Salem Season 2 Episode 4 Review: Book of Shadows

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Anne Hale was brought into the fold.

Very little about the return of Anne's return in Salem Season 2 Episode 4 went as I expected, and I feel like I might have missed something along the way. Cotton's return, on the other hand, played out pretty much true to form and his meeting with Samuel Wainwright was fun and interesting. 

Overall though, I found the hour rather confusing, and I'm wondering if I'm alone in this assessment. 

First up, I was rather pleased to see Mary skeeved out that someone came at her in her own bathtub. With as often as she's inserting herself into the lives of others, it's about time she got a taste of her own medicine. Feels pretty nasty, Mary, doesn't it? She's getting less empathetic by the week.

Mary was still expecting the witch hunter to be someone messing with her within her own hive, until Tituba discovered Petras was killed. Tituba chopped out Petras' eyeballs...and ate them. She then reported to Mary that his eyes were missing. I admit I was watching through my fingers because I was really grossed out by the sights and sounds, but that's the gist of it, right?

It was surprising that eating his eyes didn't give her any special powers, such as the ability to see through John's amazing Indian pouch when they were searching for him in Knocker's Hole. Instead, Mary felt his presence because of how close they were. Still, eating the eyes must have had a point and it's sure to come up again.

I was kind of excited that Mary gave Anne the Book of Shadows (Charmed!!) and believed her (as did Anne) that she could write in it stuff only she could read. Instead, Mary can see it all. That's a shame. Anne also received her familiar and gave him a name, Brown Jenkins. Does the familiar have to feed off of Anne or will it just automatically do so? It seems like that might be something to share with the young witch.

Altogether, Anne seemed entirely too willing to accept Mary's instruction. We know she wants to be a good witch and we also know she has powers beyond her comprehension. When she gets angry or upset, they explode whether she likes it or not. So, why didn't they force their way out when she was going down in the well for Mary? 

If anything was going to get her powers flowing, it would be finding herself thrust into one of her deepest fears and having to harm a helpless animal. That they made no appearance at all made no sense to me. 

Also, I'm calling out all showrunners right now for consistently using cats and kittens as animals to be sacrificed. You think it's so cute, why no go against the grain and kill a puppy for a change?! Oh, because it's not that damn cute. I really have no idea who decided killing cats and kittens on TV and in movies was alright. It's not and it's old. Especially when it comes to witches, as witches have always used cats as their familiars. GET IT RIGHT.

IT IS SO GOOD TO HAVE COTTON BACK IN SALEM. His conversation with Samuel Wainwright, when Samuel told him he was with Isaac Newton when they all had a good laugh over one of Cotton's drawings in regards to witches, was very reminiscent of early Cotton and John chats. Just like I'd always favored Cotton coming out on top of those conversations, I wanted Cotton to bop Samuel in the head here, too.

It's hard to believe Cotton is still so innocent when it comes to Mary, but damn if she doesn't turn on the waterworks when he's nearby. He reminds her of John, after all, and Cotton wants to believe Mary is good. I guess Cotton sees the girl Mary once was.

Was this the first time we learned magic requires arousal? If so, then both Mary and Anne should be getting stronger than expected. One must also wonder how Mary managed to be so powerful without sex for such a long time. She's getting downright naughty with Samuel and he's a kinky dude. Mary's into being tied up and having her throat crushed these days for her sexy time. No time for making love! 

Kudos to Cotton for recognizing John's jacket and stance given he had a sock over his head before he conked Cotton over his. WHY did he beat Cotton over the head? John has to do something this season other than slink around in the shadows slitting people's throats; hopefully it involves sparking up his connection with Cotton.

Finally, I'm still wondering what the hell is up with Mercy. She's slicing Isaac and filling him with bugs and worms...because his pox wounds aren't disgusting enough? And why isn't she trying to heal thyself? Come on girl, use those powers. 

I have to be honest. Seeing Countess Marburg by way of the hag in the well was not nearly enough. There were plenty of gross out moments, but no Marburg. BRING ON MARBURG!! 

This was the first episode of Salem Season 2 when I wasn't breathless, even with Cotton's return to town. It felt like they were going for the gross out factor and taking cheap shots over the good storytelling I've come to expect, and well, that was unexpected. It didn't keep me from enjoying the hour, I was just a little disappointed in comparison to the first three episodes that felt as if they grew upon every previous installment.

What did you think? Am I off the mark? Hit the comments and share your thoughts. If you need to catch up, you can watch Salem online any time via TV Fanatic!

Book of Shadows Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 2.1 / 5.0 (10 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Salem Season 2 Episode 4 Quotes

Anne: What do you want?
Mary: Merely to help you be you.

There is no magic without arousal.