“Salem” recap (2.11): On Earth as in Hell

Mary, Mary, quite contrary—to see you taken to the Gallows Pole. Magistrate Hathorne is having a field day over Mary’s indiscretions. Her romantic, galactic tryst with Dr. Wainwright has landed her in Town Square for everyone to gawk and throw tomatoes at. Her face is painted like a porcelain doll with rosy cheeks and a smeared punk rock lip. I’m actually digging this look.

But Mary shouldn’t be shackled like this. No—take her down immediately. It’s ironic, because now standing next to her is Isaac. He made a big scene in church by bringing his former lover Dollie’s dead body into mass. Thankfully most of the Salemites will boil the incident down to some Jesus hallucination they undoubtedly had, but the able-minded folk of Salem would rather see “Isaac the Fornicator” alongside Mary at the chopping block, because two bad apples together is better than one rotten one. Mary won’t strip the wood from its foundation or cast lightning on the town because she knows she won’t die today, and so do we—she’s the star of this damn show. She may not be Mary Sibley anymore. But for now, Mary shall be a sad clown. And a sad clown she shall be.

SAL_211_426.cr2Wipe that frown, you witchy clown. 

Little John, man of the hour, is still hidden in the woods. John Alden and Cotton are supposed to be performing their masterful, ancient, tried-and-true exorcism ritual, but it’s not working. At all. In fact, it’s possibly making the Devil’s powers in little John even stronger. The Countess is up to no good as per usual, because she’s trying to figure out exactly where little John is. In the woods, we see an Indian maiden foraging for mushrooms when the Countess appears behind her and lays the kiss of death on her faster than an asp darting through the forest.

Sebastian emerges just as the Indian girl’s father runs toward her, slicing his tongue and killing him in an instance. The girl’s head is snapped back, and the Countess utters some high-as-a-kite ramble about John Alden and the Indians. She’s hot on his tail as her visions continue to now put together the John Alden puzzle.

While Cotton is away trying to collect more info about how to fight the witches and kill the Devil squatting in little John’s soul, little John tries pulling the wool over John Alden’s eyes by sweet-talking him into loosening his rope restraints. Poor bleary-eyed John Alden almost gives in, but Cotton is suddenly there at the door to tell him to stop. See, this is why Cotton and Anne are so great together: They show up at all the right times. (Is it possible Anne sent Cotton back suddenly?) Nah, Anne doesn’t know what’s going on. Yet.

Anyway, it’s down to business. Light the candles and recite our Father’s prayer, so says Cotton. John Alden paces the barn hoping this thing will work when he becomes entranced by an image in the water. The Countess is suddenly there before him, convincing him to kiss him. He’s like, “This is some bullshit witchcraft illusion.” And the Countess is like, “Yeah. It is.” But they kiss anyway because John Alden is a sucker. In an instance, the Countess receives all she needs to locate the boy. No bueno, JA. You fucked up.

SAL_211_3647.cr2Hard to believe the Devil’s in Mary’s son, he’s not making this exorcism very fun.

When he comes to, John Alden is like, “Whoa, what the fuck just happened?” And Cotton gives him this look that says please tell me you did not just become entrenched by the witches. John’s mind is all twisted again, as the Countess’s words linger in his thoughts. Did Mary lie to him? Is this really his son that lay before him? Or has he been cornered by the witches, and led into the exact position they wanted him in? Now’s no time to get paranoid, JA. “They’re hunting John,” he finally says. Score! He still has some smarts about him. Cotton isn’t impressed. They need a Plan B, ASAP.

Mary is taken down off the guillotine and seeks solace at Anne’s house. She has to tell Anne everything now—that the little boy is her son, not some distant relative she’s been lying about all this time, and that the Countess is after him so that she can ride off into the sunset with Lucifer. Mary feels she’s reached her rock bottom with no way out and up. Not even Tituba is here now to save her.

Anne musters up the feistiest of Anne attitudes and tells Mary to get her ass in gear. She reminds Mary that they are not Puritan and they can do whatever the hell they want. If it’s to get her son back—then get him back they will. Mary tells Anne that Cotton is with her son. Essex Witch bitches stick together. Anne will go now and try to rescue little John. Anne may not be many things that the other witches are: gruesome, curt, unapologetic and outright evil, but she doesn’t fear the Countess in all the ways the Countess assumes and hopes she will. This will matter.

SAL_211_614.cr2The Essex Witch walks the Salem roads, no longer a Sibley, there are no toads.

The shitty exorcism continues to no avail. Little John has already converted into the Devil and has spit up black blood, made Cotton and JA spit out blood—it’s basically a big mess no one wants to have to clean up. Now that the Devil is doing all the speaking, he mentions that Mary was the finest of all his witches. What would the Countess say about that though? Seems it isn’t just Sebastian that adores Mary. And after much whining and crying to his mother about how he only wants one kind of woman witch, and that’s Mary, he visits with her once more to shower Mary with pathetic promises and riddles.

Mary doesn’t buy it, again. John Alden isn’t going to wait around for the Countess and Sebastian to get to him like they got to his Indian family, so he promptly tells Cotton to get the hell out of dodge with little John in tow. Now, it’s just (former) Reverend Cotton Mather and the Devil, traipsing through the woods. Just in the nick of time. The Countess has John Alden surrounding now in the woods. Sebastian stabs him in the gut. Can’t be good.

Anne finds Cotton, like she did previously when contract-to-kill dudes sent by Mr. Hathorne were attacking him deep in the woods. Cotton doesn’t pay the double coincidence much attention because, Love Spells last forever? Anne tells Cotton she has the perfect hiding spot for little John and whisks him away in the night.

So, is this it for John Alden? Has Sebastian killed him out of some sick, selfish jealousy he has over Mary? Will Anne take little John back to Mary, hide him somewhere she believes is safe, or be confronted by the Countess? Worse yet—what shadow is Mercy Lewis lurking under and when will she reemerge? The season is almost over!

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