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Salem “All Fall Down” Postmortem with Shane West and Brannon Braga [INTERVIEW] 

Photo Credit: WGN America
Photo Credit: WGN America

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

Showrunner and executive producer Brannon Braga calls tonight’s season finale “pretty spectacular.” He goes on to say, “it’s kind of like five cliffhangers in the body of one episode.” Series star Shane West adds, “it’s a great way to end a season.” Not only does Increase Mather die at the hands of his own son, but Anne kills both of her parents. Was Anne in full control of her facilities at the time? She only wanted to leave their hideaway and as her father kept reminding her, only blood would open the door. But the biggest shock for me was that Mary and John’s child was still alive. Tituba tells Mary nothing is created or destroyed by their magic, it is only transformed. Braga says, “the child being alive was always something we anticipated doing as the ultimate means for the witches to keep Mary under their control.” Braga admits it was “a risky move,” but one they were willing to make.

But what about Mary and John’s future? John finally knows what Mary is and he wants them to leave Salem. West tells us “John’s not a total idiot.” He could sense there was something Mary was keeping from him. But he’s not about to abandon the love of his life for keeping “such a dark secret from” him because “John did the same thing to her,” West explains. Why does he come to terms with her secret so quickly? Braga says they both “carry baggage,” but “just because John can accept her secret doesn’t mean that things won’t change. Part of season two will be the complete transformation of that relationship.” There will be “renewed emotional stakes in the relationship,” Braga adds, but ultimately “there’s a great tragic element to their love story, which is that they’re doomed.” They make the decision to run away together at the beginning of the episode, but forces beyond their control intervene. “For all John knows, she’s betrayed him,” Braga says. From John’s point of view, “he gets ambushed. There’s a trauma to their relationship that’s been present from the beginning that is very succulent for the series,” Braga reveals.

Looking ahead to season two, Braga says, “you can’t really talk about the end of season one without knowing we’re you’re going.” It’s safe to assume the Indians save John Alden because we know for a fact that Shane West has signed on for season two. But Braga wonders “what interest do these Indians have in him? What is it about John that they’ve not saved him twice?”

Because some of the characters are dead (and we’re going to assume they’ll stay that way), Braga says there’s now an opportunity to expand “the boundaries of the town of Salem in season two for more than just John Alden.” The show is going to be exploring the same themes and characters next season, but the writers wanted to “up the stakes and, as Shane said, expand the world,” Braga says. “There’s a whole country forming out there around Salem, Salem being the epicenter of it all. Whoever controls Salem perhaps controls the fate of the country,” explains Braga. Some characters are “in a state of transformation like Anne Hale,” Braga explains. He goes on to add, there are “so many more characters to meet. We focused on a core group of characters this season.” He adds some won’t survive so they “plan on bringing in new characters.”

I love that this finale if a literal cliffhanger. There is so much we don’t know going in to season two. What does Mercy have in store for Mary? Is she the true Queen of the Night? She promises to find Mary when she least wants to be found. Will Isaac be the first victim of the plague? He should have left the apple like Mary suggested, but I do understand his urge to put it where dead things belong. I will hope against hope that someone saves Isaac. He certainly doesn’t deserve that fate. How will Cotton react when he discovers Mary tricked him into killing his own father? Will his faith be renewed? Will Cotton finally become the many his father always wanted him to be? Will Anne remember killing her family? We know she doesn’t want to be a witch, so will she take steps to try to rid herself of magic? Will the dark lord allow Mary to keep her child and, if so, will he exert some kind of control or force over him. How will John react when he finds out he has a son? These are only some of my questions, but I’m happy to wait for season two to have them answered.

Season 2 of Salem returns in April 2015 on WGN America.

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1 Comment

  1. Janet

    I’m certainly not happy to wait until next April! This show is such a gruesome horror show…but apparently that hasn’t stopped me from watching! I was not happy to see Cotton kill his own father. Nothing like that happened historically. I was also not happy to see Anne kill her own parents. Like I said, gruesome.

    I wasn’t convinced it was Mary in that final scene with Increase. I thought it might have been Mercy (or Titula) in the guise of Mary. Pure speculation on my part.

    Sad to see Isaac succumb to the plague. The actor is a fantastic character actor.

    And Shane West can do no wrong. I will keep tuning in for him!!! Also, Janet Mintgomery is fabulous. She is in almost every scene.

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