Hello and welcome to this recap of Motherland: Fort Salem, episode 309, “But I Don’t Even Have a Dress,” aka the penultimate episode in the series. I’m not ready to process THAT fact yet though so let’s dive in!
Previously on Motherland: Fort Salem, the necromancers of Fort Salem brought Penelope back to life, Silver ordered the Cession be occupied, Alder and Tally got separated in a cave collapse, Raelle and Scylla got engaged, and the Bellweather Unit turned themselves in to end the battle and try to regain some peace in the country.
When the girls get to be alone with Petra for a brief moment before they’re taken into custody, Petra Bellweather tells them that she’s proud of them.
Turning themselves in couldn’t have been an easy choice but it was the right one. Petra promises she’s going to do everything she can to help them win their trial, starting by finding the very-much-not-dead President Wade.
Though Wade isn’t off having a merry tryst with the Marshal like some of us thought. Wade instead wakes up in a cabin, an unconscious Marshal and a wounded M nearby. M tells her that while they were driving to the safe house, the Marshal aged rapidly and lost consciousness; M takes that to mean another marshal died, based on their experience with Alder and the biddies. And so, M and Wade are snowed in the cabin with no food and only one day’s worth of firewood.
The Bellweather Unit are put in a cell and taken one by one to be…well, I bet the Oversight would call it interrogated, but I call it tortured. Tally gets tossed back in, holding her ribs in pain, saying they asked her all the usual questions but also about the First Song; she knows it must be as powerful as Alder said if the Camarilla are after it.
Abigail knows they’re not in immediate mortal danger yet since they’re still not torturing them in a way that would leave visible marks, so she thinks there’s still time to get out of this. Maybe.
The mood shifts and everyone can tell Raelle and Scylla are thinking about something specifically and so they admit to their friends that they are engaged. They were going to ask Abigail and Adil to make it a double wedding, but Abigail and Adil were going to wait until Khalida was back with them. Besides, now they don’t even know if any of them will ever leave this cell. Tally tells them that they can’t lose hope; she wants to fifth wheel them so hard someday!
But they can’t worry about all that just yet. Because now it’s time for the trial.
Behind closed doors, “President” Silver and Brandt tell their people that they have to control the narrative, that they have to spread the fear of witches, because too many people are coming tolerant or downright accepting of them. They can’t hang these girls and have them be martyrs; they have to do everything they can to villainize them before they execute.
So they parade our favorite foursome out in chains and put them in a glass box in front of a courtroom full of cameras. The lawyer starts listing out their supposed crimes, starting with two murders of people who are very much alive, but then listing things they technically did, like “consipring with” Nicte, but makes them sound much more sinister than they were.
They’re called up to the stand one by one, and let me tell you, when the lawyer started YELLING at Tally?? And tears sprang to Tally’s eyes as she tried to defend herself and her sisters???? *I* almost became the witch bomb.
On the surprisingly long list of people presumed dead who are definitely not dead, Alder is sitting in the cave, resting on her sword in her ice prison, talking to the popsicle people around her.
Much like I do when left to my own devices for too long, she starts to sing and the walls start to shake.
When it’s Abigail’s turn to stand trial, she eventually gets so frustrated that she blurts out that Silver is Camarilla. When the lawyer cuts her off for the umpteenth time, Abigail turns directly to the judge and asks if they can state their case without interruption, because it’s not even like they have a lawyer on their side in this witch trial. The judge agrees, so the girls shove Raelle to the front to tell her story.
Raelle gets up to the metaphorical mic, and tells about how she comes from a witch mother and a civilian father. How she grew up not wanting to be in the military; she didn’t want to fight to protect people who hated her just for existing. But she did her duty, and her feelings changed. She changed. And she hopes she can change their minds, and help them keep the powers that be from halting progress and sending everyone back to “the burning times.”
The judge cuts her off and the courtroom is abuzz, declaring all their statements outrageous, especially the part about Wade being alive. They’re about to escort the girls back to their cell when in bursts none other than President Wade herself. Silver tries desperately to get the press to turn off their cameras, tries to insist she must be Spree…but then Wade slaps him CLEAN ACROSS THE FACE and says, and I quote, “Check my fingerprints.”
After getting cleaned up, Wade addresses the citizens of her country. Newly reinstated as president, she says there’s still plenty of work to do. She wants to start by giving the people of Great River more autonomy and support, because they saved her entire life. She exonerated the Bellweather unit, and has started arresting the members of the Camarilla who had infected important positions in the country. Wade knows it won’t happen overnight, but she wants to rebuild and heal the nation. Together.
Anacostia is walking with her ducklings and catching them up on things we didn’t have time to show on screen because the show got canceled and they’re going double time in these final episodes to wrap up stories. M was outside trying to get more firewood when Nicte’s bats who were looking for the Marshal found them, which is how they were able to save the Wade Brigade.
Then Anacostia asks how wedding planning is going; Raelle and Scylla are getting married in a week!
Abigail assures her that she will be handling wedding planning. She just spent a few months with Scylla and her dead things, she wasn’t leaving planning up to her favorite weirdos. So she’s sending Scylla and Raelle off on their own for a few days while she gets everything sorted. And considering how Abigail felt about both Raelle and Scylla when she first met them, this fills my heart right up.
Tally sneaks away from the group and Adil finds her singing to the grass. She doesn’t know what she’s trying to do, exactly, but she’s pretty sure it’s not working. She’s feeling a little down that she gave up her Sight to be a steward of an unfinished song. She feels useless and she hates it.
Gregorio shows up and my friends, I know he’s been on this show before. I do. But the way his name left my entire brain? Unmatched. When Adil said it I was like “Who??” I literally wrote “Kukorio??” in my notes. As he talked he seemed familiar, and then when they referenced Abigail’s find-some-husbands dinner it started to come back to me, and then my friend Monica confirmed to me that Gregorio and Tally were never officially a thing, and also it was like three lifetimes ago so I’m going to give myself a pass on this one. I wasn’t recapping back then so the details are fuzzier.
While Tally is rekindling old potential flames, Raelle and Scylla are making some heat of their own. They took their few days off and finally went to the lighthouse they dreamed of, like a little pre-honeymoon, which is nice since in these girls’ lives, the odds of them having a chance to take a POST-wedding honeymoon is low.
One perfect moment, alone, together, at last.
And then, it’s wedding time! The guests all start arriving at the Bellweather estate, dressed to the nines and looking happy to having something to celebrate for once. Nicte even shows up, and pretends like she just happened to be nearby and wanted to check in on them, but when Raelle and Scylla ask her to stay, she agrees, pretending it’s for the free food and champagne.
Raelle’s dad and aunt come and Edwin tells Scylla that soon she’ll have to start calling him dad, and the love and gratitude in her eyes make them glisten with joy.
And then some unexpected guests show up: Alder and Khalida. Khalida had heard Alder’s rendition of Show Yourself and showed up to save her. Alder says that the child before her might be the most powerful witch that ever lived. And Anacostia is just so happy her first General is back.
Khalida runs off to find her brother, and she has something she wants to discuss with him, but for once the wee thing isn’t a prophet of doom and gloom. In fact, she’s smiling.
Abigail is bossing people around like she was born to be a wedding planner when her unit shows up to tell her there are some additions to the guest list. She takes a deep breath and reminds herself this is Raelle and Scylla’s day so they can add whoever she wants, but when she turns around she sees that one of the additions is Khalida. And they tell her that since Khalida is back, there’s nothing stopping them from having a double wedding after all. And Raelle and Scylla promise this won’t be like when Kurt and Blaine’s wedding got shoehorned into Brittany and Santana’s even though that’s exactly how this feels; they want this. Their families are all here, there’s a moment of peace in the nation, and who knows when this can all happen again. Why wait?
So Abigail agrees. Her grandmother puts finishing touches on her dress for her, and she gets ready to form a union of earth and sky.
Tally goes to find Alder and probably ask her to be her formal date to the wedding, but Alder can’t stay for the ceremony. She has one more piece of the song to find. Tally wants to go with her, but Alder says she’s a steward now, so she has to stay safe. And Alder probably knows that Tally is safest with the Bellweather unit by her side. Alder looks at her with a bit of sadness in her eyes and tells Tally to celebrate her loved ones…while she can.
The wedding starts and everyone looks amazing and happy and lovely. Raelle wears a giant suit coat as a dress, Scylla has a dress that’s partly white but with a dash of necro black. They exchange vows and blessedly we do not have to sit through an entire wedding ceremony; it’s one of my TV pet peeves. The vows seemed nice and all (from my lip reading it seemed like words like “love” and “home” were being thrown around) but I’m a jaded weirdo and am fine with this having been a lovely montage.
Eventually the vows end and Adil and Raelle kiss their brides.
Then it’s time to party! At the reception, everyone is dancing, and we get to see everyone be joyful for a while.
Nicte is double-fisting champagne, probably stressed being around all these witches as a wanted fugitive, but Wade finds her. She saw right through her “cook” cover story at Marshal Manor and knows exactly who she is.
Wade says Nicte has lives to answer for, and Nicte knows she can’t run with M and a billion other witches nearby. She says she always wanted to save witches, but acknowledges she’s partially responsible for the current wave of hate. But now she wants Wade to use her knowledge to help them fight. Wade agrees, but tells Nicte that a pardon is off the table. Nicte accepts anyway.
As we learned in that bar in the middle of nowhere, dancing makes Tally horny, so she grabs Gregorio to hook up with in the back hall. At one point, he stops her and says he feels like a painting is watching them, but Tally says, “Let her watch.” And at first I thought we were going to see the painting’s eyes move, like maybe it was the ice cave witch using Tally’s borrowed Sight to spy on her, but in reality it was just a reminder that Tally may be sweet and gentle and kind, but she is not an innocent child. She knows what she wants and she’s taking it. And in the absence of her powers, has apparently developed an ironic voyeurism kink. Here for it.
Raelle and her dad catch up a little, and she apologizes for not telling Edwin about Willa sooner. But he understands; it wasn’t her secret to tell, she didn’t make that choice. Edwin thinks they have to try to move past it, to forgive if not forget. Raelle’s not sure how she can, but she’s willing to try. For and with her father.
Petra finds Abigail staring wistfully at a painting of her ancestor and she tells Petra that ever since she tapped into her work, she’s been doing so much more. Petra says she noticed, what with the razor rain, but Abigail thinks that maybe she isn’t the first one to do it. Her grandmother told her so much of their history was stolen, so maybe her work isn’t new, but very, very old. Petra tells her that either way, their work is their legacy, and no amount of burned books or redacted documents can ever take that away from them.
Later that night, all the couples go outside to drink by the fire to close out the evening. Anacostia and Sterling, Abigail and Adil, Raelle and Scylla, Tally and…Gregorio.
This feels like a good time to point out that while I think it was incredibly random for them to bring Gregorio back at this point, almost as if to say that Tally couldn’t possibly have a happy ending like her sisters if she didn’t have a partner by *checks notes* 22?? At the oldest?? I thought it was cute and fun to bring him back as a way to let Tally get out some of her pent up energy at the wedding (who doesn’t love a good wedding
one-time two-time thing) but why is he out here at the bonfire?? He doesn’t even go here! It could have been M! They’re back now! WHY WASN’T IT M?!
Anyway in some alternate reality somewhere, Alder was Tally’s date to the wedding. And because Jessica Sutton and Lyne Renée love us, they gave us a glimpse into what that world might look like.
— Jessica Sutton (@JessLauraSutton) August 17, 2022
Abigail pulls out a guitar and tells Raelle she asked Edwin to bring it as a surprise. She asks for a song, and Raelle points out that it’s her wedding, someone else should be singing to HER. But then Scylla starts singing off-key and she quickly agrees to do it. Full of love for her friends and her WIFE, she sings I’ll Be Your Mirror by the Velvet Underground, and it’s very cute and sweet and gay.
But while all this gay happy joy is going on, disaster is afoot. Hearst wasn’t one of the Camarilla captured during the raids, and his stolen vocal cords have…changed him. He’s focused, driven. He releases Silver from jail and marches his way to Fort Salem, through the wards, past the guards. He goes to the necro lab and is surprised to see Penelope there in a cage. Not quite right but definitely alive. But that little nugget of information will have to get to Silver later, because he’s not here for her.
Izadora tries to stop Hearst’s guards, but she’s outnumbered. She holds her own and takes down two, but eventually is overpowered and her throat is slit. I’m hoping that even if she can’t do more work, she still somehow survives this? But I have a feeling as we approach the series finale, Izadora won’t be the last beloved side character we lose. (Still miss you, Lupe Cortez!!)
With Izadora out of the way, Hearst finally gets what he came for: access to Mother.
Soon, news gets back to the Bellweather estate: Fort Salem has fallen.
Raelle stands up with a distant, vacant look on her face. They try to get her attention to ask her what’s wrong, but Raelle’s eyes start to glow and she starts bleeding from the mouth. And Tally knows exactly what this means; THIS she’s seen coming.
I’m sure this is fine! Everything’s fine. Just one more episode to go before we have to say goodbye to the badass witches of Motherland: Fort Salem forever. Fingers crossed for our girls.