The first time I saw something about tv-series Salem was over a year ago when they released a first trailer. Because of that I decided to check it out! The show hasn’t reached The Netherlands yet, so I had to look for it online.
The show is set in the 17th century and follows the lives of the people in Salem. Amongst them are witches, common people and those who wants all of the witches dead. This mean a lot of witch trials. But what nobody know, is that those trials are actually run by the witches themselves!
It took some time for me to form a good opinion about this tv-series. It didn’t really kept me interested, until I had watched the first half of seasons one. This was also the moment a new character arrives in Salem. I’ve seen a few series involving witches like The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, but Salem is really something else. It has a total different vibe, other kind of spells and it reminds me of how I pictured witches when a was younger. Involving animals and witches with creepy faces full of nasty pimples. Especially the older ones, but sometimes we also see in the mirror the true reflections of the younger witches. The series is very obscure and shows some pretty disturbing, creepy and nasty things. We also see how people can change when they’re frightened of something they don’t understand. Or how others take the whole situation to their advantage, which is also a bad thing for the witches.
The show starts somewhere in the 17th century, seven years after Salem’s John Alden (Shane West) left town to go to war. When John returns a lot has changed. His former lover Mary (Janet Montgomery) is now married with George Sibley (Michael Mulheren), the richest and most important man of Salem. Salem is also under the spell of witches where it’s Cotton Mather’s (Seth Gabel) task to hunt down the witches. However, for us viewers it’s not hard to spot the real witches and see how wrong Cotton mostly is. But compared to his father, Cotton is a sweet guy but maybe a little naïve. Increase Mather (Stephen Lang) is a true witch hunter and he’s the man you should look out for when you’re a witch. He’s good in his job but his methods are questionable. But just like his son Cotton he truly believes that what he does is the right thing. But his accusation against John Alden couldn’t be more wrong. Talking about John Alden, I never really liked his character. It looks like he has only one facial expression and he’s pretty naïve and dumb. He should have find out much sooner that someone special to him is a witch..
John Alden never believed in witches but after he and Iscaac (Iddo Goldberg) go on nightly adventure in the woods they spot something quite freaky and witch related. Hereafter John and Cotton join forces. In their quest Cotton got ‘help’ of the bewitched girl Mercy Lewis (Elise Eberle) but since she’s controlled by the witches, so actually the witches are running the trials. Once Mercy comes back to her senses and understands everything that has happened, she blackmails the witch who had bewitched her. She’s one of the persons who uses this witch situation for her own gain. At the final end it becomes clear that Mercy is the biggest threat for the true witches. Yes, I truly think Mercy is one creepy young woman with some big plans for herself. Maybe the same big plans Mary Sibley had, but she has a better heart. Despite of everything she’s a good and loving person.
An other interesting character is Anne Hale (Tamzin Merchant) the daughter of Magistrate Hale (Xander Berkeley). Anne has a very pure heart and does some good things for the people in Salem. She also disagrees with Cotton’s methods regarding the ‘witches’. Anne is mostly convinced of their innocence imagine her surprise when her father has some shocking news for her. I’m very interesting in seeing her back in season 2!
Season 1 left the door open for some interesting things to explore in season 2: Mercy and her big plans, Anne’s discovery, John and the Indians, Cotton’s actions and of course the witches’ grand ritual and it’s aftermath. I hope I didn’t spoil much but made you interested! It’s a good thing season 2 starts in two weeks!