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Motherland: Fort Salem - Petra's Favorite Pen - Review: Heroic Sacrifices

10 Aug 2022

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Motherland: Fort Salem takes another step toward its final act with a not to be forgotten episode. This was everything, and more viewers could have hoped to be treated to for this grand gesture by the Bellweather unit. Their actions in this hour were quintessentially them and captured the powerful essence of their bond. The ending was something special and sets up what promises to be an epic end to this season and the series as a whole.

The episode impressively divided itself across multiple storylines that had to all be executed precisely for a proper setup for the final two episodes. We saw Petra (Catherine Lough Haggquist) taking a profound stand against the Camarilla, Tally (Jessica Sutton) joining Alder (Lyne Renée) on a grand chilly adventure, Anacostia (Demetria McKinney) convincing Nicte (Kandyse McClure) to help her find President Wade (Sheryl Lee Ralph), the mission to rescue Scylla (Amalia Holm), and finally the big surrender of the Bellweather unit. The first two left a body count, though at least one of them seems unlikely to be permanent. So much happens in this episode, but as has been their style all season, they made it all work beautifully.

With Petra’s storyline, we got to see that there is more Alder in her than she'd like to admit. When push came to shove, she dispatched Colonel Jarrett (Aaron Douglas) in a truly epic fashion. Huge kudos to Haggquist for the way she played that scene. Petra's disdain and unbridled anger shone through her eyes, bright as the face of the sun, while keeping her exterior poised and in control. Doubtful anyone that watches this show will ever be able to look at a pen the same way again. It was a scene that will not soon be forgotten. The world this show inhabits is far better off without Jarrett around to be Silver's (Victor Webster) puppet. While we only got one scene between Petra and Silver, clearly, these two are headed for a fierce showdown. Anyone betting on the outcome would be a fool to not bet everything on Petra. She's not just a mom protecting her child; she is a leader protecting her people. Hell knows no fury like a mama witch protecting her young.

The same goes for an ancient witch protecting her young protégé. While on the quest to find the modern resting place of the Ice Witch (Francisca Dennis) to retrieve her part of the First Song, we see how much Alder genuinely cares about Tally. She was terrified when the somehow still alive-ish Ice Witch latched onto Tally and nearly killed her. Tally and Alder have had a hard-to-define bond since Tally temporarily became a Biddy. They did everything they each did on this adventure for the other to survive. Tally desperately wanted Alder to leave without her, to the point of making the elder witch agree, while Alder was always going to do everything in her power to keep Tally safe. Tally sacrificed much on this mission, giving up her gift of future sight in exchange for the song, but Alder sacrificed more. In those dangerous last moments with the cave crumbling around them, Alder didn't hesitate to put Tally above herself. While it looks like Alder didn't make it, even Tally confirmed her supposed demise, but we've been down this road with Alder before. There are slim odds that was the actual final hurrah for Sarah Alder. Somehow, someway, she'll make a grand reappearance with her part of the song at just the right moment. It will be interesting to see just how grand that moment is. This whole storyline was such a joy to watch. Sutton and Renée are such superb acting partners it would have been a travesty for the writers to go all season without giving them at least one final significant adventure together.

With Tally and Alder on their icy adventure, Anacostia's story picked up right where it left off at the end of the prior episode. She and Nicte had a much-needed face-to-face confrontation. There is absolutely no love lost between these two women, but it would seem as if spending so much time with the Bellweather unit softened Nicte just a bit. In the end, Anacostia convinced the Spree leader to help, which means it's about time for the show to bring back Wade and her entourage. While Arlen Aguayo Stewart made a superb Nicte, one can't help but be impressed by McClure, who stepped into a significant role brought to life by a different actress and managed to capture most if not all of the mannerisms Aguayo infused into Nicte. Hopefully, we'll see Aguayo again before the series ends, but it has been a joy watching McClure work. This was her first considerable screen time with McKinney, and they made an imposing duo. More of them in the last two episodes could prove fun.

That leaves us with the rescue of Scylla and the ultimate surrender of the Bellweather unit. Both were pivotal moments for the characters and the entire plot of this final season. The rescue mission to save Scylla was fun but also a bit anti-climactic. That whole sequence allowed Raelle (Taylor Hickson) and Scylla that fun reunion scene that fully captured the nature of their relationship. They play off each other so well that the guard watching over Scylla never had a chance. The heart of everything that happened at the school was the big reunion. Hickson and Holm proved again why they are such a truly dynamic team. They have this beautiful chemistry that stems from their real-life friendship that they have seamlessly folded their bond into the characters to make the relationship between the characters play that much stronger on screen. The rescue and escape were fun, and the reunion was everything we could have hoped for. The big moment, however, for these characters in this episode wasn’t their beautiful reunion, but instead the marriage proposal. It’s something that has likely weighed on Scylla’s mind for a long time, Edwin (Hrothgar Mathews) basically gave his blessings when they last parted ways, but it still felt right that it was Raelle who did the asking. We all know they make it to the alter thanks to the final season trailer, but they are in for challenging times before they get to say their I dos. Also, how wonderful is it that two characters who have been through so much and been separated so many times seem destined for a true happily ever after? It is something we don’t get nearly enough of, so their wedding is likely going to be a huge highlight of the series finale.

Before they, along with Abigail (Ashley Nicole Williams) and Adil (Tony Giroux), can make it to the altar, they first have to survive a sadistic President and his murderous Camarilla friends. Seeing Abigail lead the unit across the Cession lines to face their fate was a stunning showcase of how far Abigail has come as a soldier and a leader. She knew what they had to do to protect the Cession and Thelma's (Olivia Lucas) militia. Seeing what the Camarilla did to the young witch that deserted at the start of the episode, learning that the Camarilla sent them into war without healers was bad enough, then seeing them murder Guadalupe "Lupe" Cortez (Lina Lecompte) and her unit was an atrocity too far. While it looks like Lupe is gone for good, there is always hope that somehow the Mycelium could do something for her. It's unlikely with time dwindling on the series, but Lupe was a character that had so much potential it's so sad we didn't get to know her longer. Lecompte only had a few short scenes, but she made Lupe stand out as a secondary character. These two events and everything else the team has seen was enough to lead Abigail to rally her unit for one last great sacrifice for all those who have aided them. All four witches were willing to sacrifice everything for everyone else, a testament to their character. With Adil left behind, he'll surely break his promise to Abigail and, along with his sister, launch some sort of serious coup rescue attempt. Thelma will also likely break the rules to help them. It's all setting up huge final showdowns.

All that is left now is for our heroines and their allies to beat the Camarilla into submission and save all witches. Oh, and to avoid Tally’s vision of Raelle destroying the world. We all know this show and we know that Raelle’s unit and Scylla will never allow anything like that to occur. With so much at stake, the pressure is on everyone to rally together against their common foe. While Petra played the role of obedient commander at the very end, we all know when the moment comes to strike, she will, and it will be fierce and unforgiving. We only have two episodes left to enjoy this series, so let these final episodes sink in as the series draws near its untimely end.

Make sure to not miss the next episode of Motherland: Fort Salem next Tuesday, August 16th at 10/9c on Freeform.

Please use the comments to discuss your favorite parts of this episode.