TV Show Review

TV Review: SALEM: Season 1, Episode 8: Departures [WGN America]

Stephen Lang Salem Departure

WGN America‘s Salem Departures TV Show Review. Salem: Season 1, Episode 8: Departures opened with Increase Mather (Stephen Lang) leading the Selectmen through the streets, preaching against witches and all manner of depravity in Salem. They found their way to the whore house, where Cotton Mather (Seth Gabel) was visiting Gloriana (Azure Parsons) and hid under the bed. When his father came into their room, he noticed Cotton’s bible on Gloriana’s nightstand…she claimed it as her own. Downstairs, Mather discovered “casting stones” in the “Madame’s/Mab’s (Morgana Shaw) office. It doesn’t get any better than Stephen Lang’s incomparable voice announcing, “Selectmen of Salem, we’ve uncovered a witch.”

Mary Sibley (Janet Montgomery) sent George Sibley (Michael Mulheren) to Boston to avoid being seen by Increase. On the way there, the cart tumbled and hurled Sibley and Isaac from the wagon. George cut the toad familiar from his belly and sent Isaac to find Increase…without telling his wife.

Elsewhere, Hale went to see the “Madame” in jail, they set up an innocent member of the community to propel the Grand Rite forward, and also to distract Increase. After, Hale had another chat with his daughter Anne, who has become increasingly suspicious. And later, at the dinner table, Anne dug in to her father again, causing Magistrate Hale much concern.

The torture by dunking began. The “Madame” finally gave a name to spare her own life…Gloriana. Cotton spoke up strongly for her, and against his father. Later, Increase allowed Cotton to conduct the examination of Gloriana’s body in his presence, and though no marks of witchery were found, Increase announced that he would still bring her to trial.

John Alden (Shane West) attempted to spend time with Mary again, but she pushed him away. When questioned whether she regretted their last encounter, she explained that it was their inability to ever be together again that she regretted. Janet Montgomery’s performances are subtle and strong. I am convinced of her love for John Alden…and that she happens to now be a badass witch. The writers are still not fleshing out and giving more time to this storyline.

Isaac Walton (Iddo Goldberg) returned to town and counseled John on what to do. He told Isaac to say nothing and let Sibley die.

Alden went to Increase on Cotton’s behalf, to spare Gloriana. The elder Mather knew this, but listened, and was reminded that there was a difference between loving his son’s choices, and loving his son.

During her trial, we witnessed Gloriana’s acquittal. She was not a sorceress as earlier accused, but a sinner just the same. She was banished from Salem under penalty of death…never EVER to return! She was taken straight away, and as Cotton called out to her and kissed her passionately one last time, I realized that I have been rooting for this love affair all along. I do hope Gloriana returns…though it will surely be at the cost of her life.

Mary discovered her toad familiar (no longer in George’s belly,) sitting on her nightstand. Tituba (Ashley Madekwe) cast a spell on the amphibian to locate Mr. Sibley. It turned in to an owl and flew away, Tituba followed. At the pub, Increase bumped in to Isaac and questioned him about his swift journey to Boston and back. Isaac told him about the accident. Increase gathered a posse and went to find his friend.

In jail, Mab took the black pill and died an ugly death.

Petrus the Seer (Christopher Berry) found George and gave him a tonic…that rendered him catatonic. After drinking it, he learned it was poison from Tituba. Petrus hurried away when Increase arrived, and Tituba lied and told him that Mary had sent her after hearing of the accident, but Increase could tell that his friend was spellbound.

In the end Anne Hale (Tamzin Merchant) went to John and told him what she had learned about her father. Tituba informed Mary that Increase had taken in Mr. Sibley. Mary was concerned, as the potion The Seer gave George would last only 24 hours…then, he would be lucid enough to share all the darkness he has endured.

Stephen Lang as Increase Mather is a godsend to Salem. Both Seth Gabel and Stephen Lang gave powerhouse performances in this episode.

With only 3 episodes left…the Hive is in rather exceptional danger.

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