Something awful is happening in Salem—and for once it’s not a hanging in the square. There’s an influenza outbreak and quarantine is underway aboard a ship docked nearby. A man has come to town by the name of Hook —William Hook. I wonder if he has an issue with crocodiles and clocks. Mercy isn’t over her possession yet, so her father cuts her stomach open and, naturally, a snake slithers out. Remind me not to complain about my stomach problems anymore. Mary and Tituba run into Mercy and her father on a walk through town, only Mercy is unable to point and identify the witch who possessed her and collapses to the ground. Mary and Tituba head to the woods to speak with Rose and Magistrate Hale, to tell them, “We’ve lost control, she’s no longer ours.” Rose clings to a wooden staff and Mary instructs Hale to stop giving John Alden reason to distrust him.
John Alden, who hasn’t showered in at least a decade and hasn’t raised his voice above a whisper, is chatting with his buddy the Reverend, per usual, as they labor once more over who the witches are and if Hale is as involved as they believe he is. As if Hale’s impeccable all-black wardrobe, his wide-rimmed hat, and his long silver hair doesn’t give away the possibility. I’m still trying to wrap my head around how he is synced with three witches (that we know of) plus others that Rose speaks of. Is he a warlock? He gives his daughter Anne a necklace made of silver that will protect her from Mary, which really spins Mary’s wheels at the board gathering at Hale’s home.
The Reverend tells Mary that Mercy is going to make a full recovery. “This is evidence of the witches’ waning strength, or waxing fear,” he tells her. “How serendipitous,” Mary says between her teeth. But the look on her face reads more like: “What the fuck?” The Reverend heads off to church where he runs into Gloriana, his favorite girl at the brothel. She is there to seduce him, but he throws her against the stairs and rapes her, throwing coins at her and walking away. Kind of sucks, because I was just getting to like Cotton Mather, regardless of his high-temper and his holier-than-God ego complex. Now, I can say without hesitation that he’s maybe the worst, and least-likable character on Salem. For good reason.
After the party ends at Hale’s house, John Alden lingers around to hear Hale try to bullshit his way out of his lies. He holds up a doll (that looks quite different from Mary’s voodoo doll in the spell made for Anne) and tells John that he is only trying to protect his daughter and that he has no clue who the witches are. John Alden tells him he’s underestimated him—that he’s full of shit—and dirty. I don’t want to be a traitor to my generation and all, but Shane West is beginning to bug me. (And all I can think about is his millennial game in Get Over It and A Walk To Remember.) So I’m finding it amusing on all accounts to see him get riled up. What a heathen.
On a more exciting note, Mary and Tituba are planning to replace the “familiar” in Mercy with another snake. They need a host, and they aren’t willing to back down. Especially since Captain Hook (we obviously must call him that now) just broke in to the Sibly home and George, dribbling in his chair, scribbled “WITCHES” in blood for him to see. Then something sexy happens:
Tituba: And yet why would she accept it a second time?
Mary: She wouldn’t. Unless there is some part of the girl that which we can appeal?
Tituba: And what part is that?
Mary: The same part you once touched in me. The deep, small piece of her that longs for a better life.
Mary begins the spell again, instructing Mercy to make others fear her, as the snake reenters her through her mouth. “She is mine,” Mary says when it’s over, and Mercy goes back to being cray cray. Tituba has arrived at John Alden’s in a fit of sassiness. She refers to Mary as her “mistress” and brings up the matter of Captain Hook. She convinces him to kill him, so that’s exactly what John does. Afterwards, he finds a mysterious box on Hook. And we have no clue what’s inside, but we have to know, right now! Open it! He strolls back through the town and wishes Mary sweet dreams. By now it’s surely the Hunter’s Moon that Rose mentioned earlier — because a vision of Mercy is standing in Mary’s foyer with a bloody mouth and the snake in her hands, laughing, “I know what you are.”
Once again, it’s a battle for the witches to remain in power and it’s anyone’s guess as to how long they’ll be able to maintain their pace. Hale is under the microscope with John Alden, Mary is paranoid about Mercy, Tituba will do anything to protect and defend Mary, Hale doesn’t trust Mary and I’m sure the feeling is mutual, Rose had some kind of dealing with Hook before he was killed and told him not to speak her name to Mary when he visited her. Things are getting weird, but then again, a Hunter’s Moon signifies it is October, which means Halloween is approaching. The threat of winter hangs in the clouds above Salem, children in the square dance in circles to songs about the black plague that we now know of as “Ring Around the Rosie” and a black demon snake continues to possess Mercy and rule the standoff between the witches and the townsmen. What will the waning moon bring?
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