“Salem” recap (1.09): Children, Be Afraid

Last week left a lot up in the air for the townspeople of Salem, but let this be the episode we always remember as the one where the girls played “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board.” It had to happen at some point, right?

Now that Increase Mather has been able to retrieve George Sibly from the woods, George could wake at any moment and tell everyone the tale of how his witch wife put a toad in his belly and cast a spell of silence over him. No one is having a more stressful day than Mary—and it’s only about to get worse. But there’s no one working harder right now than Increase, who comes to the realization that Mab is dead, though he’ll hang her in front of everyone anyway and make them believe otherwise. If it weren’t for George, or the end of the brothel, or townsgirl Emily’s drunk father getting out of jail, the witches might be able to concentrate their efforts on killing Increase, but there are clearly smaller fish to fry first.

There’s also the matter of Increase making nice with Isaac, if only to get what he wants. He tries giving him a big old speech, much like the ones he keeps giving Cotton—gross patriarchal heroic tales of what their futures could look like, if only they listen to dear Increase. He also asks that Isaac watch over George and let him know when he wakes. Oh, Isaac—don’t become another one of Increase’s puppets. I get it though—what else is Isaac supposed to do in Salem right now? Cotton is getting drunk at the bar, per usual, and John Alden is shirtless and showing a “young man” how to chop wood in half. Boring. Things aren’t looking so boring when Anne Hale offers John Alden a sip of apple water — we all know she has the hots for him. A very shocked and confused looking Mary happens to be walking by as this happens, though this is pretty much her only facial expression these days.


Tituba shows Mercy her “familiar,” a huge ass tarantula that feeds on the back of her neck. And that’s her first mistake. Mercy asks when she’ll get her “familiar” and Tituba tells her it will find her. But then they get into a major scuffle because Mercy says she can help Mary, and Tituba is offended that Mercy can so much as lift a broomstick. Hmm, broomsticks…


Mary isn’t home right now to be doting over Mercy’s every last Witch 101 question; she’s out in the woods visiting with two of the old crones, who basically tell her she should be killed for all the chaos she’s manifested. Mary tries giving them the Mallum, but they tell her take it back, because they have no use for her “trinkets.” They can still control her—duh! Look at their witches’ cauldron. It’s bubbling with control!


It’s kind of a sad day around Salem. Cotton pays a visit to the now defunct brothel where Mab’s office is forever empty and the girls quietly tidy Gloriana’s old bedroom. It’s one of those hard-to-imagine moments, because today we have Facebook, but back then, when someone was banned from their town, they simply disappeared and you couldn’t like their check-in at Chipotle.


I never thought I’d say this, but I actually like Cotton now, much like I decided to soften for Anne. The unlikable characters have become redeemable, which makes me really nervous about the likable one—like Mercy. She has it out for Anne. She’s clearly aching to mess with those ginger locks.