[TV Review] "Salem" Episode 2.03: 'From Within' - Bloody Disgusting
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[TV Review] “Salem” Episode 2.03: ‘From Within’

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This week on Salem, we had more table-setting as Mary had to deal with sexism in the workplace, Alden continued his plot to destroy all the witches in Salem and Mercy moved forward in her plan to destroy Mary. Oh, and the Countess performed a blood kiss on Mary as well. There weren’t a lot of stand-out moments in “From Within,” but like last week’s episode, it set the stage for some interesting things to occur in future episodes. 

Much of “From Within” was spent with Mary, and boy did she have a lot to deal with this week. That pesky Mr. Hawthorne is proving to be a real thorn in her side (you don’t even know how dead you are, sir), but the one good thing that came out of his disagreeable presence is that we actually had a suspenseful scene involving George! Since Hawthorne wants to usurp George as town magistrate, Mary has to let George speak (without giving her up as a witch) and name a replacement for him.

The dinner scene was easily the highlight of the episode, as George could have easily given Mary up as a witch. It was nice to finally see Michael Mulheren get to do something besides look stressed out in a wheelchair. The banter between him and Mary as they made a deal was also very entertaining.

Anyway, Mary’s idea for George’s replacement turns out to be Mr. Corwin, another witch who is easily kidnapped by a Roland Deschain-y John Alden. I admit, I’ve been harping on how boring Alden’s story has been in the previous episodes, but since this episode had Alden directly involved with Mary (without her knowing it), he became immediately more interesting. The fact thathe might actually be a worthy opponent for her is what makes him more interesting. That was the problem with Increase Mather last season: as villainous as he was, it was always obvious he wouldn’t be able to actually overthrow the witches. This isn’t the case with Countess Marburg or, now, John Alden.

Speaking of Marburg, the opening tag with the little girl in the well turns out to be all part of her plan to plant the blood kiss on Mary. It seemed like a “scenic route” plan, as I doubt it would have taken all that effort to perform the blood kiss (based on my extensive knowledge of blood kiss rituals), but I’ll let it slide…this week. Y’all know how I feel about Ms. Lawless.

Salem

What isn’t really working is this forced lust Dr. Wainwright has for Mary. After a weird scene where he choked Mary to make her feel closer to death, he got turned on by it 50 Shades of Grey-style and proceeded to make out with her. The writers might feel it necessary to shoehorn in a romance(?) subplot (hopefully one that will not eventually turn into a love triangle with Alden because, ugh), but it’s not needed here. Salem already has so much going on, that a doctor with a BDSM fetish just seems tacked on.

Finally, we have Mercy, who is slowly recovering from her burn wounds inflicted by the townsfolk last week. It was pretty humorous to discover that her father (who used to molest her) has now been turned into her slave via bird penis witchcraft (ha), but unfortunately this led to Isaac’s death. Isaac, who can easily be called the only “good” character on the show, will be dearly missed, though my guess is that he will be resurrected sooner or later.

Overall this was another solid episode of Salem, but it was a lot more setup this week that will ideally lead to more bombastic episodes in the future. Once more storylines start converging, Salem will be all the better for it.

Random Notes

  • Anne and Cotton are on their way back to Salem when their carriage gets hijacked, then Anne kills them all using her witch powers. It felt like a bit of wheel-spinning but I guess we needed to check in on them somehow this week.
  • Mary’s son has been killing birds. So there’s that.
  • “Life with him has been both a pain and a constant temptation to Hell.” Definitely stealing this one for my future insults.
  • More frog on thigh-nipple action! I’ve been missing that in my life.
  • “George if those tepid men saw me for what I truly am they would soil themselves in fear.” -At least Mary is aware that her reflection looks like a hell beast.
  • “You will be reunited with the shriveled remnants of your manhood when you fulfill every errand I demand.” -I like this side of Mercy.
  • “Your vigor for the peace and prosperity of Salem is an inspiration.” -You have to actually hear Montgomery’s delivery of this to understand how funny it was. It was very Mean Girls “I love that skirt. Where did you get it?” and it was awesome.
  • “I am not your enemy…but make me one and you shall feel my fury.” -Hawthorne is clearly going to die by season’s end, but I can’t wait to see more of his verbal throw-downs with Mary.
  • Countess Marburg sure does like bathtubs doesn’t she? Every scene she’s been in as featured one.

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