Hello and welcome to this recap of Motherland: Fort Salem, season 3, episode 5, “Cession in Session,” aka the one with the introduction of at least two (2) more hot witches.
Previously on Motherland: Fort Salem, Raelle got swallowed by the earth, the terrible witch-hating rich people put Anacostia in a cage with Scylla’s ex who she swiftly killed, witches at Fort Salem were all assigned human Oversights by Silver the Snake, we found out Hearst and his stolen vocal cords is Brandt’s BROTHER, and Tally had a vision of Raelle using a witchbomb to end the world and told M about it while they held her in their arms by the firelight.
That last part won’t be relevant since M is MIA this episode but I felt it bore repeating.
We open in Fort Salem, where some eager students are excitedly making their way to Mothertongue class, only to learn that class is canceled… indefinitely. The Oversight who declares this says that they’re here to ensure witches are held accountable for their actions and treated as equal to humans, not superior, so they’re not allowed to have their “secret language” anymore. One brave Cadet, Cortez, stands up to him, trying to explain that there is a rich history and cultural significance to their language.
But the Oversight doesn’t care. He’s here to shut down the class, and that’s the end of that.
In the Cession, the girls wait for the Council to arrive. Nicte doesn’t plan on sticking around; she’ll sneak out the back as soon as the wards are down. Tally is a little sad to lose yet another mentor.
But Nicte knows things won’t go as smoothly for her as Spree as it will for the Fort Salem girls.
When the Council files in, they have representatives from the seven language groups within the Cession. They file right into the lounge and then close the door behind them; the Unit will have to wait to be summoned. Which, as you can imagine, does not spark joy in Abigail.
While they wait, Tally finally can’t hold in her secret anymore, and tells Abigail about the vision she had about Raelle and the witchbomb and what looked an awful lot like the end of the world. Tally is scared, but Abigail tries to look at this logically. First, it could be Tally missing Raelle and fearing the worst; she’s been having dreams about their missing sister every night herself. Tally fears it’s more than that but Abigail promises that no matter what it is, they’ll figure it out, Together.
Abigail asks if Tally has ever tried to change a vision before, and since Tally hasn’t, Abigail thinks that should be her next step. So Tally peeps into the future and sees a glass get knocked over and files it away for later.
Meanwhile, Scylla says goodbye to Nicte, politely declining her invitation to join. Nicte tells Scylla that she hopes she gets Raelle back, and for once there’s no sarcasm in her voice; she really wants the best for Baby Spree.
The Council is finally ready, so Abigail leads them in, and Tally sees the cup fall just like in her vision, but this time she catches it and stops it. She takes this as a mustard seed of hope and walks into the lounge with her squad, head held a little higher.
As they stand before the council, Adil greets each leader in their own language. Abigail starts to make a case for their innocence, but the witch we learn is called Thelma and Bear Killer informs her that they already made their decision. This wasn’t a trial, it was a meeting. And they have decided to send the Unit back to DC.
Abigail hates this plan! She tries to keep explaining how they ended up here and why they caused such a racket, but the Council doesn’t believe that the Camarilla are in the Cession. They say that witches and non-witches live in harmony here. The Bellweather Brigade keeps pleading their case, trying to explain about how Silver is using them as poster children for his literal witch hunt, but they’re not sure they’re getting through to the Council.
Speaking of a witch hunt, Sterling and Anacostia unfortunately have found themselves in a bit of a predicament. They are strapped to a lab table with power dampening collars on, waiting to get their vocal cords cut out. But for some reason the Camarilla have decided this is an operation that has to occur while the patient is awake, so as soon as Anacostia’s collar is off, she uses Spree magic to get the scientist assigned to her to remove her bindings and attack the other scientist. Sterling is impressed, and maybe a little turned on (…or is that just me?) and Anacostia says she learned it from the time she spent with Scylla. Which weirdly makes me feel all warm and fuzzy even though the secrets they were sharing like teens at a sleepover were about murder magic.
Back at Marshal Manor, Tally is still trying to convince the Council that the war is already happening and they have to work together, and sending them to DC to be locked up surely won’t do anyone any good.
With all this new information, the Council is no longer unanimous, so they have to reconvene and discuss further. But before they send them back out into the hallway to wait, Scylla asks if she can provide them with a third option, and they kindly allow it.
If they don’t want to choose between sending them to DC and giving them shelter in the Cession, they could instead just offer them safe passage out of the Cession and they can make like a tree and get the hell out of dodge. She feels horrible they brought trouble to the Cession; it was the home of some of her favorite childhood memories, and the woman she loves calls it home, so if they could just leave and go to California to see Tally’s family, that would benefit everyone.
While this is all happening, Alder brings all the Stewards she’s found so far to the cabin where she grew up. Or maybe a recreation of it in the mycelia? Once they’re all settled, Alder tells Khalida a bit about her childhood, about the happy memories she had in this cabin before her parents were murdered. Khalida in turn shares a story of her own, of leaving with her brother on what she thought would be an ordinary way but coming back to see her parents dead. And she didn’t even have time to grieve, because she immediately became the leader of her people.
As she’s talking to Alder, tears stream down her face, and it’s the first time since we met her she’s actually seemed a bit like a child. Alder tells her that they’re stronger together and comforts her in a soft, maternal way that she usually reserves for Tally.
When the Bellweather Unit is called before the Council again, they’re told that they have accepted Scylla’s offer, but on one condition: none of them can ever return to the Cession again. And yes, this includes Raelle. And even though this means banishing Raelle from her home without her even being here to defend herself or say goodbye, they know this is their best option.
Thelma tells them they’ll leave in the morning, but they have to wear the power dampening collars all night because the Council doesn’t trust them quite as much as the Marshal did. As she leaves them to do her perimeter sweep, Thelma tells the girls (okay fine she tells Scylla) that she does actually feel bad about this outcome.
Abigail also feels a bit “the battle’s done and we kinda won” about the whole thing. After all, they’ll have to go on the run again. She was trained to protect people and she feels like she’s been failing at that. But before she can finish listing the people she feels like she’s failed, she hears a weird buzzing and follows it to an intercom. She hears Anacostia’s voice coming from the lounge so she follows it.
But alas, it is not Anacostia. It’s a trap! They take down some Camarilla guards and don’t see Hearst lurking in the background like a plague doctor in Bly Manor. They try to get Thelma’s attention outside to no avail. They hear music and follow it to the elevator, where Hearst reveals himself and uses their own SKA magic against them.
They get back on their feet but they’re powerless to fight him, and he’s having too much fun huffing and puffing and blowing them all down.
Luckily, just then, Thelma gets back from her walk and notices her guards have been killed. Then it cuts to a knife coming through the door on the other side, and the witches fear the worst for their Council ally.
Hearst starts spewing his nonsense, talking about how they have impure blood but while also wanting to be like them so badly he has a STOLEN VOICE BOX IN HIS THROAT. I feel like perhaps he didn’t see the movie Get Out.
While they’re fighting, unable to use their magic, they use their wits instead. Adil activates the mushroom Khalida gave him, and Scylla distracts Hearst by telling him he popped a stitch. This lasts long enough for Thelma to bust in the door and save their butts. She screams some magic at Hearst and sends him flying, but while she gets everyone’s collars off, Hearst slithers out into the dark night.
Emboldened once he’s surrounded by his guards, Hearst beckons them outside.
They angrily follow and Hearst grins creepily at them and reveals one reason he’s so smug is that he has Raelle’s dad hostage. Hearst looks like he’s having the time of his life as he tells Raelle’s dad that his daughter is dead because she ate a bad mushroom, calling her the result of his “unnatural alliance” while Mr. Collar’s panic increases. Scylla tries to offer her life for his, but he doesn’t just want her; he wants the hit new band Earth, Sky and the Ginger… the lot of them.
Raelle’s dad grits his teeth and tells his daughter’s found family to kill the assholes, even when the guard has a knife to his neck, but luckily for all of them, Khalida had gotten Adil’s cry for help and sent Alder to help. Alder comes up through the mushrooms and into the guards and busts them all open from the inside out. She tries to do the same to Hearst but something won’t let her control the mycelia enough to touch him, so he takes this opportunity to run like a chicken who found a gap in the fence.
As soon as her girls are safe and they’re out of combat, Alder starts to wobble, the color draining from her face. Tally holds her as her knees buckle.
Back at the base, Anacostia keeps using her Spree magic to steal a face and kidnap a guard and threaten him until he helps them unlock a door with a security code. But when he launches himself at the danger button on the keypad, Sterling straight up snaps his neck like they’re in Mystic Falls. And I know that there have been plenty of murders on this show but I feel like most of the time people are just yelling SKA and tossing people across the room… I just feel like ever since Anacostia screamed Scylla’s ex’s face off, things have taken a turn for the dark. This is not a complaint.
With the threat temporarily gone, Scylla dresses Mr. Collar’s wounds, promising him they’ll get Raelle back and being very sweet. They hug and I just really hope the three of them can be reunited soon.
Thelma realizes now just how hard the witch gang has had it, with people popping up trying to kill them at every turn, and she feels bad for not believing them. But she’s on their side now, and the first thing she wants to figure out is how the Camarilla found them in Marshal Manor.
As Tally tends to a very drained Alder, she realizes she’s weakened by the poisoned mycelia. And if I’ve noticed, probably Tally did too: the grey at the ends of Alder’s hair is creeping up; it’s full hombre now.
And if Alder is out here and looking this hurt by the toxin, Tally hates to imagine how Raelle is faring from INSIDE the mycelia. And as if to further prove Tally’s point, Alder passes out in her arms.
Back at Camp Camarilla, Anacostia and Sterling make it outside, but decide to snoop around a little before they leave. They get a bit more than they bargained for when they find hundreds and hundreds of guards lined up. I’m talking, an extremely unsettling number of people. The kind of numbers you normally only see in a zombie horde when a show is trying to really emphasize the apocalypse of it all. Bad news!
Next week, speaking of zombies, we learn more about Penelope, plus possibly another glimpse of Raelle!
It is now canon that Tally’s full name is Tallifornia
I wonder how much of this had to be rewritten to accommodate Raelle’s absence because the stuff with her getting banished and her dad being threatened kind of hits weirdly without her being there.
I know the the actress who plays Raelle was in a car accident but couldn’t they have pushed back production as much as possible until she recovered enough to film? It’s this show’s last season and having Raelle being absent in basically half of the season is kind of a bummer. Plus, I’m getting tired of the unit being literal sitting ducks and not taking any action. We’re on episode 6 now and I feel like there’s just not enough episodes left to conclude everything in a satisfactory manner.