Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Salem, Season 2, Episode 7: The Beckoning Fair One

Mary summons Increase Mather back from the dead (of course the spell is disgusting, this is Salem). He’s not a happy zombie and she does quite like tormenting him and controlling him, feeding him blood to give him speech (well there’s strong mythology behind that). He wasn’t surprised to be sent to hell because he’d always done evil things for the greater good because he’s just that noble. It’s appropriate that a man so arrogant is tormented in hell by himself.

They do have common cause when it comes to opposing Marburg and, as well as revealing that Increase will know if Marburg is the witch her fought he also tells Mary about an artefact that is responsible for her long life. Not that he will tell her what it is.

Speaking of, Marburg hails Mary’s many achievements, including the witch pox turning blood into hell portal fluid (or something) and generally being very impressed by the evil awesomeness that is Mary. Of course they’re both so fake you can almost see the second face – but Mary invites Marburg and her son to dinner so the whole town can see how she is supported to try and make up for the loss of authority due to George’s inconvenient death. She goes on to play with Sebastian and convince him to destroy George’s body in exchange for implied sexual favours.

Tituba has John all imprisoned in a spikey room of shirtlessness. In between lots of sexual groping and licking she reveals she has plans to use John against witches; oh and that she saved him from Anne, not the other way round.

Anne faces the dilemma of casting a love spell on Cotton and, therefore, not knowing whether his love is real. And Marburg appears to instruct Anne on the proper feeding of one’s familiar (through a witch mark). Marburg is also not pleased that Anne squealed about her to Mary and in recompense she demands that Anne steals her father’s book of shadows.

Marburg returns to Sebastien to explain a bit more – she needs to know if Mary has some nebulous thing (I’m betting on her son) to complete he evil dark rite of evilness. She also plans to kill the whole Hive of witches of course – and a newly restored Mercy is eager to get in on that action. Marburg also plans to use Mercy to lure children for blood sacrifice (much to Sebastian’s jealousy)

She starts by luring a small girl from a brutal sweat shop spinning factory.

At the Sibley household, Tituba and Mary snarl back and forth, as ever, and Mary refuses to let Tituba take her son to the woods to keep him safe. Mary continues to act like Tituba has terribly wronged and betrayed her.

Dr. Wainwright is back in town to talk to Cotton and find out he’s hopelessly and incurably in love. Which he finds rather less important than the death plague (especially since he’s found a related pox which is similar, but lack the black blood of demon portal opening). And to investigate it he plans to kill one of the dying victims of the plague to experiment – with Cotton rather nicely skewers

Anne has to get ready for the party which means dressing up (which is totally the worst part of two powerful witches trying to control and threaten you), in between wishing she was Native American so she wouldn’t have to dress for formal dinners (just dispense woo-woo to passing white guys) she wishes Cotton would arrive – and he does. Anne has another moment where she realises her relationship is all fake and coerced.

To the dinner and Marburg and Sebastien talk about how Mary Sibley isn’t that amazing (though Sebastien disagrees) before the dinner able – how rude! Marburg feels a little jealous of Sebastien’s like of Mary

Awkward dinner time! Everyone is rude and unseemly and at least Marburg keeps her barbs subtle. Amid the sniping, Cotton proposes to Anne. She flees the room to collect herself. Well to steal her dad’s book which she does with great craftiness. Meanwhile dinner gets even worse with Magistrate Hawthorne telling everyone how he killed Native Americans and Cotton disapproves. Meanwhile the witches have a telepathic conversation about who needs to die and who can live: Marburg’s choices not being the same as Mary.

Tituba tries to run off with the child while Sebastian reveals that she’s done what Mary asked and disposed of George – they just ate him. Nom nom nom. And then her child runs into the room – probably not what you want to wave in front of Marburg.

Of course, after dinner Cotton would really like Anne to answer his proposal – and she says yes (possibly to hide the book she’s stolen as much as anything). Alas for Cotton, Wainwright arrives to summon him to the dissection which isn’t the body he wanted to be examining that night

Back to Tituba and John with Tituba actually comparing her situation to John’s (both slaves to the same woman). She intends to use John against Mary Sibley

Cotton and Wainwright go to perform the vivisection (not an autopsy – because he’s alive). The minute they open the chest cavity, vile toxic smoke sends them both reeling back. All his organs have liquefied into black mush before it all spills through the body and out of his eyes, nose and mouth. It is quite quite disgusting. Then it burns through the floor – burning quite a pit.

Marburg is obsessed with Mary’s son – and, predictably, this is what she needs to complete her Grand Rite. The boy is possessed with their “dark lord” and she intends to let him out. At the boat they find Mercy has made a grand mess of the girl she kidnapped and Sebastian continues to hate her.

And Increase haunts his son – destroying his booze so he can’t drink. Because Cotton doesn’t have enough daddy issues.

I have to have a moment of praise for Cotton cutting through Wainwright’s talk of “sacrifice.” You can sacrifice yourself. If you’re sacrificing someone else then it’s just plain old murder with fancy self-serving words around it.

I also like Anne’s growing discomfort with the spell she put on Cotton – though not so much for the coerced will she was worried about previously, now she realises she’s effectively undermined her entire relationship with Cotton. She can not trust any of his emotions to be authentic, any wedding will be fake and even wore for the seeming genuine affection he felt before hand.

Mary being all queasy over eating George seems… odd for this show. We have seen Tituba eat Petrus’s eyes. Mary herself recently ate a piece of Increase’s rotting skull. Is it, again, possibly due to genuine affection? Or fear of the Marburg’s power (they have the woo-woo to mess with her food without her knowing after all).
Does “scratch an itch” mean what I would expect it to mean – Tituba raping John?

Tituba calling herself and John equally slaves? There are not enough NOs in the world. The treatment of Tituba on this show is appalling, her enslavement is only referenced in moments like this – to draw a comparison with John of all people – and completely ignored the rest of the time while Mary is playing the poor betrayed friend.

And can we not have Native Americans referred to every other sentence just to make random comments about being “uncivilised” or savage?