TV Show Review

TV Review: SALEM: Season 1, Episode 4: Survivors [WGN America]

Ashley Madekwe Janet Montgomery Salem Survivors

WGN America‘s Salem Survivors TV Show Review. Salem: Season 1, Episode 4: Survivors started strong. At the time of this review, WGN’s first hour-long scripted drama Salem had been picked up for a second season. At this juncture I feel the show is still finding it’s legs. The casting is good, the acting is solid, but the actors have to be supported with scenes that evolve their characters through the storyline, and that’s not happening here. The writing is still clearly uneven and two-dimensional in regard to character and plot. I have high hopes that they will find their way as this is rich subject matter and (excuse the pun) the “bones” are there.

In this fourth installment of Salem, we came to learn that a quarantined ship in the harbor held a mysterious, valuable secret to the underground “Hive/Coven.” William Hooke (Matthew Holmes), a man from John Alden’s (Shane West) past appeared in Salem, and held secrets of his own. As the episode unfolded he revealed that Alden was responsible for murderous acts during his military absence. Hooke interacted with many characters during his visit, linking Mary Sibley (Janet Montgomery), Alden and the “Hive’s” Crone (Dana Lewis).

In one of the more graphic scenes this episode, Reverend Lewis (Thomas Francis Murphy) performed a (Catholic) exorcism on his daughter Mercy Lewis (Elise Eberle) and expelled (by cutting it out with a knife) the black mamba from her stomach. I like that the writers have included in the storyline the use of an unconventional “familiar,” especially one so lethal as a black mamba!

Cotton Mather (Seth Gabel) had a verbal showdown with Hooke in the bar when Hooke got too close to (his) Gloriana (Azure Parsons). Cotton then went to the church to seek solace after Mary belittled him for having allowed a Catholic exorcism to occur in the village. Gloriana was there at the church. Out of anger and jealousy, he “took” Gloriana in a most violent way. This scene felt forced…and mundane. A perfect example of what I said at the top of this review, the writers could have taken Cotton’s character deeper still. Writing something much more diabolical for him to do with his anger toward Gloriana than ripping her clothes off and molesting her over a pew.

Alden continued to point a finger at Magistrate Hale (Xander Berkeley), and Mary urged Hale to gain Alden’s trust. Hale invited Alden to a party in his honor as a new Selectman.

Alden told Hooke to leave Salem or he would kill him. Later Hooke blackmailed Alden by threatening to tell the villagers of Alden’s transgressions in the military.

Hooke broke into the Sibley house and discovered George Sibley (Michael Mulheren), sick and crippled. George had been stabbing himself with a nail to draw blood/ink to write with. He fumbled and handed Hooke a note, ‘Witch’ was scrawled in blood on the page. Hooke took the letter and attempted to blackmail Mary with it to gain access to the quarantined boat. She allowed it, and Hooke then informed the “Hive’s” Crone that he had finally gained access to the boat…for her. Mary later set Hooke up by telling John Alden of his whereabouts.

Hooke discovered the package the Crone had asked for on the quarantined ship, and as he was leaving the boat, Alden killed him. So far, William Hooke has been the most compelling character on this show. I was sad to see him go.

Mary sent another black mamba to Mercy’s bedroom to invade her once again. And as this chapter came to a close, Mary had a startling, disturbing vision of Mercy proclaiming that she was now immune to Mary’s attacks.

This episode was better than the last. I think we will continue to tune in to see whether the writers are going to get Salem right…or not.

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