Anne Hale is a sharp crayon, and I suddenly really, really like her. She’s totally aware of the fact that her father, the Magistrate, is full of secrets. What I appreciate about Salem are the dynamics that can’t be ignored: Where there is a hive, there is hive mind, and you have the hive of witches, who will stop at nothing to make sure no one messes with their Grand Rite, the hive of persecutors like Increase who damn everyone that looks at them twice, and the hive of impressionable onlookers who will take whatever they hear as the truth and ask no questions. Increase tells Cotton that they are truth-seekers. But the method is obviously ass backwards, because “truth” in Salem is about as clear as the grain alcohol they serve in the town bar. Also, was I the only one who thought there would be a giant handprint on Gloriana’s butt when Cotton was searching for markings? Let’s not forget their afternoon delight.
Imagine if someone’s dad showed up in your town, started running around stirring up skepticism and fear, set up camp and took power in his hands, sending one woman into the murky depths of the Salem bay and another into a hay-filled prison cell. The Mather family is terrible, but Cotton is clearly the lesser of two evils in this holy reunion. These men go around using the word of God to get what they want, and now it’s obvious that Increase doesn’t care one way or another if Gloriana is a witch—he simply doesn’t believe she’s good enough for his son. Frankly, he’s just a lonely old man who probably could have hit it off with Mab if he were a legit nice guy.
Out in the woods, Isaac finds George badly injured and George begs him to go get help. He can speak! (Because, duh, the toad is out of his belly now, so the spell Mary put on him won’t work). He asks Isaac to find Increase and say nothing to Mary. Isaac is like, “You branded me as a ‘fornicator.’ Do you not remember that?” Why should he help George now? (By the way, on the WGN Salem website, there’s a new quiz where you can find out what character from Salem you are most like, and I got Isaac. Take that how you will.) Isaac finds John Alden instead of Increase or Mary, and John tells him to do nothing.
Increase ultimately decides not to kill Gloriana, because he realizes the witches tricked him and only named her as a distraction, but she is banished from Salem for her sins, anyway. He gives Cotton some ridiculous speech about how he removed temptation from his path, and then he ends up in the bar and sees Isaac and asks him if he’s the young man who transported George Sibly. I’m really beginning to think Increase has some clairvoyant powers because he seems to know everything—that Cotton was hiding under Gloriana’s bed, that John Alden only came to him to try to convince him to spare Gloriana, that Isaac is struggling with the decision to leave George for dead or get Increase’s help. Ugh, nothing gets past this man! Now he’s on the move with a gaggle of men to try to find George, alive.
Tituba is already on the path though, having cast a spell over the toad, also known as the familiar—which magically shows up at Mary’s bedside. They must find George before the men do.
Tituba arrives in the woods to see that Petrus made it in time—giving George an elixir he says will help aid him. Instead, he begins to foam at the mouth and passed out. It’s too late for Tituba to escape the scene, and Increase arrives, taking note that George is not simply dying, he’s under a spell. Will he accuse Tituba now? Or will Petrus be to blame? What is Anne telling John Alden about her father? What will Mary do to prevent her husband from talking when he wakes up? Will Cotton ever see Gloriana again? Who is going to stop Increase once and for all? Surely, not Mab—she kills herself in her prison cell. That’s two witches down.
Tune in next week for another episode of Salem, and follow me on Twitter @the_hoff.