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Salem - Til Death Do Us Part - Review: "What a Witch Wants"


2.10 - "TIL DEATH DO US PART"
Directed by Tim Andrews
Written by Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson
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.



'TIL DEATH DO US PART' REVIEW

"I wager she'll hold her life above all other things... it's where she and I differ."

10 episodes down, 3 to go. I was wondering if this would be the episode the witch war goes down in, but we kind of only got a taste of it. And it was a really good taste too as we had an amazing confrontation between Mary and the Countess. Before that though, Mary and John met up to discuss their plan of action. I always love scenes like this as it aligns the audience with the intentions of the characters so we can remain on the same page. It's a much needed conversation and we see some potential of a rekindling of their romance, but at the same time, there's pain on John's face over Mary's unfortunate circumstance of being a creature he is destined to kill. I love that the two of them have a set goal too and one that will mean both will have to work as a unit (a parental unit) to achieve said goal. I kind of stopped breathing when Mary asked for forgiveness, though she didn't expect it from him, and he never replied but that door is now open. He tells her they have both done things they're not proud of, but does John fully forgive her? I predict a long and difficult journey ahead of Mary and John.

"Oh Isaac, have you not suffered enough?"

Mary mentions a trick she will perform that she saw the Countess do and I knew she meant the two-places-at-once trick. It was so awesome to see Mary manage this feat as she boarded the ship while appear to the Countess in the woods. Mary on the ship led to some fantastic moments too. Firstly, she burned a man alive. Team Mary! Then she let the caged children free, saving their lives. I think she hesitated for a moment but her humanity has really gotten the best of her lately and she let them loose - which was so sweet of her! One of the reasons I love Mary so much is right there! Then she saw Isaac with his lips sawn shut. He had been MIA from Salem for the past few episodes and now we know what happened to him. It was quite distressing when he found Dollie dead. We all knew she would be dead and when he said he was going to look for her, my heart ached. He really is the character who has suffered the most on this show I believe and there's another thing to happen to really punch Isaac while he's down. Should be interesting to see if Isaac does anything to retaliate against the witches now since all they've done is cause him grief.

"I hadn't tasted passion until I became a mother."

Back to Mary, I love the scene in the room with the coffin in. When she was carrying her out and her body was rotting, I recoiled. It was wonderfully vile and the VFX on it were truly awesome. Mary, the Countess, Sebastian and Little John then have the best scene of the episode. Yes, the writers did it again by giving us fantastically-written dialogue between two of the best witches on television. I love that we have way more knowledge about what's going to happen now and it makes us anticipate these next three episodes. It was great that Mary's trick did work on the Countess and we have a more vulnerable Countess in this episode than we have ever seen. This helps a lot as it makes her more human. We have seen in this episode and last Mary's humanity, but what about the humanity of the Countess? I feel like, after this episode, I understand her so much better now. I understand Mary so much better now too. We have heard in past episodes why Mary started the Grand Rite - for justice against the Puritans - but I do sometimes forget how close Mary was with Isaac and how they used to be such good friends. Mary wanted freedom for all and thinks the Countess just wants a world full of slaves. The best part of this scene comes from the dialogue that really makes us understand the Countess more. It was actually tweeted around and I'm glad it was as I absolutely love it, and it goes like this:

Countess Marburg: "You have not lived nearly long enough to judge me, or the forces that drive me."
Mary Sibley: "Come now. Do not pretend you are after anything other than your own infinite desires."
Countess Marburg: "Were you there to hear the screams of the thousands of children sliced apart by crusaders? Have you smelled the human flesh searing to the red hot irons of the Inquisition? I consecrate this land! On behalf of the millions I watched suffer! Their temples destroyed, their people slaughtered. You began this rite to end all this. How can you turn your back on us now?"

Beautifully written and now I feel like Mary and the Countess have far more in common than we realise in why they want to complete the Rite. It's plain that the Countess has been through so much and Lucy Lawless has played her with such depth that I truly believe she's been through hundreds of years of pain. The confrontation was just wonderful and wonderfully played by both witches as they trade-off. I seriously thought it might have been the end of the Countess when Mary set her body on fire, which I was devastated about, but then I sighed a breath of relief when the Countess put the flames out. I do want Mary to win, but it's too early to lose Lucy Lawless.

"There is a chance I won't be on this Earth tomorrow."

So much to talk about in this episode! Another big thing to happen was the next step of the Anne and Cotton relationship. Firstly, Hathorne visited Anne to tell her that Cotton had been killed by Indians, but in a truly spectacular manner, Cotton appeared from the door while Hathorne was trying to make Anne his by saying "And what exactly would I want her to do?" Brilliant. That's how you make an entrance when the person who tried to kill you tries to steal your wife. I loved that Cotton took control of the situation and chased Hathorne out, the good-for-nothing little weasel. You can sort of guess from the episode title that there was going to be a wedding and we were blessed with one. Amongst all of Salem's dark and dingy scenes, we have the nicest, most lovely scene of the season so far - Anne and Cotton's wedding. It didn't last very long and I'm not sure how weddings worked in those days but there wasn't anything but just Anne and Cotton. I find that insanely romantic though as it shows us that nothing matters to either of them but their significant other. Not sure if it still makes their wedding official or legal but it was sweet. My heart was breaking when he had to go and she begged him to come back. Calling her Mrs. Mather was also extremely sweet.

"I will fight no war for you, nor for her"

Anne wasn't as prominent as Mary or the Countess as this episode really was more about their role in the Grand Rite, but she still got to appear while Tituba and Mercy remained absent. I'd love to see and know more of what Anne is going through right now as we saw in the last episode what happened when she read her father's book of shadows. The Devil attacked her, but as Mary said, it was just the prerequisite for all the power he grants. I like that Anne is pretty disgusted by it and I can imagine Mary was at first when she had to go through it (you can see the pain in her eyes as she remembers her own initiation into witchcraft) and like Mary, Anne allows her humanity to show through. As much as I want a team-up of Anne with the other witches, I like that she is still wary of trusting them, and with good reason. Anne isn't the vulnerable sunshine-and-rainbows little girl anymore, but a grown-ass woman who can make her own decisions. I want her to join the witch war because she wants to, to save her love, not because someone made her do it. It has to be her own choice.

"Who are you?" ... "I'm John, your father."

Finally, John had his most prominent role since being kidnapped by Tituba, and maybe even a little before then. He saved Cotton's life (just in the nick of time) and I wonder if maybe he has powers that allows him to locate anyone considering he alluded to the fact that he isn't the same person as he once was. It was nice to get some proper Cotton and John scenes since the prior scene earlier this season of John holding Cotton captive doesn't really count to that relationship they had in season one. John came to his son's rescue though and I longed for the moment they'd meet since John found out he even had a son in the last episode. The quote I have above was another sweet moment in the episode and I never thought I'd see that level of sweetness from Little John. That meant we also saw his humanity in this episode too and that he was really excited to meet his father. I liked that John enlisted Cotton's help for his son, asking for an exorcism that Cotton isn't sure the boy even needs when he sees him. But the episode ends in a creepy way with little John turning his head a whole 360 and speaking in a demonic voice:

"It's too late for that. Before the dawn comes, we shall play Cat's Cradle with your entrails."

EPISODE VERDICT

I always enjoy every single outing of Salem. I feel at this point they don't even need to try to make me love this show any more than I already do. One of the best scenes this season happened between Mary and the Countess and it truly elevated this episode that was mostly about Mary and John getting their son back. The episode flirted with chaos without pushing the boundary too far as there are still 3 episodes to go before season's end and I love that the show can still push those boundaries. I predict those boundaries will burst with the craziness we're heading into. A few characters were missing but that's fine as there was more focus on other developments of this episode, and absence makes the heart grow fonder after all. Loved that Mary got arrested at the end too - just what will she do next?! And that cliffhanger with little John. Can they save him, or is he too far gone? This episode did everything right in making me crave more of my current favourite television show.


EPISODE AWARDS

Winner of Best Witch:
Mary Sibley
Best Witch: Mary Sibley. She saved several children's lives, including her own son's, while showing the Countess who's boss. She may have had her ass handed to her at the end, but it doesn't deter from the fact that Mary is making progress in defying Ingrid.

Naughtiest Witch: The Countess.

Best Gentleman: Cotton Mather, giving Anne the runaway wedding she always wanted.

Best Spell: "Body without life, eyes without sight, whisper to this flame, your place this night." - Only spell used in the episode to locate the door to the Countess's body.

Best Line(s): "My heart? You're welcome to it, but it might be a little bitter for your tastes." - Mary Sibley to the Countess.

Most Bewitching Chemistry: Mary and the Countess for the scene that won best moment just below.

Best Moment: The confrontation between Mary and the Countess while Mary holds Ingrid's original body.

Most Romantic Moment: The lakeside wedding between Cotton and Anne.

Creepiest Moment: The ending with Little John going all Exorcist on our asses (it's also important to note that the writers' research led them to see that Exorcist is based on a real story and they used descriptions of what people possessed would look like in those days).

Vilest Moment: Mary carrying Ingrid's original body and her flesh disintegrates.

What did you think of 'Til Death Do Us Part'? Let me know your thoughts on the episode in the comments and be sure to watch the next new episode on June 14 on WGN America at 10PM!

About the Author - Gavin Hetherington
Award-winning author of 'Abyssal Sanctuary: Remnants of the Damned'. Gavin joined SpoilerTV in August 2014 and reviews 2 Broke Girls, Mistresses, Orange is the New Black, Pretty Little Liars, Salem, Scream Queens and Sleepy Hollow. Gavin will write previews for Devious Maids and Shadowhunters, and backs-up Empire, The Flash, iZombie, Once Upon a Time, Reign, Scandal and Supergirl. You can contact him at gavin@spoilertv.com.
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