Michelle Hurd joins “Witches of East End” as Joanna’s ex-girlfriend

As if there aren’t enough reasons to watch Witches of East End—such as four hot witches played by Julia Ormond, Mächen Amick, Rachel Boston and Jenna Dewan-Tatum—there is now a queer woman of color on the show, and the love-life of the matriarch of the Beauchamp family, Joanna, is about to get more complicated.

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On this week’s episode, “Boogie Knights,” we met Alex. Played by Michelle Hurd (E.R.‘s Courtney Brown), Alex is a rich and successful Hedge fund manager in New York City that also just happens to be an expert on killing the mandragoraa blue demon with scales and tentaclesthat is terrorizing the small town of East End. Although they haven’t seen each other in 35 years, Joanna (Julia Ormond) finds Alex to ask for her help in defeating the demon. As soon as Alex sees Joanna it is apparent that there is history between them. Alex is cold and hostile at first, telling Joanna to go to hell, but later she shows up at Joanna’s door with all of her mandragora killing supplies to help. But before you get any ideas, she’s not doing it for Joanna—she’s doing it to save innocent lives.

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The tension between Joanna and Alex is so palpable, Joanna’s sister, Wendy, can’t help but wonder what is going on between them. When Joanna is out of the room, Wendy asks Alex why she hates Joanna so much.

“She didn’t tell you?” asks Alex. “Why am I not surprised?”

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As Alex explains the parasitic relationship between the mandragora and its mate and prepares a battle plan to track down and kill it, she and Joanna bicker flirtatiously. Their conversation basically goes like this:

Alex: You’re not going into the woods with me to hunt the mandragora. It’s too dangerous! (Read: I care about you too much to let you get hurt)
Joanna: Well, I’m not letting you go alone! (Read: I care about you, too!)
Alex: Why are you always so stubborn? (Read: Why am I still so attractive to you after all these years?)
Joanna: Me, stubborn? You’re the most stubborn woman I’ve ever met! (Read: Me? You’re the sexiest woman I’ve ever met!)

Eventually they go off to fight the mandragora together.

Through Freya’s dream/flashback to a past life in the ’70s, we discover that Joanna has never been forthright about her relationship with Alex. When Freya visits her mother from the city, she finds Joana and Alex making fondue together. Joanna introduces Alex as her “friend” but it is obvious from the look on Alex’s face that “friend” isn’t the word she would’ve used to describe what they were in each other’s lives.

Really? Friends?

Joanna isn’t ready to share that part of her life with her daughter and awkwardly avoids touching Alex.

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Alex, a seer, reads Freya’s palms while Joanna is out of the room and reveals a hard truth that Freya doesn’t want to accept. She storms out without saying goodbye to her mother. As it turns out, this is one of the reasons Joanna shut Alex out decades ago.

As Joanna and Alex traipse through the woods, Joanna confesses, “I guess I got scared. I couldn’t handle it. You’re so intense.”

Alex says, “I thought that’s what you liked about me.” And then she goes in for a kiss. Like Alex, the kiss is strong and intense and would’ve been pretty hot if they weren’t also awkwardly holding flashlights and dart guns. “Passion was never an issue for us, was it?” she continues.

The twosome track the Mandagora down, but Joanna stops Alex from killing the beast once she realizes that her daughter, Ingrid, is his mate and would ultimately die with it.

Joanna and Alex

Hurd, who played Declodyne owner Elizabeth Mainway on Pretty Little Liars, is not the only PLL alum to find their way to East End. Bianca Lawson (aka Maya St. Germain, Emily’s late love) is currently playing opposite Daniel Di Tomasso as Killian’s present day wife, Eva.

It’s clear that Alex will be sticking around for a while to help Joanna figure out how to vanquish the demon while saving her daughter. Will Alex and Joanna rekindle their romance? What does Joanna’s past relationship with Alex say about her sexuality?

Witches of East End airs Sundays on Lifetime at 9pm/8c. Will you be watching?

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