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Motherland: Fort Salem - Not Our Daughters - Review: Truth and Lies + POLL



SPOILERS FOLLOW! DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU HAVE SEEN THE FULL EPISODE!



This season of Motherland: Fort Salem is in full swing delivering an incredible jam-packed episode that sets into motion events that are likely to lead to the full launch of a war with the Camarilla. This was easily the best episode of the season, but that is likely not the last time those words will be spoken. If the rest of this season follows the format of last season, then each episode will somehow manage to be better than the one that came before it. The performances were top-notch with every member of the cast delivering exceptional work. This is a phenomenally talented cast that helped take a very well-written script to an even higher level.

When the episode started with that Army propaganda video it was obvious this was going to be an interesting hour and it absolutely did not disappoint. The whole testing site bit has been setup since the start of the season, so it was good to finally see it be brought into the forefront, especially with what was revealed in the last episode regarding the Camarilla’s covert testing program. It was an interesting touch to see the reaction from the girls that came into the testing site. The girl who was proven to be a witch was relieved to finally understand why she always felt different. The other girl that tested negative was so distraught she was in tears. It shows that while many hate the Army and witches, they do indeed serve a higher purpose even beyond protection. They give these women, and some men, a place where they belong and that strongly resonates within the real world where belonging is a powerful force in and of itself.



Most of this episode revolved around the events taking place in and around the testing site and the Camarilla organized protest. Before all the action kicked off, they did spend some time at For Salem where some big things were revealed. First, to pick up where the last episode ended, it was revealed that Abigail (Ashley Nicole Williams) was indeed impacted by her big weather creation event. Her voice box was injured, but she is on the mend. As if things weren’t already going sideways for Abigail, she found out that Adil (Tony Giroux) has been called to join Khalida (Kylee Brown) in India. Abigail’s harsh words for him in the prior episode gave him truly little reason to want to hang around Fort Salem given that his relationship with Abigail was falling apart. Adil is too critical to Abigail’s storyline and Giroux too strong of a member of the recurring cast for Adil to not return sooner than later, so this surely isn't the end of this couple.

In the meantime, Abigail’s whole day managed to get worse when the Camarilla lured her away during the protest riot while they pretended to be Abigail’s murdered cousin Charvel (Bernadette Beck). If Tally and M (Ess Hödlmoser) hadn’t found her in time things could have ended very poorly for her. For the second episode in a row, she ended up in a perilous situation by trying to handle things on her own. Abigail is a fierce leader and a stronger witch than she realizes, but her single most perilous weakness is her pride. In the wake of not being a part of the witchbomb phenomenon and everything going on with Adil it has set her down a destructive path. Hopefully, this most recent close call will remind her how critically important Raelle (Taylor Hickson) and Tally (Jessica Sutton) are to her. Her place is with them as a part of this fierce trio, and she is more important to that dynamic than she realizes. The sooner she realizes that and understands her value the better off she’ll be. However, if anything good is coming from this storyline it’s that it is providing Williams with some powerful material to work with, and she is delivering on it in each episode. She has made Abigail’s struggles this season feel tangible and so relevant to the real world. While it was hard to watch, it was an impactful moment to see Abigail fall apart in Tally’s arms after nearly having her voice box removed by the Camarilla, showing just how vulnerable this character can be when she is with people she truly trusts. That was a stunning moment to see this fierce character being so vulnerable. That was just one example of the high caliber of work Williams has been delivering this season. Her work in this storyline isn’t just important to the show, but to viewers as well, illustrating how even the strongest individuals sometimes are struggling in ways others can’t necessarily see and every person needs help at some point. This is a relevant storyline being beautifully performed.



Another display of standout performances from this gifted cast is with the Anacostia (Demetria McKinney) and Scylla (Amalia Holm) storyline. While it will be complete joy the moment Scylla and Raelle are reunited because Holm and Hickson are such a powerful acting team, Holm with McKinney is just as magical if in a different way. The partnership of Scylla and Anacostia is one built on mutual respect even if they don’t necessarily agree with the tactics of the other. We’ve seen them as reluctant partners and we’ve seen them learning to work together, but this episode really showed them as an active team looking out for each other. When they each needed to be centered and brought back into the moment one was on point to remind the other of the mission. For Anacostia, it was that she got lost in the hatred towards her people.

That was just one aspect of Anacostia’s storyline in this episode. Prior to the events of the protest, a big revelation was made. This entire time Anacostia hadn’t gone as rogue as had at first seemed. Anacostia has been working with Scylla under the orders of Petra (Catherine Lough Haggquist) and this entire time Alder (Lyne Renée) has been kept in the dark. As one would imagine, that did not go over well with Alder, but that led to some really strong witch gumption by Anacostia who told Alder exactly how she saw it all and why she chose to go along with Petra’s plan defying the orders Alder had given them to toss Scylla away. This led to the first, but far from the last, example in this episode of Alder slowly losing control of the whole situation. While Alder was pissed, it seemed like she knew Anacostia was entirely right. It was nice to see someone within the confines of the Army calling Alder out on her actions. Anacostia didn’t hold back, and it was a much-needed scene to start the ball rolling that will eventually force Alder to deal with the consequences of her actions. For now, at least Anacostia is still allowed to work with Scylla, but it will be curious to see how Scylla reacts if she ever finds out that Anacostia’s partnership with her is Army sanctioned.



As for Scylla, she had quite her own journey in this episode. She started off with Willa (Diana Pavlovská) discussing what she and Anacostia had learned from following Orsatti (Thomas Nicholson). Perhaps the most important part of that whole exchange was when Scylla thought she had covertly taken the picture of Raelle from the fridge only for Willa to give her permission to keep the photo because she too understands the misery of missing Raelle. Given how important the picture would become later in the episode, it is clear that this is all leading to the big reunion, hopefully coming soon.

We got the smallest taste of a Scylla and Raelle reunion when Raelle got a fleeting look at a masked Scylla in the crowd. It is so telling of the power of their lingering love that Raelle could identify Scylla just by her eyes alone. Those eyes were enough for Raelle to confidently say that Scylla had been present at the protest. The picture that Scylla lost when the Camarilla mines detonated, and that Raelle found, was a strong indication as well, but it was the eyes that told Raelle all she needed to know. The way Scylla spent the whole episode longing for Raelle made it truly clear that she loves Raelle every bit as much now as she did when they were both still at Fort Salem. It also resonated that when Raelle was amid the raging “Not Our Daughters” mob she used Scylla’s words to try to reassure them about their daughters. Even after all this time apart Scylla is still front of mind for Raelle. Sure, when the official reunion occurs there will be anger all around. It will likely take time for them to be back in each other’s arms. The fact that they each still deeply care about the other has set the groundwork for them to eventually, and hopefully, find a way to be together again as the couple they are destined to be.



During all of this, Tally has continued to be a major support system for both Raelle and Abigail. This episode saw her counseling them both and supporting them through their various situations. She also found herself being pulled even deeper into her mentorship of Penelope (Mellany Barros) as was evident when Vice President Blanton Silver (Victor Webster) asked Tally to escort his daughter to the testing site event. This was really the first time that Penelope has been given a chance to express how she feels about finding out she is a witch. It was a pleasant surprise to see how passionate she is about her newfound witch heritage. Tally’s influence made itself known when Penelope confronted her dad in the limo. On the flip side of that, it was a very Tally-like diplomatic move to try to keep things between Penelope and her dad amicable. I don’t think she wants anyone else to fall out with their parents the way she did with her own mom. Penelope is a really great addition to Tally’s storyline, but it is a smart move on the part of the writers to start to develop Penelope as her own character. Hopefully, this was the start of the writers moving her into her own independent storyline. Perhaps her taking a stand to try to stay with the rest of the Army during the protest was the first start, even if in the end she gave in to her dad’s desires for her to leave with him. Either her dad will have a change of heart about witches and the Army, or we’ll find out that he’s not quite the good guy he tries to present himself to be which could force Penelope to choose a side. This father-daughter duo is proving to be an interesting addition to this season. So, hopefully, they will be allowed to develop beyond their current supporting roles because they are interesting enough to support solo storylines. Until that time comes, it is fun having them interweaved within Tally and Alder’s storylines.

Regarding Tally and Alder, these two are still embroiled in an incredibly fascinating mystery. As if Tally’s hands weren’t full enough supporting everyone else, she is also still trying to decipher the mystery of Nicte Batan (Arlen Aguayo-Stewart). Her inquiries did lead to an interesting story from Petra regarding a martyrdom event that seemingly occurred during the same mission that Tally has been having visions about. According to Petra and the history books, Alder was not present on that mission, which Tally knows isn’t correct. Based on the story Petra told about the witches martyring themselves instead of taking the conscription there is every reason to believe that is the same horrifying event that Tally witnessed in her last vision in the prior episode. Alder has been lying about a lot of things, but the last straw for Tally was when Alder chose to blame the protests that turned violent on the Spree instead of the Camarilla. There is one thing to avoid telling the whole truth to avoid panic within the witch community and a whole other thing to completely lie about everything. The way that Tally so confidently stormed into Alder’s office and demanded the truth was a stunning display of just how much Tally has grown and evolved since last season. It will be extremely interesting to find out how this whole confrontation goes down in the next episode.


While this was an extraordinarily strong episode it did have one tiny plot hole that carried over from the prior episode. Towards the end of last week, Anacostia saved Scylla from Orsatti, where he saw both of their faces. Then suddenly in this episode, they were able to follow him into the thick of the protest without being caught. They were at the protest with him where he was being all buddy-buddy with the police and before Bonnie (Emma Pedersen) and Shane (Juan Riedinger) gave them the masks they weren’t exactly hidden. It would have been nice to have more follow-up regarding how the Orsatti confrontation from the prior episode concluded. Did they spell him to forget about them? It is one of the rare times in this show where the writers left a bit of a plot hole open. It’s not a big thing in the overall span of things, but a quick line about it would have been nice to explain how they are able to still be undercover after having their faces seen by someone as connected as Orsatti is. 

That very minor critique is really the only thing that can be mentioned about this episode. This was really an extremely strong episode that was very beautifully written and perfectly acted. It had all the elements that have made this series such a special show. Last season the fifth episode really caused a major shift with the storyline. It was a major catalyst episode, and this episode feels like it is setting up a similar cataclysmic change that could occur next week. The next episode puts us at the mid-way point of the season, so it is safe to theorize that next week things will be even more intense as storylines start to converge and secrets are on the verge of being revealed.

Don’t miss the next episode on Tuesday, July 20th at 10 pm ET/PT on Freeform.

Until the next episode, be sure to drop down the comments and leave your own thoughts on the episode. What were your favorite parts? What do you think is going to happen when the Spree and Army have to start working more closely together to survive the Camarilla?










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