“Salem” recap (2.4): Book of Shadows

A Book of Shadows is very important for any witch. As Mary Sibley puts it, some books you read, some you write in. Such is the case for Anne Hale, her arrival back in town casts a red flag since she killed two armed men at the road into Salem, and Mary knows all. She tells Anne a Book of Shadows will help her to record her dreams, magic, spells, experiments, deeds—dark or light—and that no one can read it but her. If she dies, it’ll immediately be placed back into the hands of the witches.

A rather important library of books sits behind Mary. She even has one of  Anne’s father’s, the late silver fox John Hale. “Sign it with blood,” Mary tells Anne. After this, Anne’s familiar will appear, and they’ll complete initiation at the witching hour tonight. Ah, but first! The only real way to relax and welcome these witchy changes is through…arousal?

Mary places her hand down the front of Anne’s dress. She tells her to imagine anyone she likes—“maybe a man”—as she pleasures Anne. Of course Anne imagines Cotton, a man she’s been getting very close with as of late. When it’s done, Anne scurries out of the room like she’s just left the kind of slumber party your pervy brother only thought you once went to. Mary tastes her own fingers in delight. You freaky, Mary Sibley! But this is the way of the world. Tituba pleasured Mary when she transformed, as did Mary with Mercy Lewis, who continues to sizzle and scorch somewhere in the heart of Salem, plotting revenge right under Mary’s nose.


Tituba knows that the incident in Mary’s bath is nothing to take lightly, so she decides to pay a visit to Petrus to see what he knows. When she discovers he is dead, she takes out his blind eyes and eats them for breakfast. Can’t start a day off right without a wholesome pair of witch eyes down the hatch. Will she be able to see what Petrus knows? The witches are big believers in literal connections between mind and body, like when they cut off Corwin’s tongue in the previous episode so that he would not speak of the witches to his killer. They still don’t know who this phantom killer is. And since the Select Men of Salem are preoccupied with this on-going pox, they’re not aimed at any solution and the town remains caught in chaos. The prisons are spilling over, the death toll rises, the witches remain undetected, as does John Alden.

Dr. Samuel Wainwright meets Cotton Mather for the first time and the two hit it off like old chums. The only problem is the doctor mocks some of Cotton’s discoveries, and doesn’t seem to have the answers Cotton can readily provide, like that old Mallum sitting there in the infirmary. Isaac is missing from his bed, which Mercy’s girl—who sits bedside with him—says must’ve happened in the night. Cotton tells Dr. Samuel the Mallum is the witches’ tool for completing the Grand Rite. Dr. Samuel rolls his eyes because he’s a man of modern medicine and he doesn’t buy these silly ideas that Cotton keeps tossing up about witches. Cotton theorizes Isaac was hired by the witches to start the plague. Oh, CottonYou make this look so easy. He decides this is a case best left for Mary Sibley, so he brings the Mallum straight to her. She tells him John Alden is dead, and that he was the only man she ever loved. (But we certainly know the many women she’s lusted after.)

Of course, now we know Mercy Lewis is behind Isaac’s disappearance. She has him strapped to a bed in her chambers and declares him hers—taken from the “Goddess of Bitches,” Mary Sibley. (Catchy.) How will her powers affect the pox, or the witches, or Isaac? If Isaac dies, what will this mean for the Grand Rite? One thing’s for sure, John Alden has a plan of his own—he’s going to free all the locked-up prisoners who are sharing space with criminals while some of them are merely suffering from the pox. Of course we can’t give the ol’ Captain a pat on the back for his “good deed” because we don’t really know if his deed is for dark, or light.

When the town discovers the jailbreak, Mary shows up at the jail to a patronizing-as-usual Mr. Hawthorne, Salem’s newest Magistrate. She publicly scorns him for fucking up his first day on the job. To make matters worse, her silent servant, Corwin (who John Alden was torturing) is now hanging from the cells, drained of his blood, with a note inside his mouth where his tongue once was. Mary plays dumb, because Goddess of Bitches knows nothing of tongue cutting with her loyal mistress Tituba. The note reads: “Liars.” When Tituba arrives with the terrible news of Petrus, the witch duo determines they still have a chance to beat the witch killer, because all he’s managed to do is leave fresh bodies for them. Like Tituba with Petrus’s eyes, they can cut off Corwin’s hand, which will surely point to the person responsible, right?

2Salem4.3 Just gonna pretend your eyeballs are like those jawbreaker candies.

We’ve now reached the halfway point of this episode and everything seemingly erotic has now come undone, like undoing the laces, so says the Fleetwood Mac song, “Sara.” But the one thing Anne Hale does not confess to as she begins writing in her newly appointed Book of Shadows, is her account of a certain witch giving her a digital dance below the corset. I guess Anne doesn’t want to leave that memory on paper—but look! A little mouse sits and looks on at Anne’s fingertips. She names the mouse and continues writing. Oh, Anne, Anne, Anne. Don’t you know by now that any kind of creature can lurk in the shadows, or hide in plain sight? We see Mary peeping in on Anne quite easily, by spitting into a blank Book of Shadows like Anne’s, where she can read all of Anne’s deeds. I’m really glad this isn’t the normal method for sneaking into someone’s diary.

Mary is feeling freaky, obviously, so she decides to pay a visit to Dr. Samuel, who is apparently performing an autopsy. “The act of seeing with one’s own eyes,” he says of this modern word. He places Mary’s hands inside Corwin’s mouth, dead on the table. Mary calls him a necromancer, which seem entirely fitting on every level, since Dr. Samuel seems to be in constant vacillation between life and death. Mary lures him outside because the game is easy and she knows he’ll bite. Meanwhile, Tituba can break into the autopsy room to snip off Corwin’s finger so they can find this damn witch killer and get on with their lives. Dr. Samuel lifts off her dress and begins to pleasure her, saying, “You’re like me, and you’re ready for more.” Mary removes his hand and puts his fingers in her mouth, which makes a Puritan and a witch she’s tasted now, and it’s only Sunday.

The ritual to get Corwin’s finger ready for action involves burying it in salt, roasting it over an open flame, blood, hair, and then placing the finger on a kabob to be lit like a candle until its spinning into life. They see “Knocker’s Hole” and like fireflies, they’re off into the night. We know this is John Alden’s hangout. Under Tituba’s cloak, the finger points the way as if we’re in the movie Idle Hands. John Alden rushes to put on his medicine bag, but as he does, his body breaks out with creeping vine, causing him much pain as he clutches a bloody knife and hides behind a beam. Mary senses something is there, but she still can’t see him. She spots the well outside and knows how the entity that “got” her in the bath made its way to her—their conduit is water, through the well. Let’s leave this one to little Anne Hale, shall we?

2Salem4.4Mary won’t be tasting this finger.

Anne will have to go down into the well to drown a KITTEN and snatch the magical signature of whatever is after Mary. Since Mercy Lewis declares this the season of the witch, I do believe it’s fine time Mary and Tituba bring a third into their fold. Triple Goddesses of the Bitches. Anne, it’s time to become a Goonie. Down here, it’s your time. When she get to the bottom, she carries out the evil deed of killing the kitten and then the Countess shows herself as a Hag in true spirit and Anne captures her signature in the water. Mary’s all, “See, that wasn’t so bad!” as if they’ve just braided each other’s hair and ran through town with their knickers down. As Anne records in her Book of Shadows about the Countess, Mary watches over from her perch in the Sibley mansion, her mission to find out who was after her complete—climax reached.

On second thought, maybe the climax hasn’t been reached at all. Dr. Samuel shows up at Mary’s front door. She gasps about it being the middle of the night, and he just says “But I’m a doctor,” like we’re in a soapy ‘80s porn. He starts to lift her dress again to finish what her started earlier, but Mary’s got something else in mind. She sits down and he ties her to the chair and gets on his knees to pleasure her. WHOA. This episode takes the sexy cake to a new tier, even if everyone is using arousal to advance their ulterior motives, no matter who the person giving and taking. Meanwhile, Isaac “the fornicator” is being tortured by the Queen of the Night, and John Alden shows himself to Cotton. Uh oh. The Goddess of Bitches must taste every witch, even her enemies. 

Let me know what you thought of last night’s episode @the_hoff! And be sure to tune in next Sunday for an all new episode of Salem on WGN.

Fear thy pox, heathens!