Motherland: Fort Salem: Episode 2-My Witches-Review And Recap-The Meanings Of Names And Necromancers
Some things never change and where there are politicians and those in power there will be those without as a solid Motherland: Fort Salem Episode 2 points out.
Some much-needed backstory came in the way of historical pageantry and unpleasant truths about war. It doesn’t matter who is in charge, there is always someone who wants that power and thinks they can do better. No matter how respectful some of the citizens are, there are those who think the witch soldiers are nothing more than an unfortunate means to an even worse end. They need their skills and nothing more. Motherland: Fort Salem: Episode 2 brought that pressure to the forefront. The tipping point is coming.
The President is like any other politician. She is ambitious, occasionally arrogant, and concerned with reelection more than societal safety. When she comes to Fort Salem, General Adler and her share tense words. The thinly veiled antagonism ends with the General’s lieutenants clucking their disapproval of the President’s intimidation. It is the second time in so many episodes we have heard the simple yet very effective auditory device used. It is deeply unsettling. At the end of the episode when a battle with the Spree goes very wrong their true horror is felt. When lives are lost, especially children’s lives, it becomes very hard to dispassionately follow. The President has allies within the witch army that think drastic actions call for even more drastic measures.
The girl’s unit continues their training by learning both a shield and an attack. The scores are more than just ranks as the top five units get to attend the annual pageant. Tally is tasked first with attacking Drill Sargent Anacostia(Demetria McKinney). She is a gentle person however and has trouble channeling her power without intense emotion. As a result, she fails miserably and Abigail steps in. More ambitious than cautious she has no trouble attacking. That simple act more than any other reveals the difference between the two women. Tally fights for honor and Abigail for recognition. Raelle who is stuck in the middle fights only for duty. The three women complement each other and will someday form a powerful team.
Tally and Abigail are both sheltered but in completely different ways. Tally grew up protected from the world by her nervous and traumatized mother. She chooses to run headlong into danger to take back control whereas Abigail is groomed from day one. Akin to the tributes from the lower numbered districts she was trained to be a soldier and privileged. She is so entitled she does not even realize when her self proclaimed grudge with a fellow debutant who danced with her cavalier falls on deaf ears.
In contrast, is Raelle who is clearly a spiritual person. More a lover than a fighter she will fight when pushed. She would rather use her skills to help than hurt, however. It is from that place that she pulls her abilities to heal as witnessed by her attempt to heal Abigail’s throat. It is also this gentleness that makes her vulnerable to Scylla. Late in the episode, her greatest desire is discussed and much to Abigail’s surprise it is freedom, not power. It is much harder to manipulate those pure of spirit as Scylla may soon find out.
Taylor Hickson(Raelle) and Amalia Holm(Scylla) have real chemistry that reads true in their blooming romance. As time goes on Raelle may be tempted to the Darkside, but I predict Scylla will find herself changed as well. For now, she is manipulating Raelle with glamors and pretty words. Soon she may find herself a victim of her own spell. Raelle’s sense of duty as witnessed by her refusal to cheat her punishment will become a wedge between the women.
The training showcased a nifty effect in the Wind Sheer spell and an odd but hysterical form of insult. Things like “Noodling NayNay horse from a dumb noodling nobody family” and “I thought I smelled sour friend of feet” are said with straight faces and snarling lips. Kudos to Ashley Nicole Williams(Abigail) and Sarah Yarkin(Libba) who you just saw in the hilarious zombie flick Eat Brains Love, for delivering the intricate lines with complete believability.
The three women who make up the Bellweather unit ultimately channel their individual emotions into their attacks and win the coveted top spot. They are better together than apart and seem to be learning they have more in common than originally thought. With Tally’s friend Glory joining the friend group they are stronger still. Annie Jacob is a talented actress who brings a grounded energy to the buzzing electricity between the core three.
For now, the recruits are safe. They are blissfully unaware of the danger beyond the fort and within their walls. A not so gentle reminder that war means death stands right outside their building crying. The balloon released at the pageant was nothing more than a short-sighted teenager playing a prank but it may be exactly what others needed to see to entrench the belief that witches are dangerous. Let’s hope our girls are ready when it really hits the fan. Catch up on all our coverage of Motherland: Fort Salem here.
- The balloon device for spy communication is very tricky. Not only is it creepy but it hides the identity of the co-conspirators which helps drive tension. The Spree could be anyone and they obviously have a lot of magical juice. If they can break a mirror from a distance what else can they do?
- The Necromancers fascinate me. The ability to bring life from death and enlist ghosts could really come in handy. Scylla is a spy but her conjuring of the death cap from the dead bird was beautiful which leads me to believe there may be good in her somewhere. Her character arch could be the most interesting of the group. Everyone loves a good redemption.
- The pageant is bizarre. It is unusually cruel and intense for a public reenactment. For a country that has a habit of revisionist history, I am surprised certain aspects were not changed to make them more positive.
- Once more I am reminded that with as much reverence these witches are rewarded they have no real power. For the most part, they are gladiators who are forced to battle. Little girls idolize the warrior witches and that feels very empowering but only until you realize they really are indentured servants with the illusion of freedom.
- The name Scylla is Greek and means to rip, tear, smash to pieces. For what we have seen so far that is very on brand and it doesn’t sound good for Raelle.
- The name Raelle means the soldier of the Lord. With the praying that coincides with her healing that is very interesting.
As the TV/Streaming Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre tv. I grew up with old school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. When I’m not watching and writing about my favorite movies and series, I’m introducing my family to the wonderful world of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. My only regret, there is not enough time in the day to watch everything.