“Salem” recap (1.11): “Cat and Mouse”

In case your week has been filled with so many spellbinding woes, you simply forgot about Captain John Alden’s ghastly arrest (sorry—I think after I watch an episode of Salem I begin to speak like Salem folk), I’m here to remind you that Mary is about to lose her dream boy. Now she must continue to elude Increase Mather, Mr. Popular Man About Town. She’s convinced Increase to let the board members act as jury for John Alden’s witchcraft trial. Janet Montgomery does a stellar job as an actor playing a witch who’s playing an actor. She even has me slightly convinced she isn’t evil. She’s the tiebreaker in the jury against her once-lover’s fate. What will she do? If she says she dismisses the charges, like the Magistrate, they could be seen as witches, too.


At the town meeting, the Magistrate is the last to cast his vote. “Dismiss,” he says under his breath. It’s up to Mary to now cast her vote, and she eagerly steps forward, assuming her plan will go smoothly and no one will suspect anything—but nothing is that easy with Increase standing in the wings, who says her vote isn’t necessary. There’s another board member waiting to get back in the swing of things! Oh, it’s George Sibly. All he can do is hock a loogie, which makes me wonder if Increase is really aware of Mary’s witchy ways, thanks to a big ass jar of George Spit. All Increase has to do is ask George questions and he releases a jet of spit.


Anne Hale needs to remember: Curiosity did kill the cat. She feels it necessary to get tangled up in Increase Mathers’ hyper-sensationalized propaganda. Increase is kind of like one of those crazy traveling Evangelist cult leaders, his next step perhaps some delusional announcement that he’s the next Messiah and he’s taking everyone aboard his spaceship to Saturn. Either way, Increase only wants to play “cat and mouse” — watching as Anne tip toes closer and closer to the trap door, turning against her father, a real witch, and handing him right over to Increase, all in due time of course. He sees her hesitancy, her wariness. She makes herself an easy target. We could really say the same situation goes for Mary. It would be crazy to deny that Increase doesn’t give her the shifty “I know who you are!” eye.

Mary meets Mercy in the woods, and once more their interaction is way sexy. Mary and Mercy’s plan is simple: Kill Increase Mather. But how? Mary tells Mercy to scratch her back like she would her worst enemy. So, cat-like claws come out of Mercy’s fingertips and she ravages the crap out of Mary’s flawless backside. Back at the Sibly mansion, Mary summons Isaac and tells him the story of what happened to her, slowly drugging him with her magic tea. She instructs Isaac to take this story to Increase, who trusts him completely. The hope is that he’ll be able to lure Increase into the woods for Mary and Mercy. Unfortunately for Isaac, Increase is once more proving his weird clairvoyant ways and holds Isaac at knifepoint because he’s convinced Isaac is doing someone’s bidding.


Suddenly, Mercy playfully appears behind the brush, giggling and running about, so the men set off to catch her. Meanwhile, Mary is back at her stomping grounds, casting a spell with her corset, staring into a fire as she commands Increase’s S&M girdle to tighten around his waist, causing him incredible pain. Out there in the woods, Increase begins to feel it, just as Mercy appears again. He throws his knife at her, but she laughs it off and rises from the ground with little effort. Back and forth, the two battle it out, but when Increase slices a nasty gash in Mercy, she makes a run for it. Isaac is also badly injured—Mercy’s stake is in his gut. Increase pulls it out, but it doesn’t look like Isaac is going to make it. Mary is told that her presence is requested at Increase’s little shop of horrors, and she arrives shocked to find Increase alive, and Isaac on his deathbed.


Once again, Increase and Mary have a cryptic conversation about who the real witches are and whether or not someone will step forward to exonerate the good Captain John Alden, if he is innocent like Mary says. It’s a good thing Cotton Mather has—wait for it—finally stepped up to the plate! After his church outburst in which he pointed the finger at his father for brainwashing Salem with his Godly, self-righteous gibberish, he’s decided to defend John Alden at trial. Also, I don’t know if he’s in the midst of “No Shave November” or what, but it’s time to get out those scissors and wipe away the Gloriana blues, Cotton.

To make matters truly interesting, the Magistrate has finally told his daughter Anne the whole truth. He’s confessed to her that he’s a witch (and still, a loving father), but now, he’s also told her the rest of the story — Anne is also a witch. Oh, blessed be, Anne! She looks thrilled. I wonder if she still wants to have that chat with Increase. Maybe not the best idea — she wouldn’t want that ginger head of hers ending up on a stake.


With Cotton playing defense attorney, Mercy and Mary’s foiled plan, John Alden awaiting a possible death, and Anne’s maiden voyage into witchcraft, the Salem streets are filled with drama. Some things are worse than the plague, like persuasion. In Salem, you are guilty before you are presumed innocent. You are either God or witch, and if you’re a new witch, you should really team up with other new witches to do some good—I’m speaking to you, Mercy, and you, Anne. Imagine the power they could acquire together, even if they do sort of hate each other. Plus, Mercy’s gotta save her girls, who are somewhere in the pit of Increase’s shop, being scalded by boiling water.

11Salem6Anne’s regular face these days — “I’m a witch?”

Tune in next week for another episode of Salem on WGN, and follow me on Twitter so we can decide if John Alden will be found guilty or innocent! @the_hoff