Monday, January 25, 2021

"A Discovery of Witches" | S2:E3 | An Analysis (contains details of E3)

The following analysis is solely my own. Some of it offers an opinion while recapping portions of the episode. The analysis below is intended to focus on a particular aspect of the story or aspect of a character. This may or may not recap every moment and may not cover every character of the episode. Anything written for this post is created by the blog's author who is an inspired fan with the intention of promoting the work. If you enjoy reading this, please leave a comment here or on Instagram @thataddamsgirl.

Episode runtime 44 minutes including the recap.

Shudder TV episode descriptionMatthew and Diana search for the Book of Life. They later meet with Queen Elizabeth.

If you have not watched episode 3 of season 2, please do not read further to not be spoiled.

The before-opening-credits scene is set in present-day Oxford, England. Domenico Michele (Gregg Chillin) of The Congregation in Venice, Italy, has just found out that something got the munchies for human blood. The gory, nasty neck wound appears to be from a vampire. Domenico has tight connections with the police so he hears about it first. 

He tells Gerbert D’Aurillac (Trevor Eve) upon reaching Venice, Italy, that it was obvious the person was a victim of "uncontrolled feeding" and correlates it to the "infected bloodline" of the de Clermonts (more insight into the bloodline to come in E4; the words "blood rage" first come up in S1, E5 when Ysabeau talks about turning Matthew into a vampire). Gerbert would like nothing more than to take them down. Domenico and Gerbert discuss negotiating that if it turns out to help Gerbert, that Domenico gets back control of Venice because its image as a civilization is tarnished; long overdue for an upgrade. Vampires don't like humans that much, and Domenico has an even worse attitude about the tourism that has ruined the city he calls home.
The dead body in Oxford.
Gerbert D’Aurillac
Trevor Eve as Gerbert D’Aurillac wearing the red socks ordered from The Vatican that are made for all popes.
He was a pope back in the day.
At Sept-Tours, Emily Mather (Valarie Pettiford) is calling up the spirit of Diana's mother Rebecca. "This path is closed to evil," she says and that hints to us that this is for her protection. Five candles are strategically arranged to represent the pentagram's five points. Smoke rises in front of her and an unfamiliar face of a woman emerges before she whooshes it away. Hopefully, we'll see or learn more in E4.

Emily Mather portrayed by Valarie Pettiford
At the end of E2, we saw Matthew snap the neck of the prisoner Tom Caldwell at the Tower of London. He did it to spare his suffering because Lord Cecil Burghley (Adrian Rawlins) wanted him to name names of other witches acting against the queen. Killing him was the only alternative because letting him go free would have jeopardized his relationship with Diana.
A sign of the cross over the dead (from E2 S2, Matthew Goode plays Matthew Roydon, a Catholic serving Queen Elizabeth I)
After the opening credits, we find Matthew in his secret files room at the Hart and Crown, kneeling on his prayer cushion, praying to a crucifix on the wall, up to the line, "On Earth as it is in Heaven." Cut to Fr. Andrew Hubbard (Paul Rhys), the vampire king of London, walking through the sanctuary of his cloisters, Matthew quickly following from behind. Matthew explains that he wants Hubbard's forgiveness for killing the prisoner. His going to Hubbards differs from the novel Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness, for which S2 is based. Of course, from S2 E1 we heard Marthe say he's evolved, that is, evolved beyond the role of a torturer.

Matthew says that his stepfather Philippe will appreciate Hubbard forgiving him, the subtext being that it can incentivize Philippe to send Hubbard a monetary donation in return. Hubbard is gonna have to think about it. Remember, he already has sent a message to Philippe telling him what Matthew did, so isn't that enough? Hubbard still thinks Matthew has changed because of Diana, but Matthew denies it.

Alchemical experiments with Mary Sidney (Amanda Hale)
 and Diana Roydon (Teresa Palmer)
Mary Sidney invites Diana to perform some experiments and her search for the book comes up. She refers Diana to Dr. Dee because she knows Dee will have it or he will know who has it. Diana is excited to not only have a science lab buddy, but she's grateful for her connections in the literary world.
A beautiful pastoral setting for Dr. Dee's library.
[Alternate dialogue: What's the library's lending policy?]
"I'm going to have a hell of a time getting you out of here."


[Alternate dialogue: Diana, the boat will sink if
we take all of the books home.
[Alternate dialogue: You can see I'm in a corset and eight layers
of fabric. Don't make me laugh!
Matthew fishes Dr. Dee for information about the disposition of the queen in asking about the recent visit she had with him. "Was she in good humor?" We're not in earshot of Dee's answer. The scene efficiently follows most of what happens in the Shadow of Night, in which Dr. Dee discovers that the book he was supposed to have been given by Emporer Rudolph in Bohemia upon return sees that it was not the book at all. We get the lowdown that Edward Kelley is a slick guy who is likely in possession of this book, which Dee assures contains "the secret method to obtaining immortality." Diana is holding back her delight.

Indeed, the pieces of the puzzle are falling into place as Matthew offers to take the wrong book back to Edward Kelley in Bohemia and retrieve the book that Dee was supposed to bring back. Diana suggests later that they could just go to Bohemia for the book in response to Matthew trying to recall who was his contact with Emporer Rudolph in 1590. Surely, walking up to the Emperor's castle in Prague and knocking on the door would work, yeah?

[Alternative dialogue: Certainly, you thought up a
 plan to get the book, right?
Diana arrives at her first day of weaver training under the teachings of Goody Alsop (Sheila Hancock) and The Rede. Just like in Shadow of Night, Matthew escorts her to the location. Notice a precious, flirtatious moment when the actor, Teresa Palmer portraying Diana, turns to tell him she'll be okay as she blinks just before she turns to go inside.

The lesson involves assessing which of the four elements are part of Diana's intuitive magic, and it comes down to her seeing the threads of each of them -- air, earth, water, and fire. Her awkwardness at first is due to her impatience. When she returns the next time, she's much more confident, and upon weaving the third knot, there occurs a spectacular moment of her arms thrusting into the air as a rowan tree emerges into the space above her, brilliantly lit up with golden light; her arms form the branches. Goody Alsop and The Rede are incredulous as Diana shows them her power. The tree represents the world beyond this world, and Goody declares that Diana is "truly a weaver."

As Diana is leaving the building, Susanna Norman (Aisling Loftus) stops her and tells Diana that she's powerful to which Diana asks her why she's not able to control her magic. Her response is, "Magic feeds from all aspects of your life. Everything is intertwined." 

Look at S1 E6 to see her parents appear to Diana; "Magic is in the heart," she says, and then she flies up to the opening of the oubliette after being tortured by Satu. It's in that episode that her parents first speak of her being connected to Matthew who is the "Shadow Prince," the figure in the tale her mother tells her while her father performs a spell to suppress Diana's power, protecting her from Peter Knox.

Rich colors and fabrics complete each detail
in the 16th-century costumes.
Hair and accessories capture each authentic detail.
Diana is at the beginning of her training and also at the beginning of building a life with Matthew. How Diana will be able to control her magic is yet to be seen. She meets later with Goody, and circles back on this topic in saying that "magic is connected to my intuition and emotions, and they are connected to Matthew." Susanna perhaps has the same power to see this in Diana as Sophie saw Diana in her dreams in S1. We learned at the end of E6 in S1 that she uses her magic out of need; protecting herself, her friends, and Matthew. Look back in S2 E1 when she tells Matthew, "You don't protect me, we protect each other." She's following what Goody taught her so far and using her intuition in an effort to hone her power. 

Sheila Hancock as Goody Alsop is always amazing in using her props to show her emotions, but even more so when she demonstrates the bond she has developed between her and Diana, knowing it means she won't be there to guide her through learning to weave spells.

In Matthew's world, he visits Kit and seeks background details about what's happening in Bohemia. We briefly saw some of Kit's home in E2, but now we see clearly he lives sparsely, like a writer always in need of money. His home is mainly consisting of paper, books, a desk, and a table.

Kit tells Matthew that Bohemia is run by a mad man and that he needs to stay "focused on what's closer to home," referring to his duty to the queen. The idea of losing Matthew is in the back of his mind, too. Matthew uses this time to fish for what Cecil knows of Diana. Kit doesn't give him a straight answer. He only admits that Cecil can tell something is amiss with Matthew's uncharacteristic behavior.

When returning with Diana after her lesson, waiting at the Hart and Crown is Cecil Burghley who determines immediately that Matthew is different because of his sympathy for her kind -- witches. It doesn't matter that Diana tries to persuade Cecil that witches have been loyal and don't want trouble. Cecil commands that Matthew and Diana see the queen the next day.

Matthew immediately tells Kit that Cecil, indeed, knows Diana is a witch and accuses Kit of letting the secret out. "Lies come sweetly to you, don't they?" he growls.

Matthew Goode uses the low ceiling beam on the set -- it already makes him appear bigger, threatening -- slamming his hand on the beam in anger, accusing Kit of endangering Diana, and he's coming between them and not acting as a friend. When Matthew ducks under it, Kit physically stiffens his body anticipating an attack. Tension is like that in E1 when Matthew tells Kit that if he mentions Diana to anyone again, that he will end him. What will happen the next time Kit crosses Matthew's path?

The support beam behind Matthew's head
doubles as a filing system.
[Alt. dialogue: You are so handsome when you're mad, Matthew.]
(Tom Hughes as Kit Marlowe).
The wider angle depicts Kit as slightly smaller than Matthew.
"You stay away from us both."
Kit being eager to convince Matthew that he didn't betray his trust, pays an unscheduled visit to Cecil to find out who told Cecil this news. It should have been him, is Cecil's response because that's why he pays him. It's a confirmation that Kit is a spy for Cecil, "but only when it best suits [him]." Kit, desperate to win back Matthew's trust, asks Cecil to tell Matthew that it wasn't him, but Cecil is above that nonsense. How will Kit fix this so he doesn't lose Matthew? Should he write an apologetic poem?

Countess of Pembroke, Mary Sidney, is turning out to be a much more valuable friend when she delivers to Diana a dress to prepare her for meeting Queen Elizabeth.
"I'm here to make sure your armor is worthy of the battle to come."
Perfectly stated. Diana is unprepared to meet Queen Elizabeth, being a witch and a woman beyond her time.
Lizzie's disdain toward witches is apparent. "I will compel my husband to adhere only to your will," says Diana, speaking to the Queen of Matthew's loyalty to the Crown. The Queen sees through this saying, "She's clever. Too clever," and fortunately, she moves the conversation to reveal that she heard that they were with her astrologer, Dr. Dee. 
Barbara Marten portrays Queen Elizabeth I aka Lizzie.
Exquisite detail in the costume, makeup and hair.
Speaking through her rotten teeth, Lizzie asks if the book that they're seeking has anything to do with the Philosopher's Stone. The Queen is wary of what happens if the "key to eternal life ... the limitless riches, fall into Hapsburg's hands." She can't get to Edward Kelley using her ambassadors because Emperor Rudolf refused them entry. She is counting on Matthew to use his powers of persuasion to bring her Edward Kelley so she can "lock him in the Tower until he creates the Philosopher's Stone." And then she will let Matthew off the hook for snapping the neck of the prisoner and for not being forthcoming upon his return from up north, i.e., presenting his wife Diana to the court as per protocol. Matthew volunteers his assistance while Diana watches and listens -- he's got himself backed into another "corner," in essence, extending their time in the past beyond what they had in mind.
Never turn your back on the Queen, especially when it is obvious the conversation has finished and you must leave.
A note on observing how much the use of natural light in S2 reminds me of the film Barry Lyndon. The candlelight and sunlight are used as much as possible for a feeling of authenticity. It's beautiful even though often dark.
Sweeping Uncle Matthew off of his feet.


Saving the best to begin the third act of this chapter, we finally meet an infamous vampire out of the book Shadow of Night. The fun won't be spoiled by detailing how he enters the scene. If you are at all familiar with the intellect of predators, in this case, vampires, guessing an opponent's offensive strategy has helped them survive for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Thank goodness for a gag in what's been a rough 24 hours for Matthew -- Lizzie summoning them, Burghley Bossypants, distrustful Kit, and remember, Fr. Hubbard hasn't forgiven him for murder.

Gallowglass (Steven Cree) is Matthew's nephew. As he's being introduced to Diana his keen senses are alerted that she's a witch. He's got a Scottish accent, thicker than Hamish's accent, and we already know his name because Kit mentions that Matthew was meant to be in Scotland with Gallowglass in E1. Gallowglass received a message from a courier to pass along for which Matthew is caught off guard, appearing stunned upon seeing the wax seal on the note in front of him. It's from his stepfather Philippe de Clermont.
The note sent by courier to Matthew Roydon from Philippe de Clermont.
If ever there was a time to say, "F^ckity f^ck f^ck," this is it.
The emotional rollercoaster that Matthew goes through from joy at reuniting with his nephew to seeing the note. Later describing his last memories are of his stepfather going insane. (Ysabeau, Matthew's mother, said in S1 E5 that it was witches who killed Philippe. Here Matthew says it was the Nazis who tortured Philippe into insanity).

Nice that they include in the adaptation the symbolism from Shadow of Night in referencing Philippe's coin on the seal inside the letter that tests the loyalty of anyone he summons. Matthew at first is wistful, and then serious, and becomes sad as he breathlessly describes how Philippe "could barely hold a pen the last time" he saw him.

Matthew pushed the thought of Philippe from his mind in E1 of this season, being of the mindset that they're going to get what they need and leave as soon as possible. Diana listens patiently and supports him by saying that it will "Reopen old wounds, but heal them, too." She doesn't know what she doesn't know but it sounds really soothing. Of course, Matthew knows the wounds, and Philippe's aim does not avoid them. "Not before making them worse, I assure you," is his response to her. Indeed, the [wine] "glass half empty."

Emotionally fraught, he warns her that he'll "be dragging her through a war," to which Diana thinks he means the Siege of Paris. He shuts his eyes, implying "not that war, Diana." Next, he recalls something his father told him,
"mating was destiny, and when I found, that I would just have to accept my fate. But that's not how it works. In every moment, for the rest of my life, I will be choosing you." 
I take this to mean that before he met Diana, and chose her to be his mate, his decisions didn't have to factor in a partner, or the consequences to their lives as a result of his choices. His destiny held little weight until he met her. "From this moment on, we will always be one," he said in E5 of S1. Vampires mate for life. At the close of S1, he relinquishes his title of Grand Master of the Knights of Lazarus, asking Marcus to take over; letting go of that role to time walk to another time and place, to find the book that may save the creatures, but most of all, to keep him and Diana safe from the Congregation.
"I'll be dragging you through a war."
[Alt. dialogue: Where the f^ck is Pierre with the wine?!]
If by this point you're wondering how Matthew and Diana can journey from England to France, and also factor in the search for Ashmole 782 in Bohemia, watch how Matthew tenderly shows Jack (Joshua Pickering) where on the globe the journey will take them. But Jack has to stay behind. His nurturing of Jack actually is a side of Matthew we are only beginning to see. Diana is now Jack's mother, so she thoughtfully leaves him a parting gift to hang onto until they see him again. The miniature portraits of Matthew and Diana are so perfect in capturing their images, and also, match the description of the art described in Shadow of Night.
Steven Cree portrays Gallowglass
Gallowglass (Steven Cree)
[Alt. dialogue: Just tell me. Am I your favorite nephew?]
Gallowglass tells Diana that he's not going to take them further than to Mont St. Michel over the fact that the French killed his father. He also implores her to be an "anchor" for Matthew or "he may lose himself at Sept-Tours." [Is this family visit gonna be fun, or what!?]

Three episodes into this season and for the next seven episodes, their experiences could be life-altering. We may soon see:
⭐ more of Gallowglass!
⭐ Philippe!
⭐ 16th Century costumes, and 

I can't wait for more of "A Discovery of Witches"!

You can watch the show on Shudder or Sundance Now. In the U.S., subscribing to AMC+ provides four networks in one bundle that includes those two mentioned as well as AMC and IFC Films. More photos, videos, and other updates on the A Discovery of Witches Facebook site.

Monday, January 18, 2021

"A Discovery of Witches" | S2:E2 | An Analysis (contains details of E2)

The following analysis is solely my own. Some of it offers an opinion while recapping portions of the episode. The analysis below is intended to focus on a particular aspect of the story or aspect of a character. Anything written for this post is created by the blog's author who is an inspired fan with the intention of promoting the work. If you enjoy reading this, please leave a comment here or on Instagram @thataddamsgirl.

Episode runtime 44 minutes including the recap.

Shudder TV episode description"Diana meets the head of a local coven. Matthew grows more at home in his old life." 

If you have not watched episode 2 of season 2, please do not read further to not be spoiled.

A Discovery of Witches logo

Episode 2 feels much more condensed. The story moves quickly in its adapted version from book two, Shadow of Night, of the All Souls Trilogy, the series of novels written by Deborah Harkness. 

The second season also delivers stellar opening credits blending images of S1 and S2. Some of the sequences use a silhouette technique, reminiscent of the earliest silhouette animation work of Lotte Reiniger. Reiniger's work is all done by hand, whereas here it is a digital product.
As episode 2 opens, we see Diana Bishop's Aunt Sarah (Alex Kingston) making the bed at Sept-Tours, an old French castle, talking to her partner/wife Emily Mather (Valarie Pettiford). It is possible the temperature in France in early November is chilly. The two witches wear a layered winter ensemble, perhaps as a metaphor for how they feel living around a couple of vampires--when a vampire looks at a witch, the feeling is like icicles on their skin. While Matthew and Diana together timewalked, the women traveled from Madison, NY to live under the protection of Matthew's vampire mother, Ysabeau (Lindsay Duncan) and the de Clermont family servant Marthe (Sorcha Cusack). Ysabeau used to hunt witches, so Sarah seems a little edgy about being near her.
Stoke the fire if you're cold, Sarah (right).
Emily (left) is holding the page that depicts art
representing Matthew and Diana;
cut from Ashmole 782 aka The Book of Life.
Marthe speaks with Ysabeau mentioning that Matthew "has evolved" and it's Marthe's idea that the witches share a dinner table with her and Ysabeau. It's ballsy of Marthe saying, "Because Matthew would expect you to." Well, she is correct.
The Tower of London looms in the distance in
many shots of London during S2.
Ravens are heard and seen in the distance,
as a tradition with the Tower.
Father (Fr.) Andrew Hubbard has a connection to a few characters of the second season. It's revealed that Hubbard was first a priest and has also been a vampire since the Black Plague of the mid-14th century. Matthew explains to Diana that Hubbard believes in the Divine Resurrection because he was dying, dug himself his grave, and then woke up as a newly sired vampire even though no one, yet, has come forward as his "maker." He rules the City of London and takes in "lost souls" under his protection. First he drinks their blood to see into their soul. The fact is that the act of vampires drinking from humans allows them to acquire the human's secrets. Fr. Hubbard has the charm and gentleness of a cult leader on the surface, bestowing the word of God to his "flock." But in no way would Matthew and Diana trust him for protection. 
Father Andrew Hubbard, vampire ruler
in the City of London (Paul Rhys)
Hubbard's men corner Matthew saying he has to bring Diana to Hubbard's that very night. Matthew insists that she not let Hubbard get a drop of her blood or their secret will get out. Diana, frustrated by this new development, asks Matthew why he hasn't said anything about this until now. Kit Marlowe (Tom Hughes) sees this friction between them. He doesn't hesitate to tell her that's what sucks about being a time spinner without having lived in that time. [If it were me, I'd flip him off.] He advises Matthew to "re-inhabit" his "old life... before you get yourself killed," but this suggestion is making Matthew feel even more pressure.

Once arriving at Hubbard's cloisters; Diana's heartbeat is audible, he immediately recognizes that the scar of Matthew's bite on Diana's neck is a problem. Matthew is not so easily intimidated with Hubbard offering protection of Diana and says that Hubbard can tell "his flock" that they're part of the family, but he's not going to get a drop of Diana's blood. The witches would kill Matthew for taking her blood without her consent; she'd have to leave England. Diana takes control and tells Hubbard that it was to "save Matthew's life" and he seems to be satisfied with her answer, but warns her, "Nothing happens in London without my blessing." 

At the end of E1 of S2, we saw Matthew Roydon (his identity in 1590) ordering the torture of a prisoner in the Tower. He's there as ordered by his stepfather Philippe to spy for Queen Elizabeth I. He identifies Catholics and interrogates people accused of treason against the queen, which lately happens to be mainly witches.

In E2, Matthew notices Lord Cecil Burghley (Adrian Rawlins) interrogating and ordering another witch Thomas Caldwell (Louis Maskell) to be tortured. Burghley wants Caldwell to name other treasonists. As Matthew passes by, he stops for a few seconds, and the prisoner screams in pain. He won't intervene; it would make him a sympathizer. Burghley later tells Matthew that the queen is upset by the nasty things witches say under torture, particularly blasphemous things about the Crown. She worries that they're turning against her. Matthew is put in charge of questioning Caldwell even after he tries to remind Burghley that they don't involve themselves with human affairs. Nice try, but Burghley insists that Matthew find out what is being "plotted" against the queen using "any means necessary." [Oh, bother!]

Matthew torturing and killing witches vs. hunting for a wild animal--not quite the same. He's not sucking the blood of witches, yet, to find out any secrets. In S1, Matthew drank from his brother Baldwin, the witch Gillian, and Diana, though that last one was because he was on the brink of death. Each time he saw inside their mind. How well Matthew maintains self-control now that he's back in 1590 is still to be seen. He was doing alright before time walking; not giving in to his hunger for blood and the desire to kill. We haven't seen him actually hunt and eat anything, like the time he chased his meal of an elk to pacify his craving Diana in S1 E2? So, what is nourishing Matthew?
Open carry of a broad sword with a leather ensemble
 of the late 16th century. (Matthew, Kit and Peckham.)
Burghley's got Matthew under his thumb with
the cases against witches accused of treason;
he's caught hanging out with Kit, and dodging his responsibility to the Crown by a Whitehall clerk named Peckham (Tom Lewis).

Matthew Goode (right) and Teresa Palmer (left) are at home in their characters in every scene they share. 
The love between their characters is still present even while they're in the middle of this conflict about his work. Yet, surely, the two are trying so hard to not burst into laughter by the end of the scene.
Later on, Matthew stumbles into Hubbard after having put off Burghley. Caldwell is unfairly being imprisoned and Hubbard believes him to be innocent so if Matthew doesn't free him, he'll send word of this situation to Philippe. He'd just love to hear about Matthew mating with a witch, no? [Hell, no.]

On top of this, Diana figures out the whole Caldwell situation so she raises the alarm about how the persecutions of witches began even though Matthew insists that they're "20 years off from the witch trials." He begs her off, his palms pressed together for emphasis, so he can finish reading the testimonials. She walks out of his secret filing room while hollering back at him that she's found a teacher.

Kit is worried about Matthew getting caught so he advises Matthew to delay Lord Burghley for as much as a few weeks while he contacts his stepfather Philippe to intervene because he could find another way, beyond what they know. Matthew just becomes angrier at the thought of Philippe finding out about Diana. He's got both Hubbard and Kit triggering his anger every time they bring up his stepfather Philippe. Kit, who earlier in a church, says to Matthew, "You've forgotten the other side of Matthew Roydon," and, again, Kit advises, "Matthew Roydon is never cruel for sport. But he is ruthlessly efficient." He tells him to not "impersonate Matthew Roydon, but to become him."

Matthew unlocks the cell, tells Caldwell, "Fr. Hubbard pleaded your case." Perplexed about seeing Matthew deliver this news, but without time to speak, Matthew unwaveringly steps towards him and twists Caldwell's neck in one motion. We watch as Matthew's face remains cold and his eyes are blank. Quickly over, no cruelty. Gently, Matthew rests the body on the stone ledge, lit by moonlight, and he kneels down over the body while signing the cross as a habit of his Catholic faith. 

To placate Lord Burghley would have been an enormous burden. Burghley is enraged, unforgiving of this mistake, and won't accept any of his excuses. As a result, in the preview of episode 3, Burghley is sending Matthew to see the queen.

A somber Matthew returns home. Diana rushes upstairs, inquiring, "Tom?" and Matthew responds, "He didn't suffer." She at first is somewhat assured, saying, "You killed him out of mercy." He sternly imparts that mercy would be Caldwell "rowing himself down the Thames." Her questions push his his patience to the limit, and he is resolute on firmly answering her, "CORRECT," when she states that the prisoner wasn't a threat to her. He kept them alive. The conversation is over. What more is there to say? 

What is the alternative? Setting him free paints him as a sympathizer, betraying the Crown, and then he'd be executed as a punishment for treason. He's trapped. But Diana can't do anything to keep him from doing his job. They have to live with the fact that in order to remain alive, they're going to need to blend in and be not of the future.

In comparison as to how the book, Shadow of Night, depicts Matthew with those accused of treason, Diana asks Matthew, "And your prisoner--is he dead?" to which he says that he didn't get there in time to stop the interrogation and he was only able to "insist that his suffering end." The book says, "Matthew had been through the man's death once before." He had not even gone to the Tower. "Today he could have remained at home and not concerned himself with a lost soul in the Tower. A lesser creature would have." The adaptation is only slightly different and Matthew is not less burdened by serving the Crown.

Yes, Kit pressing Matthew to be the Matthew Roydon of 1590, not the Matthew that has a conscience is in an effort to keep Matthew from being detected, however, it is manipulative and done partly out of his own self-interest. Earlier they shared card games, gambling with Matthew's funds. Kit is getting in between Matthew and Diana. If she wasn't there, he'd have Matthew to himself.
E2, Kit persists in getting the Matthew of 1590 back. Matthew is back to wearing an earring (vampire strength aided in pushing it into an earlobe without a hole). Kit tells Matthew, "See, now you look like Matthew Roydon."
Matthew Goode performs so honestly as if it was always meant for him to be Matthew Clairmont. He enters a scene and we believe he's lived the long, complex life of a 1500-year-old vampire, a Catholic who still prays in a church, who's also a geneticist of modern-day, and returning to a past life as a spy. The secrets and complications arise at every turn, especially the more he hides the truth, and Goode's performance demonstrates every nuance of what comes with his guilt for what he's done and is about to do to keep him and Diana alive; avoid being detected as a mated vampire and witch. 

There is a little respite from the woe, for example, in E2, Matthew goes gambling with Kit. Out with the boys having fun and forgetting about the burdens. In contrast, for the remainder of the episode, he is frequently beset by the guilt of his actions. There's no denying, though, that Matthew's carefree laughter and enthusiasm is something we fans of this character always cherish, even if fleeting.
(Aisling Loftus as Susanna Norma, scene from E1)

Diana invites the reluctant Susanna Norman back to The Hart and Crown while Matthew is not around. Diana is determined to have another test of her powers, but it's one of those spells she doesn't know. Susanna emphasizes that if her powers are too weak, there's no way she's going to get a witch to teach her anything. Diana attempts the spell of cracking an egg into a bowl without using her hands. Last time Diana could only make the fruit rot. This time she got a chick to hatch out of an egg. Susanna, now convinced, sets up a meeting for her to meet with Goody Alsop, the witch we saw in E1 of S2 who prophetically declared a powerful witch is arriving on Halloween. The meeting goes rather smoothly. Alsop imaginatively and magnificently portrayed by Sheila Hancock, explains that Diana is a weaver, a rare kind of powerful witch. Diana recalls that Satu thought she was special and perhaps this is what she meant. Alsop confirms she sees how Diana's father spellbound her to protect her, too. 

Diana has a meeting with The Rede to seek their consent so she can be taught how to use her magic (The Rede aka the Council of Witches). Susanna speaks about the relationship Diana has with a vampire, that the witches are being put in prison, and the leader does have reservations about this information. Alsop steps in and speaks on Diana's behalf. Susanna's concerns are that Diana aligned herself with a vampire and that Fr. Hubbard would disapprove of the interspecies relationship, but Susanna doesn't have a full picture. Diana doesn't hold back anything about her arriving in 1590 from the future as a time spinner aka time walker seeking knowledge from a teacher of this time. 

Furthermore, Diana goes on to explain how The Book of Life (Alsop calls it the first grimoire; the first book of spells) plays a role in her obtaining use of her power and her relationship with Matthew, plus she's trying to understand her purpose once she can master her power. It's fairly straightforward that she's the full package: her power, her relationship with a vampire, and the book. It is a pivotal moment when Alsop declares that they can all welcome her and the glowing palms of their hands make it apparent that they're united to help her learn about weaving her own spells.

The episode also covers the topic of footwear, or at least the shoes we find worn on the feet of alchemist Mary Sidney. In E1, Diana caused fruit to rot, which is mentioned briefly, half-jokingly, when it is suggested by Matthew that they inquire about a teacher with Mary Sidney (Amanda Hale), Countess of Pembroke. Diana arrives in the gorgeous home of Sidney's with every detail depicted of the life of a scientist. The background of a bright room has windows silhouetted with insect creatures painted on the glass. We see Diana is excited, but also apprehensive about meeting one of her favorite people this time. 
Mary Sidney's house.
Once they're seated, Diana simply gazes down towards the toe of Mary's shoe and spots the embroidery of a snake. In a matter of seconds, the snake begins to come alive.

We're not sure how this happens, but it helps them get onto the topic of finding a witch. It's the whole reason why they visited her. It just became awkward and slithery. Moreso, Mary fears what it would mean to help them find a witch since it turns out Matthew's secret identity is not actually a secret to her. No witch for you, but instead Mary offers her friendship; Diana agrees. Mary warns Diana about the witches being imprisoned in Scotland, so it means that she's got to keep it together so no one suspects her. Her warning doesn't help. Still, finally, Diana has a friend in Mary Sidney, a human actually, as opposed to only having vampires and a daemon to back at home.
Twice in one day, she's brought life into the world with the chick and then the snake. (Teresa Palmer)

Aside from the above, these next images, enhanced, are from the wall of Kit Marlowe's house seen in E2.
Did anyone else see the writing on the wall in the scene at 38:23 into the episode? I asked the book's author, Deb Harkness, on her Facebook Q&A of January 17, "Are they supposed to be Jack's drawings?" She answered "No."
Is that Christ on the cross above this to the right, pointed with an arrow? 
Is there a woman hanging with her hands tied behind her back, pointed with an arrow? 

Is this an image of a man with a beard or an owl?

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

"A Discovery of Witches" | S2:E1 | An Analysis (contains details of E1)

The following analysis is solely my own. Some of it offers an opinion while recapping the episode. Anything written below is created by the blog's author who is an inspired fan with the intention of promoting the work. If you enjoy reading this, please leave a comment here or on Instagram @thataddamsgirl.

Episode runtime 44 minutes including S1 recap

Shudder TV episode description"Matthew and Diana arrive in 1590’s London and are confronted by a face from Matthew’s past." 

If you have not watched episode 1 of season 2, please do not read further to not be spoiled.

Two years after the release of season 1, fans are finally getting to see where Matthew Clairmont, a vampire, and Diana Bishop, a witch, have gone when they time walked out of the present to Elizabethan England in 1590. We don't see a wormhole or the actual process other than they hold each other's hands, never to let go, and then pick up their foot and simultaneously take a step together. 

The menacing trio of Gerbert, Peter and Satu, arrive from Italy and are up in the attic bedroom searching for the couple but are too late. They realize Matthew and Diana slipped away. The powers of deduction help them determine that they time walked. They don't know anything else, but the intention to find them is strong.

London 1590 and there are three witches at a bonfire for Halloween. The oldest witch played by Sheila Hancock says she senses a witch is arriving that night.

It wouldn't be a compelling drama if everything went according to plan. When Matthew and Diana land, it's a few steps from a house that Matthew knows, but they had intended to go to the countryside, perhaps Woodstock, outside of Oxford, England. They end up in London and encounter a very shocked and protective Christopher "Kit" Marlowe (Tom Hughes) entering with lethal hostility directed towards Diana. Kit is a daemon and immediately senses that Diana is a witch. Shocked servants Francoise and Pierre, also vampires, greet the two at the same time. Matthew has to quickly create a cover story for their relationship and tells all of them that she's his wife and the lady of the house. 

Diana Bishop (Teresa Palmer)
Matthew and Diana didn't know each other 3 weeks ago.
Wife? (S2, E1, Diana portrayed by Teresa Palmer)

Holly Aird as Francoise and Milo Twomey as Pierre, servants at The Hart and Crown

The TV adaptation from the second book in the All Souls Trilogy, Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness, moves the story forward as Diana is intrigued by what she's learned in a short introduction that Matthew Clairmont is really Matthew Roydon, the mysterious member of the School of Night, which includes Sir Walter Raleigh (Michael Lindall) and the Earl of Northumberland aka Henry Percy (Adam Sklar, a deaf actor cast as a deaf character). However, Matthew is suddenly contemplating what this identity means for his role during this time period.

It's 1590 and Diana doesn't know what she doesn't know. She thinks it's the best place to be to locate The Book of Life. It was idealistic of Matthew to think that they can, "Lay low, get what they need, and get out again, no mess." He hates complications. It's why he wanted to escape with Diana into another time to avoid having to confront being put on trial by the Congregation, an organization that forbids interspecies relationships between witches and vampires. 

Tom Hughes as Christopher "Kit" Marlowe
Worried his bromance with Matthew is coming to an end.

Kit challenges her; she's a threat. Watch the methods he uses to divide Matthew and Diana (Hughes is brilliant in his delivery and physicality). Kit can't believe that Matthew would marry a witch because, in 1590, witches and vampires are enemies. He leaves temporarily, saying to Matthew, "Until you are you again, I shall imagine you a stranger." But he's back within a short time, drowning his bad mood with the house wine in the dining area. 

Percy and Raleigh meet Diana. Matthew explains that Diana needs a teacher having missed out on receiving any witchcraft teaching as a child. Kit grows even more irritated by her needs and tries to gaslight the situation on the matter of finding a "book of mysteries"... "if it exists," says Kit. Diana speaks assuredly, matter-of-factly, "It exists." She's a woman beyond the times.

Oh, the friction between Kit and Diana.
Gulp copious amounts of red wine.
(Matthew Goode as Matthew Roydon)

Gillian (Louise Brealey) in season 1, discriminates against vampires, but especially Matthew, and refers to him as "that" in S1 E3. Kit Marlowe does the same and calls Diana "that" in season 2. 

Dashing off to re-orient himself. Gone are the blue suits of the present seen in season 1. His color palette is black; slimming black leather, doublets, cloak, hat, cape; rings on the fingers.

Diana agrees to lay low, closing with, "But no one is keeping me anywhere." She whips around as Matthew says he's going out. Ever the man of mystery, he also holds back the details when she asks, "What for?" 

While Diana settles in for the night, she discovers, a "new way of seeing and knowing," she later says. She spots outside the house Sophie (Aisling Loftus), or so she thinks; the daemon woman from season 1 who had given her the chess piece to help them time walk. She follows and then loses her. Diana quickly realizes the woman is a witch and an ancestor of Sophie, Susanna Norman, who possibly can teach her to master her magic.

Matthew returns and loudly livid at the idea of Diana following Susanna; Diana possibly could have been lured by this witch's magic. He's impatient. We're seeing how much he's excessively protective like she's something fragile. This is the Matthew Roydon of 1590. He accuses Diana of not sharing things with him, but he held back information and the double standard seems suitable to him. She reiterates that she's not going to stay locked up in there and she'll go "find that witch herself" if he won't find her. It's an "a-ha" moment for her as he teeters on losing control. But he softens by the morning in a sweet moment, of course, shirtless, and flashing the bicep, makes everything sweeter. We're back on even ground for a moment. He tells her he's going to show her around the city as long as Francoise has her new dress. Some poor seamstress had to be up all night getting the garment sewn for her. Indeed, it is beautiful with embroidery and accessories.

The first stroll down Water Ln. is spectacular in every way. The production designer's attention to detail makes London in 1590 its own star of the new series. Diana's beaming smile, her thrilling energy, and her astonishment at seeing St. Paul's Cathedral are what we've been waiting for as we live through her joy. Teresa Palmer is incredibly watchable in emitting natural confidence and enthusiasm. "I keep thinking, now it finally feels real." Matthew is refreshingly light-hearted; teases a turn back to go home. Their outing lifts the weight of all that they're tasked to accomplish. However, the happiness is short-lived, artfully demonstrated upon rounding a corner. He realizes that he's been spotted by a man who we learn works for Cecil Burghley at The Tower of London. This puts a dour cast on the rest of the afternoon for Diana. She has to wait at The Hart and Crown for him and it stretches past the dinner hours.

Matthew is the master of manipulation and gets information from a local spy, hinting that it possibly is William Shakespeare even though he first calls him Master Pole (Simon Meacock) and later softly calls him William. The Matthew Roydon that got displaced when they showed up was up in Berwick steering the King of Scotland's focus on more than the witches being rounded up; "sowing the seeds of chaos." Matthew tells Burghley he left Berwick when he finished his errand because he didn't want to be caught. Burghley commands more out of Matthew; he's "missed his methods of persuasion." Notice here how Burghley's word choice in saying, "No slipping away without my leave," is just like when Gerbert, Knox and Satu were sensing he was slipping when he and Diana time walked out of Madison, NY. Matthew does, indeed, have a way of being slippery.

Meanwhile, restless and being kept at home, Diana does what any other lady of the house with idle hands would do. She goes snooping and finds in Matthew's study what really he's been up to, much to the concern of Francoise. It comes down to the fact that he's a spy for Queen Elizabeth I, her "trusty shadow," and that he's been betraying his own faith of Catholicism by identifying Catholics for the Protestant queen. When she confronts Matthew asking, "Why do you do it?" he says, "Because it is my duty," and Diana finishes the thought with, "To your father." 

Matthew reacts to the sheer mention of Philippe de Clermont as if he can push the thought of his father out of his mind by tightly shutting his eyelids. He says, "Come to bed," in hopes she'll just let it go, but this does not sway her focus. He further explains that he fulfilled his father's wishes to be the spy in an English court despite his faith. We can see he's compartmentalized his life -- this duty of 400 years ago crept back with his return. Matthew is troubled by the unavoidable truckload of treachery. As he feels satisfied he's answered enough questions for the night, his last words are spoken warmly, "You're the one thing that makes sense," and the conversation is over... or at least for now.

Cut to the fresh morning of Kit begrudgingly leading the witch Susanna Norman with Henry Percy and Walter Raleigh trailing her. She's not happy to be in the presence of a vampire and Matthew is cold towards her, too; distrustful. The witch doesn't want to admit she senses Diana is a witch while testing her, but Diana cannot perform like she did in Madison with lighting candles inside the pumpkins. She only ends up causing the fruit in front of her to rot. Matthew has to intervene to stop whatever she's doing. The witch blames Diana's misuse of her powers for the reasons that the witches in Scotland are being hunted down by people like Matthew, "her husband," she says. Uh, so how did she know that he was her husband? 

People on Water Ln. appear to change direction at the sight of Matthew or avoid any eye contact with him as they hurry along. Diana seeks to find out how people know they are husband and wife. Who's been spreading the information around? They encounter a child named Jack (Joshua Pickering, perfectly cunning in this role) just as he's about to pickpocket Diana. Jack divulges that he heard that she was a witch from the tavern called The Lamb. During a meal around the table with Diana, Kit, Matthew, Percy, and Walter, Matthew casually asks who's recently been drinking at The Lamb. Raleigh steps up without suspicion as to the reason for the question and says that only Kit who would step foot in that place.

Kit's standing beneath the word "MUTATIO" which means "change." Is this like a headline alluding to already some impact Diana is making by being there? Will her actions change more than Kit and Matthew's relationship? Kit just glances back to Matthew and Walter without saying a word. Walter and Henry are told to leave until tomorrow while Matthew slowly moves to not signal his intentions and simply sets his wine goblet on the mantel while saying that he knows Kit has been talking to people about Diana. Instantly, Matthew's hands are on Kit's neck, choking him. Kit tries to explain that Matthew is meant to be up north with Gallowglass, whom we've not met, yet. Matthew warns him that he's going to end him if he continues to spread rumors. Diana convinces Matthew that they have to tell him about what they've done or he'll continue to cause problems until she's gone. She explains that they both time walked and that's why Matthew is not the Matthew he knows. It's soul-crushing for him to grasp that the Matthew Roydon he knew is displaced and, as much as she tries, he appears deceived.

Recall for a moment that Matthew has been alive for over 1,500 years, a vampire for all but about 37 years. Vampires "mate" forever, but he has never mated even though he's been able to love other women, even admitting as much to Diana. It was The Book of Life that united Matthew and Diana. But Kit and Matthew's history precedes them. Kit is a poet, and he can wield words as if they're daggers. He wrote in Hero and Leander, "Who ever lov'd, that lov'd not at first sight?"

Diana later at night ascends the stairs hoping to find Matthew and it is actually Kit; he can sense her missing Matthew. He chances to question Matthew's loyalty to her. "He's gone out. He didn't wake you?" They've only been together a few weeks. She hides her feelings and maintains her position of knowing Matthew's tendencies. Kit attempts a gesture of false sympathy, warning her that this Matthew is different; her Matthew is gentler. He was nearly choked to death and still thinks he's gentler? Matthew's other daemon friend Hamish, in the last episode of season 1, warned her that going back in the past will change Matthew. She didn't want to listen. She cautiously joins Kit by the fire. He plainly tells her that she's out of her depth and she replies saying that he doesn't know her. Up until now, her optimism has driven her belief in Matthew that he is good and safe to be with because she has projected an idealized image onto Matthew. She's always observed that he is in control. She tells her aunts and herself that he's incapable of hurting her. They're mated to each other--that's all that matters. 

Drinking wine together, Tom Hughes is incredibly adept at portraying Kit in a smooth and cool manner of speaking, unveiling Matthew's technique, using familiar phrases he knows Diana cannot deny are her own experience.

Knowing he can't penetrate Matthew's heart, he instead picks on the one who's closest to Matthew's heart. Kit's words leave a long-lasting pain of disappointment as if she's seeing for the first time the man behind the curtain in the land of Oz

The Tower of London is a formidable structure, but especially at night. The episode ends with Matthew dressed like a master of the craft of dominating someone into submission, and with a nod, orders a prisoner to be killed. His face curiously watching the prisoner scream in pain. The scene allows us a side of a man we haven't met until he arrived in 1590.

Watch the show on Shudder or Sundance Now for free until January 18, 2021. In the U.S., subscribing to AMC+ provides four networks in one bundle that includes those two mentioned as well as AMC and IFC Films. More photos, videos, and other updates on the A Discovery of Witches Facebook site.

Sunday, January 03, 2021

Recap of Season 1 - A Discovery of Witches

Whether you are watching Season 1“A Discovery of Witches” for the first time, or re-watching to prepare for the second season premiering on Sat., January 9, 2021, here is a quick summary for each episode--not meant to be a complete account. Watch the show on Shudder or Sundance Now for free until January 18, 2021. In the U.S., subscribing to AMC+ provides four networks in one bundle that includes those two mentioned as well as AMC and IFC Films. If you enjoy reading this, please leave a comment here or on Instagram @thataddamsgirl.

Each episode summarized gets a rating based on this rating system: Sensuous, Ravenous, Heart-racing, Bewitching, Charming

Episode 1:  Initially, this author thought that her Shudder subscription wasn’t getting enough use and searched on one slow day what other series was on this app. Finding “A Discovery of Witches,” and having never heard of it, investigating the trailer and the short description, I skeptically worried that it could be some CW-network of a young adult, formulaic, vampire show. Yes, this author has a significant history with having watched the earliest films and read the first books written on the subject of vampires. It was an adjustment to throw out everything I had previously seen about vampires, witches, and daemons. There’s no rule that these characters always have to be derivative of their legendary traits. Once you get past the difference in mythology, it is quite acceptable that vampires prefer red wine, don’t need fangs to drink blood, or don't have to remain indoors during daylight. The creatures have adapted to blend in with humans.

The TV series is based on Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy and season one covers the first book, A Discovery of Witches. In fact, the author is in attendance at the talk at the beginning seated on the left from the perspective of the speaker.

Diana Bishop (Teresa Palmer) is a historian with a specialty in alchemy and is preparing to write about a book at the Bodleian Library at Oxford University, which she called up that’s magical perhaps protected by a spell. Ashmole 782 aka The Book of Life hasn’t been retrievable for several hundred years, yet, somehow it appears for Diana. It triggers a wave of energy with sounds of whispers and unusual elements such as text leaving the page and visible under layers of the paper. There are penciled lines added at the beginning, and there are pages obviously sliced out of the book. Most significantly, the energy released sends signals to the vampires in the vicinity of and their blood reacts to this book being retrieved. We learn quickly that she actually a powerful witch, having been denied full access to her magic (more in episode 6).

One of those vampires is Matthew Clairmont played by Matthew Goode who is perfectly cast in the lead role of the vampire. Contrary to typical mythology, he's is praying in a Catholic church when we first see him. Matthew Clairmont is appropriately extra pale, English, moody, intellectually driven; possesses agility, strength, and can move with incredible speed. Also, as the story explains, vampires are no longer able to successfully sire another vampire. Deborah Harkness’s description of this character, in the third book, is that he has a “hooded expression caused by the lowering of his eyelids.”

What else is attractive? The costumes for Matthew consist of a fitted blue suit, button-down gray or Aegean/steel/stone blue shirts, with fitted slacks or dark fitted jeans, and sometimes an outer long coat or jacket. He doesn’t dress like a biochemist/geneticist. He fits the description of a spy as he keeps a watchful eye on his favorite witch. The quality of the voice is it is deep, quieter in some scenes, which draws the viewer into him. The way he talks to his sires, Miriam Shepherd (Aiysha Hart) and Marcus Whitmore (Edward Bluemel) is often more familiar in tone than when he speaks with Diana, or even his mother (whom we meet in episode four). Observe how Matthew is keen on looking into the eyes of everyone he addresses, often more intensely with Diana than anyone else. He seldom blinks and only takes a deep breath as a matter of emphasis. Otherwise, he is perfectly still in moments he’s speaking the carefully chosen words.

Diana Bishop’s friend Gillian Chamberlain (Louise Brealey) sadly is still grading undergraduate essays. She comes off as a genuine friend to Diana, but her own self-interest is at play in revealing to other witches how she witnessed Diana’s powers in calling up Ashmole 782. Gillian appears to be the type of person who follows the whims and wishes of those who are a bad influence on her. Peter Knox (Owen Teale), for example, has little abilities as a witch and uses others like Gillian as a means to an end.

Towards the end of episode one, the obvious danger is Matthew’s pursuit of Diana for the book and he is intoxicated by her witch’s scent so much that he is about to lose control. He will not let go of her jacket she dropped as she is warned to leave the area and not run because he’s a predator and she’s his prey at that moment. 

Here is where Teresa Palmer portrays Diana as a confident, bold, and unwavering woman who can stand on her own against someone threatening in physical stature. She's fascinated and does not fear Matthew. It's this kind of scene that intrigues the curious viewer to go immediately to the next episode. 

Rating:  Charming

Episode 2: We meet Hamish (Greg McHugh), glamorously outfitted in the attire of modern-day pantaloons aka cropped pants and maroon knee high sox. Hamish is Matthew Clairmont’s confidant. Matthew enters the mansion admitting he’s craving the witch Diana Bishop. Notable moments w/Hamish: Hamish and Matthew’s chess game in which Hamish wins and says, “There is more to the game than protecting the queen.” Hamish mentions Eleanor and Cecilia in Matthew’s past. 

Diana has to contend with witches Satu (Malin Buska), Gillian, and Peter Knox nagging that she retrieve the book, Ashmole 782

Clever are the scenes juxtaposing Knox pursuing Diana, and Matthew pursuing a gorgeous deer. Witches can telepathically speak to other witches.

Juliette Durand (Elarica Johnson) and Gerbert D'Aurillac (Trevor Eve) are both vampires: we learn that vampires get images when they drink from another person or vampire. Gerbert trained Juliette to have a fixation on getting Matthew Clairmont to fall in love with her solely for Gerbert who is trying to infiltrate the de Clermont family and acquire more power as a vampire.

Diana goes to the only person on the campus whom she can turn to for advice. But Matthew, having just fed to curb his cravings, seems a little shocked and unbalanced upon seeing her. 

We learn Matthew can smell adrenalin and he’s barely in control of attacking her when he asks her to calm down. He also can hear her heart.

GIF collage by Wednesday

Matthew gets possessive when he introduces Diana to Whitmore and he breathes in Diana’s scent, "AB negative!"

Matthew’s senses are triggered like he realizes something about Diana at the end of the episode and Diana’s reaction is that she’s seemingly taken with his charm and her senses are reacting to his gesture. 

(sniff) He lent her his coat and she will leave her yummy scent on it when she ever returns it.

Rating: Sensuous

Episode 3: There’s a chronology of events bringing Diana’s troubles to a head in which Matthew has to intervene to keep her safe. The witches are against Diana and Matthew becoming too close. Matthew sees that the Bodleian Library is full of creatures waiting for Diana to call up the book again. He waits for her to leave her rooms and invites her to spend the day with him at his house in Woodstock, a place near Oxford. 

Gillian confronts Diana before she can leave with Matthew; gets into her face about associating with a vampire, which annoys Diana because she trusted Gillian as a friend. The backstabbing in Gillian reporting Diana’s powers to Peter Knox is an ultimate betrayal.

Upon arrival at Matthew’s house, she observes a painting of a woman whom Matthew reveals as his sister Louisa de Clermont. He tells her he became a vampire in the year 537 A.D. She invites him to dinner the next night. Matthew arrives just in time to get rid of the witch, Peter Knox, who continues to harass Diana about her being too friendly with a vampire. 

Diana tells her aunt Sarah Bishop (Alex Kingston) and her partner Emily Mather (Valarie Pettiford) that she’s safe with Matthew and she’s meeting him for dinner. The face Emily makes about this plan is so priceless. Of course, following the meal, emotions quickly escalate as he describes her smell:

GIF created by Wednesday

Watch at how intense, yet full of self-control Matthew is while Diana presses him for details; she asks how would she taste?

Knox delivers her horrific pics of her parents after they were murdered. Matthew finds Diana not at home while she takes off to confront Gillian and sees Knox at Gillian’s. Matthew had seen the photos and detects Knox’s scent. Diana is off to the library to try to get the book and settle the matters.

We also learn that daemon Sophie Norman (Aisling Loftus) has a figurine of Diana and there begins a plotline that will play out significantly later.

We see a congregation meeting that puts everything out in the open about rules regarding interspecies relationships.

Gerbert tells Juliette to seek out Matthew.

Knox antagonizes Diana once more and we learn about her ability to call up witch wind. Matthew runs to help Diana and takes her back to her room. She sleeps for the rest of the day and he decides he’s going to take her to France, while telling his sired son Marcus, “I’ve never felt so protective over anyone.” The end is what hooks you into their relationship. If you are not melting into the floor by this episode’s end, then you probably are not alive.

Rating: Heart-racing

Episode 4: We meet Matthew’s mother, Ysabeau (Lindsay Duncan) not his real mother, but the woman who sired him in 537 A.D. She despises witches, but it’s Matthew’s home, too. “She’ll be staying in my tower,” says Matthew as to where he can control and keep safe Diana. And we also meet Marthe (Sorcha Cusack) who can sense Diana's power, also a vampire, and has been with the de Clermont family for centuries.

The dance sequence is probably the best scene in season one as far as their chemistry and body language with each other. This episode displays the ingenuity in actors who shine best in experimenting with how to have fun with action.

When Matthew and Diana are taking a walk around the grounds, we see how much Matthew loves Diana and he admits that he is bewitched by her. From the end of episode 3 until this moment, they haven't kissed. The rush of music and the dark cover of the night heightens this romantic scene soon to be turned around with the arrival of a vampire. 

Domenico (Gregg Chillin), a vampire, arrives at Sept Tours in France to bring Diana back to Venice, Italy on the orders of the congregation on the powers she’s using and her ability to call up the book. Matthew is revealed to be breaking the covenant which is the law that forbids interspecies from having a relationship. It is all about not upsetting the balance of power. Domenico threatens to kill them both and Ysabeau wants Matthew to turn her over to them so they both live. Matthew decides to not break the covenant, fear of exposing creatures to humans. He tries to scare Diana off and then learns he has to return to Oxford because someone broke into the lab. Diana pleads with him to tell her how he feels and to forget the congregation and the covenant. When he abandons her, she chases after him and we find a key new element to Diana’s powers. Witch water.

Rating: Bewitching

Episode 5: Juxtaposing Ysabeau hunting for her dinner, it being a red fox, red-headed Gillian is hunted down by Matthew for breaking into his lab and she is barely left alive. Her smell is all over his neck and he rubs his hand over that spot she touched later with some sense of regret as he phones Diana; tells her not to worry anymore about Knox or his lab.

Hamish meets Matthew at his rooms at Oxford.

Matthew: She loves me.

Hamish: And do you love her?

Matthew just looks at Hamish without answering, but the look is all he needed. Matthew had hoped that the Congregation wouldn’t care anymore about interspecies relationships because the law is so dated.

Hamish is a daemon and has a relationship with a human for which he says that the Covenant hasn’t stopped him. But it is different for a vampire and a witch. It’s, again, two powerful species of different kinds forming a relationship that can upset the power of all the rest of the creatures. He tells Hamish “she’s astonishingly powerful.” We’ve yet to understand the impact of the two species having children together. But then he says, as if he is a teenager again in love for the first time in 10 centuries, “She is clever and funny.” Hamish gets to the nut of the matter. Matthew reveals that she’s a historian and that he is her latest research subject. “If you love her, then don’t let anything get in your way,” says Hamish.

Meanwhile, Diana goes on a field trip in the village near Sept Tours and finds the church he built. Ysabeau tells a side of the story to Diana to help her understand who actually is Matthew and his history while being human. Diana also learns that Matthew is the Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of Lazarus, a secret organization for vampires.

collage created by Wednesday

Running another analysis of Diana’s physical DNA, he discovers that her markers are like that of 11th-century witches. Powerful, indeed.

The witch, Satu is seen going to seek out Gerbert in Venice. Gerbert opens the box where he has held captive the head of a masked witch, Meridiana (Chloe Dumas), and she utters a prophetic phrase, “Beware of the witch with the blood of the lion and the wolf, for with it she shall destroy the children of the night.” 

Matthew and Diana are now one and he declares that he loves her. Ysabeau is in support of Matthew and Diana’s fight against the Congregation. Hearing this from Ysabeau is a moment in which she recognizes that she has to accept the reality of Matthew mating with Diana. “Mating” is the term used for when a vampire declares his love for someone.

Ysabeau to Marthe: You think lighting a fire and pouring some wine will help them?

Matthew to Diana: I need to talk to you about Oxford, Diana.

Diana to Matthew: I don’t want to hear about Oxford, Matthew.

Someone took the extra time to light candles in the corners of the bedroom of his tower which contains his canopy bed. Strategic old-world bundling going on with Matthew’s eye contact, the sensual hands-on manipulation, and all while Diana’s still dressed, and he is shirtless, turns into a thrilling intimate moment.

Diana: I don’t think that’s bundling.

Matthew: Well, it is in France.

And then she wakes to momentarily admire him, and obviously, he doesn’t feel her eyes watching him continue his deep sleep in the early dawn hours. Of course, she gets out of bed and goes for a jog around the castle leaving him to his slumber.

Rating: Ravenous

Episode 6: Does your vampire lover sleep in nothing but black boy cut briefs? Well, thank you to the costume dept., producers, editors, directors, and cinematographers as this image is never tired.

However, the episode truly begins with Satu and Gerbert attempting to open up Diana at an abandoned castle near the mountains south of Sept Tours. We continue to see how her aunt Sarah’s partner Emily scries her magic to detect the well-being of their niece Diana. 

Satu is unrelenting in the torture to get Diana to reveal her secret powers. Throws her into an oubliette, essentially, a hole that no one human can get out of. Throughout the series, Diana has had spiritual visions of her parents Rebecca and Steven. While she’s trapped, they help her understand what has happened to her.

When Matthew wakes to the warmth of sunlight, he realizes Diana is missing, he frantically tries to detect her last known whereabouts. At this same time, his vampire brother Baldwin (Trystan Gravelle) arrives by helicopter and they fight like humans until Matthew bites him. Sarah and Emily help them figure out where she could be transported to and they rescue her. Diana compels herself to fly up towards the opening of the oubliette and her scars soon revealed that Satu branded her with Matthew’s insignia.

Oooh, that Satu's such a bitchy witch!
(The scar is depicting a star and a crescent moon)

Ysabeau and Matthew determine that Diana had her powers suppressed as a child – that she was spellbound.

In the end, it is decided it is safer for Matthew and Diana to travel to her aunt’s house in Madison, NY where it would be a bigger effort for the witches to track her down.

Rating: Heart-racing

Episode 7: 

Matthew and Diana arrive at the house of her aunt Sarah and Emily, and it is haunted. But once the house adjusts to a new visitor, that being a vampire, it seems to accept them. Tabitha the cat meows in greeting Diana and Matthew. 

The Congregation seems to focus still on Diana and her ability to retrieve the book. Baldwin perpetuates the idea that Satu has Diana and Knox confirms that there are two signatures of two different witches, not knowing that Satu actually has taken possession of the head of Meridiana.

Diana, Emily, and Sarah discuss her being spellbound. We have more flashbacks as insight as to what her parents, and also witches, Rebecca (Sophia Myles) and Steven (David Newman) had to do to protect Diana from Peter Knox. The spellbound her when she was seven years old. The story that they tell her is that she is wrapped in invisible ribbons to protect her from witches jealous of her power. They’re in her attic bedroom conducting a spell, and Rebecca, who is a seer, tells her a story of the magic ribbons and the Shadow Prince. This prince is Matthew. When Knox visits, he cannot sense she has any magical power because they spellbound her. Somehow her spell was tied to Diana’s need for Matthew.

Satu confronts Knox and tells him that she knows his big secret that he killed Diana’s parents to try to find the power hidden in Diana. Satu figures out that Diana was spellbound and Peter Knox said that Rebecca could have led the Congregation and that Steven convinced Rebecca to run because Knox was envious of the power in them both, but mainly he was in love with Rebecca. Satu tells Peter that the prophecy about the end of the vampires has to do with Diana and that means that they have to get her away from Diana. They want to use her power to their advantage.

Matthew discovers a wooden box owned by Steven and its age and condition tells him that her father was a time walker. The formula is to have three objects that you take with you to travel back to the time period of those objects.

Juliette leaves Venice to hunt down Matthew. Domenico gives her some hints that he believes Diana is still with Matthew and where she could be staying. She and Gerbert attend Sunday mass in Venice, talk with Baldwin in church. Juliette abandons Gerbert and sets off to find Matthew because she no longer can obey him for his own self-interest – her longing for Matthew is relentless.

There’s a playful moment in the woods with Diana training with Matthew. He’s trying to help her sense where the danger is and she realizes that she can only use her instincts if she’s truly in danger and scrapes her hand. As a result, her antagonizing Matthew with the scent of her blood triggers him to treat her as prey and at that moment she flies into the air before he can capture her.

Strategic camera angles lead us to believe that Matthew and Diana took their romance up a notch. Speed and dexterity seem to factor in a lot plus a little less clothing, but probably still on a young adult level of fooling around. Cuddly Matthew tries to divulge his history with his former lovers and how he hurt them (in actuality he killed them both). Diana is convinced that she is too powerful for him to hurt her.

The next morning, Miriam and Marcus arrive for extra security and the house delivers through the wall one of the three extracted pages from the book. It is the picture of a wedding and it’s clear that it was set to be delivered by her father Steven from the writing on the envelope.

When Diana and Matthew are out by the barn training her to be able to sense danger, she mistakes a feeling that she’s close to a vampire as being close to Matthew and runs into Juliette in the barn.

Rating: Sensuous

Episode 8: Juliette is fiercely jealous of the witch’s power and attacks Matthew, making a fatal mistake. Diana uses witch fire and kills Juliette. 

To save Matthew, Diana calls on the Goddess with, “Maiden, mother, crone, I call you Goddess. Help me! I will do anything to save him.”

“If I help you there will be a price,” and the voice of Goddess commands, “Give him life!”

Matthew searches his memories as he drinks from Diana’s carotid artery and stops drinking when he reaches the moment he recalls that he loves her. Marcus and Miriam as well as Sarah and Emily all witness this without any ability to intervene and protect Diana. She loses a lot of blood, but Marcus can transfuse blood to save her life.

Matthew puts forth the idea that they time walk to hide in time from the Congregation. 

Cut to the chase, they meet Sophie who brings the figurine of the chess piece that Matthew lost in a bet with Christopher Marlowe; the figure of Diana the warrior. The house delivers a poppet with Ysabeau’s earring attached to it. And Matthew has Hamish deliver from Sept Tours the book of Dr. Faustus that Christopher Marlowe gave to Matthew. They have the three objects to time walk and escape from the Congregation to go back to 1590.

The Congregation wants to hang Baldwin for treason. A vote shows that he lives, but has little time to warn Matthew that the witch Satu and Peter Knox, as well as Gerbert, are on their way to NY to take Diana and Matthew back for trial.

Sarah and Emily are escaping to Sept Tours along with their cat Tabitha. Miriam and Marcus depart, but before doing so, Matthew appoints Marcus as the Grand Master of the Knights of Lazarus.

Matthew and Diana with the three items in hand time walk to 1590 just as the vampire Gerbert and the witches Satu and Peter Knox appear at the front door of the house. The episode ends season one with the viewer not sure if they escape.

Rating: Tied for Sensuous, Ravenous, Heart-racing

Watch the trailer for Season 2 here. Season 1 video recap here.