Salem Season 1 Finale: That Escalated Quickly

Salem continues to align itself with Western superstition, ending Season One with episode #13. No, you won’t be able to escape this unlucky number, like those old 1970s elevators that jump you from the 12th to the 14th floor.

We're somewhere in this weird space.

We’re somewhere in this weird space.

This finale rushes us through some answers to major questions like:

  • Will Mary really ditch her lady loves to chase an ex-boyfriend she hasn’t seen in nine years?
  • WTF is the Grand Rite and what will it accomplish?
  • Will Anne Hale embrace her witchy heritage?
  • Will Cotton Mather ever do the right thing?

Considering the slow-paced simmer of many previous episodes, I’m baffled at how rushed this finale seemed. I felt like the Salem residents really broke their characters just to set things up for Season 2. You’ll see what I mean. Let’s just start that downhill slide together.

Everybody Hates Mary

Mary can’t seem to commit to the Grand Rite or to eloping with John. So she’s botching up everything. She ditched Mercy and allowed her groupies to be executed. She let Escalate Mather torture Tituba for witchcraft, and she’s yo-yoing John back and forth.

John finally understands Mary’s Bisexual Witch It’s Complicated status and Alternative Lifestyle clothing choices. John gets all teary, since Mary’s wearing Mardi Gras beads that look like green chili peppers.

Can we get a new foreshadowing device? Thunderstorms have been indicating doom since the dawn of time.

Can we get a new foreshadowing device? Thunderstorms have been indicating doom since the dawn of time.

Mary needs to run some witchy errands, but she promises to elope with John before the moon rises and ditch the Grand Rite. Now when has either of them fulfilled their promises? Answer: never!

Mercy realizes that she’s been betrayed by her queer mentor witch, and she decides to send the most terrifying break-up message ever. Mercy rains dead body parts from the sky, and a severed arm bounces off Mary’s head.

When the student surpasses the teacher.

When the student surpasses the teacher.

While Mary rushes away toward Salem, we hear a familiar voice:

“Don’t look around. You won’t find me. But I will find YOU, when you least want to be found.”

It’s Tituba! Oooh Mary better watch out! Her ex-girlfriends are teaming up against her!

Tituba appears in the Sibley home and drops an enormous whammy of a revenge surprise. Remember nine years ago when Mary had a magical abortion? Well, the Dark and Spooky One didn’t kill her child. Instead, the witches secretly raised the child of Mary and John. Which is just plainly ridiculous.

So the witches have been hiding a kid for NINE YEARS just to use him as leverage against Mary? Suuuuuuure.

Episode13 (4)

No. No, it doesn't. I'm glad you share my confusion, Tituba.

No. No, it doesn’t. I’m glad you share my confusion, Tituba.

Just to add insult to injury, Escalate Mather unleashes hunting dogs to find Mary and John. He gives the order: execute on sight.

Episode13 (6)

Mary pretty much has 0 allies at this point.

Ultimate Teenage Rebellion

The Hale family is on the run. Lucius Malfoy Hair brings home a bunch of camping supplies, because he expects shit to hit the fan with the upcoming Grand Rite / witch trials. He plans to hide the family inside a Magic Panic Room.

How do you open this Magic Panic Room? Well, it involves a live bird….

Moments before the horror

Moments before the horror

Anne begins to comfort the bird, saying “Don’t worry, there’s nothing to be frightened of.” Then suddenly….

Lucius Malfoy Hair tactfully rips the bird’s head off! He holds the bird like some kind of hellish Super Soaker as it sprays blood everywhere.

He uses the blood to paint a doorway around a grandfather clock. It magically opens, and the family rushes into the secret Panic Room.

Gotta say, if you want your child to embrace their heritage, slaughtering animals isn’t the best starting point.

Lyrics from his industrial solo album.

Lyrics from his industrial solo album.

Lucius Malfoy Hair finally explains the Grand Rite. The Grand Rite = a plague that kills all non-magical people.

Anne is so overwhelmed by her parents that she goes berserk inside of the Magic Panic Room. This next part makes absolutely no sense: she goes full-on Carrie with her powers, causing the room to tear itself apart. Her parents die a horrible death inside of the Magic Panic room after they’re hit with debris and their heads explode. This leaves Anne alone, covered in blood.

Talk about an overreaction.

Gesundheit, here's a tissue...OMG EVERYONE'S DEAD!

Gesundheit, here’s a tissue…OMG EVERYONE’S DEAD!

The Hale parents’ death scene makes zero sense. Anne has always taken the peaceful route, and her dad is supposed to be this extremely powerful, ancient witch. It’s like the writers were trying to clear some characters from the table while revealing Anne’s superpowers. The way this played out was super disappointing, and didn’t fit with the Hales’ characters AT ALL.

Patricide, Part 2

Now that Mary’s got a surprise! child being held hostage by the witches (I can’t believe I just typed that), she completely forgets about John Alden and rushes to complete the Grand Rite.

She arrives at Escalate Mather’s house and they duke it out with knives. Mary shows off her Witch Matrix knife-dodging skills, while gloating about all the innocent lives that the Puritans have taken, thus feeding the Grand Rite.

OSHAs having a fit. These witches need better safety blade training.

OSHAs having a fit. These witches need better safety blade training.

Mary just needs to claim one more life to complete the Rite. Cotton Mather bursts into the house, and Mary pretends to be Escalate’s new torture victim. She begs Cotton for help, and like a death scene outta Shakespeare, the Reverend stabs his own father.

The witch hunter meets a tragic end.

The witch hunter meets a tragic end.

Now this murder was believable. The Mathers have been butting heads all season, and Mary just had to manipulate their rivalry. This was particularly tragic for Cotton, since his character has grown significantly throughout Season One. Mary continues her deception, thanks Cotton for saving her life, and urges him to flee the scene of the crime and run to Boston.

Colonial Bio Warfare

Now that Escalate Mather has been killed, Mary has claimed her 13th victim.

This would be the weirdest scene for a queer lady to walk in on.

This would be the weirdest scene for a queer lady to walk in on.

The Malus snaps open. Mary hired poor Isaac to hide the apple in the forest, and he’s stuck holding a ticking time bomb.

Don't drop it!

Don’t drop it!

The Malus contains a teensy beating heart that burst open with Plague Powder. Isaac keels over and dies. :(

Someone on the Salem film crew sticks a red filter over a lens to signify The End of the Muggle World

Someone on the Salem film crew sticks a red filter over a lens to signify The End of the Muggle World

This brings us to the last theme song of this season, The Killing Moon by Echo and the Bunny Men. You can find the complete Spotify playlist at Ladies’ Night in Salem.

Since we just have a few minutes of Season One left, we catch a rushed glimpse of Mercy, John Alden, and Mary. Tituba seems to have disappeared once again.

Mercy has amassed some new groupies. Not sure if she’s raised the dead, or if these are the leftover young hipster witches after the plague.

Mercy's building a post-apocalyptic witch cult.

Mercy’s building a post-apocalyptic witch cult.

We finally discover why and how Mercy has become so powerful. Remember back when she killed the elder witch, Rose? Well the Samhain status actually transferred over to Mercy, instead of Mary. So Mercy declares herself the new rockstar Queen of the Night.

This guy, again?!

This guy, again?!

John is gunned down by Escalate Mather’s witch hunters. Luckily, the Mohawk tribesmen come to his rescue, and he’s carried away, to presumably live into Season Two and whine about Mary ditching him.

Oh surprise plot device, I'm so glad you're still alive after all these years!

Oh surprise plot device, I’m so glad you’re still alive after all these years!

We’re left with these questions:

  • Is the Muggle plague contagious, or does it just affect a certain area? I mean, the Mohawk tribesmen and John seem fine.
  • What’s the deal with Anne Hale?
  • Where’d Tituba run off to?

And finally: What’s the likelihood of queer lady romance in Season Two? Honestly, it looks pretty hopeless to me.

I mean, Mary is a hot mess who’s hellbent on pursuing a fairy-tale romance with John. Mercy is building a new Charles Manson cult. And Tituba has been hiding a 9-year-old boy witch from us this whole time. What kinda half-baked Salem Crack!fic was this?

Do you think queer romances will completely fizzle out in Season Two? Should we even bother watching? Let us know what you think in the comments!

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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 or on Twitter.

Loraine has written 33 articles for us.


  1. Why does no one watch this show? I like this show and it’s one of the few I watch. Glad it got renewed for a second season.

    And nah, I think that there will be some gay witch shit in season two. Mercy and Tituba have been established to be hella queer and they’re both even more important next season. Mercy kinda has a harem of girls already. These writers clearly give no fucks too.

    I wish it was more popular!

  2. I know that I was surprised to see Tituba and Mary jump into the deep end with broomstick dildos in the season premier. It’s a show that is impossible to take seriously, so perhaps that’s why it’s slipping under the radar.

    I was really worried that Tituba was going to disappear from the planet, like how ABC queer-baited us with Mulan in OUAT. Glad that didn’t happen. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with the Season 2 premier in April!

    • I’d love to see you write more about the show. The memes and writing are hilarious! You picked up on everything another pal of mine are picking up on. Season 2 is delicious by the way.

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