Ah, the taste of war! It’s oh so sweet for Mary Sibley, because what Mercy Lewis did in the season opener only gave Mary more leverage for power in Salem. After the true witches, the Elders, have been burned in town, she leads the townsmen out to the dump pile where we know Mercy Lewis and the other girls are hiding out—they burn them alive and shoot them dead. But, Mercy Lewis? Does the Queen of the Night survive? Mary tells the Salem folk the mere “beggars” from the outskirts of town have been killed by these “lost children” and she retreats immediately to the woods to touch the ashes and perform a spell.
Hells bells—a spell is only a spell if there’s blood on thy hands, so says Tituba. The two girls have been at major odds ever since all the stress of the Grand Rite, the bullshit with Increase Mather, and the lies over John Alden. But here, the two know that this killing in the woods was good for them, as they await the comet and their dark lord and the completion of the Grand Rite. Tituba tells Mary she’ll have to kill Isaac, who knows too much about the Mallum. But when it comes time to poison him at his bedside where he aches with plague boils, Mary chickens out and can’t go through with it. Deep in the dump pile, an arm emerges from the ash and bone. Is it our Queen?
Better fetch your broom, Tituba!
Mary’s son is seen poking and prodding (literally) at old Mr. Sibley (but really, how is this man still alive?) when Tituba catches him and makes him stop. This kid is odd. His ways are a little cringe-worthy. You know what else is really cringe-worthy? A certain Mr. Hawthorne, who decides to pay a visit to Anne Hale. We all know Anne is undergoing those tender beginning stages of witch life—she is shaky, at best. When he intrudes inside, he rattles off a monologue about her great father—but he seems to have reservations about John Hale not being one of Salem’s founding fathers, questioning how he got here, what he’s left behind, and how Anne will survive as an orphaned girl. Apparently in 1692, there is nothing worse, but not because you are alone and your family is dead, but because you are now vulnerable to crazy men (like Mr. Hawthorne) who want to take your name and your money and bed you ASAP. Becoming more and more uncomfortable, Anne feels drops of blood at her fingers and sees that Mr. Hawthorne is having a terrible bloody nose. The china behind her shakes as he slowly makes his way out, reminding her he’ll be back for her.
When Anne tries to skip town, she’s stopped at the buggies where they tell her she now needs a travel permit to leave Salem, because of the quarantine. Well, damn! Tituba is there to greet her and to tell her to be patient. Anne is seething with anger over this town turning into a “pit of death” and Mary’s ways. Tituba tells her to wait. But something else back at her house tells her otherwise. She hears it from the other room. It’s the mask that belonged to her father—rattling around on the table by the fire. Anne places it on and suddenly finds herself standing in the rain, in Boston, outside of Cotton Mather’s front door.
In the woods, John Alden meets Petrus, who is here neutrally to help John Alden by way of the Indians. Petrus takes him to his Lost Boys layer to talk more. He knows all about the witches of course, having worked with Mary as well, and John Alden wants to know what he knows. Petrus gives him a riddle about thorns on roses: One hundred would be too many, one wouldn’t be enough. John Alden doesn’t have time for these words. He needs blood—he needs the witches dead. Petrus gives him the names he already knows, Mary, Tituba, Magistrate Hale, but he won’t speak of Anne Hale, who of course is still in Boston by way of mask. Anyway, for whatever reason, maybe just out of sheer principle for witch-hate, John Alden slashes Petrus’s throat and kills him. Sure, Mary and John Alden have their tangled love, but Anne Hale had it bad for John Alden, and if he knew she was a witch…
Speaking of Anne, she is trying to convince a very sullen Cotton Mather to rejoin Salem, despite his ban from the Select Men. He didn’t know about the pox, so he says—but he mentions the Grand Rite, the Mallum, and the witches. Sensing something more, he asks Anne if something has happened to her. Cotton became a likable character toward the end of last season when he was at war with his shitty dad, Increase. He suddenly became the guy you wanted to see come out on top, next to the likes of Increase. Plus, he found love with Gloriana, and the fact that she was taken from him, well, it must’ve shaken something in his selfish soul. He tells Anne she can call him Cotton. She says it so sweetly, I almost wonder if Anne Hale would be a great fill-in for one of those Cotton commercials. Then, a knock at the door. Who could it be? Why it’s Lucy Lawless, the Countess. And she looks like a Goddess among Boston men.
Come little children, I’ll take thee away…