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Salem Review: From Ash Maiden to Queen of the Night

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The use of a fairy tale to share Mary's rise from ash maiden to Queen of the Night was brilliant.

Not only did the story make her origin more fantastical in nature, it also allowed Mary to share her feelings about the event indirectly. Mercy listened intently, but she didn't seem to be following so diligently that she understood the connection between the fairy tale queen and Mary herself.

That's why Mercy was later so surprised at how her fortune changed. On Salem Season 1 Episode 6, a new witch was added to the coven, two men witnessed first had the power of a real witch and it became clear that a young girl would soon lose what was left of her innocence.

Everything about the installment was done so well that a plethora of Salem quotes came as a result. So much of what escaped the lips of Mary, Cotton and Rose especially seemed destined to be repeated and enjoyed.

Mary was torn at the thought of killing Mercy. As she shared own beginnings as a witch with her soon-to-be protege, more than once she held up a razor as she readied herself to take Mercy's life, only to be interrupted in her tale by a still awake girl eager to hear more.

As she fought against what others wanted her to do, Mary looked into Mercy's eyes and saw herself there. Young, frightened and alone. Uneducated and thirsty for attention and a future other than what man had laid out for her; the path of least resistance carved out by the Puritans. 

Although it was touch and go, as Mary held the razor to Mercy's neck for the final time she chose to strip her of her garments and told Mercy to invite the demon in rather than take her life. Oh did that anger Tituba! Jealousy seemed the root of her desire for Mary to kill the girl, but once she was a new apprentice, she tried to make it clear whose lady was Mary.

We learned how deeply the plan to raise Mary up as Queen of the Night went not only through her own memories, but from Rose after she escaped Cotton and Alden. The poor young Mary never stood a chance. The darkness chose her long before she chose it.

The more Cotton and Alden work together the more entertaining it becomes. Cotton with his book smarts knowing how to properly hang a witch directly under Saturn in retrograde to get her to talk and John with his brawn and love for the Queen are a wonderful team. They've even started joking with one another in the heat of the moment.

How could you not love the two of them wandering back into the town square, covered in blood and Cotton sharing with Mary that they had just been "tracking the retrograde movement of Saturn," as if blood rains down from the stars as a result. The fact she didn't appear phased should have tipped them off to her true colors!

Since Rose spoke truth about the Grand Rite in riddles, Cotton and Alden are a little behind. We know that the innocent blood being shed is that of the witches who aren't guilty, but what will happen when they figure that out? Will they attempt to put an end to the slaughter of innocents or perhaps concoct a new, biology based method to test them? After all, they know for certain witches exist; they have just failed to prosecute one.

I'm not sure I believe Rose when she told Mary she allowed herself to be captured to find out if Alden still carried a torch for Mary. Telling Mary she was responsible for planting the seed that made someone send John away to war was also foolish. Since she wanted Mary's heart broken, telling her those secrets was counter productive. Indeed, it proved her undoing. Newly empowered Mercy swiftly removed the woman's head. 

Whether Mary's love for Alden affects the Grand Rite? That will be the true test to Mary's devotion to the cause and perhaps result in truly breaking her heart. If at the core of Salem a love story is to be told, she'll not complete the Rite. It would be no good if her lover dies.

Tituba went to Hale (who killed Mrs. Sibley allowing Mary to take her place on the arm of "the king" George), but we were not privy to their conversation. Given the capture of Rose, Tituba's fear and jealousy of Mercy and the empty, masked cape that walked through Hale's house at the end -- something is up their sleeves.

I've wondered if Mrs. Sibley knew about her husband. Taking Anne for a talk about her father indicates she does. It's amazing they've managed to keep it from Anne for so long. Shedding light onto the situation must lead to whatever Xander Berkeley spoke of in his interview, making Anne more than your average, rebellious teen.

It's not surprising at all that Mary brought in Mercy. She needs someone more like her at her side. She's the most powerful witch and yet rules no one. With the coven meeting in secret without her and Tituba holding things back, getting Mercy on her side devoted completely to her wishes is a smart move.

When Mary realized Mercy was repressed by her father and unable to read, she also realized that killing a woman who could make use of "her god" was folly. They needed each other and Mary giving Mercy a golden fingertip, noting she'd never be alone again was oddly heart warming.

I can't wait for Cotton to "think and think some more" on the riddles Rose was telling them to see how quickly they realize the quagmire they've waded into. The reveals are done at the right moments and it's like pieces of a puzzle coming together to create a monstrous picture.

I never hear from you guys. Where do you stand on Salem now? Let's get a little dialog going! If you haven't been able to watch, you can always catch up when you watch Salem online via TV Fanatic.

Did Mary make the right move bringing Mercy into the coven?

 

Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (13 Votes)

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

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ohhh that was a golden finger? Me and my buddy were wondering what the heck that was!! lol I sure hope this show gets picked up for season 2 although I have no clue as to what it will be about...hopefully this show doesn't go the way of The River and end after season 1

Amy-jackey

Now this episode was better. I do love Penny Dreadful more than Salem.

Modwild
@ Amy Jackey

I don't love Penny Dreadful yet. The characters haven't grabbed me. Except dead Proteus. Oh the sadness! Killing him off hurt me. It's also not as witty, but far more serious, and I prefer more sarcasm and such. I'll be on the Penny Dreadful round table though! :-)

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All I can say about this episode is wow! So many new paths for the story to take. How will Cotton feel when he realizes he helped kill the innocent blood needed for the grand rite? What is up with Tituba and hale and what is Anne about to learn? And, dang it, why did I have to have a little bit of sympathy for Mary after this episode??!!

Modwild
@ Lisa

Because all of the characters have good and bad points to keep us interested. It's all shades of grey. Even Rose cried when telling Mary about her future and she set it all up!

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This was by far the BEST EPISODE so far. I had been disappointed with the series up until this evening. I typically save my DVR horror/syfy genre shows for my day off. I had watched Penny Dreadful, which is by far the most intelligent, well acted and brilliantly written show on TV prior to watching Salem. As I began to watch Salem, I realized that I should have watched them the other way around. It is much easier to go from a 5 to a 10 quality show, as opposed to a 10 to a 5. But I have to say that this episode was excellent, especially the writing. It left me hopeful, that the writers of Salem have finally found their vision and voice. .Add Mad Men's finale to the roster afterwards, and you had all 5 star shows this evening.

Modwild
@ Bennington

I agree that it was the best episode, and from what I understand they want a slow and deliberate build up rather than to reveal too much as once. They wanted us to feel as the townsfolk did... Confused and lost. I love the direction it's taking right now and can't wait to see what's up next.

Salem Season 1 Episode 6 Quotes

Come on down boys, the darkness is waiting for you!

Rose

A witch suspended beneath Saturn as its stationed direct exhaulted in its own house cannot lie. Reputable sources say it's why Odysseus himself dallied so long on Circe's island.

Cotton
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