Salem Review: Stone Cold Mary

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It's only Salem Season 1 Episode 2 and it's already difficult to maintain any sympathy for Mary in her quest for domination of Salem.

I hope that part of the sustaining story isn't built around the idea that we have to empathize with her character and understand that she wants vengeance against the Puritans because she had to get rid of her baby or else be stoned to death (or whatever they do to unwed pregnant women).

Lord knows in those times I would have probably had a big fried F on my forehead, just like Isaac. But the lengths to which Mary is willing to go to make everyone pay for her own choice and to assuage her guilt is horrific.

Bridget the midwife had the audacity to hit too close to the truth with her talk about people using Mercy to put fear into people to turn them against each other. It's exactly what Mary is doing, but she wants it to look like it's the Puritans. If the idea that someone is manipulating the situation gets out there, others might start using their brains, as well, and Mary can't have that.

Considering how she ended up in her position -- making her baby disappear through sorcery and demonology -- it was just disgusting that she could sit there and allow Cotton to put the dead baby in a jar in front of the town for all to see, to make a mockery of the life that was lost.

There really isn't a lot she can to do atone for that. Seeing that she was wearing the silver coin half around her neck made me want to snatch it off her neck and smack her in the face. 

I'm surprised that John is still holding on to his feelings for Mary. He knew her very well, so it seems like he should be able to see how instrumental she is to the witch trials as they go down. Maybe another one will do the trick, or claiming his Alden seat on the Selectmen board will give him some more evidence about who Mary has become.

Magistrate Hale is concerned, as are the elder witches, about the path they have set out for Salem. Hale should be very concerned, given the feisty nature of his daughter. I wonder at what age a child learns they're from a family of witches.

Anne being smitten with John doesn't bode well for her (with the added bonus of John seeing his young Mary in her), and now the creepy doll for which Mary squeezed to death an adorable mouse is in her room to either watch over her or drive her crazy.

How weird is it that Mercy is hanging in the church? Not only is she hanging there, but they actually just leave her there while they carry on their normal business. At least someone has been kind enough to shave her armpits. They don't bathe her, but shaving her armpits made the cut. 

Tituba continues to be somewhat annoying. She kind of just stood in the wings, not quite pulling Mary's strings. We need to know more about her. And bless Ashley Madekwe, but she cannot stick with her accent. I wish she would either just choose to have one or not. It's no big deal if she doesn't, but slipping in and out of it is somewhat distracting.

Cotton is a confusing character. He has moments of clarity, where it makes sense to him to help John and Isaac recover Giles body for a more proper burial, for instance, but then he is easily persuaded to hold that farce of a trial for the midwife. I suppose that Mary's manipulation of events that so fall in line with his theories of witches is just too difficult to pass up.

If you write about something without any proof and then someone creates the proof based upon your supposition, what choice do you have but to stand behind your theories? Inside Cotton is a sound and just man, but one who is too easily exploited.

That I'm angry at the characters and disgusted in their behavior is a good thing. These aren't people who I should like. They're rotten. The series also isn't holding back on shocking visual effects such as the hand pulled out of the tree cauldron, the "birth" of the stillborn baby, Mercy vomiting over the midwife or the midwife peeing herself at the moment of her death.

As unpleasant as that final item is, you can guarantee that, and worse, would likely happen. At least they're not making things pretty that were, in fact, quite ugly. 

I have a feeling that the more John pokes at the hornets nest (Mary) the more desperate she's going to become and he may find himself in trouble. In real life he found himself accused of being a witch. Will her fear of demons or just being a normal girl again let him fall into that trap?

How did week two hit you? You can watch Salem online if the mood suits and then hit the comments and share your thoughts!

Do you think Mary is going to try to claim Anne is a witch?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (16 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

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Salem Season 1 Episode 2 Quotes

Giles Corey built half this town and you threw him into a God damn ditch?

John

There was a time when I might have suckled more than a toad.

Mary