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Salem - The Wine Dark Sea - Review: "The Episode We've Been Antici.....pating"


2.05 - "THE WINE DARK SEA"
Directed by Peter Weller
Written by Turi Meyer and Al Septien
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.



'THE WINE DARK SEA' REVIEW

"Tell the captain to lift anchor. And once he has made his way out of Boston harbour
I will send swift wind to speed our way to Salem."

"I fart in your general direction."
THIS was the episode I've been waiting for since the premiere. The arrival of the Countess in Salem. Man, I shivered in antici...... pation at the mere thought of it. The opening of the episode showed a little more insight in her relationship with her son, Sebastian, who longs for a taste of Mary Sibley. The thing that took me by surprise was the rotted ugliness of the Countess that was revealed - fortunately Lucy Lawless still looks amazing with bits of flesh missing, but damn she is much scarier than she has been in the past. One of my favourite moments of the show is now the booming thunder announcing her looming arrival to Salem. The suspense has literally been killing me and as the episode built up to it so much I was spasming randomly just waiting patiently. I was expecting her to appear to Mary herself but it's Mary who seeks her. Just shows how great my Mary is. The entire meeting between Mary and the Countess, the entire conversation, was so fantastic. There was no disappointment whatsoever as the two exchanged insults ("you arrogant bitch") as well as ideas of working together - which I would love to see. The Countess is a force to be reckoned with as we see in the mirror and the token of appreciation she leaves Mary at the end. I would love to see these two working together but I think we all know both have huge ambitions and want to be the absolute best. In the end, one of them will stand in the other's way and we can only assume we have a "neither can live while the other survives" situation. It's total witch war and I'm excited.


"Be prepared to do what is necessary... or burn."

"Before the sun sets on the third day, you've
got to get Cotton to fall in love with you!"
Anne is under threat from being accused as a witch and risks being burned at the stake, so Hathorne proposes she marry him to save her from her funeral pyre. Since Mary is her sort of Gandalf the Grey, Anne turns to her where Mary gives her a suggestion that will only further her descent into darkness. I was taken back by her suggestion of marrying Cotton Mather but it was also something I'd totally be down to see. I like Anne and Cotton as a pairing but at the same time - and Anne knows this - this isn't the right way to do it. I love that she really tried to do it her own way first by nudging Cotton in the right direction but because he was a little pushed for time, he didn't take the bait. Poor Anne. The devastation on her face when she realises what she has to do was heartbreaking for me. Not just that, but when she had to cast the spell and kill her familiar - the poor, poor mouse - she further committed herself to the dark path she doesn't want to travel on. I think by squashing the little mouse she saw as herself, she squashed that little beacon of light inside of her. As the situations get more desperate for Anne, we see her doing things she doesn't want to do and there's going to be a point where Anne submits herself to that growing darkness. I think that would be amazing to see but at the same time, I need her to be a good witch for my own sanity. This show is filled to the brim with bad witches that Anne is our little beacon of hope. If she does go the totally dark route, which I do want to see I must admit, I hope she will pull through it and see the light on the other side. Having said that, it's going to be interesting to see what happens next with Anne and Cotton.

"I am on the hunt you're on. Let us join forces."

"Why can't I just blend in?!"
Speaking of Cotton, after John has been having his crazy episodes and knocked Cotton out cold in the close of episode four, I was actually fearing for Cotton's safety. Did I think John would kill Cotton? Hmm, doubtful, but the rate John has been acting erratically and is far too committed to his cause gave me reason to worry for Cotton's wellbeing. I love that Cotton told John about Mary's suffering in thinking that John is dead as I got to see something in John's eyes that have been missing all season - emotion. I feel like we lost the John Alden we all fell in love with in season one as the season two John is totally different as he is on his rampage, but knowing Mary still loves him and that she cried over him was what he needed to hear, I think. Whether it did anything to help, I don't know since he was watching Anne from a distance with that look of fury again as pictured above. For a second there, I thought maybe Anne accidentally got John's hair instead of Cotton's and that's why he was watching her, because of the "mad love" in the spell, but I'm sure it was Cotton's hair she had in her hands. But what if it was John?

"You're not hungry?"

"So much for my daily soak."
Mercy's plan includes using Isaac to be the assassin Mary never saw coming by using his ghost. Dollie's humanity is really showing and Mercy shouting her name reminds me of the stepmother in Cinderella. Mercy has really gone off the deep end and it's not just because of the new look. Mary has enraged her to the point where Mercy starts ill-treating her last remaining friend. So ungrateful. However, it adds to the frightening allure of Mercy who actually chills me to the bone now. I wonder if she will ever get her original look back or if she will stay as this extra-crispy witch forever. Who knows (other than the writers)? I do love Mercy like this but I think she's too obsessed with revenge she is acting irrationally. I loved that Dollie saved Isaac - she's literally the one character who has done something to benefit him and not themselves. Instead, Dollie has put herself in mortal danger now. I'm excited about how Dollie is going to proceed next as this adds an intense layer to her character who we previously saw as a puppet in Mercy's game - as was Isaac in Mary's - so we see the similarities between the two. I really hope Mercy doesn't kill Dollie as I really like her, yet at the same time, it would be so exciting. If Dollie has to die, please let her go out in style.

The ending was yet another fantastic one. That was the Countess's token of appreciation? I can't believe that George is dead. Really, is he dead? He definitely looked dead and how could he survive that, but Mary was just starting to make progress with him. He wasn't even resisting the toad. I'd ask the Countess to take her gift back and get a refund because if anything, that present is going to cost Mary some money to repair those hardwood floors.




- The writers of this episode - Turi Meyer and Al Septien - are two of my absolute favourite writers of TV ever. I mean, they wrote one of my favourite episodes of Witches of East End, "Smells Like King Spirit"!
- Am I the only person who thinks Little John gets creepier with each passing episode? Watching his mother sleep is a truly unsettling thing to do, but got to admit, he's pretty great at being creepy. His interaction with Anne was bizarre to say the least but I love Anne's reactions to him.
- I love the throwbacks to the characters we lost in season one - Bridget Bishop, Gloriana, etc. I'm still hoping for Gloriana to come back.
- I love George's speech in the church, and I love how happy it makes Mary.
- Was it Cotton's hair in Anne's hands, or John's?
- The Mary / Countess meeting has to be, hands down, one of the best scenes of the show, as was the thunder announcing her imminent arrival.


EPISODE VERDICT

I've said it before and I'm saying it again - this was the episode I've been waiting for. Okay, so the Countess hasn't technically stepped foot in Salem yet but this episode has her so close she could literally walk in Mary's house and kill people. The main thing I needed though has happened and that was the eventual Mary and Countess meeting. And boy, that was one hell of a meeting. I've wrote all my thoughts in the review above so be sure to check that out, but that one conversation was so amazingly written, so beautifully acted that my love for this show just elevated. Out of every single moment this television season, the Countess and Mary meeting has been the thing I have been looking forward to the most. This was the moment of the television season.

More and more interesting developments have spawned from this episode that makes it so unbelievably hard to keep patient for the next episode. Every single episode has been like that so far and I have a love/hate relationship with the show's reliance on bloody great cliffhangers. Of course I love them because they're amazing and never fail to be anything less than that, but at the same time I have to wait 7 whole days before seeing the next episode. How is this fair on me, or any of you viewers? We demand the next episode immediately after (I'm kind of joking, the 7-day wait intensifies the suspense).

One thing Salem doesn't fail to do either is give appropriate awesome storylines for each of the characters. I'm actually very invested in them all and I'm dying to see what happens next with them. The writers give them fantastic material to work with that allows us to want to know what they do next. Is Mercy going to kill Dollie now? Is Isaac going to escape his never-ending torture? Are Mary and Tituba going to save George? Is Cotton going to fall in love with Anne? Is John a little more human after hearing Mary still loves him? So much for each of the characters and so much has happened in season two so far already that they all have some meat to work with and there are no signs of slowing down. In fact, there are still bigger and better things on the horizon.

Overall, yet another fantastic instalment for Salem. If you want a show that moves at a quick pace without sacrificing story or character development, you have come to the right place. "The Wine Dark Sea" is a contender for one of the best Salem episodes and I look forward to seeing the bar get raised again in the next episode.

What did you think of 'The Wine Dark Sea'? Let me know your thoughts on the episode in the comments and be sure to watch the next new episode on May 10 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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