Salem Episodes 7 and 8 Recap: F*ck Colonialism

Let’s start out with episode 7’s title. “Our Own Private America.” Really? Who exactly is this possessive “we?” Undoubtedly, the colonialists and their various factions trying to seize positions of power. “Private” is a loaded word that makes me laugh a cold, spiteful laugh. Private for whom? A space that is “private” is predicated on ideas of regulated borders and a sense of possession. In other words, Manifest Destiny. Ugh.

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Westward expansion, ownership, and representation permeate both fictional and real-life colonial Salem, along with our modern day discussions regarding borders. So we’ll definitely be revisiting these issues throughout the rest of these recaps. I’m hoping we’ll get more women of color representation in upcoming episodes of Salem. So far, Ashley Madekwe has been rocking it as Tituba. Historians believe that the real-life Tituba was a slave of Native-American and African-American descent. Can we have more of her story, please? Also do you notice how all the descriptions of magic seem to come from the Western canon, i.e. Cotton’s research books? Why would Tituba’s rituals adhere to these traditions??

Dream Hacking and Nightly Visitations

Mary reveals that she’s killed Rose by showing her decapitated head to Magistrate Hale aka Lucius Malfoy Hair. He grovels at her feet and names her the new Samhain. They don’t really outline what this role entails, but it seems safe to say that Mary’s gained a new powerful status.

Don't forget to change your LinkedIn description to "Samhain."

Don’t forget to change your LinkedIn description to “Samhain.”

For some reason, Lucius Malfoy Hair needs lesbians to make out whenever he has an official witch discussion with Mab, the woman who runs the brothel. Maybe girl-on-girl action is like the antenna that boosts magical Wi-Fi. (That was an alcohol-inspired thought.)

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Meanwhile, Mary decided that it would be a BRILLIANT idea to hack into John’s dreams and discover where he’s hidden the Malus. (Fun fact: the scientific name for apples is Malus pumila.) Tituba’s understandably upset, because tampering with other peoples’ dreams can make you lose yer mind.

You're wasting valuable magic cellular minutes!

You’re wasting valuable magic cellular minutes!

Of course, Mary does what she wants and ends up sharing a wet dream with John. Awkward sex dreams ensue.

They never outgrew their goth teen days.

They never outgrew their goth teen days.

#PuritanProbs

Okay, so Lucius Malfoy Hair was worries about some kinda of threat, and he was counting on his Germany peeps to “take care of it.”

Turns out it’s Cotton’s dad, Increase Mather!

Apparently, Increase = ESCALATE when it comes to witch hunting, because this guy is serious business. He’s sailing to North America, people are dropping dead left and right, and the wind won’t fill the sails. Escalate Mather is 1000% sure that a witch is on board.

Scurvy didn't kill everyone aboard, witches did!

Scurvy didn’t kill everyone aboard, witches did!

Escalate Mather breaks the Captain’s curse and arrives in Salem. Dun dun duuuuun!

I got 99 problems but a witch ain't one.

I got 99 problems but a witch ain’t one.

Mercy’s Turns Into Someone Scary

Since Mary’s too busy messing around in the dreamscape, she’s not playing lesbian-witch-mentor with Mercy. So this young witch is going around, wreaking havoc on Salem.

She starts by scaring the ever-living bejeezus out of her friends. They dump egg yolks into a glass. Mercy tells them that the yolk will form into the faces of their future husbands.

'S ok, this just predicts that you're gonna buck heteronormative traditions!

‘S ok, this just predicts that you’re gonna buck heteronormative traditions!

The girls run out of Mercy’s house, totally freaked out by the Dark Mark that appeared in the glass.

However, Mercy’s not done. She goes full-out serial killer on Dottie’s mom, Mrs. Trask. She uses her witch teleportation powers to arrive in Dottie’s home. I figured she’d just pull some pranks, like knocking jars over. But Mercy possesses Mrs. Trask and slits her throat with a pair of sewing scissors!!!!

You're only invisible when you stick your tongue out in concentration.

You’re only invisible when you stick your tongue out in concentration.

Mercy is seriously on a power-rampage, and Mary’s too distracted by John Alden to recognize it. Yikes!

John’s Sex Haze

Poor John is so enthralled by his weird Mary dreams that he can’t seem to get sex off his mind. He wanders through town, launching himself at anything that moves.

Seriously, it's squished.

Seriously, it’s squished.

He stumbles over to Mab’s queer witch BnB and rolls around in some beds.

Not even once.

Not even once.

During one of their shared wet dreams, Mary gets caught inside of one of John’s nightmares. It features him running around in the woods with tribal body paint, chopping at screaming men with a hatchet.

Wow, this IS a nightmare!

Wow, this IS a nightmare!

They both wake up, and John stumbles into Mary’s mansion. They bang and Mary immediately regrets it.

Why you should bring a beach towel to the graveyard.

Why you should bring a beach towel to the graveyard.

This episode is brought to you by Jack Off Jill’s “When I Am Queen,” because Mercy is poised to taken over the whole gaddamn town of Salem with her murderous powers. You can follow along with our Spotify playlist at Ladies’ Night in Salem.


 

Episode 8: Departures

Okay, so Escalate Mather’s in town, and he’s determined to correct Cotton’s flimsy witch-hunting methods. He’s out for blood, so the women and minorities of Salem better look out!

Witch Hunt

As it turns out, the elder Mather is pretty good at finding witches.

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Cotton is suffering from intense daddy issues now that Escalate is back in town. I don’t blame him — I’d definitely be stressing out if my pa was a world-renowned, vicious killer. Sadly, Cotton spends most of this episode hovering around the town bar instead of taking a stand against Escalate.

While Cotton is at the brothel visiting Gloriana, his father makes a surprise visit! To avoid getting caught, he hides under the bed like a teenager.

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Unfortunately, Escalate sees his son’s bible sitting around in the brothel, and puts two and two together.

While searching the brothel, Escalate discovers Mab’s secret witch tools hidden inside of a wall. Seriously though, how does Escalate find these things? It would be interesting if he turned out to be a magic user himself…

Damned if you sink, damned if you float.

Damned if you sink, damned if you float.

Gloriana is also arrested on suspicion of being a witch. Ironically, Cotton Mather finally grows a conscience and realizes that he needs to proceed with reason, rather than witch panic.

His father refuses to release Gloriana, until she’s been subject to a humiliating full-body inspection to find witch markings. Like that leg-nipple that Mary sprouted.

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This scene does an excellent job at illustrating the injustices suffered by the victims of the Salem Witch Trials.

Her leg-nipple inspection comes up negative, so the eldest Mather decides to set her free. But he knows that Gloriana and his son are banging, so he decides to exile her from Salem.

Not a moment too soon. I'm guessing that voting season in Salem will start to look like Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

Not a moment too soon. I’m guessing that voting season in Salem will start to look like Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery

Sadly, Mab doesn’t get an epic death like Rose did. She knows that Escalate’s not going to mess around, and he’ll probably torture her during interrogation to get the answers he wants. So she takes a small black pill and commits suicide within her jail cell.

I was really hoping she'd get an epic revenge scene. :(

I was really hoping she’d get an epic revenge scene. 🙁

Side note: Now that both Gloriana and Mab are both suddenly out of the show, I feel like the writers just used the Escalate and Cotton crossfire to quickly clear the table of characters. It’s really a shame, because I would’ve liked to watch them develop.

George Sibley’s Frog Gets Loose

Ever since Escalate Mather got into town, he’s been wanting to visit his old frat buddy, George Sibley. This makes Mary very nervous, so she hires Isaac to take Mr. Sibley in a carriage to “go see a doctor” and get him out of Salem.

Unfortunately, the carriage crashes. Mr. Sibley stabs his own belly with some debris and pulls the frog familiar out of his stomach. Folks, this scene was so gnarly, that I didn’t even really watch it. I just made puking sounds while listening to the drama unfold.

I am so confused by this dynamic.

I am so confused by this dynamic.

Now that the familiar is out of Mr. Sibley, he can talk again. He begs Isaac to call Escalate Mather for help. Isaac rolls his eyes and leaves, since Sibley once pressed a RED HOT BRAND INTO ISACC’S FOREHEAD.

The seer that controls animals finds George Sibley first. He offers Sibley a *pain killer.* How many of you would accept a strange vial of liquid from a stranger in the woods?

Sibley has clearly never heard of Stranger Danger.

Sibley has clearly never heard of Stranger Danger.

The Seer’s concoction paralyzes Sibley for several hours. However, once Tituba locates him in the woods, Escalate Mather is right on her heels. It turns out that Isaac felt so guilty about leaving Sibley out in the woods, that he’s spilled the beans.

Escalate rushes Mr. Sibley into his home across the street, convinced that Sibley has been the victim of advanced witchcraft.

The Homeowner Association will have a fit!

The Homeowner Association will have a fit!

Once the paralytic wears off, Sibley will tell Escalate everything! About Mary’s bisexual affairs and her witchery! About the Grand Rite!

And Escalate’s actually killing witches!

What will Tituba and Mary do? Find out next week when we watch the next two eps of Salem.

Since we lost poor Mab in this episode, I’m dedicating Sleater-Kinney’s “Bury our Friends” to the witches of Salem. “We’re wild and weary but we won’t give in!”

I’m also on an SK binge because they’ve reunited and I GOT TICKETS FOR THEIR NEW TOUR AHHHH! Whew, ok. As always, you can follow the the Spotify playlist at Ladies’ Night in Salem.

Queer hapa writer inspired by gadgets. Attending the Ada Developers Academy in the third cohort. Uninterested in quitting her coffee habit. Reads and writes sci-fi and horror. Find her at lorainekv.com or on Twitter.

Loraine has written 33 articles for us.

4 Comments

  1. I’d really like to see more people of color in this show. It’s always irked me when colonial America is represented as being less diverse than a New England yacht club. Especially when the few people of color have westernized identities. Like Tituba who should be using her own type of witchcraft.

    I’m also feeling like the lesbian stuff is just eye candy. Untill the characters can become good heteronormative wives, and set aside their experimental college days, or just have threesome, whichever. Also where’s the dude on dude magic making? Rub them magic wands together for some mystical wifi boosting.

    • Yeah, we’ll get a lot more background on Tituba soon, but I’m afraid it’s not on her terms at all. Things get pretty horrific.

      Also now I’m also trying to figure out the most likely guy-on-guy pairing in Salem…

    • Thanks Nika! I appreciate the feedback. There are some seriously groan-worthy moments. Ya know, when characters are forced into cluelessness because “plot.” I’m still astonished that John hasn’t figured out Mary’s bi-witch status, especially since she gave him under-the-table apparition footsie early season 1. But hey, in the end, we can make fun of it all.

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