My aren’t they getting scandalous? I think his whole description of pain is supposed to be sexy but it comes off creepy – and Mary puts him in his place and leaves

John Aldren gets some final woo-woo presents from his oh-so-helpful mystical Native Americans and heads back to town. On the way he runs into Petrus who is wonderfully cryptic about whose side he is on or even what he is. He’s also very hard to pin down to an actual answer – until he finally tells John that Hale is dead and whoever replaces him will be Mary’s pawn – and another witch. John then kills Petrus. Petrus may have been crafty, but really working with the man who is all “magic, kill it!” is not sensible for a man who is all about magic.

John makes his way to town, murdering an extra for his clothes before heading into the plague hit, Knockers Hole (which, yes, I giggled rather childishly about).

At the crags, a hand thrusts up through the blackened earth. What? Surely you didn’t think Mercy was actually dead?

Meanwhile Anne gets a completely unwanted visit from the very pushy Hawthorne. He makes lots of
really creepy comments about how alone and orphaned and vulnerable she is – and how she needs to make the right choice in choosing how to trust. He gets a spontaneous nose bleed and Anne nearly breaks the crockery.

A close call – she tries to leave but because of the quarantine you now need a permit to travel; given by the selectmen or Mary. Tituba tries to recruit her (at least selling her the idea of learning from Mary even if she opposes her) but Anne won’t have it – instead she plays with her dad’s nifty teleporting mask and ends up zapping herself to Mather’s doorstep. In Boston.

She tells him about the pox which he quickly realises is the Malum and he was right. But he can’t do anything about it because he’s totally been told not to. Anne isn’t impressed by him deciding all will be doomed shortly but he can’t stop it because he’s grounded. Also he’s recognised how utterly useless he was in Salem and, really, he’s such a bad choice for saving the world.

Countess Ingrid drops in – she smells a witch and she decides to take a quick dip into Anne’s soul, introducing herself as Hecate, Medea, Bathory and the Swallower of Souls, the last of the first witches. Probably not a very nice person then. She talks about Anne’s bloodline, the Essex witches and her surprise that they (who she has a lot of scorn for) have managed to complete the Grand Rite. Added gems are that Anne is super special and murdering one’s parents is a quaint habit (and maybe why there aren’t so many witches around, given the givens) all the while being delightfully spooky and awesome

Anne does convince Mather to go to Salem and she stays the night in his house (scandal!)

Speaking off, Countess Ingrid goes back to her ship to talk about Anne with her son – and make out with him. She’s eager to investigate Mary Sibley – and impressed by her, but wary about being recognised among the “gutter hives” where they are not welcome. They plot and he’s kidnapped a young woman for her as a present. How thoughtful.

Back to Salem and the first bodies begin to dissolve to goo –which is just what Mary wants them to do. Tituba is also pleased with Mary so allows her to bathe her son and enjoy “maternal intimacies”. There’s no way this line wouldn’t have been creepy – but right after Countess Ingrid makes out with her son is the worst possible time. And yes, it is intentional – because the boy kisses Mary and not as a son would kiss his mother. Mary is duly disturbed.

Burned Mary goes to see her daddy. With a knife.

Tituba and Mary are still awful together – I actually think Mary trying to pretend that she and her “dark sister” have had similar experiences and face similar oppression is far worse than when they snarl at each other.

It appears Puritan men are unable to express any kind of attraction without pushing the creepiness to maximum levels. It would be the creepiest part of this show if it weren’t also so very very very fond of incest. No. Just… no. I… no. Really. No. Countess and her son were creepy – but Mary and her actual child as in underaged – and him instigating as well? Far worse – this doesn’t just present a child kissing an adult in a romantic/sexual way – but the child being the one to initiate it. That’s a page out of a lot of victim-blaming child abuse victims and I really don’t trust Salem to come close to handling this.

Hopefully now John has left the Native Americans they will cease in their role of providing essential woo-woo to the white man. That isn’t representation, that’s resource mining.

Salem this second season is already on shaky ground.