Salem Preview: “The Beckoning Fair One” [+ Janet Montgomery Interview]
Warning: Spoilers Ahead
Increase Mather “lives.”
Mary Sibley’s in a tough spot. The CountessÂ Marburgh wants show Mary who’s really in charge. She’s killed George and when people like Hathorne find out, Mary’s position of power and respectability will be seriously threatened. Mary doesn’t yet know that the Countess has taken Mercy under her wing. Together, those two will wreak a lot of havoc upon her and the other witches as well as the people of Salem. But Mary has a plan. Increase Mather defeated Margburg once and now Mary’s needs him to do it again.
I participated in a press call with Janet Montgomery last week. She talked about the return of Stephen Lang’s Increase Mather, Mary’s complicated love life and the threat the Countess poses to Mary.
On the return of Increase Mather and working with Stephen Lang:
Janet Montgomery: “Stephen Lang is an absolute joy to work with, a true professional. Heâ€™s exciting to work with and creates such a wonderful working environment. We have fun together when weâ€™re working. Heâ€™s one of my favorite people to work with.Â I was really sad that we killed him at the end of last season because for me as a young actress, he elevated my work.
His role is very different this tim. His character is different this year and I think people will be excited to see the dynamic between him and Mary slightly change.”
On howâ€™s Maryâ€™s been treated by the men in her life.
Janet: “I think it definitely does affect her. Mary does feel sorry for herself in a lot a way. She is in control of her husband, but she spent six years trying to get him under control, having to have his fat, sweaty body on her.
It took her quite a long time to get under control. John left her pregnant. So [I] donâ€™t think she has particularly felt like anyone has given her what she needed. And everything just seems to keep going wrong for her in her love life.Â I donâ€™t think she trusts the Count. He is obviously very manipulative and sort of frightening.”
On if Sebastian really has feelings for her.
Janet: “Sebastian is a great character because heâ€™s a very dangerous young man. I think he is in love with Mary. He believes in his heart that he is in love with Mary. But heâ€™s also very much in love with his mother. So the dynamic of that – I love the character. If Mary chose to be with someone like Sebastian, it would be almost like Bonnie & Clyde. It could be [a] complete massacre going on in Salem.”
On if there will be a love triangle with Sebastian and Dr. Wainwright.
Janet: “I think thereâ€™s a good possibility there could be. But thereâ€™s also John Alden. What would you call that? A square. Everybody either wants to make love to you or kill you and I think thatâ€™s very true with Mary at the moment. People either want to make love e to her or kill her. Sebastianâ€™s very taken with her. Dr. Wainwright is obviously taken with her. And John wants to kill her at the moment. So who knows whatâ€™s going to happen.”
On who poses a bigger threat to Mary, John Alden or the Countess.
Janet:Â “Theyâ€™re very different threats. John is this witch hunter and Mary wonâ€™t see that coming. But the Countess is also equally dangerous in a very different way. I donâ€™t know if I could say who is the bigger threat.
o find out that John has turned against her and is going to kill her, I think would probably the most heartbreaking. The Countess is more predictable. The Countess wants to kill her.”
On her relationship and rivalry with the Countess.
Janet: â€œWhatâ€™s so great about this season is Mary started off slightly cocky, she had a real confidence. She felt that she was in control. She wasnâ€™t listening to any warnings and now we start to see the world. Sheâ€™s got enemies coming. Everybodyâ€™s trying to get her and nobodyâ€™s on her side. The Countess is trying to get at Mary.”
On Mercy and the Countess working together.
Janet: “Itâ€™s coming from all angles for Mary. Sheâ€™s got so many enemies now and very few allies. Mercy seems a bit like a child compared to the Countess, but the Countess is a real threat.
The fact that now the two of them have come together – I think thereâ€™s a real danger in what Mercyâ€™s capable of. Sheâ€™s unpredictable. Mary doesnâ€™t necessarily worry about Mercy so much though. She thinks Mercyâ€™s dead, so thatâ€™s another worrying situation for Mary.”
On if Mary can trust Tituba.
Janet: “Tituba has been lying to her for so long. What sheâ€™s done is unforgivable. But Tituba at the same time — and what I love about the writing on this show — has her own reasons for that. She thought she was doing the right thing.
There is room for Mary to forgive Tituba. But I just feel like both the characters together, itâ€™s going to take a while. People like to see them at odds with [each] other, the relationship works that way. So you never really know where each one stands. You donâ€™t know if Maryâ€™s just going to kill Tituba at any moment or if actually sheâ€™s forgiven her. I that’s an interesting dynamic.”
On if Mary’s a sympathetic character.
Janet: â€œThatâ€™s what the writers have done really well and what I am constantly striving to do. Sheâ€™s doing everything she can and she does have a heart.
But also, there are things that are [irredeemable] that sheâ€™s done and that sheâ€™s doing. Sheâ€™s very complicated and I think a lot of us can say that about ourselves. Weâ€™re neither good nor bad, weâ€™re all somewhere in the grey area. Thatâ€™s the character I want to play. Every time she does something that I think â€˜Wow, how are people going to sympathize with this?â€™ I manage to find a way in which people can understand why sheâ€™s doing it. Weâ€™re all just survivors at the end of the day.”
Edited for space and content.
Salem airs Sundays at 10/9c on WGN America.
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