Sunday, February 21, 2021

"A Discovery of Witches" | S2:E7 | An Analysis (contains details of E7)

Blogging about "A Discovery of Witches" gives me an outlet to process what is happening to the characters in the All Souls Trilogy TV show universe, which is adapted from the three books by Deborah Harkness. I'm grateful that I found the show during a tough summer of 2020. I didn't visit with family or visit friends; didn't take a vacation. So I went on the ADOW journey. Indeed, the story has been quite an extraordinary journey so far. 

The following analysis is solely my own. Some of it offers an opinion while recapping portions of the episode. The focus is usually on a particular aspect of the story or aspect of a character. Anything in this post is created by the blog's author who is an inspired fan wanting to promote the work. Feedback is welcome. Let me know if you like or don't like something. Please leave a comment here or on Instagram @thataddamsgirl.

For those keeping track of the directors and writers of season 2 episodes:

Directors: 

  • E1, 4, 7: Farren Blackburn 
  • E2, 3, 5: Philippa Langdale 
  • E6: Jonathan Teplitzky
    • He also directed Matthew Goode in Burning Man, James Purefoy in Churchill

Writers:

  • E1: Sarah Dollard
  • E2: Susie Conklin
  • E3: Polly Buckle
  • E4, 6: Peter McTighe
  • E5: Lisa Holdsworth
  • E7: Joseph Wilde

Shudder TV episode description: Matthew and Diana arrive in Bohemia. Matthew is pushed to the edge.

If you haven't watched episode 7, you will be spoiled if you read any further. I'll only refer to the book when it is significantly relevant.

Episode 7 begins with a recap of moments as if to give us a checklist of some of what we know so far. 

  • Edward Kelley is in Bohemia; Queen Elizabeth wants him to create the Philosopher's Stone, and Matthew volunteered as her spy to capture him. Kelley's likely in possession of The Book of Life. The queen's royal ambassadors were turned away by Emperor Rudolf II.
  • Matthew at Sept-Tours tangled with Philippe, losing control to his blood rage, and Diana witnessed it for the first time. Gerbert and Domenico are fully aware of the de Clermont's infected bloodline and are tying two recent murders in Oxford to the family.
  • Philippe's blood vow with his ouroboros onto Diana's forehead; she's a de Clermont
  • Matthew and Diana's wedding vows exchanged.
  • Philippe's coded message to Ysabeau that he hid for her to discover in present-day informing her that after marrying, Matthew and Diana are on their way to Bohemia to find The Book of Life.
The introduction upon their arrival by Emperor Rudolf's spokesperson is tense. Once inside, the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Rudolf II (Michael Jibson) doesn't take kindly to Matthew and even calls him yet another name, Matthaus, while telling him that they're in the wrong place. "Edward Kelley resides in Prague," says Rudolf, but Matthew is suspicious. Likely this is a lie. Rudolf stands up to Matthew, well, he comes to about his shoulder. He lets Matthew know that he isn't going to forget he's a vampire; only allowed to be in Bohemia because Rudolf is being gracious. Rudolf is never without an agenda, though. Read more about Rudolf II.

Diana steps up like she has previously with Fr. Hubbard, Kit Marlowe, the Queen, and Philippe. Rudolf is intrigued that she takes an interest in alchemy, which is why she seeks Kelley. 

Matthew is cold and jealous. Rudolf is put off by his bad manners, and they leave.
Matthew Goode
Alternative dialogue: "Excuse me, but I didn't give you permission to kiss the hand of my wife."
Matthew expresses how he feels to Diana "I don't like the way he looked at you like a jewel he wanted to add to his collection." She thinks she can use the way he flirts with her as an opportunity to get to The Book of Life.

A whistle, as if, "over here" and enters Gallowglass (Steven Cree) so that this scene lightens up the tension of meeting Rudolf. Hugging Diana, he senses Matthew and Diana have "consummated" or "mated." In Philippe's words, his face shows he recognizes that their scents are no longer distinct

"I guess I can call you Auntie now." 

Steven Cree as Gallowglass
Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer
Matthew gave a millisecond smirk when he looked at Diana and back at Gallowglass.
Well...I should call you Auntie.
Diana hearing she's now "Auntie." 
At the lodgings up a flight of stairs, everyone discovers that Jack is the unexpected guest and this sets Matthew off. It is a complication to have their adopted son from London there while they've got to get Kelley, the book, and skip out of Bohemia. But Matthew is still tense about Rudolf getting hot and bothered upon meeting Diana, so he takes it out on Francoise, the first person who breaks the news that Jack wouldn't stay behind in London. 

The three continue inside to brainstorm a plan. Gallowglass expounds on the fact that once Rudolf wants something, he stops at nothing to get it. 

A knock at the door makes Matthew wide-eyed and alert. Gallowglass receives the delivery at the door with the messenger announcing it is "for the goddess." .
Matthew Goode
Gallowglass walks in with the box saying,
 "I assume that's not you, Matthew."😂
You guessed it, a gift is delivered from Rudolf to Diana.

Picture Rudolf instructing that the messenger
say "For the goddess," loud enough to be heard inside.
These funny moments are a welcome contrast to the darker moments of ADOW. Steven Cree as Matthew's Scottish nephew finally gets to do more in this episode.
It's an automaton -- The Goddess Diana; Goddess of the Hunt.
Matthew glares at it; nothing left to the imagination. Provocative, indeed.
Diana is in bed, letting down her hair, and Matthew is pacing. She should be saying, "Get in the damn bed, Matthew." He says, "The less we arouse the attention of the Emperor..." It is a bit pointed at the fact that Diana barely blinks and Rudolf gets hard for her. Matthew insists that the key to The Book of Life is Edward Kelley, but Diana thinks she can go with Gallowglass to see Rudolf and find out where it is kept.

Other people want to win Rudolf's favor at the lodge when Diana and Gallowglass arrive with the gift of the Voynich manuscript that they brought from Dr. Dee's library. Diana tells Gallowglass that Matthew has changed a lot in the 400 years since he knew him. When no one was present, Gallowglass learned that they're timewalking from the future? 

There's such a brief discussion, again, on the topic of what it means to be mated to a vampire. We must first understand that being mated with a vampire also means having a possessive partner. However, Gallowglass explains, "Blood rage is harder to control. It's primal. Physical. If provoked, he will struggle to contain himself." Knowing that they mated is one thing, but it seems like Gallowglass has witnessed a blood rage moment or two in the past. 

He's trying to be helpful so he leaves Diana in line on the stairwell to go suss out a new plan to get inside sooner. Coincidentally, a mysterious man stops next to her on the way out. Listen to the subtle drumming of her heartbeat.
Gallowglass and Diana getting in ahead of the others.
Jacob Ifan
He recognized Philippe's scent from the blood vow; he's a vampire, too. He can only know that scent if he were also part of the family, but she doesn't yet realize this fact.
Loaded with information, this guy! (Jacob Ifan as Benjamin)
He introduces himself as Benjamin Fuchs (Jacob Ifan) and vaguely answers when she asks, "Are you a friend of the de Clermonts?" with "I fear I am beneath their interests...I was cast out of my own clan." He says that he is a collector for Rudolf. Off he goes, but the words "cast out" -- interesting choice as, possibly, a clever way to gain her sympathy. Remember that Diana also felt like an outcast even among other witches. She does appear taken aback that a vampire approached her and recognized the blood vow, but she fails to mention it later to Matthew or to Gallowglass.

Rudolf clears away everyone ahead of them for Diana to see him. Gallowglass promises a painting that interests him. It backfires because she only has the Voynich manuscript

Rudolf sends for the famous scholar, The Maharal, aka Rabbi Loew (Anton Lesser). "Are you interested in the uncanny arts?" Rudolf asks her. 

All four go to where he keeps his traveling artifacts collection and he's aiming to impress her with the Eppendorf Root. 

Everyone who worked on the props and sets for ADOW deserves an abundance of praise -- all the art that was on display in this episode is referenced from historical notes about Rudolf II's collection of artifacts.
Michael Jibson
Michael Jibson as Rudolf II
Meanwhile, Matthew and Pierre sneak into Herr Steiner's apothecarium, and discover that there's a list of appointments only scheduled at night. The name of the person in the appointment book is Talbot, aka Edward Kelley. They return later and find Kelley (Tom Mothersdale) who is obviously Rudolf's prisoner. He starts quoting from The Book of Life as the guards drag him inside to a dungeon, as we later find him chained inside. Matthew and Pierre cannot follow, but they know where he's being kept.
Kelley screams "It begins with absence and desire, blood and fear, it begins with a discovery of witches!"
Matthew is tagging along as Diana meets with Rabbi Loew. Matthew had told her to be careful of what she says. Loew notices how Matthew appears to be overly protective towards her, and then he advises Matthew, "One should find wholeness in a marriage, but it should never become a prison." This is quite appropriate because he's not easily able to leave Diana's side ever since they were married. However, the matter that is most important is that we learn that Loew has not yet fessed up to Rudolf that he cannot decipher The Book of Life. If he admitted he had no ability, that'd be the end of him.

Diana plans to tell Rudolf that she'll decipher it, but Matthew is livid about a new invitation -- she was just invited to hunt for pheasant with the emperor. Rudolf could imprison her as he did with Kelley. Gallowglass volunteers to get the book by sneaking inside. Kelley won't be of use if the book is missing so they can snatch him, too. 

In the serene landscape of what should be the Czech mountains, it's actually northern Italy in the Dolomites, yet equally beautiful, we watch Rudolf assign Matthew a smaller falcon, Šárka while his larger falcon, Artemis, represents Diana. He's still trying to win Diana's favor which only further irritates Matthew. 
Matthew Goode is about to release a bird and anger Rudolf II
"Šárka destroyed an entire battalion of men by herself," says Matthew.
Teresa Palmer as Diana Roydon
"Play nice," she says. He grunts.
Matthew is a vampire with a talent for hunting; far more skilled than Rudolf. Having just heard Rudolf make an advance towards Diana regarding Matthew's cold touch, and how she must long for something warmer in bed, it is Matthew's turn to show Rudolf who really is the prey. Once launched, we see Matthew visibly having some connection to Šárka; her hunting instincts. His animal counterpart is a wolf, and Šárka is a raptor, so together they could have a symbiotic relationship helped by his vampire senses. She heads directly towards her competition and kills Artemis. Matthew has to stifle a smile, but he's happy with this outcome. I found it quite amusing as well as exciting. 

"You broke my bird!" cries Rudolf. Michael Jibson's comic timing in his delivery is hilarious; he looks woefully across the field. It's the kind of oneupmanship Matthew has been aiming for since he's had to endure Rudolf making it obvious he wants Diana as his newfound "artifact". Rudolf is furious and kicks them out of Bohemia.

The use of hunting as a metaphor is a common theme with ADOW. The writers mix the action in the different scenes to demonstrate the hunter and the prey. See E2 in S1 with Matthew hunting a stag and Knox persisting that Diana dish the details about the book. In E5 S1 when Matthew went after Gillian to find out what she discovered in his lab all the while his mother hunted and captured a fox to show Diana how vampires feed. In this episode, it was a blend of Gallowglass gaining entry into the annex, and the cleverness of Matthew's hunting prowess. 
The easy way in is not always the easy way out. 
Giving it a score of 10 on the landing, if it were the Olympics.
Stealthy Gallowglass finds his way through the opening above the annex into the Kunstkammer at Rudolf's lodge, but he finds disturbing artifacts hidden in a secret chest. He slips out with a mummified witch's hand and shows it to Matthew and Diana; explains what was in the collection: a necklace of vampire teeth, a jar containing a demon's brain, and bits of creatures. Also, it is important to keep in mind that it was no small matter when we heard Benjamin say that he's a collector for the emperor.
Matthew is disgusted; done. He wants them to leave that night. Diana asks what about the book. He's enraged; the force of his anger being released moves him physically when he shouts, "Enough of the book!" Thick tension fills the room so Gallowglass leaves them.

The argument stirs the blood rage in Matthew much like what we saw with him being pushed to his limit when provoked by Philippe. If Philippe opened old wounds, well Rudolf added the salt to them. Rudolf uses people; a sycophant. Think about the fact that this 1500+-year-old vampire still maintains friendships with a demon, Hamish, and now has in-laws who are witches. Furthermore, he loves and protects his vampire family that he's been trying to find a cure for the blood rage in his study of genetics. Creatures are going extinct. He only has got Diana, Ysabeau, Marthe, Marcus, Miriam, and Gallowglass for his real family. Baldwin is a terrible brother who couldn't protect Matthew from the Congregation finding out that they timewalked. 

Matthew's affliction is getting worse since he's returned to the past. Diana supports him and is there for him, but he has got to give her more freedom. It isn't just about keeping her safe anymore. It is him wanting to keep her all to himself. And finally, admitting to her his flaw--that he doesn't trust himself. Diana suggests that he let her talk to Rudolf alone about seeing the book.

"I cannot! I cannot. I can smell him on you." He growls. "This is why I lied to you." 

He is like a feral animal and yet he still has control of his words as he explains, "This is what mating is. An unspeakable urge to possess you, body and soul...a rage. A rage that feeds on it." He growls like a wolf in the wild as she reaches to touch his hand very slowly so as not to startle him.

"It's all right, Matthew."

He goes on, "You've never seen what it makes me do."

She softens her voice, "You won't hurt me."

"No! Not you. For you. I would wade through the blood of kings, queens, and emperors. I would stop at nothing to prevent that from happening to you," he gestures toward the witch's severed hand. He growls, turns to leave, but she tosses a wave of fire from her fingers, curving around Matthew as it lands on the floor, igniting flames so that he cannot leave. It's time to confront him. For once he will not leave without listening to her.

"We're still talking."

"Let me go!"

"You are not defined by the worst thing you've done."

The door frame is on fire and he's growling while in profile half turned towards her and the other half towards the door.
Much like a therapist would talk to a patient working through a traumatic memory, her voice is steady and calm. He can barely bring himself to look at her, displaying wild animal reflexes, and she says, "Come back to me. You are Matthew de Clermont," as she takes his hand, "And stronger than this." As they kiss he becomes relaxed and calm, but he kisses her much more passionately than we've previously seen in other love scenes. He kisses her like he craves her. 
Adapting this from the book's version of telling the story requires condensing it to fit into the time allotted on the screen; not an easy task. The version of this side of Matthew in the book is told with a different angle, but it remains about the vampire's possessive nature. I recommend that fans of the show who haven't read the book check out Shadow of Night after the end of season 2. If episodes 8, 9, or 10 delve further into the possessive traits, I would be surprised. Season 2 doesn't have time to get as elaborate as the book however, it would be amazing to see.

Big applause to the sound design team for the ferocious sound of the flames--it ups the level of danger and suspense. It takes only a little switch in the makeup for Matthew Goode's face during his blood rage because his acting does the work; it's brilliant when he changes back (great editing makes it seamless). Every moment of this scene is as unnerving and mindblowing as the scenes in episode 6.

The fight between Matthew and Diana has new dynamics. Undoubtedly, this is my favorite scene with them in episode 7. Again, I cannot examine enough how the portrayal of these two characters is so captivating to watch with the mesmerizing performances by Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer. In each new episode that airs, their portrayal is clearly deeper and more meaningful. It comes across that they have a great deal of love and respect for the work. 

Gallowglass returns to find the doorframe is charred, he's got a worried expression, but dares not say anything further. He nods as if to say, alright, and closes the door. His return is to present them with the apology from the emperor as well as an invitation for both to view the Kunstkammer. They put in place a plan to be ready to run once they have the book and Kelley.

Rudolf is playing the good sport. He hooks onto Diana's arm as Matthew and Gallowglass follow behind them. The wine glass Rudolf carries has a gold snake ornament wrapped around it. He loves to show off his unique items so Diana asks if he has anything stored elsewhere, not in the public eye. Diana says that she heard he has "a book, a book that holds the secrets to life itself."

Rudolf signals for Rabbi Loew to enter, he wants to make an example of him as a deceiver. He tells the crowd that the Rabbi "has no arcane talent beyond the typical low cunning of his people." He sends him out, turning his attention back to Diana.

Matthew is watching her carefully, but Gallowglass and he know she's got this. Rudolf says, "If I did have this book, why would I give it to you? A prying, English spy and charlatan." 

Diana doesn't answer him and concentrates on the gold snake. It changes into an actual living snake right before his eyes. "I am no charlatan," she declares. Matthew signals Gallowglass to take the snake from her and he hides it. Rudolf is ecstatic like he has discovered fire, saying she can have anything she wants. She commands, "Show me the book."
He takes them to a secret underground location. Kelley is chained. He's clutching the book until Diana uses her powers of witch wind to release it from his hands. 
Once the book is open on the ground, it releases into the air with her help, the image of the tree lit up. There is a bright yellow circular figure on one side of its trunk and a blue glowing sphere on the other side. It transforms into the King and Queen figures seen in the wedding illustration; the page that came flying out of the wall in Madison. Above the tree are the sun and the moon and then the bright image transforms into a brilliant red dragon. 

On a smaller level, the brilliance of the scene reminded me of the climactic moment in Raiders of the Lost Ark with the Ark of the Covenant. Beautiful, though, digital and shorter on time. Nevertheless, it was exhilarating.

Rudolf declares that Matthew can have Kelley as he signals his guards to grab Diana. She fights loose screaming, "The book!" as Kelley begins to tear pages from it. Diana smacks Kelley in the face and takes the book as they all escape. Gallowglass and Matthew are fighting the guards on the way out with powerful swings of fists and elbows. 

Once they reach the horses, Diana hands the book to Matthew and he immediately smells the odd smell--it is made from the creatures--from their skin, and the ink is made out of their blood; pages bound with their hair. "I'm sorry, Diana, but this is more like a book of death." They take off to go to Francoise and Jack who are ahead by a couple of miles and waiting.
Kelley's guard is attacked as soon as he yells back to Kelley that he doesn't care about his book. The attack is the same as when the humans were attacked in Oxford. The vampire approaches and it is Benjamin Fuchs. He walks over to Kelley with his mouth still covered in blood and says gently, "I care about your book, Edward." Well, that was spine-chilling!

I love the mystery of this character and won't spoil it for non-book readers, but it is a truly exciting moment to see Benjamin at this early point in the story. He will have a bigger role in at least one more episode of season 2, and most of season 3.

The museum exhibit at the end of the episode has a docent talking about Kelley's work. We're in present-day looking at Edward Kelley's letter under glass, which is an account of what he saw of The Book of Life. Knox, of course, is taking in the exhibit. 
Episode 7 sets up so many developments to take us through the final three episodes. I'm expecting nothing less than feeling devastated when we're at the end of season 2. 

For episode 8, it looks like we're going to see more of Oxford and Sept-Tours in the present day and we'll see if maybe Emily is taking her magic to a new level, again.

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.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

"A Discovery of Witches" | S2:E6 | An Analysis (contains details of E6)

I am immensely grateful that I have access to watch "A Discovery of Witches." I've read that some countries and providers are not yet airing it. Fans will only grow fonder the longer they wait to watch season two. 

ADOW inspired me to post updates again on this blog during the pandemic. This is still a passion of mine -- to promote, to write without anyone to answer to except me. It gives me a small morsel of purpose until it is safe to get back out into the community for events, volunteer work, social experiences, film festivals, arthouse films, and supporting small businesses more than I presently can due to health and safety protocols. 

The following analysis is solely my own. Some of it offers an opinion while recapping portions of the episode. The focus is usually on a particular aspect of the story or aspect of a character. Anything in this post is created by the blog's author who is an inspired fan wanting to promote the work. Feedback is welcome. Let me know if you like or don't like something. Please leave a comment here or on Instagram @thataddamsgirl.

As I've been saying in previous postings, the TV series "A Discovery of Witches" is adapted from the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness, and for season 2, adapted specifically from Shadow of Night, the second book. I'll only refer to the book when it is significantly relevant.

For anyone interested in keeping track of the directors and writers for season 2 up through E6:

Directors: 

  • E1, 4: Farren Blackburn 
  • E2, 3, 5: Philippa Langdale 
  • E6: Jonathan Teplitzky
    • He also directed Matthew Goode in Burning Man, James Purefoy in Churchill

Writers:

  • E1: Sarah Dollard
  • E2: Susie Conklin
  • E3: Polly Buckle
  • E4, 6: Peter McTighe
  • E5: Lisa Holdsworth

Shudder TV episode descriptionPhilippe provokes Matthew. Diana and Matthew are married.

If you haven't watched episode 6, you will be spoiled if you read any further.

"I said 'No'!" Diana says as she ends the life of the witch Andre Champier. 

We continue from where we left off in episode 5. He was attempting to absorb her memories when suddenly her survival skills kicked in, and she magically retrieved the dagger from Matthew's belt -- it flew into her open hand.

I love the atmospheric score that plays through this scene. 

Light streaming into the room from the sun acts as a divider in between Matthew and the conversation Philippe is having with Diana. Matthew is in the light like he knows what Philippe doesn't know. Philippe is in the dark; doesn't know why or how Diana would wear the ring that he gave to Ysabeau. The light behind Philippe's head slowly appears as his thoughts become illuminated when he realizes he does not live forever. It is yet another moment in which we see Matthew close his eyes at the thought of yet another thing that upsets Philippe. While grabbing Diana's hand after spotting Ysabeau's ring, Philippe ponders for a moment on why she'd give it away to anyone, "let alone a witch." Matthew wanted Diana to hide it from Philippe. 

And there's no dissuading Philippe from the next steps he takes from this point forward to learn how he dies. James Purefoy as Philippe de Clermont expresses everything in his face showing how he slowly absorbs how this deeply affects his life going forward; he sees everything he does with an entirely different perspective. What could possibly allow him to become vulnerable enough to die?

The excitement of seeing a ring you gifted your wife now worn on the hand of someone else who comes from a time in the future.


Matthew later finds Diana rowing on the nearby lake just on the edge of the castle's grounds. Remember that she'd take a boat out to row in Oxford in the initial episodes of season 1; the only way she could relieve stress since she was discovering her newfound power. She says she needs time to think after defending herself. She wanted to kill Champier she tells him. She asks, "What am I becoming?" Her experience with Knox and Satu has her on a "hair trigger" because one manipulated her into causing her to summon witch wind to protect herself and her friend Sean. The other attempted to physically and mentally open her up to find out what she was capable of magic-wise.

Diana finds in Philippe's library a map left out by Ysabeau for her to track the witches who live in Burgundy. Her plans for the next witch hunt include blue "X" marks, which plot where she shall find witches. Diana moves her hands around the map as if she's able to release the ink into blobs that hover and as pushing them into the air another wave evaporates them entirely into disappearing from the map.

Late autumn in France depicted by the misty air and foliage. The angle from this position at a distance has them, in a way, seeing eye-to-eye. She, too, can be just as dangerous as Matthew if pushed to her limit.

Philippe challenges Matthew to a duel, who is out in the stables getting the horses prepared. Was he going to leave for Bohemia without Diana? He says "I have an errand to run," as opposed to something like, "Diana and I are leaving for Bohemia." Writer Peter McTighe clearly puts Matthew in the vicinity of the stables that positions him further away from Diana's sight and ears so she can't hear them. I'm picturing Philippe's office is on the other side of the castle because they appeared to have walked in from the opposite side on the night of their arrival.

The father and son have an all-out fight in which Philippe infuriates Matthew, bringing the disease that they call "blood rage" to the surface. Eventually, Matthew is overpowered in the barn, further accelerating his anger as Philippe continues to escalate the battle and maintain the advantage. 

The sound design in ADOW is exquisitely dark but also full of action for the fight scene. The first growl is like a big cat, rather than a wolf, before they crash to the lower level. It required a much bigger than the normal growl than we hear from Matthew when he's protecting Diana. Plus, there's the racing heartbeat to signal that the blood rage in Matthew is surfacing. He growls more like his wolf growl once Philippe has him on the table, probably enhanced in post. Listening with earbuds and eyes closed you can tell the difference. Sound and visuals are key to depicting that the intense action is running at full throttle. Credit is due to Alex Ellerington and Andy Kennedy for the distinctive sounds that enhance the onscreen action.

This is the stage combat that I have been waiting for because I've been a fan of how James Purefoy fought in Hap and Leonard for three seasons. See my post that covers Hap and Leonard for more about the realistic fight scenes. You can also find a Collider interview with James in which he explained that "you’ve really gotta look like you’re trying to kill someone." No other pair could have made this fight scene what we wanted to see. It's incredibly seamless work we see by the stunt coordinators and performers who are often overlooked: Steen Young, Anthony Skrimshire, and Jason Beeson.

There's a fury in Matthew's eyes and thick, gelatinous bloody saliva when he speaks; refusing to divulge details to Philippe who thinks he can manipulate Matthew into submission to get what he wants. Teresa Palmer as Diana lovingly conveys worry, sorrow, and fear, as she stands back to watch this bitter battle. It's her first time watching him lose control; be the fierce predator. Only Philippe has restrained him by pressing a dagger to his face, not letting go of Matthew's hair. Radiating with seething anger out of his eyes, spasming in an effort to release himself from his father's restraint. Philippe finally accepts that Matthew has won. Exhausted, Matthew having regained control, collapses to the floor. Diana holds his hand. 

Philippe releases his grip on his hair, tenderly rests his palm, and strokes his forehead with his thumb. 

Matthew explains that he was using genetics to find a cure for the blood rage. She patiently listens as he spills the details and declares that this is why he can never be mated to her, pulling his hand from her grip. Diana knows why he doesn't feel that they can be together, but this new information doesn't discourage her. Finally, it is the truth that he has been hiding. The music score that follows is dramatically gorgeous.

  • Diana with a deeper voice, much more confident:  Do you really think that I would ever walk away from you, my love? After all we've been through.
  • Matthew: This was just but a glimpse. You have no idea what I'm capable of. I'm a killer, Diana. I have killed thousands. I was Philippe's weapon. He used me to eradicate the disease.
  • Diana: He made you his assassin.

His blood disorder is out in the open and she still wants to stay with him. What we didn't understand in episode 5 when he told her to wait was that he didn't want her to commit to him without knowing the truth, but he couldn't admit it to her, yet. She is coming into her power so she isn't swayed by any fear that he will hurt her. Consummating the relationship with a vampire still hasn't been elaborated on, yet (perhaps in episode 7).

I love when Diana storms into Philippe's office angrily saying that he did this on purpose to Matthew to drive her away. He reacts as if thinking, "oh, here we go," with a little eye roll before he faces her and says, "You needed to see the wolf behind the man... If you are to have a future... accept each facet... Matthew had to be free of the guilt that he carries...Your union is forbidden in your time, too, otherwise, you wouldn't have come here." He had to test her faith so he'd see she would not waiver; that they could be united. 

She tells him that Matthew had faith in Philippe, "All his life he has tried to prove himself to you and you used it against him. Your legacy is one of pain and recrimination." Philippe is intrigued as she doesn't back down from telling him like it is. He wonders how she can lecture him on his legacy. And then she begins to have her glæm come out (gleam, but the book uses glæm). He is finally seeing Diana as the powerful witch she is. He reveals the ancient prophecy -- "a witch that would change the destiny of all creatures... alter our understanding of life."

"What do you believe?" she asks. 

"I believe you are power, indeed." 

She's sparkling and glowing. "I love your son and that should be enough." 

The unanswered question will weigh on him, but Philippe won't pursue finding out how he dies any further. Matthew and Diana are on the path above the courtyard tentatively watching as he approaches with his sword. He cuts his thumb and uses the blood to mark her forehead as a way to show others she is a member of the family, his daughter, saying "Diana is a de Clermont. With this mark you're dead," as he paints a half-circle, and like his ouroboros, completes the other half-circle, "With this mark, you are reborn, a forever member of our family." Matthew smiled slightly and bows to Philippe. He's relieved by the gesture of his father welcoming Diana into the family; she's the first witch to become a de Clermont.

The episode up to this moment is already packed with revelations and life-altering decisions: Diana's power, Philippe's manipulative actions using Matthew's blood rage, and her being anointed with Philippe's blood. If you're not emotionally wrecked yet, hold on because you're about to get there.

Diana finds Matthew cleaned up -- he washed the rage out of his hair -- in Philippe's office and he explains how his father died as they stand together by the fireplace. She is doing what Pierre and Gallowglass asked of her -- "to be his anchor." It is too good to spoil by providing the recap here. It has to be viewed with fresh eyes and ears. 

Matthew Goode and his perfect portrayal of Matthew de Clermont breathes life into one of the most loved characters created by author Deborah Harkness. His gripping performance only keeps us wanting to see more. If you only have seen him play Henry Talbot in "Downton Abbey," or play prosecutor Finn Polmar on "The Good Wife," then you haven't seen the true talent of this performer who isn't afraid to be vulnerable and reach into himself to make Matthew de Clermont come to life. Those shows are not written at a level to be as deep-felt as it is with "A Discovery of Witches."



The three of them riding out from Sept-Tours, but riding ahead to talk to Diana, Philippe wants to know how Ysabeau is doing in Diana's time. She suggests that he could have asked Matthew, but he wants the truth. This reminds us of how Matthew holds onto secrets and maybe Philippe suspects that Matthew won't be truthful... still? Oh, but it is a great moment when he's satisfied to hear that Ysabeau is lonely; that she misses him. He treasures her honesty. 

An outdoor temple named for the Roman goddess Diana has columns and an altar. Brides would go there to ask the goddess for protection. This scene culminates in another exceptional and pivotal moment for Matthew and Diana. I enjoyed all of the effects and how Philippe de Clermont can call forth with a few sentences the stag, Artemis. Shadow of Night covers this part of the story in much more detail, but it is adapted well here, or you can research on your own more about Artemis. 


Philippe declares that they are to be married "in two days' time." Well, Matthew, tick-tock, tick-tock! You told Diana in the tent, "Not now, not yet, in time," and now in time is happening in two days! He says to her that they don't have to do this just because Philippe says so. But she wants to even after what she's learned about his inherited blood rage affliction. "If you ask nicely," she answers. Ha! I loved that she said this because both of them have been dealing with heightened emotions, plus an incantation to a Greek god is nothing to take lightly. Let's just come back down to Earth. 

I remember when Matthew told Hamish in S1 E5 that she was funny, how I laugh each time I hear this because he's over 1500 years old and a sense of humor is still vital to him. That should be his icebreaker introduction, "This is my wife, Diana, and she's very funny." Every way that they've expressed love for each other right up to this point keeps us enthralled with the show.

They slept for two more nights in separate beds so Philippe gives him a gift. (Just kidding, but I counted, and I got eight nights that Matthew and Diana slept in separate beds). The wedding day gift is a fibula, aka an ancient brooch, something he found on a battlefield that caught his eye because of its blue stone. He demonstrates how he bent to pick it up, and it ended up saving his life. Matthew is amused by the story and appreciates it enough that he watches with admiration as his father leaves the room. He holds it up to the light at the window for a closer inspection. This is a very poignant moment of a father showing his son how he loves him and wants him to have something to remember him on this special day. I hope that if it brought Philippe luck, it brings Matthew luck, too.

The wedding is announced with the ringing of the bell much like a sound of a bell at the end of S1 E3 while she's in Oxford. The bells wake up Diana from a long day's sleep -- rejuvenating her energy after summoning witch wind. The end of this episode is the first mutual kiss between Matthew and Diana. 

She's dressed in one of the most beautiful 16th century-styled wedding dresses. The sight of Diana opening her eyes into the daylight as the double doors open outwards is one of the most anticipated scenes of the series. Her dress is a spectacular sight. In slow motion, Matthew turns to see her descend the stairs and walk towards him. Obviously, he is transfixed by her beauty. Both are glowing with elation that this day has finally arrived!

It is a short ceremony of few words. Philippe has the first dance with her and she asks how he'll prepare everyone to keep silent about her once Ysabeau returns to Sept-Tours. Matthew takes her hand and if it wasn't for a couple of clips of their dance steps, you would think that they were floating. There's a string ensemble playing the cover of "Time in a Bottle," by the late Jim Croce and then segues into a modernized version sung by Julia Church in the next scene.

The editing for the fight scenes was exciting. Certainly, editors and writers have to keep the episode within an allotted time of 44 minutes. ADOW's growing followers are a young adult audience, so for the wedding night, I already knew it couldn't be controversial or gratuitous. That's not this show's image and the two actors are married in their own life. Of course, I'm pleased that any notion of a wedding night was in this episode, but I would have gone with fewer edits; more time elapsing for each shot. Read more about Matthew and Diana's wedding and the nights that follow in Shadow of Night if you prefer the full-length story. The text version extends beyond the TV version of 50 seconds. Yes, I took out the stopwatch.

I also had already looked at the soundtrack's song titles and saw that they were using "Time in a Bottle." It is a perfect song choice -- particularly the early music ensemble's version -- however, I hated myself for spoiling the surprise so instead of feeling so angry at myself in looking ahead, I created my own version in my imagination of their wedding night. It means I have the book, the television, and my own version, and none are less meaningful than the other.

It's at times like this, the great heaven knows
that we wish we had not so many clothes
So let's loosen up with a playful tease
like all lovers did through the centuries
We're just following ancient history
If I strip for you will you strip for me?
Songwriters: Adam Ant / Marco Pirroni 

Here's a breakdown of the time elapsed in the other ADOW's "love" scenes with Matthew and Diana; merely done for the sake of comparison:

    • 00:22 - S1 E2, ending - from the moment he touches her hand, kisses her wrist, and lets go of her hand
    • 00:39 - S1 E3, her room after dinner - from the moment her hands touch his chest to until he moves away
    • 00:27 - S1 E3, ending - from the moment he reaches for her hair to the end of the scene in her room before they leave.
    • 00:23 - S1 E4, night 1 at Sept-Tours on a walk - from the moment he turns and embraces her and they kiss until the scene ends
    • 00:37 - S1 E5, Sept-Tours driveway - from when he takes her hand and says that they will always be one until the end of the scene
    • 01:24 - S1 E5, in his bedroom from when they kiss and move to the bed until the end of the scene
    • 00:22 - S1 E6, in Madison - she runs to the tree - from the beginning to the end of the kiss before she sees Rebecca
    • 01:44 - S1 E7, nighttime in the forest - she lands on top of him until the end of the scene inside the house
    • 01:11 - S2 E5, inside the tent from when she kisses him until he tells her, "Not now."
    • 00:50 - S2 E6, wedding night - start at the end of the dance scene until the end of the love scene

When they were getting ready for their departure for Bohemia, Diana wore the trousers without her long skirt. She isn't concerned about fashion as she is about comfort. It's days of riding so it seemed very appropriate. 

Philippe hands her a bag of money, stating, "the women in this family manage their own finances," and tells her the ring she wears is a sign of Ysabeau's approval; a message to Philippe. His emotions are coming forward and I think all of us fans were so sad to know that the moment was coming in which we, too, had to say farewell to him. The performance James Purefoy gave with his character from the moment they arrive to the moment they're departing is something we all have longed for after reading his story in Shadow of Night. He generously opened up all of his heart in his portrayal of Philippe.
Father-in-law of the millennia, no question
Philippe: You have found a woman who is worthy of you with enough courage and hope to spare.
Matthew: Yes, I know.

Philippe: And know this. You are equally worthy of her. So stop regretting your life and start living it. And there is one more matter to be put to rest before you leave. Whatever happens between the two of us in the future, I forgive you. Now go, my son.

Thank you, father.
James Purefoy as Philippe de Clermont looks into the camera like he is looking at Matthew; his words are most eloquently stated and most touching.
Thinking of the lyric, "But the humans will give no love." from "Horse with No Name" by America 

It needed to be said, for Matthew and Philippe, to find closure before their back together hundreds of years later when Matthew has to face his father again.

Philippe now turns back to Sept-Tours and has found the words he was seeking in order to write a note to Ysabeau. He hides it in the book, slipped into the binding. There's an anomaly that causes a vibration that alerts the witches at the beginning of E6 to look for what is causing it. Ysabeau (Lindsay Duncan) tells them that Philippe hid messages. It isn't until Ysabeau later that night sees a piece of paper folded into a tight square and sealed in wax. Indeed, she finds the last message from Philippe and Lindsay Duncan's performance is so amazing and heart-rending to watch.

Song "Lonely Woman" by Dee Dee Bridgewater

Philippe's ring is an ouroboros symbol. This symbol is throughout Sept-Tours on the various items, not just the stamp he uses to imprint the wax seals on his letters; the saddle mat for the horses, and hung above the door of the entrance, and even can be seen on a shield in present-day hung on a wall.

Philippe has taken into account everything that has transpired during Matthew and Diana's visit.

  • Matthew has control of his affliction, while he has found a mate worthy of his love; and she being his equal on love, courage, and hope
  • Philippe's closure with Matthew regarding his mortality
  • The prophecy about the fearsome witch has come true; plus Ysabeau sent Philippe a sign of approval of Diana to be a part of their family; he has a new daughter and he gave her his arrow pendant.
All of the pieces have fallen into place and it finally is apparent what it is that Philippe has had to process in order to write the letter to his wife, Ysabeau. Philippe explains that he "has struggled to accept his mortality and that today [he] has found peace. [He] is no longer afraid." Listen to the rest yourself as the camera focuses on Ysabeau's reaction to seeing his writing and reading his words about Matthew and Diana having finally mated. The episode closes the chapter; we are crying as we watch Philippe and Ysabeau's teardrops. He secures the book onto the shelf for her to find centuries later. The last three minutes between the two characters delicately juxtapose how each of them cares deeply for each other. Her face streaming with tears in having seen his words again, knowing that this is his last love letter to her, saying in so many words that he knows he is mortal now. Adding to this, the sight of Matthew and Diana riding into the sunset -- these are all of the elements that make our heart, and our eyes, swell with emotion.

Putting the love scene aside, in every scene with Matthew, Philippe, and Diana, or just the pairings Matthew and Philippe -- Matthew and Diana -- each moment of E6 is deeply emotional and absolutely enchanting. 

Previews for episode 7 leave a lot to the imagination. But certainly, the recurring character Gallowglass returns next week.

[If there are scenes that didn't make it into the series between Matthew and James, I would enjoy all of those extras if any were to be added as special features when the DVD is assembled. 
Watch other work in which these two actors share the screen in Roots (2016)See also this blog's post about "The Wine Show" on its own page here.]

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.