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Motherland: Fort Salem - A Tiffany - Review: Tests and Tradition + POLL

7 Jul 2021

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This was an episode that highlighted some of the best elements this series has to offer. It built on the rich mythology of the series while introducing new elements, new characters, and new threats. It was a strong episode that did an amazing job of differentiating itself from its two predecessors. The pace of the plot kept the episode moving at a well-calculated rate while not making anything feel rushed or forced.

Raelle’s (Taylor Hickson) storyline with the Mycelium only grew more complex with the reveal that it has colonized her larynx. The whole sequence where the Mycelium engulfed Raelle and shoved itself down her throat was both haunting and fascinating. As if their symbiotic bond wasn’t already epically powerful, but now with Raelle’s larynx altered that elevated the bond to supernova proportions. What Raelle did in front of the Hague brass and Vice President Blanton Silver (Victor Webster) at the remote part of the fort was a level of power we have not seen on this series to date. The bond between Raelle and the Mycelium could truly end up being the thing that helps save them all. Regarding Raelle’s story this week, it was two little touches that made it all a little more poignant. It was Raelle’s memory of Scylla (Amalia Holm) that helped her unlock the seed the Mycelium wanted. Then after she performed her massive Witchbomb she reached for her mom’s talisman. These two women who mean so much to her and whom she is on the complete opposite side of the ideological perspective from still are guiding her and helping her. It will truly break her when she finds out her mom has been alive this whole time. They are clearly setting up the power behind these bonds that will only help amplify the emotional intensity when the time comes for the big Scylla and Willa (Diana Pavlovsk√°) reunions with Raelle.

With the way Alder (Lyne Ren√©e) and Izadora (Emilie Leclerc) are pushing Raelle so hard, it is only a matter of time before Scylla, Anacostia (Demetria McKinney), and Willa are going to be forced to take action to get her away from them. They seem to have well-intentioned intent when it comes to training Raelle to use the full power of her Witchbomb, but they are pushing her too hard. A time is surely coming where they are going to push too far and the trio is going to have to find a way to remove Raelle not just for her own safety, but the safety of humans and witches alike. Except for Tally (Jessica Sutton) and Abigail (Ashley Nicole Williams), Raelle is primarily surrounded by people now who want to exploit her. Yes, they need a weapon against the Camarilla, but it doesn’t seem like they are factoring in Raelle’s wellbeing at all.

In fact, the more that is revealed about the Army the more obvious it is becoming that the wellbeing of its cadets aren’t top priority. One only must look at the newly introduced Matriarch of the Imperative, Imperatrix (Marci T. House) to see that what cadets and soldiers want isn’t really something that is given too much consideration. The pressure put on Abigail to hand-fast with Gregorio (Praneet Akilla) and to push her away from Adil (Tony Giroux) led the young witch to try to carve out a legacy for herself not built around her womb. Abigail is clearly still struggling with not being a part of the Witchbomb and is perhaps a tiny bit envious of what Raelle can do. That mixed with the pressure the Imperatrix put on her drove her to an impressive display of weather magic, but also, perhaps, to severe damage of her precious vocal cords? As Adil cradled her in his arms at the end of the episode blood was pooling in her mouth. Given the strain she was putting on her vocal cords it would be no surprise if she ruptured them or worse. What would something like this mean for Abigail? Can whatever damage she did be repaired? Lots of questions are left unanswered for Abigail as the episode ended. One thing must be noted about Abigail’s story in this episode, and that is the fact that the ferocity, determination, and frustration in Williams’ performance added an extra element to all of Abigail’s current struggles. Her performance allowed that final epic scene to hit with the full impact of that impressive storm Abigail conjured.

While Abigail and Raelle were off carving out their own paths, Tally was left behind to face not only her own future, but Alder’s past. The memories that Tally has been reliving now aren’t even requiring her to be asleep, they now even hit when she is wide awake. The memories in this episode finally gave the mystery soldier a name and rank, she is Sergeant Nicte Batan (Arlen Aguayo-Stewart). The last memory revealed that at some point Alder and Nicte had enemy combatants as prisoners. They had surrendered to them, and the memory seemed to indicate that Alder used Nicte’s workings against their POW’s. It was in the eyes of Nicte a cruel and dark act leading her to indicate that Alder’s heart is black. Honestly, that’s not all that surprising of a statement. Anyone who has paid attention knows that even at the best of times Alder’s actions are morally questionable. The big question here is what Nicte did after that whole event. The last review theorized that Nicte might be an original founding member of the Spree, however, given her aversion to Alder’s tactics that now seems maybe a smidge less likely. Unless Nicte saw what Alder and the Army were willing to do and she felt the only way to beat them was to use their own tactics against them. Actually, what appears to have been done by Alder is far more of a Spree like reaction than anything we have so far seen Nicte do. Tally observed that Alder and Nicte are at the center of it all and that seems like a pretty accurate statement. This whole memory storyline seems too intricate and important to not somehow play into the birth of the Spree. The question then comes down to from which of these ladies did the Spree find its origins? Nicte and her Off-Canon magic or Alder and her blood-thirsty way of dealing with her enemies. There is so much more to this story, and it’ll be quite interesting to see how it plays out once the full memory is revealed.

As if all of that wasn’t enough for Tally to deal with, she is also being pressured by Imperatrix to find a male that will help her further her family line. While Gregorio was earmarked for Abigail, much to her dismay and disinterest, it is curious that when the night of the Paragon came, it was by Tally’s side that Gregorio found himself. That is two weeks in a row now where Gregorio and Tally’s paths have serendipitously crossed. If they aren’t setting up something between these two it’ll be a darn waste of the fun chemistry that Sutton and Akilla are rapidly developing between their characters. When she collapsed to her knees after the vision of the memory, he ran to her without hesitation. The writers have got to be building something between them and hopefully so because Adil is a far better match for Abigail and Gregorio seems like a far better match for Tally.

While all of this was going on at the fort, Scylla and Anacostia were busy on their own mission trying to get to the core of the Camarilla’s plan. It can’t be said enough, the pairing of Holm and McKinney for this storyline was a stroke of pure genius. Last week was fun to watch their first mission together, but this week really showcased them as a working duo, and it was ever so much fun to watch. They annoy and snap at each other, but when it counted Anacostia proved that she truly does have Scylla’s back. The introduction of Jack Orsatti (Thomas Nicholson) poses a new challenge for this duo. Now they know how the Camarilla are finding lost witch lines, via a test they are deploying at schools. The seed they use was even powerful enough to strip Scylla of her faux appearance twice. Orsatti presents another problem now, he has seen both Scylla and Anacostia and now knows they are both witches, so what will they do with him? It appears that Anacostia only knocked him out, so one would hope they took him as a prisoner. How they get information out of him could prove a complicated problem since both women have different tactics they likely prefer to use. It is safe to assume Scylla’s tactics might not be to allow Orsatti to remain alive. This episode did reveal that Orsatti is a key player in organizing these pop-up rallies. Promos have shown what appears to be Raelle seeing a masked Scylla from across a rioting crowd. Could Orsatti’s introduction to the series also be the beginning of Raelle and Scylla’s path to each other? The most potential for cataclysmic plot impact remains with this storyline with Scylla and Anacostia front and center at what could be ground zero for the biggest seismic shift in the series.

This episode was a wild ride from the start with Alder compelling the President to sign the law that allowed her to setup testing locations to find lost witches to the end with Abigail deploying a powerful working and potentially causing irreparable damage to herself. This episode propelled all the characters and their storylines forward in monumental ways. Change is on the horizon just as the unrest builds within the overall population. What happens next is unknown, but whatever the writers have in store is sure to awe and surprise, so be prepared because big things are on the horizon.

Don’t miss the next episode on Tuesday, July 13th 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? Where do you think the story is heading?