TV Show Review

TV Review: SALEM: Season 1, Episode 11: Cat and Mouse [WGN]

Stephen Lang Salem Cat and Mouse

WGN America’s Salem Cat and Mouse TV Show Review. Salem: Season 1, Episode 11: Cat and Mouse began at the jail, where John Alden (Shane West) received a visit from Reverend Increase Mather (Stephen Lang). Increase may have once wished John to be his own son, and now he didn’t think he knew him anymore.

Mary Sibley (Janet Montgomery) and Increase discussed Alden. She worried that the loyal citizens of Salem would not take his accusation of John being a witch very well. Mary was able to talk Increase in to gathering the Selectmen for a vote, to decide if Alden should stand trial.

Anne Hale (Tamzin Merchant) confronted her father, Magistrate Hale (Xander Berkeley) about the mask. She inquired to know who he actually was. She told him that she would go to Increase with what she knew if he would not tell her the truth of it. Later, Anne found Increase at the pub eating a meal and made good on her promise. Just as she was about to spill the beans, Hale interrupted.

Eventually, Hale told Anne the story of witnessing his parents burn at the stake. He admitted to being a witch. Anne ran from him.

Increase continued to castigate his son throughout the episode. He insisted that Cotton Mather (Seth Gabel) be on his side. Cotton revealed his own experiences with witches…and his failures in hunting them.

Mary and Magistrate Hale discussed the trial of Alden, and how the Selectmen would vote. Mary’s plan was to cast the deciding vote, when Increase wheeled George Sibley (Michael Mulheren) into the courtroom. She did not believe he was able to cast his own vote, but Increase explained to her and the court that he had the ability to (literally) spit his answer…and spit he did. John would be tried.

In the “House of Pain,” Increase tortured Mercy Lewis’ (Elise Eberle) friends by casting boiling water on the girls. While at the jail, Mary plead with John to leave Salem, that she had the means to get him out. John wouldn’t go.

[There is nothing terribly terrifying about the torture scenes in Salem. Last week, I knew that Ashley Madekwe’s performance was on the light side for my taste. But…it is the direction, the lighting, the dialogue, the pacing. It’s just not scary, and I think it should be. Not suspenseful…scary!]

Mary decided it was time to take Mercy up on her previous offer to eliminate Increase. Mary cast a spell on Isaac Walton (Iddo Goldberg) to lead Increase into the wood where Mercy would kill him. While Mercy prepared for the Reverend, Isaac informed Increase that he knew where Mercy was…and lead him to her.

Along the way, Increase questioned Isaac’s motives. Mary began to work her magick from afar with the tightening of the “cilice” Increase had been wearing. This wore him down and then Mercy appeared. They battled, and though Mercy and Increase survived, Isaac took a stake in the gut.

In another part of Salem, Cotton went to see his father. He told him that he decided to join him in the prosecution of Alden, but would be defending him. [Powerful moment in the episode, both actors kick butt.]

And finally, Hale caught up to his daughter Anne before bed. He explained that the power of the mask could only be accessed by the power of one kind. She inquired, what kind? His kind. Revealing Anne to be a witch. [Anne being a witch is perfect…I didn’t see this coming. I like it!]

Oh Salem. Your writing is still inconsistent, but I will continue to tune in…I am usually entertained.

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