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Salem “Ashes, Ashes” 

Photo Credit: WGN America
Photo Credit: WGN America

I don’t think it ever occurred to me that a child could “inherit” the witchy abilities of their parent. On this show so far we’ve only seen witches choose to become who they are. So when Magistrate Hale tells Anne that she’s a witch at the end of “Cat and Mouse,” it definitely took me by surprise. It doesn’t surprise me, however, when she seeks Cotton out and demands that he search her for the devil’s marks. I didn’t expect Anne to be turned on by Cotton’s hands on her body or for us to witness her brief transformation. Very interesting.

Now that John’s trial has started, it’s important for Increase to find witnesses to help him condemn the witch to the gallows. He continues to torture Mercy’s acolytes with the promise that they’ll be spared from burning at the stake if they speak. But eventually everyone who is questioned by Increase Mather learns that he has a very tricky tongue. The girls accuse John in court, but still end up in the hangman’s noose. When Cotton tries to plead for their lives, Increase tells his son he’s kept his word. He promised them they wouldn’t burn; he never promised they wouldn’t die.

As Cotton continues his research into the Grand Rite, he realizes what an important role the malum plays in the ritual. He also realizes that’s he’s seen it before, even touched it. It was in John’s house. When asked about it, John admits that he buried it with Corey to keep it safe. But we already know Tituba and Mercy dug it up. So it’s no surprise when Cotton can’t find it in the dead man’s grave. Maybe it’s for the best though, since finding the malum in John’s house would’ve made him look even more guilty that he already appears.

The only thing Cotton and Increase seem to have in common is their desire to stop the Grand Rite. Increase tells Cotton of a time when he was a young boy that a coven of German witches tried to complete the ritual. The leader hid himself in the guise of a 6 year-old girl. Increase choked the life out of her, but when the devil tried to snatch her out of his hands he held on. And that’s why his hands look the way they do. They’ve touched hellfire. Increase wasn’t willing to give up then and he won’t give up until the witch that started the Grand Rite is dead. They don’t have much time so when it looks like the tide may be turning against Increase after Cotton reveals one of his instruments of torture, Increase reveals John’s sordid history. He tells the people of Salem about John’s time with the Indians and about the militia men John killed. John can’t and won’t deny that charge because it’s true.

Even though the coven has reminded Mary that the malum requires innocent blood to open and unleash death, Mary questions why they must sacrifice John. It’s only a sacrifice because she loves him. That’s the point. But after Isaac visits her and tells her she’s “magic” Mary knows there’s one more thing she can do. So when she visits John in his cell that night – the night before he is sure to hang – she kisses him and transports them to the woods. It’s then that John finally knows the truth of what Mary is.

I have so many questions. Who was that man Increase gave his bloody cloth to and where was he taking it? Can John accept what Mary is or will he return to Salem and put his life in the hands of the Puritans? Will Mary tell John why she was turned towards the dark? Will he finally know about their baby? Will Mary be able to go through with the Grand Rite if John isn’t with her? Will he try to stop her? What is Mercy’s next play? Where’s Tituba? How will Increase and Cotton work together to stop the end of the world? We’ve only got one more episode this season and something tells me it’ll be a doozy. I can’t wait.

The season finale of Salem airs Sunday, July 13th at 10/9c on WGN America.

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