“Witchcraft is Wishcraft”: Salem is Back and Darker Than Ever

Over the two seasons of WGN America’s Salem, we’ve seen the secret world of the Essex witches, unimaginable amounts of forbidden love, accidental patricide, and the devil himself being reborn from a pond of hell fire. As of the last finale, the Devil was walking among the townspeople in the form of Mary Sibley and John Alden’s young son, Anne Hale was turning Cotton Mather into the next George Sibley, the Marburg’s lost their matriarch, Isaac was keeping Mercy Lewis from kidnapping small children, and Mary gave up the last vestige of life she had left to save the love of her life.

This Halloween week we are being thrown into the new season of Salem and fans are dying for some answers. What’s going to happen to Salem now that the Devil is ruling the witches? Will Mercy survive the premiere? And the million dollar question we’re all asking: is Mary gone for good?

The November 2nd premiere opens with a creepy, haunting scene that only Salem can pull off; we see a living skeleton covered in insects and torn clothing crawling from the earth as children’s voices sing an eerie nursery rhyme in the background. The identity of the grave dweller will be revealed in due time but, know that it is someone that will play a significant role in the Dark Lord’s plans for the New World.

We find Baron Sebastian Marburg walking through the darkened forest holding a peculiar black snake, a whole gaggle of witches following behind him faithfully. We soon find that this is seemingly a summit of North Eastern covens, a representative from each coming to bow before their Lord and receive their marching orders officially. Speaking of the Dark Prince, we find the boy previously known as John II covertly holding court and showing no mercy to those that refuse to play a part in his plans.

Salem’s favorite son, John Alden, is precisely where we left him last season: on the forest floor cradling his dead love, Mary Sibley. We watch as a distraught and weary Alden buries the mother of his child and owner of his heart before heading back to Salem. On his way, he tries to assist in stopping a raid happening in a nearby village and is instead captured as an outlaw and traitor for the time he spent with the Native Americans. As neighboring villages are being murdered and driven out by Native tribes and the French, the Lord Magistrate gives the former soldier an ultimatum: Alden can either hang for his previous treason or lead the scrappy Salem militia in securing their borders, dealing with the influx of refugees, and fighting impending enemies. It seems that no matter how hard he fights it, Salem will always need the help of John Alden and he can never seem to refuse the place that made him who he is.

The newly blinded Tituba, Mary’s former coven sister and slave, crawls blindly through the woods of Salem, following the voice of the late Petrus to his old hovel. Tituba was instrumental in the birth of the Dark Lord and their supposed reclaiming of the New World but, she soon finds out that the Devil is indeed a liar. With the help of Petrus, Tituba has a vision of the fate she and the Essex coven have brought upon Salem by completing the Grand Right. She knows that their mistakes must be undone, but she cannot do it without the help of her entire coven. We once again see the ever cunning witch using her powers of persuasion and innovation to set things in motion.

Cotton Mather is first seen in a dream setting that gives way to his nightmare of a life. The knowledge that his wife, Anne Hale, is an incredibly powerful, born witch still isn’t sitting quite well with him but, there seems to be more up his sleeve than meets the eye. In terms of the part Cotton truly plays in the fate of Salem, the episode leaves us unsure of where his loyalties lie. Meanwhile, Anne is still trying her damnedest to keep her husband alive despite his severe lack of trust in her while simultaneously trying to control her awakened power and stay alive while serving the volatile Dark Lord.

Isaac, formerly known as Isaac the Fornicator, is doing his best to protect the unfortunate souls of Knocker’s Hole while simultaneously trying to bring down Mercy Lewis.

We’ve seen both of these characters lose all they hold dear while being used as pawns in the Essex game. I’m happy to report that this season, these two are both determined to be masters of their own fate. While Isaac is trying to save Salem from itself, Mercy is a quickly rising Madame in Knocker’s Hole, taking “lost little doves” into her newly cultivated nest. They prostitute themselves, but Mercy doesn’t want a share of their money as payment but a proportion of their blood. From what we see in this week’s premiere, Mercy is certainly in control of her own destiny this season, using powerful townsfolk and wounded young women as her puppets.

Though Mary Sibley is gone, her aura and sacrifice are anything but forgotten. Mary isn’t only the topic of many conversations, but she is also at the center of newly formed plots and plans. Of course, this begs the question: is Mary Sibley gone for good? If not, will she return as the same woman we’ve known for the past two seasons? The only way we can find out is to stay tuned for another action packed, nightmare inducing season of Salem!




Join your fellow Heathens every Wednesday for a new episode of Salem on WGN America at 9/8c pm.

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