Salem Recap S1E1: The Vow

September 21, 1685 in Salem, Isaac Walton confesses to his crimes with Abigail Cook and receives a lashing as the town watches. The couple will remain in the stocks overnight, and Sibley brands him with the F of fornicator. John Alden tells him to judge not lest he be judged. While Sibley may have tolerated his father, he likes John very little, the feeling is mutual.

Sibley watches over the town at night, and a girl walks in the graveyard. John grabs the girl he stared at during the whipping, Mary. John plans on leaving, but he promises Mary that he will come back. He gives Mary a coin, a vow that he will return. He kisses her.

The next morning John leaves with some other men off to fight the war, Mary sheds a tear, and Sibley watches. Mary feels sick, and her maid tells her that it pass. Sibley thinks that the war may do John some good, that Mary will thank him one day, saving them from the end of a rope or brand. The maid tells her to stay strong, that one day it will be over.

The maid, Tituba, leads her by torch through the woods. She has changed her mind she wishes to go back. Tituba tells her that there is no place for the baby that she carries, that George Sibley sent John off to the war to die, and he would do the same to her if he knew that she was pregnant. Tituba assures her that the woods will take care of her and the baby, that this is for the best. She lies down, lets her rub oil onto her lips, her stomach. Mary sees visions of evil things, as the forest comes alive. Mary screams in fear, her maid tells her to say that this is what she wants and she calls out that it is. The forest takes the baby, and her abdomen shrinks down as if there never was a baby. She is assured that all the world shall be hers for her sacrifice as she cries in her maid’s arms.

Seven Years later, John Aldon finally returns home. On his way he finds three people hanging, good Ole Salem. He looks around the town looks much the same as he left, preachers are everywhere speaking of witches in Salem. A man notices John’s return, as John continues on. He cautiously inserts the key to his home. It’s empty. His furniture, covered, and a man, Cory, holds a gun to his head, thinking there are no Aldons any longer. He thought John had been killed in battle, but he obviously was not. He talks with John about the witch panic spreading through the town, people being strung up all over. Cotton has been summoned to listen to claims and get to the bottom of the witch problem. John knows him from the pass, a sissy boy who dressed as a girl, and didn’t fight much better, now a pompous man, who dresses in silks. But John didn’t come back because of all this craziness, but for Mary. She’s still as beautiful, and now very rich, she’s Mary Sibley now. She wed George Sibley after his previous wife died. He reminds John that he’s been gone a long time, tells him to keep his powder in its bag, and Mary will be the richest woman before long.

Mary is told that she has a package. She gives her orders, and has her husband wheeled out for his bath as she continues her needlepoint. She asks Isaac to tell her news of the world. He tells her that he saw John Aldon talk into town today, and she pricks her finger, surprised by the news.

Reverend CottonMather walks into the bar. He looks like he’s seen a ghost. He chugs down the drink poured before he asks for three strong men, he needs them to subdue a girl and he’s willing to pay. John is among the men that take up the offer. The girl’s father hopes they can help her, and there are odd noises coming from the girl’s room. Mercy goes after the men, jumping at them. They grab her, and tie her down, she tells Reverend Mather that the Hag is in the room with them, tormenting her. She begs for him to help. The Reverend gives her something to calm her, and tells the men that the girl is under attack by witches. John thinks the girl needs a doctor, that she’s touched in the head. The leave the girl, and the girl does indeed see something. It launches itself at her, and feeds upon her as she screams.

Anne’ s mother thinks to put her in Cotton’s way, thinks that he would be good marriage material. Anne feels like she’s being put up for display in a meet market. They stop short as Mary arrives, bowing before her, as an undercurrent of fear mars their faces.

Reverend Mather preaches of the battle against witches and the devil, the devil never wanted them to build in Salem. Three witches have already been killed, and yet their malice has not been abated because there are still witches among them? Mercy Lewis still bleeds from 100 wounds, and she will be the one who will identify the witches. His father advised caution, but caution is not being followed. Magistrate Hale thinks that a witch hunt would be bad for Salem. Sibley gurgles in the corner. Mary listens closely, and announces that her husband thinks that there is something worse than a hunt, a witch. John Aldon thinks there are many things worse, ogres, dragons, all things of fairy tales. Mary does not look on John with joy, but says the words of welcome. After church Mary invites John to dinner with herself and her husband.

In the tavern John toys with a ring in his hand. Isaac stares at John, and John takes issue with it. Isaac warns John that he is not safe, that the witches are no fairytale, but real. Isaac tells him that in all the years Mary is the only one who has ever done him any good, he tells him not to walk out on them again.

Reverend Mather cuts the hair from Mercy’s head. He looks over her body, searching her, and tells her father that the witches familiars feed from their victims usually in the form of animals to do helpful tasks for the witches when he asks if the search is necessary. Her father leaves the room. He checks her legs, hesitating to move higher.

Reverend Mather preaches over Gloriana as he satisfies himself. John Aldon catches him coming out of the whorehouse. He makes up a story that he’s just attending the poor. It’s been many years since the two men saw eachother. Cotton thought that he would see John at University, but John was a little busy with the war. Cotton owes everything to his education he says, he even learned to fight witches from his books in multiple languages. John asks what the witches want, since he knows so much about them. They want the country. All this time, John had been fighting the Indians, when he should have been fighting witches.

Mary looks out into the night, before stripping down and heading inside to her husband. He’s having more trouble than usual speaking. She presses against his stomach, working her way up until she extracts a large frog from his mouth. Cooing at the animal, she brings it to her bed, and feed it from the teat on her inner thigh. Sibley gurgles for help, calling for help louder. Mary shoves the frog back in, telling him not to fight it, that it’ll only hurt more. George took away everything that she had and loved, and now she will take everything he has, and devour his soul. She goes and blows out the candle, revealing an image of the hag in the mirror.

Magistrate Hale gives a toast to Mary remarking on her piety and beauty. Reverend Mather devours Anne with his eyes, her mother tells him that she is concerned for her daughters inner beauty. Anne believes there is only so much that one can learn from a book, and asks John Aldon about his experiences with the Indians. Her mother finds the subject distasteful, calling them soulless savages. John sticks up for the Indians, and Mary asks if witches have souls. Cotton answers for him, saying that witches do have souls but they have deeded them over to the devil. Mary finds this odd, as women do not have the right to enter contracts without their husband’s permission. Sibley gurgles, and Mary has him taken away. Cotton remarks that not all witches are men. John will believe in witches when he sees one. The Magistrate is in agreement, thinking Indians are the greater threat. John hallucinates Anne in his lap under the table, he looks at her innocent looking face, and she turns into Mary. Mary asks if he is alright, and John thinks that perhaps the rich food does not agree with him. She suggests that he go out for some fresh air.

Mary joins John for some air. She had been told he was dead, and he asks if that was before or after she wed Sibley. She was also told that the war wouldn’t last a year, but he had no control over that. She waited for him for years without a word, but he was unable to write. He spent time in captivity. He has the other half of the coin he gave her long ago. The priest allowed him to keep it, they believed that breaking vows carries consequence. He knows that it’s just half of a silver coin, and now she has no shortage of silver, but he asks that she run away with him. He has a bank account in New York, its different there. Its not a puritan village, they could go there or anywhere she wanted and just be together. She asks if New York was before or after he was captured. He extends his hand and she takes it. He pulls her in for a kiss, but she can’t, telling him that he’d never let her. The Magistrate interrupts, scolding her for monopolizing John’s time. He wants to share some fine tobacco with him, but John is ready to call it a night.

Mary goes to Titula. She told her John was dead, she was wrong. Titula tells her that John has little meaning with what lies at her feet. She has been given everything that she desires. Titula strokes her, coaxing her to see things her way. A servant comes to her, telling her that someone is there to see her. It’s Cory, he talks to her about the farm he had once. He loved that farm and it broke his heart and his back. The heart heals but not his back. He took up trapping then, trapping that’s done mostly at night. It was the trapping that led him to the woods, where he saw her and Titula. He’s waited a long time he’s kept her secret, and he knows that it was John Aldon’s baby she buried out there. He thinks John has a right to know. He asks if she is going to tell him, or if he will.

Anne sketches, and John compliments her on it. She tells him that Cotton thinks drawing is close to idolatry, and suggests that she can draw him sometime. John is headed out though, and New York is a long way. Anne runs into Mary, and she’s less frieghtened, rather surprised. Mary knows the girl isn’t scared of the dead because she knows little about death. Mary strokes her cheek, offering to teach her about life, death and many things in between. Most of the women buried in the graveyard died of love she says, that love for women is what war is to men. Anne thanks Mary for her wisdom, and walks off. Mary has a lock of Anne’s hair.

Cotton asks Mercy where the witches are. She tells him that they meet in the woods. Mercy sees animal heads in place of the witches heads, but she still knows who they are. She cannot reveal their names she tells Cotton, “she” won’t let her. Cotton cries, becoming panicked as he presses, but he continues to press. Mercy leaps up onto a beam overhead screaming. Thrashing around like an animal Cotton has Mercy on a leash. He uses her like a dog to sniff out the witch. She cannot speak the witch’s name, but she shrieks, everyone is a suspect. Mercy heads straight to Mary, who gives only the slightest of nods, and Mercy tears off again. She goes straight to Cory, biting the tip of her finger off, pointing at him.

Isaac stops John, pointing a gun at him on the road. Isaac tells him that he cannot leave Salem yet, theirs is something he has to see.

Cory sits in cell. Mary asks Cotton if this is his witch. Cory refuses to plead either way. He does see the confession of a mad girl as a real accusation. He tells them that he will say what he needs to to Captain John Aldon. Cotton tells him that John Aldon has left town, but he has sent men out to find him. Mary wants a confession, and reminds Cotton that he has the power for more drastic measures.

Titula hurries Mary, the Sabbath is about to begin. Titula prepares Mary, rubbing oil upon her again. This time Mary is not crying as Titual prepares her for the Devil’s coming promising her all the world. Mary arches up freezing. John is walked through the woods with Isaac. They’re looking for witches. They come across gifts, small skulls from those unborn. Fire dances in Mary’s eyes. A figure comes out, lighting a fire. Figures rise from the dark substance writhing together for the Sabbath. A white dove is pierced. Isaac screams out before John can silence him. Mary falls back, and the figures are gone, only the lone figure with the pig head remains. He walks towards the men, and John fires upon him. Mary tells Titula that the circle was broken.

Cotton asks Cory to proclaim whether or not he is guilty, but Cory still refuses. He knows that he will die either way, that he is better off just trusting in the lord. Cory is strapped in, and stones are lowered upon him.

John and Isaac return to town. Isaac worries that the witches have seen him, but John points out that he wanted to look for witches, that he knew they met there. Isaac did want to find the witches, but he did not want them to see him, and knows that they can be anyone. John sees the gathering in the town squares, and runs to stop them from crushing Cory as he continues to refuse to enter a plea, telling them to add more stones. John is held back, as another stone is thrown upon him, killing him. Cotton proclaims that the devil has come down upon them. John lectures the puritan bastards, telling them that his father’s boots were the first in Salem, and his will be the last. He sees Mary watching from her window. She shuts the doors, turning to the Magister, asking him who was there, who saw them. He does not know. She suggests that he find out. The witch hunt has begun, and she plans to run the trials to turn the puritans against eachother until Salem is theirs.


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