Television

A Discovery of Witches – S02 E02 Review & Recap

"You are a Weaver Diana, a maker of spells"

This episode begins with Diana’s worry about being in a city full of witches and yet not finding one who is able, and or willingt to teach her. Back at Sept Tours, Diana’s aunts have moved into the De Clermont’s residence in France, much to the chagrin of Ysabeau. Meanwhile, stepping back into his old life, Matthew struggles to balance the unique positions in court and politics that he was embroiled in. Being a spy for the Queens herself, on the board of the Congregation (in the seat of the De Clermont’s), and operating as the reclusive Matthew Roydon in the School of Night. And there’s the matter of Andrew Hubbard… the Father of all creatures. A Vampire who “rules over the city of London” sends one of his errand boys to tell Matthew that he is expected to bring Diana to him at once, to be “adopted.” Once one is officially adopted into Father Hubbard’s clan, you are part of his family; they get safety as a benefit but are also partially controlled by him.

Part of this ritual of adoption is a drop of blood from each creature, which Hubbard claims “reveals the content of their souls.” In reality, it reveals their secrets. And knowledge is power. Personally, having read and adored the books, the casting choice for Andrew Hubbard was very far from satisfactory. They capture the eerie sense of him that we read about in the books, but none of the paternal and elderly half-charm. His face and countenance simply translate a mix of sinister and seedy. We then watch Satu return home to her little cottage in the woods to confront her mother, she rebukes her for not telling her the truth about herself and her powers. Confirming that she is a Weaver, we also learn that others of her kind throughout history had been hunted down and eradicated by other witches. Witches that were jealous of those set apart, Weavers, that can create new spells, craft magic, and bend it to their will, instead of being stuck using the spells of others and being limited in their power.

We then meet a new character struck from the threads of history, Mary Sidney, to whom Matthew introduces his wife to. Unsurprisingly, she and Diana immediately find a kindred soul connection as headstrong and whip-smart women of science. But an unfortunate incident occurs when Diana fades into a sort of trance and turns a snake that was decorating Mary Sidney’s shoe into a real one that slithers across the ground.

GIF made by Mia McVey for The Game of Nerds

We see a different side to Matthew, as Kit warned us we would in the previous episode. The cloak of his past involves a very different ‘Matt‘ to viewers and to the readers of the books, here we’re seeing an ale-swilling, gambling, and card-playing jack-the-lad. Donning a beard, and earring, and even in one scene, a daring hat in the shadowed streets of London. His many intersecting roles in this time-period clash repeatedly, and at times, violently. Making the many ties he has with various organizations and individuals tenuous and leaving us feeling off-kilter into what we now think this man capable of. A far cry from the university don, always kitted out in a black suit, leaping in to help Diana at a the slightest hint of trouble.

Later, whilst out on a exploratory stroll of the blackfriars, Diana runs into Sophie Norman’s ancestor again, and invites her back to the house. She instructs Diana to do a simple test, only if she passes will she contact the head of the Coven. Only this simple test proves to be not quite so simple. Diana fails the test, but in actuality, circumvents and surpasses it. Instead of “Getting the contents of this egg into the bowl without using your hands.” Diana hatches the egg after whispering to herself, “Magic is desire made real. After which, Sophie tells her she’ll inform Goody Alsop (the leader of their coven and England’s most powerful witch).

GIF made by Mia McVey for The Game of Nerds

We finally get to meet Goody Alsop!! Anyone who has read the book’s anticipation has been building ever since we got a hint that we would be meeting this incredibly revered witch. Who tells her, “I have waited a long time for you, Diana; the Auguries foretold your arrival.” Followed by a striking admission,

“The three of us are all that is left of our kind. Weavers. You are a Weaver, a maker of spells. We are rare creatures; we have been hunted down and forced into hiding. Sadly, the greatest threat to our safety is our own kind. Envy and fear are powerful forces.” Not only that, but we discover that Diana’s father was also a Weaver; knowing that Diana would follow his path, he crafted a spell. Goody is able to see the last threads of his spellbinding. Seeing it was made with love to protect Diana from those who would seek out her power.

This right here is one of the big things that attracts me to this series, the social message it instills, confronting discrimination and intolerance—shining a light on the ludacris fear of that which is different. Even within one’s own kind. As Diana says to Peter Knox when he rebukes her relationship with Matthew: “I’m not a bigot like you.” The different species in this series (humans, witches, vampires, and Daemons) have always been forced into segregation. Relationships or even friendships between them have literally been declared illegal under The Covenant. They are tearing down these walls and barriers put up between the species fighting against any kind of injustice or inequality. Be it species-related, ethnicity, gender, etc. Diana preaching her beliefs about acceptance and tolerance is a huge draw for viewers. These kinds of beliefs being knitted into supernatural series are an incredible way to teach embodied empathy to anyone watching it. You obviously root against injustice whilst watching a series, any kind of feeling that one species, gender, race, etc…. translates to being less than/ inferior cna be left behind in historyu where ignorance belongs. But then, of course, the same logic must hold for the human world. And we’re HERE FOR IT!!

GIF made by Mia McVey for The Game of Nerds

Last but not least, we see the strange and ever-creepy Father Hubbard writing a letter with a very particular seal… That’s all for this episode. While enjoying it, it does feel like we’re laying the groundwork, setting the scene for the more exciting or scintillating parts in future episodes to come.

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