Television

A Discovery of Witches – E08 Finale Review

As always, I have long appreciated just how much this series has stuck to the books, there is a constant stream of direct lines taken verbatim, to scenes that might be altered slightly but the core and beauty that was the writing of the trilogy has been perfectly captured in a completely different medium. As per usual we end on an intriguing cliff-hanger, Diana about to walk into the claws of Juliette Durand. Gerbert’s child, the one who was groomed to intrigue Matthew in centuries past. This woman was nearly curated to become his desire, his obsession, to infiltrate his heart. Though its clear Matthew has moved on, she seems to be unravelling internally. As Miriam said in a previous episode, “Eternity is a long time to be chasing a man who doesn’t want you Juliette.” Alas, Juliette heeded no one’s advice. After being manipulated by Domenico into hunting down Diana and figuring out exactly what it was that drew Matthew to her. Knowing that Matthew centuries prior was far from someone who was a fan of or supported witches. In an eerily voyeuristic moment, Juliette demands that he kiss Diana in front of her to see how it was that she drew him in, or threatens to “make her bleed”.

We see a further progression of Diana’s powers come out – having previously seen that most of her powers emerge from feeling rather than concentrating. Though it is never expressly said in the television series, in the book Matthew observes that Diana mostly uses her powers when she’s not actively thinking. “When you’re moving, you don’t think – not with the rational part of your mind, at least. You’re somewhere else entirely when you row or run. Without your mind keeping your gifts in check out they come.” (ADOW Chapter. 17) Now watching her love get slashed by Juliette, again she needn’t think, she simply becomes magic. With the third of her elemental powers coming into play, WitchFire.

Her bargain with the goddess to save Matthews life is one that highly intrigued me. This exact plot progression was in the book too. The goddess says she “requires a life”, but oddly, not the actual life of someone, as in killing that person for her to take the living aspect of someone away. But the goddess wants hers. Not to kill Diana, but to use her for some future purposes. As we know the goddess is power incarnate, so she must have some serious plans for the long run of this relationship/ tale. Diana, after accidentally and inadvertently timewalking, realises this is something they could do to escape the Congregation, they could hide.. in time. So she begins practicising, first simply to another place in the same time, and then eventually back in time, making further and further jumps.

Diana’s test results are also something to consider. Miriam tells Matthew when Diana is recovering that they will need to run further tests on her blood. Her DNA is filed with something they thought impossible. Going against the data that they’ve been building for years and years. Meanwhile they start getting nudgings about a particular time in Matthews past. The House sends a poppet down the chimney, but inside it is an earring of Ysabeau’s. Puzzling, how it managed to find itself trapped in a magical object the house had taken years prior. Hamish arriving with a few extra guests in tow, tells us that the earring was not an accident, or misleading. For another object of that exact period arrives with Sophie. Not just the exact period, as Matthew tells us “that chess piece was in the same place as this earring, on the same night.” All Hallows Eve. The veil between worlds has always been believed to be very thin on All Hallows Eve – this being where the concept of Halloween came from. Which results in them crrectly concluding that it would be far easier to make a gigantic time jump on a night already filled with magic.

Though we have seen Sophie and Nat several times this is the first time that they meet the rest of the group. They come along with Hamish to see Diana and Matthew in her home. Sophie bringing something that had been passed down through her family for generations. We see a small statue being handed over. Though as we know from the previous seven episodes, nothing is ever just one thing in A Discovery of Witches series. This is (A) a statuesque representation of Diana, the Goddess of the Hunt. Then Matthew chimes in that “It’s a chess piece, the White Queen. I lost that in a wager, on All Souls night a very long time ago.” (B) A chess piece and (C) The White Queen, which has been referenced in the books on several occasions as it mimics Matthews behaviour towards Diana.

Hamish “There’s more to the game than protecting your queen. Why do you find it so difficult to remember that it’s the king who’s not expendable?”

Matthew “The king just sits there, moving one square at a time. The queen can move so freely. I suppose I’d rather lose the game than forfeit her freedom.”

It is also known by Chapter thirty-five of the book that when the magical house sends out from the wall an envelope for Diana, her name written in her father’s hand.  Which contained a note, along with one of the three missing pages from the Book of Life. The Alchemical Wedding. The female being the White Queen, but also bearing Matthews Insignia. Much to consider with imagery, especially Alchemical Imagery, when so much of it was science hidden in forms. Food for thought.

As expected for our ever-progressive strive against injustice ideologies knitted in throughout the series, We see Nat and Marcus discussing the Congregation and how problematic its rulebooks are.

Marcus “The problem is that those rules haven’t actually changed since they established them during the crusades.”

Nat “That’s what I mean, the Congregation using ancient texts to corroborate modern prejudices.”

Any discussion about interspecies mingling or interactions is done so with a heavily felt, pressure. The antiquated ideas about segregation, inferiority due to arbitrary markers like Ethnicity, Race, Species, religious beliefs, gender identity etc. They’re all invisible barriers put up around those who are Othered, or Spivak’s ‘Subaltern’. To keep from any mixing being done through genetics. The series is shot in modern day times, but this concept of ideals, traditions, and ones that are primarily bound by problematic and patriarchal xenophobic beliefs. We can only assume that this is giving us some heavy foreshadowing when Matthew and Diana arrive in the past. Though Satu, Gerbert and Knox all arrive at the Bishops family house in Madison, seconds before they enter the house, Diana timewalks.. leaving us in the dark before wrapping up this glorious season’s finale. But leaving you So. Damned. Curious. And wishing that the second one was out already to binge it in all its glory and magic.

Expectations for the second series*

  • Two characters in particular i am beyond exciting to see brought to life from the pages of her novels. Jack and Phillipe. I want the mischievous sides to Jack and his adorable yet cheeky disposition.
  • The idea of “threads” and how they will be done graphically, what kind of CGI plan for they have for them? These threads that bind the universe together.

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