SALEM, Episode Three
We open with Anne Hale having an erotic dream in bed with Reverend Cotton, John, and Mary. (Too bad it was just a short dream. It was kind of hot.) In the dream, Mary speaks the line she told Anne in the cemetery that first episode: “Love is to a woman what war is to a man.” (Cue Pat Benatar.)
Isaac the Fornicator is wheeling Bridget Bishop’s body to the morgue. Towns people are weeping. Mary stands on the balcony and watches with Tituba. The implication is that more people are crying over her death than rejoicing that a witch has been killed. “Spectacle is fuel for our fire,” says Mary.
Men loot the orphanage that Bridget had presided over, and John Alden bursts in with a gun to save the day for Anne. She yells at her father John Hale and at Cotton that this is their fault. “Will you see me home?” she asks Alden. (I guess I’m not the only one who thought that dream ended too quickly.) They walk through town side by side, and she thanks him for his heroism and his “candor.” Mary spots them from her balcony.
John Hale goes straight to consult with the blind seer. “Who saw us in the woods?” “It was he who is marked,” the seer tells him. Hale knows it was Isaac, but then the seer says there was someone else with him, but he could not make out his face. Hale is not happy with this news.
Mary is at home tormenting old George. Isaac bring her a delivery. She asks how spirits are in the square, and he tells her very low. She says, “Perhaps there is solace to be found in remembrance of times when we both shouldered worse.” Flashback to his being branded in the town square. And she is no doubt thinking of being forced to get rid of her baby with Alden because of the moral climate created by George Sibley. Mary says it’s amazing the scars that were created from that one night. Isaac confides that the woman he was branded for sleeping with, Abby, ran away the next day. He still wonders if he’ll ever see her again. Mary tells him, with tears in her eyes, that even if he did see her again, he would find his feelings “buried too deep for hope of resurrection.”
Walking home, Isaac gets a burlap sack thrown over his head. He is dragged to the woods, where he finds himself faced with a zombie-like creature who slathers him with black tar and demands to know what he saw in the woods and who he was with. He screams, “I was alone.” Cut to: night time, Isaac is unconscious and John Hale is putting items in his pocket to frame him for witchcraft.
Cotton is at the whorehouse with his usual lady. She is crying over Bridget, afraid that she will be next. She asks, would you have me hung if I had been in her place? She asks him if he is certain he is doing good, or is he just trying to prove something to his father?
Isaac shows up crazed and grabbing at women, He runs into the square screaming ” Isaac the fornicator! Hide your wives! Hide your sheep!” (Hide your sheep? Yes, they went there.) Alden shows up to calm him down. Isaac tells him, “They saw us in the woods. They saw us!” Hale shows up and they arrest him. Mary arrives — she is not happy to see this unfolding. “Magistrate,what have you done?” she hisses.
Hale tells her that Isaac is the one who saw them in the woods, and that he wasn’t alone. “We will find out who was with him and he will burn.” She tells him, “You will do nothing further!”
Mary goes into the woods to seek the counsel of an elder witch named Rose. She asks, without Hale, what are he chances of getting the allegiance of everyone else? Rose says that the group is divided, not by age, but by ambition. Mary tears up. “It can’t all have been in vain.” Rose says it’s too late now to think of her choices. Mary asks if she really had a choice, or if choice was taken from her. “It is yours to decide what was in vain and what was not,” Rose says, touching her face. Mary asks,”And you will stand by my decision?” “Up to a point,” says Rose. She tells Mary not to underestimate Hale.
Walking home, she is intercepted by Alden. “Isaac is not a witch.” He asks her if she has any heart left, is there anything of the girl he once knew? He tells her that Hale was at the jail, trying to question Isaac. “Hale?” she is rocked by this news. Hale is disobeying her. It’s war. “You have my complete allegiance,” she tells Alden. He is shocked.
Cut to: Mary casting a spell, sending Isaac an apparition in the form of his old love, Abby. Abby begs him to tell her who was with him in the woods. Isaac, in a dream-like state, still resists. But Abby gets closer to him, saying if he tells her they can be together again. He says, “John Alden.”
Mary’s eyes open.
The next morning she visits Hale. She tells him, “Isaac was alone in the woods. And that ends this persecution.” Hale says fine, but he still hangs. She says no. He says only one thing can be clouding her judgment, and that’s emotion.
Mary arrives and tells Alden that Hale is trying to force a vote to hang Isaac. “You will stop him,” she tells Alden. ”How?” “Any way you must.”
At the Hale house, Anne tells her father she hates him for what he’s doing. “My friend is dead and you’re rushing out to kill another. Even Mary Sibley, with whom I share not a common opinion, finds your actions vile.” He tells her everything he does he does for this family and for the greater good of this town. Hale leaves, and Anne’s mother tells her instead of hating Mary Sibley, learn something from her. At least she has found a way to have a voice, and Anne should do the same unless she wants to spend the rest of her life shouting at her father.
Hale comes to take Isaac to trial, and Alden stands in his way.
Meanwhile, Mary is holding a mouse in her home, while the dolls come to life at Anne’s. (Remember, at the end of last week’s episode, Mary created a voodoo doll for Anne.) She falls to the floor, bleeding from her mouth.
Alden is fighting off the guards who come to take Isaac away, when Hale runs back and says stop, wait. They put Isaac back in his cell. Hale returns to his house, where Anne is writhing on the floor in a fit and can’t breathe. Hale spots the doll on the bed, and runs to Mary’s house. “Make it stop,” he says. “Isaac will go free. Just make it stop.” She tells him. “I have lost everything in this town I ever cared for. You, however, have everything left to lose.” She says he is the vulnerable one, not her. He begs her for mercy. She say she will choose who lives and who dies, and he agrees.
He returns to his house and Anne is improving.
In the morning, Hale tells Alden and Cotton that Isaac was clearly just drunk and the charges will be dropped.
Alden tells Isaac he’s free, and Isaac says “You saved my life.”
Cotton runs back to his girlfriend, and tells her that Isaac has been spared. “See? The innocent have nothing to fear.”
Alden and Mary see each other in the town square. He tries to joke around with her, attempting to connect or bond over this mutual victory. She tells him she is grateful for his help with Isaac, but adds, “We were lucky today. But if you insist on staying, I can not protect you. Do you understand?”
In the final scene, we see George Sibley stabbing himself in the leg.