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?


Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
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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+.


I honestly don't know what to make of the show yet. I can say I'm enjoying the performances, especially Mary & Cotton. That surprised me since I disliked Seth Gabel's Vertigo on Arrow so much. He's doing a pretty good job here. I'm sticking with it because I still feel shafted by AHS: Coven. Salem has a much darker vibe and no talking head in a box. Maybe it's the storyline I find shaky, I feel a bit lost but not in a good way. Penny Dreadful somehow managed to hook me. Salem hasn't yet but it's not bad at all.


I will say the peeing thing is a little much but the vomiting blood was classic horror genre and I'm not gonna lie I cringed but it wasn't something that really bothered me too much. I think it was more just to show the that Mercy is really just being tortured at this point. Mary wanted her to accuse Bridget but I don't think she would have been able to get her to actually name her as a witch so she did something even worse. I don't for a second believe that John is oblivious to what Mary is doing. I think in the church as he hears how vocal Mary was being the wheels started turning and as the weeks go on he will really start putting things together. It is probably really hard for him to get the idea of the girl he loved out of his head versus what she has become now. I know you feel like Mary isn't really redeemable but even if maybe she can't be redeemed I think I can at least understand why she is doing what she is doing. She isn't Mary anymore. That night in the woods changed her. She made a deal with the devil, or a demon to be more accurate, and I am willing to bet that something about that deal changed her, maybe took away part her soul. The old Mary is obviously in there still and you can see it in small moments but I can't imagine that much of that person will be left by the time the trials are over. I don't think that she is doing what she is doing what she is doing for vengeance I believe she is following the orders of the demon. Evils feeds on the type of fear and chaos that was drummed up during the Salem witch trials so Salem is like a buffet for the demons.


Well, I said I would watch another episode and I did. Not sure if that made things better. It probably made things worse. I know that shock can be a good thing in a show, but this just takes it to far for me. As Carissa wrote: ''Mercy vomiting over the midwife or the midwife peeing herself at the moment of her death.' Those things are just sick. I know that things are ugly and that it should be shocking, but this doesn't shock me. It disgusts me and makes me think that I shouldn't watch this show anymore. After all, a lot more people are going to die and I have no desire to see a repeat of those things. If you want to shock me, do it with some great plottwists, scare me, make me want to hide under a blanket or something, but don't disgust me. That just makes me not want to watch the show. I'm also not sure what they want us to think of Mary. Yes she still wore the necklace with part of the coin, but is that suppose to be redeeming? or suppose to show how sad she actually is? Because that is not working. Show me something more than brooding and half crying faces if you want me to believe that John and Mary still have something going on. I also find it hard to believe that John, who seems to be a reasonably intelligent man, still thinks that Mary can be who she was. Yes, yes I know, love makes people blind and all that but come on! I am trying to think of some good things, but it is hard. I know, I know, I should probably stop watching instead of just ranting on here. Ok I know one thing. I did like Anne and John's converstation. I did like John trying to defend the midwife and I did like the idea of the 'elder witches'. My rant is over. Because of the good things I will watch one more episode. One more, because I really want this show to captivate me and interest me. Finally: 'They don't bathe her, but shaving her armpits made the cut.' I noticed that too! That was just strange.

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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?


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