Motherland: Fort Salem Episode 3-A Biddy’s Life-Review And Recap-Beltaine, Biddy’s and
Advanced world-building and character development combined to propel the plot of Motherland: Fort Salem and create an entertaining hour of television.
Lots of questions got answered this week as holes were filled at staggering speed. Blink, and you likely missed a great deal of information. More than any other episode, Motherland: Fort Salem Episode 3 sought to bring this new reality to life. Political, religious, and institutional concepts were all fleshed out. Even history lessons were shared as our girls, and their male counterparts took a deep dive into the magical realm. Director Amanda Tapping does a remarkable job weaving together so much without leaving the viewer feeling rushed.
Let there be boys. The Witch Father arrives with his revved-up male concubines prime for the picking. They are there to celebrate Beltaine. The holiday is a celebration of life and love. The young recruits are encouraged to participate; however, they feel comfortable. Love, sex, romance, and excitement all make the witches stronger. Tally’s display is proof of that.
Heightened emotions help the witches. Sometimes it is grief or rage and other times, excitement and joy. Each feeling allows the witch to tap into something they need to perform the seeds. Just like combat soldiers, certain emotions must be controlled, or they become a detriment to the witch. Soft-hearted soldiers who are sickened by the Spree’s latest attack can’t focus past the pain and fail. Not everyone is capable of being a warrior.
Beltaine is the most fun anyone could have if you are young and pretty. The women continue to wear their strict military uniforms; however, the men are dressed like aging boy bands headed for casual Friday at the office. To say watching the khaki meat market was entertaining is an understatement. In the new world of Motherland, puritan values are foregone for more progressive views on sexuality and women empowerment. Women aren’t slut-shamed for enjoying carnal delights; in fact, they are encouraged. Our trio of witches choose to do things a little differently and play Lacrosse with the boys while others act as cheerleaders of sorts and literally male it rain.
Abigail embraces everything about Beltaine. She is unabashed and unashamed. She will take whomever she likes whenever, even two at a time. “Shame is for civilians,” she tells the Witch Father when she propositions him. I have been critical of her character development up until now, but she is growing on me. Abigail is a strong, powerful woman who knows exactly what she wants. Yes, she can be petty and harsh, but she is real. The history lesson she and Libba Swythe argue over only proves the point that maybe she was a monster created and not one born. Abigail and Libba have been pitted against each their whole lives. It has been for nothing but a family feud. They are the witch version of the Hatfields and the McCoys. Tally’s right that neither seems to understand how much they need each other.
A young man named Porter knew Scylla in the past and cautions Raelle that she isn’t all she seems to be. Porter used to be her boyfriend. Scylla knows it is only a matter of time before Porter tells Raelle too much, and she begins to manipulate both of them. For Raelle, she chooses to use the exhibit on witch killing to drive home the point that being in the witch army isn’t necessarily good. She tells Raelle a carefully crafted version of what happened to her parents to elicit sympathy. Basically, telling a negative truth to cover a bigger lie. Raelle does question why she withheld the information since she would not be judgemental having had a civilian father, and Scylla answers it’s not the same as having criminal parents.
Scylla is grooming Raelle. She tells her to be afraid of unmagical people, too, as the kind of hate necessary to do the violence against witches they did before is still there. For everyone who respects them, there some who fear and hate them. Scylla is right but the words are only designed to prepare really to run with her when the time comes.
Ultimately she may have underestimated Raelle’s abilities. She is a good person who truly wants to heal others. Scylla is the polar opposite of her and doesn’t care who gets hurt. When Porter confronts her she convinces him she has changed with crocodile tears and kisses. It is only a ploy to make him vulnerable to her and she whispers venom into his ear. When Porter jumps from the building right in front of Raelle, her first instinct is to try to heal him. She didn’t appear to be successful but she tried. His wounds looked pretty serious which could be a problem for Raelle as she absorbs the sickness or injury of others when she heals. It also means she probably won’t ever be team Spree. Perhaps Scylla and Porter are both right. People don’t change and that kind of malignancy can never be cut out.
The final member of the trio, Tally, became a whole lot more thirsty. Motherland: Fort Salem Episode 3 allowed Tally to finally get her freak on. You can’t blame her for being excited, since she has been isolated her entire life, and her boy toy is as sweet as he is cute. In the flag memorial, she reveals all the Cravens who came before her. There is so much loss in her line.
She did not have to answer the call. Tally could have abstained legally. She chose out of a sense of duty and likely a naivete that glorifies war and death. She appreciates everything from the opportunity to protect others from the fun of Beltaine. Despite her misgivings that her boy will not be faithful as monogamy is not encouraged in this world, she shares her first kiss. I am curious how she will react, moving forward to the idea of multiple loves.
The politics of this new world are no less treacherous than our current one. General Adler goes to The Hague with her Biddy’s to discuss recent Spree attacks and plan for the future. The Hague, which is a beautiful, vaguely European looking building, functions as a United Nations of sorts. The world thus far has felt very ordinary so far, but with the addition of The Hague, we release just how different the dynamics really are.
Moving outside the confines of Fort Salem was necessary to give context to the war. As brutal as the Spree attacks have been, they felt very insular. As if they happened in far off places too far off people. By showing the inner workings of The Hague, everything became smaller and more personal. General Adler and the American’s are in charge of The Hague for now, but desertion seems to be brewing when Adler refuses to help until they have clear intel that rift gets even wider.
Additionally, her reluctance to get involved with a small nomadic tribe of witches makes waves. The nomadic tribe seems to share some of General Adler’s blood and is singing a resonance no one had ever heard before. Many countries want to offer asylum in exchange for their weapons, but they are nonviolent. General Adler believes they should be left in peace, but one of the Hague members doesn’t think she will leave them alone. It is interesting whether General Adler really would honor the agreement or seek them out and use them. She has shown to be pretty ruthless to date.
Ever the politician, she is cautioning for patience to avoid more significant conflicts between China and Russia. That may or may not be accurate, but before they can belabor it, one of the Biddy’s collapses and General Adler visibly ages. Back at Fort Salem, apples rot, and plants die all around them. The general’s health is tied to the Fort’s well being. Does her power extend past the Fort? Politics play an important role in this America and Motherland: Fort Salem Episode 3 makes that obvious.
It does explain how she is so old and yet looks quite young. It also explains the Biddy’s who hover around her. Adler is a vampire who needs their youth to maintain her own. Tally thinks it is a grand calling to serve as a Biddy. Watching the young recruit age in seconds so Adler can maintain her youth puts that into question. The one thing it does accentuate is women are revered in all forms in this world. They are respected as the stronger sex. Emotionally and physically, they are called to carry the burden of war.
So many little details were thrown at us in Motherland: Fort Salem Episode 3. Men can be witches, there are male Spree members. and draft-dodging is a thing to name just a few. Military magazines, history lessons, cultural celebrations, Spree attacks, and glimpses into the inner workings of the witch army were all put on display. Exposition was the name of the game this week. Somehow the episode felt more revelatory than talky, however, and that could mean the larger story of Motherland: Fort Salem is only getting started. Catch up on all our coverage here.
- I love the military magazine Revelry Tally sites. I’m picturing a mix of Boy’s Life for scouts and Modern Soldier.
- Beltaine or Beltane is an ancient Iron Age Celtic ritual. The holiday is celebrated on May 1. Beltaine roughly translates to bright fire and is a celebration of light, joy, and biological processes such as fertility. It was common during these festivals for unions to form and such as weddings and handfastings. Handfastings were betrothals that would last for one year and a half, at which point they either parted or married.
- Most girls couple up with one guy or girl but not Abigail. She has her blond cake and takes Libba’s Latin lover too.
- The Battle of Juarez did exist. It was fought from April 7th to May 10th, 1911. Rebel forces led by Pancho Villa were fighting the Mexican Revolution just over the Mexican border with Texas. They were victorious in this first major battle of the Revolution. There are no accounts of witches.
- Biddy currently means an elderly woman who is meddlesome and annoying. In the world of Motherland they are respected.
As the Television 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.