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Salem - Blood Kiss - Review: "Kentucky Fried Mercy"


2.02 - "BLOOD KISS"
Directed by Allan Arkush
Written by Brannon Braga and Adam Simon
Reviewed by Gavin Hetherington


THE CHARACTERS





SEASON GUIDE

Click on a title to be taken to the review for that episode. Need a catch-up of season one before starting season two? Be sure to read the ultimate catch-up review of season one.



'BLOOD KISS' REVIEW

"Witches! Not one to survive and torment us more. Kill them! KILL THEM ALL!"

"Mercy! You are SO fired!"
That opening was incredible! What a way to open an episode. I'm so relieved to see Mary fight back against Mercy straight away instead of letting things rest. It shows the ferocity of the situation and that Mary is still the Queen of the Night! The entire scene was so well-executed. To have Mary gather the men to throw flammable liquid all over Mercy and her followers while they slept was ruthless but genius, and her line to "kill them all!" with Mary's pointing and look of anger was chilling. Gunshots and screaming. There is definitely no love between Mercy and Mary now, even if there was a tiny sliver of it before, it's completely vanished now. Anyway, the best opening of an episode of the series so far. "You wanted war, now taste war." That's right Mary, you show Mercy how it's done!

The Oscar for Best Witch Goes to Mary Sibley!
Mary continues to reign supreme in Salem - a role I very much like her in. She has conquered Salem and is working wonderfully to complete her wicked goals. I love the relationship she has with Tituba - they have the same goal but Mary still likes to insult her, calling her a harpy and whatnot, but she offers to put aside their grievances for the greater task at hand. These two work well together and are perfect frenemies. Tituba wants Mary to deal with Isaac who is the only flaw in Mary's otherwise perfect plan. What I love about Mary is that she is conflicted with this and even though she was about to do it, she ended up saving Isaac. Granted, he's in this whole mess because of her and he deserves way better, Mary is still, kind of, being true to her word of protecting him. I just hope she heals Isaac with some kind of spell or potion. It is quite tiring to see Isaac being used while he suffers the consequences of being TV's biggest pushover.

"Why can't you just be normal and play Monopoly?"
Mary's son is a demonic little shit. I was cringing and writhing when he puts that needle in George Sibley's toenail. Salem is so good at making me squirm that with every passing episode, something just has to happen to gross me out. Can't top the crow-crotch but still. The doctor is also increasingly getting sketchier, especially his moment with Mary at John Alden's old home when he asks her about the pain she felt, perhaps in that very room. It seemed very odd and even Mary thought so too before she legged it. He does seem to have Salem's best interest at heart but I don't know. I am very easily deceived as I have been before in the past but after some comments from people on my last review, maybe all is not right with this doctor?

"It's a dangerous world for an orphan girl."

"Witches gotta stick together."
Anne Hale is getting more interesting. The internal struggle is quite evident through her quiet aura of mystery around her now. She has been less vocal than she was in the first season but when she's pressed, especially by Hawthorne, she can still hold her ground. It was pretty cool to see his nose bleed and Anne try to refrain from going full on psycho by blowing his brain out so her control is improving. It's important to note too that Anne tries to leave but cannot, and that Anne is still very much against Mary. Even though we saw Anne falter to Mary's words in the premiere, Anne is still holding strong to her virtues. At the most opportune moment, Magistrate Hale's mask reappears and transports Anne to Boston where Cotton Mather resides. Anne is successful in persuading Cotton to return to Salem which is such a relief to know as he hasn't had the best of material in Boston, though I'm sure if he was given more time to explore, he might have had a better story there. However, the main highlight of Boston is the Countess.

"I thought I smelt a witch in Boston."

"This isn't my first lesbian rodeo. Have you seen Xena?"
The honest-to-God highlights of Salem these days are a lot of things but Countess Marburg has to be a pretty big one right now. I loved her introduction to Anne with her mouth moving saying one thing but Anne hearing another - it's so clever. Then to have Anne find "within" herself a.k.a. a tub in the middle of a forest. Her interactions with the Countess are such a revelation - we find out the Countess has gone by many names, including Hecate. She is the last of the true witches and her words just cut through me like glass. She is so wise, so full of information. She will be able to teach Anne a thing or two about witchcraft and even though Anne is struggling, it's clear the Countess knows she is only heading down one path - a dark one. Regardless of what Anne wants to be, even good, it seems like that isn't an option for her. It's also great to have Sebastian's first appearance, the Countess' son. Every new character this season has had quite the entrance and Sebastian is no different - kissing his mother! Talk about MILF. The Countess knows that Mary Sibley started the Grand Rite and knows nothing about her but she's intrigued.

"We are all going to be such friends. I just know it."

"Care for a rhubarb and custard?"
John is definitely different. His mannerisms seem quite scary when he moves his head and body. I always felt John was the one pure guy in the show (apart from Isaac but she's so gullable) but now I really am starting to fear him a little. When he killed that harmless malitia man who has been in the show for a long time. I didn't really care much for him but I liked having him there, poor buggar. John has become a ruthless killing machine - witches or not. The poor man on the docks too didn't deserve to have his neck snapped just for some clothes. John should have just knocked him out and taken them, he didn't need to die! He has returned to Salem though which is exciting and I look forward to seeing what he does there. It won't be pretty, that's for sure.

Yeesh!
Again, the ending was incredible. Mercy, seemingly dispatched of in the opening moments by Mary, rises from the ground with a complete makeover - she's now burnt to a crisp! Poor Mercy, she's never able to look beautiful (but the actress is very beautiful). She goes to her father with this awesome ending line - "Father. Your baby's home." Chime of the bells while Mercy holds a knife. After the Countess said about "we all have to kill our fathers", I'm wondering if that's a power thing for witches? We also have another creeptastic moment with Mary's son when Mary bathes him and he kisses her on the lips - just like the Countess and her son. Is that some witch-thing? Every son goes to first base with their mothers?



- Why didn't Mercy get up once she saw what was happening? She had plenty of time to get everyone out or at least start to make a run for it before they all went up in flames.
- I've said it before and I'm saying it again - Mary's son is a demonic little shit.
- Am I the only one thinking that Hawthorne is really weird?
- Travel permits in Salem? Worse than getting a bus from my area - every 10 minutes my ass!
- That transporting mask is amazing. What a nifty little object.
- Anne and Cotton both killed their fathers and here they are together. Must be some sweet poetic irony in that?
- Countess Marburg really likes her baths.
- So will Magistrate Hale (Xander Berkeley) return in some form for Anne to communicate with him? That would be so cool, I am actually missing his presence on the show.
- Lucy Lawless also likes to kiss her women. It's one way to leave an impression.
- The Countess and her son have been to Salem before and they must have left such a mark that if anyone recognised them, it would be "bloody". That is interesting.
- What kind of present is a tied up living woman in a cupboard? I'm worried about what they're going to do to her.
- What in the world is happening to the dead bodies of those who have succumbed to the plague?
- Would you like your Mercy rare, medium, or well-done?


EPISODE VERDICT

Season two is on a roll. Granted, it's only been two episodes but seriously, season one was jam-packed with intense episodes as the season went on, really picking up the pace at the midway point with the introduction of Increase Mather, but right out the gate season 2 has kept that intensity level to a high level.

As I mentioned in the review, this had to be the best opening of an episode yet with Mary burning Mercy and her followers. I'm wondering if that means all of Mercy's followers are dead or if she has more that were in other places that survived, like Dollie. Will Mercy have to start from scratch in order to gain followers and get herself sorted. I'm pretty sure she won't remain in her crispy-state for long. I'm guessing she's going to do some kind of magic by killing her father and regaining her natural look. 

Lucy Lawless had more in this episode which was wonderful as she killed every scene she was in! I really hope we get a flashback episode of Increase Mather and Countess Marburg when they "danced their jig". Both have had the most intense history together and the marks left on both of them, including Increase, have been referenced to in the first season so it's all connecting and in a glorious way. Her relationship with her son is going to be interesting to watch unfold, as well as her influence over other witches and how that will come into effect. Might be a couple more episodes before she arrives in Salem though - she does have to be careful and wise about her moves.

Anne is definitely the most interesting character at the minute as we are unsure how much her powers will explode and what will happen with her journey to self-discovery. It's very Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with Skye at the minute, but Anne is on a wicked path and there's seeminly no option but to pick the dark side, no matter how badly she wants to cling to the good. Cotton is going back to Salem too which is awesome and I'm hoping for more development there. John has done a complete 180 on his character and I now fear him - he's a ruthless killer and I'm not sure what I'm supposed to feel for him.

All in all, fantastic follow-up to that fantastic season two premiere. When season one was two episodes in, the show was finding its feet. Season two has found its footing and it's here to stay. All I can say is, if this season keeps it up, this will become one of the best witch shows of all-time.

What did you think of 'Blood Kiss'? Let me know your thoughts on the episode in the comments and be sure to watch the next new episode on April 19 on WGN America at 10PM!

About the Author - Gavin Hetherington
Award-winning author of 'Abyssal Sanctuary: Remnants of the Damned'. Gavin joined SpoilerTV on August 9, 2014 and will be reviewing 2 Broke Girls, Mistresses, Orange is the New Black, Pretty Little Liars, Salem and Sleepy Hollow in the 2014-15 season. Gavin's favourite shows include Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Desperate Housewives, The Walking Dead, Once Upon a Time, Revenge, Scandal and much more. You can contact him at gavin@spoilertv.com.
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