“Salem” recap (1.3): In Vain


The witch panic is still brewing in the Salem town square, where morale is low and people are freaked they’ll be next to be hung for witchcraft. Magistrate Hale is on the hunt for the men who saw the witches in the woods. He is told that one of the men who saw the witches was “he who is marked,” which could only mean one person, Isaac, the “fornicator and idiot,” according to Hale. While the men run around trying to claim power in any way they can, the ladies of Salem are awaiting their turn to take on supremacy, once and for all.

Mary’s made a voodoo doll for Hale’s daughter Anne, who’s having sexy dreams that John Alden is rolling around in bed with her. Speaking of John Alden — he’s found a shack in the woods where he gets into a fight with an animal. Hale finds him and tells him it’s a place that belongs to a mundane man named Petrus, an alchemist “expert on creatures, feral otherwise.” Hale can’t be dumb — he’s got to know John Alden was with Isaac in the woods, but instead, he’s cast a witch hunt against Isaac, convinced he must be hung.


Tituba tells Mary that Isaac has arrived with elixirs— just in time. George has spit up again, trying to get that toad out of his belly, with no luck. Isaac muses over missing Abby and a time before all this mayhem. They both think back to that day he was branded in the square. The sweet moment shared between Isaac and Mary is short-lived, because as he’s walking home, he’s kidnapped and sent into the woods by the witch hag. She smears mud all over him, but stops, recognizing his scar on his forehead. Hale is suddenly there to intervene, ordering the witch to continue casting her spell. She turns into a pig and asks him what he saw in the woods, and who was with him. He starts to go mad, returning into town and busting into a home filled with ladies, fondling them, running wildly through the foyer. He’s sent to jail, where a man gives him a sleeping tonic and John Alden and the Reverend keep watch, despite Hale wanting to sneak in a “conversation.”

Mary meets with an old crone named Rose in the woods. She’s having a breakdown of sorts.


Mary: It could not all have been in vain, my life, my—

Rose: Choices.

Mary: Was it a choice? Or was choice taken from me?

Rose: It is yours to decide my dear. What is in vain, and what is not.

Later in the night, Mary puts Isaac under a spell, hanging suspended in the air above her bed while the apparition of Abby visits him in his jail cell. She asks him repeatedly who was with him in the woods, and he tells her. The next morning, Mary visits Hale to instruct him against hanging Isaac for witchcraft. She tells him that Isaac was alone in the woods. Hale, still acting all high and mighty, ignores Mary, who turns up the voodoo doll spell just a notch and sends Anne into a near-fatal episode.


Hale begs Mary to stop the spell from killing his daughter — he’ll do anything she asks, giving up his power and allowing her to decide who dies and who lives. Try as he might, he couldn’t overtake the power of the witches — not even under the darkest of Mary’s black cloaks. Now that the ladies are back in command, I wonder if Tituba will bring out the broomstick again.


Too soon? Anyway — tick-tock, Ms. Sibly. The next moon fast approaches! What will be your next spellbinding trick?

What do you guys think of the new Salem intro? If you were curious, that’s certainly Marilyn Manson singing the dark and moody theme song. He and composer Tyler Bates created “Cupid Carries a Gun” and the pairing couldn’t be more perfect. “The occult and witchcraft [are] so often used in cinema with a heinous disregard for even researching its origins. However, I liked the themes of Salem. It looks at the witch trials without being cliché like most modern films,” Manson told the Hollywood Reporter. You guys, if Manson approves, I’m totally down. It’s a match made in macabre hell.

Tune in next week for the next episode of Salem on WGN, Sunday nights at 10/9. And follow me on Twitter for #Heathen updates @the_hoff

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