The day has finally come, Heathens. After three glorious seasons, Salem said goodbye tonight. I'm just not ready for it to end!
At least the show went out with a proper ending on Salem Season 3 Episode 10. True to its warning, Black Sunday corrupted the town and nearly killed everyone. Not many were spared, including some of our main cast.
Salem has always felt like a fast-paced, supernatural thriller. It's creepy but with a dramatic edge, and it's not afraid to go there. (Case in point: the sibling incest on Salem Season 3 Episode 9.)
It makes sense that the finale would throw everything at us. Every twist and surprise to leave us wanting more. I loved that it wasn't a seamless "happily ever after" moment, because Salem isn't like that.
Did anyone expect all the sad endings this episode? I know it's the series finale, but seven of our main regulars/recurring characters got punished in one hour. That's a lot!
Sebastian is someone I KNEW was going to die. His recent move back to the dark side sealed his fate, and he had all the makings of a vengeful death. This was a long time coming.
Liking this character has been a roller coaster (especially with him flipping sides), but his development made it fun to watch. I was happy to see him stopped, and yet I was sad to see him go. I'm so conflicted...it may have to due with him never experiencing real love.
His death scene, however, did him justice. He didn't simply die, but he lost in battle to John. I'm glad the writers gave him a redemption moment and showed his caring side toward Mary. He will always love her, even in death.
I believe...I believe neither of us ever loved anybody but her in our whole lives, and my jealously I plotted her destruction. Now it is my only regret. So, I couldn't bear to live without her, but now I don't have long to live. So listen...she is in unspeakable danger. For once, prove yourself worthy of her love. Save her.Sebastian
The one death I didn't expect was Cotton's.
For such a nice yet hypocritical character, he got it rough this season. There had been a lingering feeling that he would make it out alive and be with Gloriana. Unfortunately, that guess was utterly wrong. (Sorry Coriana fans!)
The twist with Cotton having to endure a life in Hell fits the theme of this season perfectly. Back on Salem Season 3 Episode 7, the Essex Elder had talked about the power of sacrifice; it's great to see that one moment go full circle once again. He didn't save one person, he saved hundreds by condemning himself.
Anne: I know, dear Cotton, I know. Terrible. Awful. Evil incarnate. You've opened my eyes, dear husband. I was the perfect wife and yet you still preferred the company of a whore. Well, the pain you caused me set me free from all my slavish craving for the world's approval.
Cotton: Anne, whatever your hatred for me do not let that be hatred for all the people of Salem. Minutes they will all die, but there may yet still be time. Please...please let me out of here before it is too late.
Anne: Oh, you may yet save Salem, dear Cotton. You and I both know what a dissolute weakling you really are. But when I release you, you will have the chance to be that great man everyone believes you to be.
Though, it's still heartbreaking to know he won't be reunited with Gloriana. His love for Anne led him to this fate and now he's damned for all eternity. She will never know he truly loved her.
Cotton: If I enter Hell, you will spare the world your degradation?
Anne: Oh no, Husband! Let's not be greedy. Nothing can stop the plan my dark lord has for this world. You would save every life in Salem, even the life of your true love. What's her name...Harmonia? Desdemona?!
Anne: Don't you want to spare that pitiful whore an agonizing death?
Speaking of Anne, we need to take a moment and give her a round of applause. She's officially earned the title of the biggest transformation from the beginning of the series. From good girl to Queen Witch in three seasons...that takes a hell of a lot of ambition.
Regardless if you love her, hate her, or love-to-hate her, this was a shocking finale. Anne is a manipulative and cunning mastermind with a bitter heart. Let's face it: She became "Season One Mary Sibley" before the humanity returned.
Before you condemn me, there are a lot of similarities. In particular: (1) Anne controlled her husband with a familiar, (2) she would sacrifice her child for the dark lord, (3) her ambition is to rule Salem, and (4) a betrayal by a loved one spurred on her evil heart.
Coincidences? I think not. I just didn't realize the extent of how evil Anne became.
However, there is some clarification needed: How long does it take until the next ritual to summon the dark lord? It's a long time, right? She killed the dark lord easily with the intent to bring him back with her child. There's something off about this.
Tituba: Anne Hale...I warned Mary Sibley about you long ago. I told her to drown you like a kitten in a well.
Anne: Well, lucky for you she didn't because I bring good news.
The moment when Anne stopped time was visually stunning; she looked so terrifying walking through the crowd and she showed how powerful she became. But when she started conducting her spell, it was a tad confusing at first. It took a few minutes to realize that she was talking to everyone at the same moment.
There was a sneaking suspicion Mercy and/or Hathorne wouldn't survive the series finale. I had expected it to be by the townsfolk or Isaac's hand, but Anne doing it was surprising. It seemed like she genuinely liked Mercy.
She gave Mercy an opportunity to spare her life and work with her, but she chose love with Hathorne. The same could be said of Isaac; she gave him an opportunity to survive/rule but he chose the pride of not becoming like her. (There seems to be a theme here...)
Tituba got the raw end of the deal. She got her freedom of Salem, but now she's trapped without powers and a voice on a slave ship. Even though she's a traitor, does anyone else feel sad for her?
After everything that happened this season, it's great to see John Alden and Mary get their happy ending.
The couple has come so far since the beginning of the series, and suffered so much to be together. It's a reunion that has taken three years to happen. If they didn't reunite by the end, the tears would've flowed.
Mary: How did we come to be here right now? How is this possible?
John: I don't know, but I know Anne Hale is responsible. And I don't know whether to kill her or kiss her.
Mary: Well, she's not here right now. So...
John: Do you remember what I told you? All those years ago, that vow I made...
Mary: You said you'd come back for me.
John: I told you.
Mary: You said you'd be back in a year. They say a point that some things are worth waiting for.
Still, I don't know how they'll have "the-Countess-stole-my-body-to-sleep-with-our-son-who-is-the-dark-lord" conversation. There's a lot of grey area in Salem. The incest storylines continue to creep me out.
Unfortunately, it's a shame that we didn't see the Countess in the finale. We got her in spirit, but we didn't get Lucy Lawless. It would've been great to have her back and end off the show with another quip from her own mouth.
On the plus side, the transformation of the dark lord to his 20-something self looked like something out of True Blood. Kudos to the special effects team; that scene looked painful and sickening. And good job to Jon Fletcher (the older dark lord) too. Being covered in blood must not have felt like an easy experience.
What did you think of "Black Sunday"? Did your favorite character make it out alive? Is your heart in pieces over Cotton's fate?
If you missed Salem's thrilling series finale, you can watch Salem online via TV Fanatic. Come back here and let us know what you think!
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.