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Motherland: Fort Salem - Revolution Pt. 1 - Review: Rebuild In Our Image + POLL

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For the past ten weeks, we have all been on an extreme adventure with the Bellweather unit and those they care about. It has been a wild intense ride that continued right through into the final second of this episode. The season finale picked up right where the prior episode ended with Fort Salem under attack by the Camarilla via the plague. With the major cliffhanger of that episode, this one promised to be intense and that it was. While this season finale didn’t end on the same big epic cliffhangers that the first season did, it still leaves many questions that need to be answered and many stories left to be told.

The action picked up with those stationed at the fort running for their lives. Not only was the plague out to get them, but Camarilla strike teams had invaded as well. The witches were fighting for survival against an enemy that caught them off guard in their own home. The battle was swift and bloody with a staggering number of casualties for the witches. But if this show has taught us all one thing, it’s that witches don’t go down without a fight. Thanks to Tally (Jessica Sutton) using her sight she was able to see the tone they were using via their tech shields to block them and found a sound to counter it. That one brilliant display of courage to face down a Camarilla unit to test her theory proved to be life-saving for many. That included Petra (Catherine Lough Haggquist) and Nicte (Arlen Aguayo-Stewart) who found themselves alone and confronted by a Camarilla unit. In the heat of battle, they formed a critical truce and fought side-by-side to take down their enemy.

Unfortunately, not all were able to be saved. Now retired General Alder (Lyne Renée) still had one last fight in her with her Biddy’s loyally with her to the end and if she was going down then she was going down in a blaze of glory. Which, in typical Alder style was a very memorable end, and at least she wasn’t alone as Anacostia (Demetria McKinney) was faithfully by her side. To be fair, she didn’t pass at that moment, that came a little later. Or did it? She was too darn stubborn to go out on anyone’s terms but her own and she held on for things to calm down so she could get a proper send-off thanks to the Bellweather unit.

Before they could partake in her beautiful send-off they first had to stop the attack. That meant finding the source of the plague and stopping it. Thanks to her father, who at this point isn’t even worthy of that title any longer, the source turned out to be none other than Penelope Silver (Mellany Barros). In order to save the fort, and after trying absolutely everything else they could, Abigail (Ashley Nicole Williams) and Raelle (Taylor Hickson) had to unite the former’s mastery of weather workings with the latter’s powerful Witchbomb to sadly end Penelope for the greater good of all witches. Of course, the man who has no right to even call himself her father, planted film crews to make sure that it was all captured and the unit was framed as murderers. What those cameras failed to capture was the absolute devastation and heartbreak each of the three of them felt over doing what they had to do, especially Tally who had become close with Penelope. That act will haunt all three of them for a very long time to come.

Before Blanton Silver (Victor Webster) could have them all arrested, the unit did get some time to process what had happened with the rest of their War College coven including M (Ess Hödlmoser) and Gregorio (Praneet Akilla) who were all grateful for what they had done. They also got to join Anacostia to bid Alder a final farewell as they fulfilled her final wish to be reunited with the Mycelium and return to the Mother. At least that seemed like it would be her final farewell. The final seconds of the episode seem to indicate that while Alder may not be a main character moving forward, she may still have a very big impact on the series. Whatever the future does or does not hold for Alder, she had a truly beautiful send-off. It was a powerful scene for all five actresses with McKinney delivering a stand-out performance that really captured just how important Alder was to her as a person. To Anacostia, Alder really was a maternal figure and that loss hit her hard.

Then came the arrest of the unit after Blanton’s pathetic acting job trying to play the role of grieving father. It was enough to get them arrested, but not enough for Petra and Anacostia to believe Blanton’s act. It will be quite interesting to see just how long this grieving father act will last before his true colors really start to shine. Even though he did truly seem to miss his daughter that means nothing considering he willingly sacrificed her. He deserves all the wrath that is brought down upon him. What followed showed what he is up against as the true colors of both women shone as they united as a force to be reckoned with as they took on even their own government to save the unit and by virtue of connection, Nicte as well.

While they were off formulating a plan, the unit was stuck in a cell with Nicte. Abigail and Raelle were just annoyed by her, but she continued to have a profound impact on Tally. These two women who barely know each other have already formed this super complex and messy bond. They shouldn’t have anything at all to connect them, but through Alder, for better or worse, they found common ground. Nicte may even be regaining a small bit of her soul as the Camarilla gave her a brutal wake-up call to the impact her actions had on the reputation of all witches within the overall community. It was nice to see her be vulnerable with Tally and admit that. It was also good for Tally that she was able to express her own complex feelings regarding everything they had done and the consequences of those actions. Neither woman fully understands the other, but they certainly intrigue each other and there may even be some respect forming. Nicte in particular seems enamored by Tally. Aguayo-Stewart has delivered her performances opposite Sutton with a flirty tone. It may not even be scripted this way, but Aguayo-Stewart and Sutton have setup a dynamic that should the writers choose to capitalize on could prove to be an interesting relationship. The question would be if that relationship is more of mentor and mentee or something entirely more emotionally complex. All of that is up to the writers at this point, but these two actresses have given them a golden opportunity to further nurture the bond between Nicte and Tally into something quite meaningful.

Another meaningful reunion that could have big implications for the future of the unit is that of Khalida (Kylee Brown) and Adil (Tony Giroux). After their big falling out in the prior episode, over Adil killing to save Abigail and the young witches, it seemed like their sibling relationship might be beyond repair. But proving the power of the loving bond that only a brother and sister can share, they overcame their differences to work together during the attack. When Adil’s life was in danger, Khalida showcased her true power as she ended a Camarilla agent in spectacular fashion breaking the longstanding way of her people to not use violence. She finally understood what Adil had done and they reunited through a loving embrace. Given how powerful they are, to have them part of this rogue militia could prove truly life-saving.

Their reconciliation already played a pivotal role in saving Raelle, Tally, Abigail, and Nicte from the prison transport. Without them, the rescue mission launched by Anacostia and Petra would have been decidedly much harder to complete. That rescue mission also critically required the participation of Scylla (Amalia Holm) and Quinn (Sandra Ferens). After spending time in the Cession with Edwin (Hrothgar Mathews), Quinn, and the Dodgers, Scylla seems to have finally found her place. Edwin has proven just how much he values Scylla in his home. When Raelle called before her arrest, he took some time to talk to his daughter, but then gave up the rest of that time to ensure that Raelle and Scylla had a moment to speak. A moment for Scylla to try to reassure Raelle and a moment for them to declare their love. He could have so easily taken all that time for himself, but he knew how much they needed to hear each other at that moment and that shows truly how extraordinarily kind Edwin Collar is. Raelle hit the jackpot in the father department. It is also Scylla that he ran to at the first word of the attack on the fort. Likely he just wanted her to be informed, but he also knew that of all people on the planet it was Scylla Ramshorn who would find some way to safely bring his daughter home to him. The hug they shared was also beautiful as they each tried to reassure each other during a tough time. It has been really nice watching Scylla bond this season first with Willa (Diana Pavlovská) then finally with Edwin. She doesn’t have a family any longer, but through Raelle she has found a place and people to consider family and who value her as a part of their family and their community.

When called into action by Anacostia, Scylla proved the lengths to with which she will go for the woman she loves. After Adil and Khalida broke the road in two, Scylla ensured Raelle got the message that help was coming via the special communication bond Scylla established last season with her love. Via a discrete S appearing on the palm of her hand, Raelle knew exactly what was going down and ordered her compatriots to get down as a flock of crows unleashed Scylla’s powerful Morrigan’s Whisper on the transport crew. While the prior episode it was just used to launch a spontaneous flash dance mob this week she showcased how it could truly be deployed in the battle with the Camarilla. It spelled the transport crew to free their prisoners and wander away from the vicinity. This actually showed how much the time with Willa, Edwin, and Quinn has changed Scylla. The old Scylla would have unleashed a working that would have led to their demises, but instead, she used a working that allowed them all to get what they wanted and for the guards to walk away with their lives.

Then came the big reunions. Adil and Abigail, under the watchful eye of Khalida who seems to have grown fond of her brother’s girlfriend, shared a loving reunion. Tally reunited with Quinn who she had previously formed a rather quick friendship. Abigail was even reunited with her mom and Scylla with Anacostia. On this desolate stretch of highway, the culmination of many season-long arcs came to payoff. None more so, however, than the passionate reunion between Scylla and Raelle which has been a full season in the making. Yes, they already had their tentative reunion and first kiss since their original parting, but it was just that, tentative and uncertain. Scylla wanted Raelle back more than anything in the world, but she knew it all had to be on Raelle’s terms and time. The prior kiss they shared was full of passion and potential, but it wasn’t a full reunion. This was everything that the last kiss wanted to be, but that neither was fully ready for just yet. The kiss they shared on the side of that road surrounded by their friends was the culmination of a journey two seasons in the making. A kiss that made every heartbreaking and gut-wrenching moment worth it, because this kiss meant that all they had been through had been worth it to make them both the women they needed to be in order to be there as an equal partner to the other.

Some will probably argue that these two characters, who are the romantic heart of the series, spent far too long separated. There is validity in that argument, but there is an opposing side to that train of thought that argues that had they been united too soon it wouldn’t have felt authentic or earned. These two never truly stopped loving or longing for each other their entire separation, but they had to go through everything they endured to be in a place to give a go at a real true authentic relationship. Had the writers brought them together without allowing them each to go through all they went through then the kiss they shared in this episode wouldn’t have hit nearly as hard as it did. Hickson and Holm are electric together. When they share kissing scenes there is absolutely no doubt of the chemistry shared between their characters or the profound love they share. But even they could have only done so much had that moment not been so hard fought for throughout the season. It was hard for Raelle and Scylla to be apart for so long this season, but it wasn’t for no reason, it was because the characters needed to be apart and grow in order to come together and move forward together as a couple who will always fight to never lose the other again because they now fully know and appreciate the heartache that comes from being apart. Now that they are reunited not just as a couple, but as part of the same team for the first time, they will finally get time to honestly nurture and further grow their relationship.

As Anacostia observed they are now a part of a very eclectic militia on the run from the government and the Camarilla. A rogue group on the run consisting of Tarim, Dodger, Army, and Spree. All the key aspects of the witch community are represented on that bus that drove off into the horizon to partake in whatever adventures lie ahead. The occupants of that bus also consist of some of the most important connections that each of the Bellweather unit hold dear to them. Abigail has Adil and Khalida along with her sisters. Raelle has Scylla and Quinn along with her sisters. Tally has newfound friend Quinn and her sisters, but also, she has Nicte. It’s interesting, they spent all season, even well into this episode, setting up Gregorio as a potential love interest for Tally, yet it is Nicte that she rides off with. It will be very interesting to see the full impact of that moving forward. Will Gregorio and others like M join them in the future? Or was the whole Gregorio setup a bit of a false flag while the writers setup a different more complex dynamic for Tally? These writers like to throw surprises at the characters and the audience, so at this point, it’s anyone’s guess, but considering the occupants of that bus seem to have been very deliberately selected it’ll be fascinating to see all of these characters interact when they are all stuck together not being constantly torn apart. Which relationships will flourish? Which will fail? Which will surprise us? That is all left open-ended for now.

At least this group has one guaranteed thing going for them. With Petra and Anacostia heading back to the proverbial belly of the beast, they will at least have some friendly eyes looking out for them. As Scylla smartly stated, the belly of the beast should be very concerned because these two will certainly give it massive indigestion to protect this group and salvage the legacy of the witch community. But they will have a tough road ahead as Blanton conspires with the Camarilla to overthrow President Wade (Sheryl Lee Ralph) and take over. This is a man who despite the tears sacrificed his own daughter to try to take down witches. He clearly has no limits to what horrible things he will do, so they will have a fight on their hands to protect the group from him and his sadistic Camarilla allies.

The season ended with the group on the run, Blanton vying for power, and Petra and Anacostia trying to save Alder’s Army legacy. What comes next? Since Freeform and Hulu have already granted the show a third and final season renewal we can speculate knowing that this story isn't done being told just yet.  We can probably expect to see Petra struggle with being the head of the Army. In a rare moment of vulnerability, she expressed her fear to Abigail, so even she seems to be aware she might be in a smidge over her head. Anacostia will be challenged in new ways in a new position with a new budding romance all the while trying to keep people she deeply cares about safe. The group on the run will certainly not be allowed to get away scot-free. They will likely be chased and attacked repeatedly as they try to survive and clear their names. At least they would all start off next season together and relationships that have been in critical need of screentime will hopefully finally get it. Amalia Holm hasn’t gotten nearly the time she deserves, but now that she is part of the front and center storyline she’ll likely finally get a chance to be more involved with the core group. A struggle for who is in charge of the group will likely erupt. Despite their distrust of Nicte, it almost sounded like Anacostia and Petra reluctantly handed the group off to her. She is the most logical person to take command of the rogue group, she does have a history of being in charge of rogue groups, but it goes without saying that Quinn and likely even Abigail won’t take kindly to taking orders from her. Hopefully, at some point, Scylla, Raelle, and Quinn will also realize they need to go snag up Edwin before nefarious forces come looking for him. Lyne Renée’s series regular status is now in question depending on what that ending means for Alder. If a spot does open it would be curious to see if they fill it and with whom? Catherine Lough Haggquist and Arlen Aguayo-Stewart have made exceptionally strong arguments as to why they would each be very worthy of promotion to a series regular title position. It shall be interesting to see what happens on that front. Season Three has all the makings of what could be the best season of the series.

As for this season, it wasn’t perfect. It had some pacing issues early on and even if it’s understandable as to why they did it, at times it was frustrating having certain characters separated for long stretches. But they set out to tell a story that would setup the new big bad of the series and they accomplished that in spades. The Camarilla are a vile and horrific organization that now has far too much power thanks to the likes of Blanton Silver. Overall it was a strong season that told compelling stories with top-notch performances from an exceptionally talented cast. The season ended in a revolution and a promise to rebuild in their own image. Now we just need them to get a chance to show us what that image is. All that is left for all of us to do is to get excited to see how this extraordinary series ends when the new season arrives sometime in 2022.

While we wait for Season 3, be sure to drop down to the comments and leave your own thoughts on this episode and the season as a whole. What were your favorite parts? What do you think could happen in Season 3?

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