“Salem” recap (1.10): The House of Pain

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I was so nervous going into last night’s episode after the crazy stunt Mercy pulled last week. Now, because of her, Tituba has been accused of witchcraft and sits in Increase Mathers’ newly erected “House of Pain.” Naturally, Mary is totally beside herself because this is her woman, or, um—mistress (which doesn’t really mean mistress like it means today, it just means they are bosom buddies and Mary will stop at nothing to get her back.) Unfortunately, Increase is a sick man who spends his time self-torturing and speaking to the spirits. Mary must know that he doesn’t trust her and the idea that she could very well be a witch, too. He’s clearly testing her, and allowing this game where she simply loses everyone she loves. I’m glad to see the Magistrate out and about again, because there’s really only room for one silver haired fox in this town, and it ain’t Increase.

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Speaking of the Magistrate, what kind of trouble is his daughter Anne getting into now? The every curious Anne begins to hold up her father’s mask to her face and sees visions of the woods. Suddenly, she can’t get the mask off her face and she’s literally transplanted into the woods, lost, scared, hearing things, and convinced if she just pinches herself she’ll wake up from her dream. But this is most definitely real, Anne.

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I’m actually scared for Tituba, but can’t she work her magic and make Increase stop? Won’t Mary do something to help her? Cotton is completely disheveled and maddened over his father’s new role in town. We should probably go ahead and change his name to Inflictor Mather, instead of Increase. Though, he is certainly increasing the level of insanity and mistreated power in Salem. At least the witches have actual powers, as they cast their spells and manifest their visions. All Increase is doing is relying on a shop of tools and devices to do his dirty work for him. Now, Anne is lost in the scary woods and the Magistrate has been left with no choice but to burn the mask and hope that she finds her way back —which her mom, Mrs. Hale, is pretty bummed out over. Though I doubt she’s as bummed as Anne is, who just had a great scare when she saw painted men in the woods creeping up behind her. She most definitely peed her pants, because I know I almost did, and I wasn’t even there.

As if we should expect anything less, the very noble and mysterious Captain John Alden is busy doing what he does best these days, chopping wood — shirtless. The Magistrate asks him if he can go into the woods to try to find Anne. John Alden is about to come to Anne Hale’s rescue? Now, the girl is really going to have to change her knickers.

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But she isn’t the only one lost in the woods. Cotton, filled up on too much booze per usual, is rambling to himself/the Devil. He’s trying to go Virginia Woolf on this situation with his father by taking his own life in the river, but to no such luck. He just can’t bear to die, not yet. He sees a butterfly emerging from a skull tied to a tree and suddenly has a new sense of purpose. He ends up barefoot in the tree and the Magistrate and John Alden find him there.

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