That little slice of meta dialogue — directed at wide-eyed librarian Ingrid Beauchamp (a ridiculously charming Rachel Boston) — is the guiding premise for the pilot of Lifetime’s instantly spellbinding Witches of East End.
The show focuses on Ingrid’s mother Joanna (Julia Ormond), a witch with an immortality curse that’s made worse by her fertility: “I’ve given birth to [Ingrid and her sister Freya] and watched them die a dozen times, and neither of them’s ever lived past 30,” she says, explaining to her estranged sister Wendy (Mädchen Amick, having a blast) her decision not to reveal their witchy roots to the girls in their thirteenth incarnation.
Unfortunately for Joanna, freaky things begin occurring the night of an engagement party for Freya (a ridiculously sexy Jenna Dewan-Tatum): Joanna’s doppelganger murders an elderly man and sends his wife into a coma after they spot her performing a spell in the local park; the estranged brother of Freya’s fiance (whom she’d sexy-dreamt about the night prior) arrives at the party, turning the flower in her hair from white to red, and they wind up lip-locking in the bathroom; and Ingrid spots a ye-old-tymey photo of herself with a woman who turns out to be her the aunt she’s never met.
Later, Ingrid — who’s spent her life studying witchcraft, but not believing in it — agrees on a whim to perform a fertility spell on her librarian pal Barbie, and it works! Freya, meanwhile, finds herself drawn to red-hot Killian (mainly in her dreams) while still remaining totally in love with white-hot Dash (also while in bed, but awake). And Wendy arrives to warn Joanna that her life is in danger: “Upheaval, death, destruction, pain, imprisonment, betrayal — it’s coming for you like nothing you’ve ever seen before.” (The Tarot cards told her so!) The enemy of unknown origin wants Joanna, Freya and Ingrid to be “forever dead,” says Wendy, who’s only been blessed with nine lives of her own (two of which she loses in the course of the pilot episode).
Evil Doppelganger, in the midst of the hullabaloo, frees a man from a painting in Joanna’s sitting room, and sends him to exact revenge on Freya. Turns out he was an abusive suitor of hers in a past life, and she imprisoned him in said desert landscape as a punishment. This time around, he drags her into a ’20s-era photograph, the one place where — if he succeeds in murdering her — it’ll stick in the real world, too. But just as Joanna rushes off to save her daughter, the police arrive: The comatose woman awoke and fingered Joanna as the killer. And so Joanna must — in mere seconds — explain to Ingrid her witchy birthright, and send her off to rescue Freya. The breakfront has a false back, she tells Ingrid, and it’ll have all the information she needs to save the day. Then off Joanna goes to the clink!
Now how’s that for a cliffhanger?
Before I turn things over to you, a selection of the pilot episode’s best quotes:
“You have only one superpower — and it’s your breasts.” —Ingrid, pooh-poohing Freya’s contention that she’s psychic
“That is such an interesting dress, dear. I like how you just put it all out there and screw what other people think is appropriate.” —Freya’s future mother-in-law (Virginia Madsen)
“Find me something that doesn’t make me look like the old woman who lived in a shoe.” —Wendy, responding to Joanna’s complaint about her walking around naked
“He’s like lightning-bolt passion crazy amazing soulmate sexual insanity. Don’t say ‘Oh, Freya.’ Please don’t say ‘Oh, Freya.'” —Freya, discussing Killian with her sister
“He’s safe and warm and comfortable and familiar and hot and funny and romantic and sweet — and I could totally see myself spending the rest of my life with him.” —Freya, discussing Dash
What did you think of Witches of East End? Which story arcs and characters did you like best? Take our poll below, then expand on your thoughts in the comments!