The highly anticipated second series of A Discovery of Witches has finally arrived! Before the first season of the television series had come out – it already got renewed for the following two series. Not just for the one immediately following, and then, as many companies do, wait again to see the response to the second series before greenlighting the final installment that will be season three. Of course, fans were thrilled to hear that they were definitely going to get the entire series with no threat of it not being renewed to capture the last of the trilogy on screen.
What is slightly different about the television series is that when Matthew and Diana disappear, with Peter Knox and Satu about to break into their house. They arrive in and inspect the bedroom, sensing that magic has just taken place, and knowing that they were in that spot in the room moments, ago. One queries whether the sense they feel is from a cloaking spell before they suspect the truth, Timewalking.
In the novel, they have no knowledge or even speculation that Diana is a Timewalker until the third book. But back to our first episode in this delightful new time period. Of course, Deborah Harkness being an American scholar and historian – the details that are woven into the books and the television adaptation are incredibly beguiling. Even the slow pace detail of Diana getting dressed in the correct attire, the close-up shots of the corsets the bum roll, even the positioning of the neck roll.
For Diana, a historian, meeting Lord Henry Percy, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Kit Marlowe in the flesh, excitement doesn’t quite cover it. Though of course, tortured Kit is anything but friendly to Diana, being that his affection for Matthew is powerful. The concept of Retrogression is definitely at the crux of the beginning of this series. Though Baldwin had warned Diana that her Matthew won’t be the same back in time that he is with her in the present. Diana, and the audience thinking Matthew above those kinds of regressions. Retrogression is the process of returning to an earlier state, typically a worse one. ) Turns out that even Matthew DeClermont isn’t above falling prey to such troubles.
What intrigued me most and captured my every bit of attention in this episode, was Diana’s private conversation with Kit Marlowe beside the fireplace. The cinematographers have not lost their spark, the scenery of sets of Elizabethan London entrancing its audiences perfectly. That feeling of listening to a diabolical conversation or speech that literally lifts the hairs on your arms was something that was apparent in spades during their talk.
Kit – “If you are sincere in your affection then you deserve a warning. Your Matthew is different. Gentler, I think. Being back here, wearing the cloak of his old self, will change him. His work, his enemies, even his allies. By the end of it, he will not be your Matthew any longer. I have seen Matthew at his worst, and I fear you are out of your depth.
Diana – With respect, you don’t know me.
Kit – “When you met him, he singled you out. You were entirely uncommon. Exceptional in a way that he could not define. And although there was a darkness in him it was somehow as though you had always known him. The way he talked it was as if all those many lifetimes he’d lived before were just marking time. Until he met you.”
Another moment that inspired this feeling and fascination was watching Sophie’s ancestor sit down with Diana to assess her in terms of her power. Asking Diana to perform basic tests all witches should be able to accomplish. Unsurprisingly, she fails at this, (anyone who’s read the novels won’t find this a surprise…) But then in an attempt to light the wick on a candle, she turns fresh and perfectly ripe pears and watch them endure the course of time and it begins to mold, the powers of life and death it appears are making an appearance.
I had been hoping for a more spectacular display of powers now that we’re diving into the second season, but like the time period that we have found ourselves in, Delayed Gratification could be a tool being utilized on us, the audience. That, and making us feel like we’ve to work for it, won’t just be doled out on request. All in all, an intriguing pilot for this season. We’ll be keen to see what happens in the next installation.