Oh, mercy me! Something sexy is happening in Salem this week, and I’m certainly not talking about the hallway sex at the local brothel. A meeting in the woods introduces us to a few other crone witches who request that something be done about John Alden — the truth seeker who’s out to expose the witches and has long since lost trust in Magistrate Hale. Mary pays a visit to Mercy, who, by the way, is looking quite lesbian chic now that her facial cuts are fading, her hair buzzed and her white nightgown cleaned up from any signs of bloody snake rituals. Mary tells Mercy to give in to her and the torment will dissipate. If that isn’t enough to secure Mercy’s mind, Mary moves in and plants a seductive kiss right on Mercy’s lips. Damn! I’d imagine somewhere in the town, Tituba is reeling with jealousy. I’m down with M&M.
Meanwhile, John Alden is trying to crack open the mystery box he uncovered from Captain Hook — after murdering him. The box is covered in detailed wooden carvings, including a pentagram. Jacking it up with his knife, he meddles with it until it suddenly gives and the box opens. Inside there’s a wooden apple that John takes into his hands, only to be struck with sudden images of dead people covered in boils. The apple burns his skin and he lets go of it in horror. He takes it to the Reverend to have it looked at —who so happens to be making “apologies” to Gloriana for raping her and has now asked her to be his exclusive girlfriend. Ugh. Run for your life, Gloriana, this guy’s still an O.C. (original creep).
The Reverend discovers this box is a Malum, a representation of the Grand Rite — the Devil’s return, and plague is only one element of its destruction. Clearly, it was being delivered to Salem for a reason — someone was awaiting it. But who? “A witch,” says the Reverend. (Duh.) What are those witches up to? One thing’s for sure: Tituba is lying to Mary about her whereabouts. Hale has instructed her to get rid of John Alden — but she can’t just go and tell Mary of her plans because there’s still that chance Mary has feelings for her long ago fling. Then again, when Mary and John Alden meet up the market by the herbalist (where Mary thought Tituba would be), John tries to gallivant down the road of nostalgia and Mary smirks and says, “I was never that young.” Translation: I was never that straight, Captain Alden.
Anne Hale is being sassy and I like it. She’s tired of feeling dreamy for John Alden, or perhaps her newfound confidence is just that porcelain voodoo doll spinning ideas in everyone’s heads. Either way, the women of Salem are taking aim and power — witches or not. Mercy has found herself entertaining a few overly curious girls who are big fans of Mercy’s newfound status as a witch-pointer. Surely, Spencer Hastings from Pretty Little Liars would love to go back in time and be a part of this clique. Mercy has changed into a long black-buttoned dress and sits to listen to the girls proclaim the abuse they are suffering at the hands of one’s father. Mercy has found some of that inner (snake) fire to now serve as motivation, telling them there will be none of that anymore. We could even say the same for Gloriana, who slapped the Reverend (and then gave in and let him pull up her dress). But the point is, women are wiping away their tears, banning together, and one can’t help but wonder if the influence of the crone witches, lighting their torches in the woods late at night, is having some profound effect on women in Salem.
“Once a man dabbles in the dark arts, it’s hard for him to return to the light,” Tituba warns Hale, as he passes off the cut-off face of Captain Hook for her to perform a spell on. She manages to reach Hook, his lifeless face tied up against the trees, pleading for John Alden’s secret, but Hook won’t give it up. Meanwhile back in town, Mercy and her new fan girls are out in the square with Mercy chained and muzzled, putting on her big act and scaring the townspeople as if she is under one of her possession fits (but it’s obvious the girls are up to something). Horrified, Mary and the Reverend and everyone else watch on as Mercy points her finger at her new friend’s abusive father. So that’s how they plan to even the score — eliminate the hateful men, keep the witches’ secrets safe.
Rose and Hale meet in private to discuss the drama unfolding between Tituba and Mary, John Alden, and the Malum that Hook did not properly deliver, now in unwanted hands. But it’s all unraveling at the seams when you have witchy women running amuck —Mary can spot Tituba’s lies a mile away. So Tituba finally tells Mary that everyone’s turned against her, and in order to keep “the man she’s in love with” alive, she must complete the Grand Rite, which means killing eight people before the end of the lunar cycle. (I can think of her first kill — Mercy’s friend’s father who’s sitting in jail being a royal schmuck.)
Mary confides in John that she lied, she does remember being young and she kisses him to let him know it — but I can’t really be convinced that she’s doing that because she genuinely wants him or because she’s afraid he’s too close to figuring her out. Mary is selfish, lest we forget. She finds Mercy and her friends in the woods dancing wildly, and Mercy tells her that their deal no longer pleases her — she wants to be just like Mary.
That’s good, because Mary’s going to need all the allies she can get and M&M would make a good team. It’s hard to say if Tituba has Mary’s best interest anymore, and now Rose is in trouble. She’s broken in to John’s home to fetch the Malum, but she’s fallen into John and the Reverend’s trap and they are inches away from killing her. Will they? Or don’t they want questions answered first? Will Rose give up the other witches? Will someone save Rose from this? Has Mary traded Tituba for Mercy? Will that girl’s father be hung, or will he get out of jail and sell her away? Sisters are doing it for themselves in Salem, but someone has to die, and it’s hard to say whether that next person will be a witch or an evil man.