Television

A Discovery of Witches – E03 Review

This week’s installment starts off with a brief interaction between our two main protagonists, before being temporarily interrupted by Gillian (another witch). During her and Diana’s conversation she attempts to make excuses for her betrayal to Diana by disclosing trusted information to Knox. After that, she utters a sentence that again is reiterating into the minds of the viewer exactly how fraught the tensions between species are. Gillian says “I know that you’re angry with me, I understand. But that does not mean that you need to spend time with that. By referring to Matthew as “that” she is not only disassociating herself from him but also distancing/ renouncing her recognition of him as another living being.. by referring to him as a thing. A thing to be avoided and ignored.

This continual expression of enmity between the creatures (Diana and Matthew aside) forges the association with the viewers again and again that creatures do not mix, and that they each think of the others as lesser or subordinate. Regardless of the reality being that they are all living beings. This commentary is not approaching a new subject by any means – many fantasy or supernatural series or films have made this point – the pointlessness of humans regarding other groups of humans as less-than because of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious beliefs… etc. All of these are essentially meaningless descriptors. They’re all humans. Thinking of certain groups as superior is nonsensical. This tension is something that the series is challenging and doing it in a refreshingly different and academic style.

GIF made by Mia for TGON

This episode seems to be under the theme of Revelations. We have Matthew revealing parts of his life to Diana, and she does the same in return. Another piece of knowledge regarding Diana’s elusive powers is revealed – Matthew figures out that Diana’s magic is instinctive, it “comes out of you when you need it.” Having initially been hesitant to let Diana into his world, he is now physically and figuratively allowing Diana into other parts of his life. The viewers witnessing Matthew undo the chains and locks on the gate to his house, this is metaphorical of him opening himself up to Diana, allowing her entrance and permission to explore previously guarded parts of him. (IMAGE A)

A moment of interest in the deconstruction and mis-en-scene/ cinematography occurs when Matthew brings Diana to his house in Oxford. As she walks around exploring, she’s asking questions, and surprisingly Matthew is revealing quite a lot of information about himself. As Diana’s hearing his answers the frame cuts to a shot of her looking up through the twist of the stairs. The viewers are looking down on her as the screen turns slowly. Reminiscent of Diana’s slowly shifting perspective on the world.  (IMAGE B)

We see Satu go to the Congregation – which is under a heavy disguising spell. We then see Satu attempt to reveal the information about Diana that is redacted on the records within the Congregation library. (IMAGE C)

We get our first glimpse of a couple who appear unrelated to the rest of the characters (so far) but we can safely assume from the moment the scene begins that the pair are daemons. As the soundtrack not-so-subtly blares Imagine Dragons song “Demons” with the line “It’s where my demons hide, it’s where my demons hide..” being emphasized. Several important things are revealed in this scene as we find out that daemons have been born to humans, growing up and not knowing what they were or what was happening to them, and that there seems to be a hesitancy for daemons to meet up in groups. Something we know isn’t a problem for witches or vampires. We also get some allusions/nods to a connection of alchemy – which might be where they align with Diana (being a professor of Alchemy). The very first shot is of the girl sketching what can only be a representation of The Alchemical Child – like the one we saw on the first page of the book of life/ Ashmole 782. [She also shows us a page with a representation of ‘The Goddess Diana’*]

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Diana and Matthews relationship goes from strength to strength, after she invites him over to Dinner – in which albeit, whilst conversing over the flavours in the wine they’re drinking, she makes the mistake of asking the question “What would I taste like” This does not go down well. But despite this, they work their way back to a decent evening. The following day, Diana goes to the Bodleian to try to recall back Ashmole 782, in this she does not succeed. She is again accosted by Knox, and in his frustration he attacks Sean (Diana’s friend) and maaaan did he pick the wrong day to challenge her. Diana erupts in Witchwind, and one so powerful that it sends Knox crashing against the walls of The Bod. But she loses control of it quickly, not knowing what this power is that’s emanating from her. Matthew reaches her in time to calm the storm she’s brewing.

Bringing her back to her rooms, she passes out and sleeps for 10 hours – exhausted by the Witchwind. When she wakes Matthew tells her she has to leave Oxford, and that no witch has summoned Witchwind for centuries – after some discussion he tells her he’s taking her home with him to France (Sept Tours*) – that she’ll be safe there and that no witch would dare trespass on Vampire Lands. This is followed by a particularly raw and lovely moment. The casting could not have picked two people more suited to play the roles of this pair. The episode leaves us off on an exciting springboard – we await our journey to France, and meeting Mademoiselle De Clermont for the first time..

GIF made by Mia for TGON

What we’ve learned about the ADOW world from this episode:

– A witch cannot lie to another witch* They can tell if another witch is withholding the truth or telling half-truths/ outright lies.

– After Knox threatening Diana in The Bod and her releasing Witchwind, back in her rooms when Diana is resting – Marcus comes over to Matthew to discuss things. After agreeing not to take on Knox (as he’s a member of the Congregation and it wouldn’t be seen as a direct challenging of him, but rather of the Congregation as a whole; the Congregation is a authoritarian/dictatorship – Essentially The Catholic Church) Matthew tells Marcus “I’ve never felt so.. protective. Over anyone.” Considering that we know Matthew is at the very least 500 years old, this is quite a statement.

– Diana’s emerging powers seem to be highly powerful – Matthew comments that no witch has been able to summon Witchwind for centuries*

– We can also garner information about Diana’s magic. We see in the first two episodes that she actively avoids using her power, and in the beginning of this episode she admits to Matthew that she’s “never been very good at casting spells”. Yet, Matthew figures out her magic is instinctive, her moving the manuscript out of the way when Matthew attempts to spill red wine on it. And this pales in comparison to the spectacular display of power that occurs when she and Sean are threatened. Again instinctive and immediate magic pours out from her.

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