“Salem” recap (2.8): Dead Birds

I bet you didn’t know that Countess Marburg (Lucy Lawless) was around at the time Lucifer apparently walked the Earth, did you? Increase Mather wants Mary Sibley to know that the Countess means business—she won’t stop until she is reunited with her true lover, the Devil himself. Her many past lives have brought her face-to-face with persecution, her deaths as a witch only strengthening her life force as perhaps the oldest surviving witch. Increase gives up this info in trade for being able to see his son, Cotton, before he’s doomed back to Hell. Mary’s biggest concern right now however is finding out where Increase put the body of the Countess from years ago when he killed adolescent Ingrid Marburg with his own bare hands. Witches are always looking for bodies—they’re waiting to be used in spell work. This one could be a big game changer.

SAL_208_1008.cr2 Increase Mather’s back from Hell, he only wants to wish Cotton well.

But the Countess wants something, too—John Hale’s Book of Shadows, which Anne Hale stole from Mary’s library. Stubborn Anne doesn’t feel up to the trade just yet—even with the Countess’s son Sebastian threatening her with his soft, rapey grand gestures. Anne finds Cotton to ask him about their “situation”—is he sure he loves her? He is. It’s probably the one true thing he’s sure of, since he just witnessed a vision of his dead father last night and still can’t get his mind straight. The dizzying madness of all this life and death has Cotton looking a little haggard, but that’s the ever-endearing look Cotton wears best.

John (the artist formerly known as Oliver), Mary and John Alden’s son, is “unsettled and vulnerable,” so says Tituba. But he doesn’t want to go back to the woods, which is undoubtedly where he is safest. Mary disagrees. She visits with him in his bedroom where he’s being slightly creepy, drawing at his desk—and apparently hiding dead birds in his bed. Mary asks where they’ve come from and he responds, “They just come to me.” He’s giving the kid from the Omen a run for his damn money. Mary and Tituba get into a little spat about where John should go before Mary tells Tituba to go clean up the bird shit in her son’s bed. What Mary doesn’t see is the charcoal drawing John is smudging together. It’s the image of a white figure in the woods. Tituba later discovers it all and tells him that “secrets are meant to be kept” before burning it. That’s when the dead birds begin to hit the window, so she apologizes to him, because this boy is creeptastic.

SAL_208_246.cr2Secrets, secrets are no fun, secrets are for Mary’s son.

Anne’s had it up to here—she’s getting into that locked Book of Shadows. Does anyone have an ice pick this girl can use? Pacing around, she finally realized what’ll do the trick: Mister Brown Jenkin’s blood, of course. The mouse is cut open (again) and its blood drips down and unlocks the book. There’s more blood in this season of Salem than there was at Carrie’s prom. Anne opens the book to blank pages. She doesn’t get that her father or Mary has likely put an invisibility spell on the book for extra safe measure. Silly, Anne.

Meanwhile, Tituba is still toying around with John Alden. They could make a movie and call it: Fifty Shades of Salem. She says she has a plan—wonder what it is! Speaking of S&M, Dr. Samuel and Mary haven’t really “come in contact” with each other in a minute, not since their encounter in Mary’s quarters weeks ago. Of course, she’s moved on to Sebastian, to see what else she can get. Yesterday’s pox is old news. Far more deadly things have come to Salem. They decide to go for a walk in the woods. And what do they find? More dead birds! They start a breathy conversation about the witches and stand above the Crag, a hot mess of lava and fire.

SAL_208_4360.cr2 This fire’s hot, like Mary’s twat.

Anne finds a way to get into her dad’s Book of Shadows, which requires a lot more blood. If only her about-to-be husband knew his maiden was at home painting the walls red with witch blood! After their hangtime ends, Dr. Samuel opens up the MALLUM and scoops out its inside, mixing it with a liquid to see what happens. Cotton is in a flurry about what he saw in the woods. He comes back to his living quarters to find his father in the corner again, and this time he’s there for real. Increase tells Cotton that love compels him here, something he discovered in Hell. Oh, so is that why he’s acting so chill? He says Cotton is already in Hell, and that he must save himself now. Increase tells him he loves him, kisses him, and leaves.

Mary’s son John continues being creepy, telling her his friend “No one” was making him laugh. Of course, this “friend” doesn’t like Mary very much. She calls Mary ‘a filthy whore’ and a hag. John tells her she’ll die alone and calls her a whore until she slaps him. It’s a 1692 after school special if I ever saw one. He tells her he hates her and to get out, but we can see now that ‘No One’ is not just anybody—it’s Mercy fucking Lewis. She soothes John and tells him that soon, everyone will see how powerful and awesome is he. She probably also promised him art supplies and candy.

Dr. Samuel pays a visit to Mary to tell her that all signs point to her: She is the root of the pox. She wonders what he wants—to out her as a witch, torch her in the woods, what? He says he wants in, but is he bluffing? Could Mary really team up with a Puritan? Speaking of Puritans and witches making nice, Tituba tries convincing John Alden that they too could make a great pair. She cuts him down from the ties he’s knotted in and they start having sex all over the torture chamber, until Tituba turns herself into an image of Mary and JA’s sexy vibe goes from high to low. They go from animals mating, to animals clawing and pawing. Tituba will have to try harder to get John Alden on her side.

But Mary and Dr. Samuel—this might just work after all. After giving her more flowery words about his dedication, trustworthiness and compassion for the Witch War she’s waging, she flings herself toward him and they kiss. Is it really possible to bridge such a divide? How can Dr. Samuel help Mary, or will he turn against her in the end? Now, they’re full on doing it in Mary’s room, and her witchy ways are taking him to such heights that they’re now literally floating on a magic carpet ride in what looks like Aurora borealis. His face says it all: This is the strangest trip he’s ever been on. We know what his drug of choice is now.

SAL_208_4397.cr2Come little children, I’ll take thee away” – Mercy Lewis, Queen of the Night

As this is going on, Mercy sneaks little John out of the house because witches can lure children without barely lifting a finger, and leads him through town straight into the hands of the Countess. Meanwhile, Increase’s time is nearing its final end and he tells Mary that the Countess’s body is the ship. Say what? Does Mary need to burn down a ship now?

Salem is on Sunday nights on WGN. Next week: the fate of Mary’s son, the fate of John Alden, Mary and Tituba duke it out, someone is sacrificed, and the Countess continues to reign queen. Follow me on Twitter @the_hoff! #WitchWar