Salem Review: Mercy and the Acolytes

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Mercy and the Acolytes sounds like the name of a girl band, doesn't it? 

What we learned in Salem Season 1 Episode 9 is that giving a world of power to a teenage girl in times of trouble can be damning. 

Has Mary created a monster in Mercy?

What I don't know is how devoted Tituba actually is to Mary. While we know she brought Mary into the fold and has stood by her side for the past seven years, we really don't know much about her interactions away from Mary. She did work in secret with Hale (who was missing from this installment) and Rose; what else has she done?

The reason I ask is because Mercy was put through hell. She wasn't just a pregnant teenager who thought she would be put in the stockades should her secret be exposed; she was used by the witches to accomplish their specific goals. Mercy was humiliated and ridiculed. 

Mary should have foreseen that Mercy's friends would eventually rally around her and that giving her the power to point the finger made her some sort of a superstar, but she didn't. Nor did Tituba. They really didn't have a lot of foresight in using Mercy for their purposes at all. 

Perhaps it was right of Tituba to think they should have killed Mercy rather than brought her into the coven. She has grasped the magic at an alarmingly fast pace and all of her friends, already believing she had been spelled, find no harm in her claiming to be a witch. She has a whole army behind her where Mary had only a few individuals.

Did you see what those girls did to Emily's father? The didn't just beat him, but tore him limb from limb. They will be a difficult force to stop. They were able to summon Tituba's familiar without her knowing the difference. It did Mercy's bidding so that she could shut up George and then finger Tituba as the culprit. It's rather brilliant, actually.

While she was writhing on the bed as Mary wove her sorcery around the girl, she was listening and learning. She seems to fear little. I love it.

I don't know what steps Mary can take to save Tituba when Mercy pointing out witches had great weight among the people of Salem. If they say she can't spot them now, what did that mean for the people they killed? It makes things just a little difficult, doesn't it?

Other Toil and Trouble:

  • Mary approached two elder witches who were actually stirring a smoking cauldron with a giant stick. Were they the epitome of Halloween witches or what? They seemed to think they could control Mary any time they pleased. Hmmm.
  • Thank you Anne Hale for introducing John Alden to the little orphan boy, Steven. It's my belief that Alden should show at least one child a week how to chop wood like a champ, and keeping his shirt clean means keeping it off.
  • Cotton is pining over Glorianna and that's OK. What was surprising was Increase telling him he never loved Cotton's mother but when Cotton was born, all tangled limbs and such, he finally knew what love was. An oddly touching moment drenched in otherwise nasty comments about his son.
  • Increase started babbling like an insane person at times. He is a tad grandiose when he gets to talking about stupidity, for instance, as he did with Isaac. Damn. So what if the kid is a renowned fable now? He's still been through hell.
  • I was kind of surprised the townsfolk didn't notice Rose was already dead when Increase hung her. Her face was blue and veiny for goodness sakes.

This was a fun episode. I like seeing Mercy take a stab at some power, especially at the expense of Tituba who I haven't grown fond of. I'm a bit worried for Mary and think she better take her time before she makes a move with either woman. She might want to ask Mercy and her friends to familiarize themselves with her familiar and make him crawl down George's throat again. Hey, it worked once!

If you've been missing out or just need to catch up because your mean cable company doesn't carry WGN, we've done you a solid. You can watch Salem online via TV Fanatic!

Will Tituba take the fall for Mary as a witch?

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Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Salem Season 1 Episode 9 Quotes

Cotton: She was already dead and yet you hung her.
Increase: I said she would hang and hang she did.

The wine is from God. The drunkard is from the devil.