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Salem - Episode 1.03 - In Vain - Review

Three episodes in, and I’m still enjoying Salem immensely. This week the creepy factor was toned down, and there was more focus on developing the characters and the plot. Mary showed compassion toward one less fortunate and yet also managed to reaffirm her control. Things are not simply black and white in Salem and instead are many shades of gray.

Mary’s torment of Anne has begun. Anne dreams of kissing John and then sees Rev. Mather and Mary who speaks about love and death. The next morning while washing her face she looks into a mirror to see her eyes appear black and soulless.

Outside, the townsfolk gather around as Isaac carts Ms. Bishop’s body through the town square. Tituba and Magistrate Hale separately share their concerns with Mary about her lack of caution about her methods. Magistrate Hale reminds Mary that they were seen in the woods by someone during their ceremony. Mary dismisses him and his concerns remarking on the fact that he couldn’t even complete a simple task. Earlier Mary urged Rev. Mather to speak up more and remind the people of Salem that they are doing God’s work in ferreting out the Devil after he silently stood by when John challenged him about killing another innocent.

Anne is saved by John when the orphanage is attacked now that Ms. Bishop, its only champion, has been hung. After angrily blaming her father and Rev. Mather, she asks John to see her home while Mary watches them from her balcony. Magistrate Hale seeks out the seer in the woods. The seer reveals that the witches were seen by Isaac although he wasn’t alone. The seer wasn’t able to identify the other person there. Unknown to Magistrate Hale, John has followed him to the seer’s hut. Magistrate Hale saves John when he is attacked by a dog who seemed to come to life. When John mentions witchcraft and questions what task brought Magistrate Hale to the seer, Magistrate Hale warns him to be careful of what he says otherwise he’ll have to begin to wonder if John was following him. And then he’d have to inquire about John’s reasons which he is sure John doesn’t want to share. They part ways agreeing that Magistrate Hale saving John was payment for John’s aid with Anne earlier.

Mary walks in to find her husband making himself sick trying to get her toad to come out. She reminds him that the toad will only come out for her. After she meets with Isaac when he delivers her husband’s medication. She reminisces with him about the night that changed both their lives and states that even though scars can’t be seen they still exist. Isaac opens up about his former sweetheart, Abby, and how she disappeared the following morning. He has always wondered if it is best to have no knowledge of what happened to her or to see her again and know. Mary reassures him that even if he were to see her again that the feelings would be buried too deep for resurrection.

After Isaac leaves Mary, he is accosted and a black bag is thrown over his head. He awakens to find himself in the woods with a hag are smearing something over his mouth. A pig man questions him about who else was in the woods with him when he saw them. Isaac maintains that he was alone. While Isaac is unconscious, Magistrate Hale instructs his companion, an elderly woman, to clean Isaac and erase all evidence of them being responsible. The old woman hesitates when Magistrate Hale gives her some trinkets to put into Isaac’s pockets to give proof that Isaac is a witch when he is found. The old woman brings up Mary. Magistrate Hale responds by saying that Mary has never seen witches burn, and she knows nothing of the old ways while whipping them toward the new. He then casts a spell on Isaac and sends him back to town where he won’t be welcome.

During Rev. Mather's visit with the prostitute, Gloriana, she questions him if he would have come forward to save her if she were the one being accused. He assures her that he adheres to every protocol and no one is convicted without incontrovertible evidence. They are interrupted by Isaac making a scene in the whorehouse where he is grabbing at all the women. At first Rev. Mather hides and doesn’t want anyone to see him there. He comes forward when Isaac grabs for Gloriana. Then Isaac carries his behavior outside where John finds him. Isaac tells John that they were seen in the woods before Magistrate Hale comes to arrest Isaac. Mary sees Magistrate Hale arrest Isaac and confronts him. Magistrate Hale reveals that Isaac was the one who saw them in the woods but he wasn’t alone. He intends to find out who the other person was and then Isaac will burn as a witch. Mary is angry and tells him that he won’t do anything further.

When questioned on why Isaac is still being held, Rev. Mather shows John the evidence found on Isaac and tells him that he isn’t certain if Isaac is a witch or the victim of a witch. John reminds Rev. Mather that it was Isaac who risked his life to show John what he saw in the woods. Why do that if he were a witch? Magistrate Hale’s questioning is put off for the night after the doctor gives Isaac a tonic that knocks him out.

Mary meets with an old witch, Rose, in the woods. Mary asks Rose what chance does she have of harnessing the body’s allegiance without Magistrate Hale. Rose reveals that it is tough to guess the outcome since the body is divided between the old and the new. Rose shares that it isn’t age that divides them but ambition. Mary points out that Magistrate Hale certainly isn’t lacking in ambition. Rose says that Magistrate Hale only bends to Mary’s rule so that their greater purpose can live. Mary states that her leadership is questioned and challenged at every turn, and all of her decisions are met with scrutiny and doubt. Mary remarks that her life and choices, marrying Sibley and giving up her baby, could not have all been in vain. And she then questions if she ever really had a choice or was it taken from her. Rose tells her that it is too late now to think of such things. Even though it must not have been easy to see John again, it is up to Mary to decide what has and has not been in vain. Rose assures Mary that she’ll stand behind her decisions up to a point. She cautions Mary to not underestimate the Magistrate because he has seen a lot and has suffered much.

On her way back into town, Mary runs into John. John asks for Mary’s help before Isaac is hung as a witch. When she doesn’t respond, he states that she isn’t the girl he once knew; that she has no heart and no feelings. When Mary learns that Magistrate Hale came to question Isaac after she had told him to do nothing, she assures John that he has her complete allegiance. Meanwhile Rev. Mather stands outside of Isaac’s cell reminding himself that he needs to remain unbiased. He questions if he has been wrong to see something more in Isaac. Inside the cell, Isaac is visited by a vision of his former sweetheart cast by Mary. She implores him to tell her who was with him in the woods. At first Isaac refuses to say, but he eventually reveals that it was John with him in the woods to Mary’s surprise.

The next morning, Mary goes to see Magistrate Hale and informs him that Isaac was alone and that ends the persecution. She assures him that a lie couldn’t cross Isaac’s lips. Magistrate Hale fears that they will never truly know what Isaac knows. And he can also serve as another innocent sacrifice for their Grand Rite. Magistrate Hale tells her she is powerless to stop it when she firmly denies allowing him to go further. He tells her that she is powerless to stop it and will easily be overruled by the council. He points out that it is only sentiment that could be stopping her and that makes her vulnerable. He warns her to not let it cloud her purpose, and that Isaac has to go.

While Rev. Mather questions Isaac about what he remembers from the other night, Mary comes to John and tells him to do whatever he can to stop Magistrate Hale who is on his way for Isaac. Meanwhile, Anne angrily tells her father that she finds his persecution of Isaac vile. When Magistrate Hale arrives, John refuses to allow him to take Isaac and starts a fight. Tituba confronts Mary about Isaac not being worth it. Mary assures her it isn’t about Isaac, but it is about teaching the Magistrate who leads them.

Magistrate Hale is called away from his task of arresting Isaac when Mary casts a spell on Anne which causes her to stop breathing and bleed from the mouth. After the doctor seems dire about Anne’s outcome, Magistrate Hale notices the doll that Mary placed in Anne’s room. He goes to Mary to plead for his daughter’s life and agrees to let Isaac go and to stay out of Mary’s way. Mary reminds him that she has lost everything in the town that she has ever cared for while he has everything left to lose which makes him vulnerable.

Magistrate Hale informs Rev. Mather that he is dropping the charges against Isaac. Rev. Mather agrees that it was nothing more than a drunken romp. John later sees Mary who tells him that she is grateful for Isaac. She warns him that they were fortunate today, but they can’t always be fortunate in the days ahead. And she can’t protect him if he insists on remaining in Salem. Mary returns home to find something odd with her knitting. She dismisses it as if she can't quite place what isn't right. What she doesn't know is that her husband has one of her knitting needles and uses it to stab himself in the leg.

This was my favorite episode of Salem so far. We got to see why it is so important for Mary to continue with her plans. She gave up everything. And if she doesn’t have this then everything was done in vain. There must be a purpose in her loss. We also got to see that vulnerabilities can be make one weak. Mary isn’t as hardened as she would like to believe. For now she has stemmed the rebellion, but as things continue her vulnerabilities will be exploited.

What did you think of this episode? Were you surprised that Mary found out already that John was one of the people in the woods?

About the Author - Tracie
Tracie is a wife and stay-at-home mom of 2 residing in NJ. She likes to unwind with a good book or in front of the TV. She is an avid reader of romance books. She likes to cook and bake. She loves to exercise and is trying to live a healthier life style. She watches a wide variety of TV shows ranging from reality TV to scripted dramas. Some of her past and current favorite TV shows are Sex and the City, Charmed, The Good Wife, and Hart of Dixie.

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