salem-series finale recap

Salem Series Finale Recap: Were You Bewitched, Bothered or Bewildered?

After three seasons of sexy supernatural chicanery, Salem on Wednesday wrapped up its run, leaving in its wake not only a conclusion that was as surprising as it was satisfying but also the corpses of more than half a dozen major characters. Who got a happy ending, and who was merely… ended? Read on and find out! Or, if you’ve already seen the episode, grade it in the poll below!

‘EVEN HELL WILL NOT HIDE YOU NOW’ | As “Black Sunday” began, the devil — newly reunited with Little John’s body — ordered Anne to bring Cotton to the Sibley mansion, and reminded Mary that, in mere minutes, it would be midnight and, thus, their wedding day. (All together now: Ew!) Meanwhile, Sebastian engaged in the unfairest of fights with John, countering his rival’s bravado with sorcery. But, just when Sebastian was selecting which of John’s organs to bring back as a mean-spirited souvenir for Mary, Alden miraculously managed to fatally wound his opponent. With his dying breath, Sebastian expressed his remorse at having plotted the destruction of Mary, the only woman either he or John would ever love, and sent him off to save her. Which was all very nice, but, er, how? Naturally, Sebastian croaked before he could answer.

‘YOU RUIN EVERYTHING!’ | Cornered in the Knockers Hole brothel by a mob of Isaac fans, Hathorne persuaded Mercy — my beloved Mercy! — to release their captive in order to save their necks. Alas, even Isaac wasn’t able to calm the crowd. After sending Dorcas running to safety, he watched in horror as the locals trashed their own homes. And they were just getting warmed up! Back at the Sibley place, the devil and Anne explained to Cotton that all of Salem — including his precious Gloriana — could be spared if only he’d forfeit his soul and enter hell of his own free will. Consider it done, he more or less replied, adding, “I prefer this” to being married to Anne. (Snap!) Once Cotton had crossed the threshold of hell, the devil started coming apart at the seams. The reason wasn’t Tituba’s so-so sewing, though — the body of a full-grown and wickedly handsome man was busting out of the boy’s skin!

salem-series finale recap‘LOOK WHAT A GREAT SACRIFICE MAY BRING’ | “Ta-da!” the now-grown-up devil’s expression said when he was done emerging from his flesh cocoon. (Who could blame him?) The no-longer-Little John then proceeded to pat himself on the back for all of his expert plotting and entice Mary to embrace her role as his queen of the night. “We will birth a race of gods and monsters,” he said. No thanks, his mom replied. Birthing one monster was quite enough for her. Still, she submitted to a bloody kiss, at which point he instructed Anne to deliver his fiancée to the altar — in other words, his bed. En route, Mary pleaded with Anne to “spare [her] having to consort with that thing,” and whad’ya know? Anne complied, slashing at her and letting her blood spill onto the Countess Marburg. Next thing we know, Anne was putting a weakened Mary to bed and assuring her that, when she awakened, she’d “feel like a new woman.”

‘A FOOL KNOWS A FOOLISH PATH’ | Later, John stole into the house, found Mary and was in the process of carrying her away when, suddenly, she bit off his earlobe and knocked him out! The Countess Marburg now inhabited Mary’s body! Informed by Anne that Sebastian was a goner, the devoted mother replied, “Pity. Then again, he always was the weak one.” Off that, the Countess dove into bed with the devil. At the same time, we learned through a series of flashbacks and cutaways what Anne’s endgame was. (Who knew she even had a game, much less an end one?) In Knockers Hole, she froze the peasants’ “orgy of self-destruction” just long enough to promise Isaac that she’d end it for good if only he’d team up with her. When he refused, she unfroze the crowd, into which he was dragged (presumably) to his doom.

‘I INTEND TO BE THE LAST WITCH’ | In another vignette, Tituba swore to Anne that she’d go away and never be heard from again. Which was, in a way, exactly what Anne had planned for the seer. Only Anne’s plan also involved taking away Tituba’s power of vision, erasing her mouth (!) and shipping her off on a slave ship! (Da-amn!) In the brothel, Anne magically hanged Hathorne and wondered aloud where Mercy’s old ambition had gone. When Mercy insisted that all she wanted was to be with her husband, Anne magically hanged her, too! (Ack! Not my Mercy!) As for John and Mary… Since he’d once saved Anne’s life, she was giving him a pass — one time only. He was to take Mary — who’d been left as desiccated as the Countess had been — and hit the road, leaving behind one single item: his angel-killing dagger!

‘I CAN TASTE YOUR DESTINY’ | Joining her mother in bed with the devil, Anne used her ultra-powerful weapon to do away with Little Big John. After all she’d done to help him, why? he understandably wanted to know. “Power,” she replied. “I’ve discovered mine.” But he needn’t worry — she’d bring him back in time so that she, not Mary, could be his mortal bride. Hell, she was already pregnant with the baby who’d become his new host! Delighted, the devil thought maybe this time he could have a happy childhood. The Countess, on the other hand, was livid. “I should have drowned you in my womb,” she spat at her daughter before realizing that, oh dear, her goose was cooked. “What was it you told me?” Anne asked as the Countess drew her last breath. “We all murder our parents.”

‘WE HAVE BEEN RULED BY WITCHES ALL ALONG’ | As the episode — and, with it, the series — drew to a close, the Countess’ demise restored Mary to her full vigor once again. Translation: Her porcelain skin grew back, good as new. So she and John set off to enjoy their happily ever after and the fact that they both had flesh. Back in Salem, Anne — now the colony’s Grand Poobah — speechified to the masses, among them Dorcas, that all the recent deaths were merely “birth pangs of our brave new world,” one in which they’d have to be super-mega-vigilant against witches. Finally, Cotton… poor, poor Cotton. He was last seen getting his first glimpse of hell, which was depicted in a manner that was as fantastic as it was classical!

So, what did you think of Salem’s swan song? Grade it in the poll below, then hit the comments to back up that grade with your critique.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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19 Comments
  1. Ken says:

    I read an article with the writers/producers who stated they had the story plotted out for seven seasons. They hadn’t even gotten to the Salem Witch Trials which they planned to include. Then a few days later, WGN cancels the show. I would like to know what all of their plans were now that they had to craft a suitable finale after just three seasons instead of their proposed seven.

    • PatriciaLee says:

      I wish they would wind up series with novelizations. I’d pay money for e-books of favorite prematurely whacked series, much sooner than a penny for access.

      • Ken says:

        I wish that show runners would fight harder to keep their shows going and shop them to other networks or venues like Netflix and Hulu etc. I will NEVER forgive Showtime and John Logan for lying to the audience of Penny Dreadful by saying they had always planned that season 3 finale as the series finale. It was a spit in the face to the loyal audience and it was obvious that it was a rush job with unanswered plot lines, newly added characters that went nowhere, etc. I would have loved for another venue to have picked it up for a proper final season. But most networks screw over their shows fans because it is a business. I just think they can come up with a scenario for shows that haven’t reached their logical end yet to continue the show in some way that benefits the audience as well as the network/producers etc.

        • Nathan Everett says:

          And how do you know they were lying?

          • adam says:

            It was obvious to any and all who watched it. It introduced new characters, hinting at secrets they had and never developed those or the characters; they left major plot threads dangling with no resolution; they force fed us an obviously rushed resolution to the main storyline that ran for the entire series and tied up the big bad’s and the main heroin’s story conflict and character stories in less than half the episodes of the final season. And, at the end, after the screen went to black, the show runner’s message of “The End” felt like both a big “eff you” to viewers, and confirmation that they knew nothing about the final episode closed the series for us, and we’d need it LITERALLY spelled out for us. Afterwards, they rolled out a campaign about how it was all “planned this way”. Sorry, but that STILL doesn’t pass the stink test.

          • adam brokas says:

            It was obvious to any and all who watched it. It introduced new characters, hinting at secrets they had and never developed those or the characters; they left major plot threads dangling with no resolution; they force fed us an obviously rushed resolution to the main storyline that ran for the entire series and tied up the big bad’s and the main heroin’s story conflict and character stories in less than half the episodes of the final season. And, at the end, after the screen went to black, the show runner’s message of “The End” felt like both a big “eff you” to viewers, and confirmation that they knew nothing about the final episode closed the series for us, and we’d need it LITERALLY spelled out for us. Afterwards, they rolled out a campaign about how it was all “planned this way”. Sorry, but that STILL doesn’t pass the stink test.

  2. Gary Berger says:

    It was one of the worst series finales I have seen. It was rushed and horribly paced.

    • Aia Woi says:

      I totally agree with you. They forced so many things into the episode and it felt as if we were watching an entire season in one hour. Also, I believe the characters deserved much better. Unfortunately, the finale felt like they used the Deus Ex Machina plot device.

    • I totally agree with you. I felt that it was rushed and when it was over I was scratching my head? Maybe if they had been able to film a 2 hour finale it would have been better.

    • Komonicca Collins says:

      I agree. Horrible!!! The only saving grace is that it at least an opening for another possible storyline. Maybe Netflix will pick it up.

  3. Brian says:

    This series was fantastic. Too bad it took this long to give Tamzin Merchant an Emmy quality performance in an episode. She was the best this finale had to offer. Great ending, although it was too soon. This show was too good and WGN didn’t really do enough to promote it or even let people know when it was coming back. Heck, there were ‘Outsiders’ Season 2 premiere ads around before ‘Salem’ even began. This was one of the best supernatural series going – such a phenomenal cast. Hopefully these actors find new shows to inhabit soon. Can’t wait to see Elise Eberle find another role as good as ‘Mercy Lewis’ or Seth Gable one as good as ‘Cotton Mather’. Applause for this fantastic final bow. (I’m wondering if Hawthorne and Mercy were killed to add an event because this was a final episode that happened before the Trials b/c they would have needed him for the Trials (or at least history did.))

  4. Missin says:

    I loved this series, truly sad to see it be canceled. My Wednesday evenings will forever be boring. Seems like every time I find find something I enjoy on TV it is getting canceled. They will all be missed, may they go one to bigger and brighter things.

  5. M says:

    I’m sorry but Mary should have died and stayed dead.

  6. Noble says:

    I didn’t know this was to be the last season. I am uber bummed, especially since Penny Dreadful ended.

  7. Lauren says:

    AHHHHHH!! I am not at ALL satisfied!!! I am quite bothered!!! Cotton!!

  8. I still wonder why Mary can leave out of Salem? Because she was bound to the Essex tree.

    • Brandy says:

      Because she was placed into the body of Marburg. I am so disappointed that this series ended. I didn’t know it was ending until 2 weeks ago. I am so tired of really getting into a show and then it is cancelled. I am still mad about Witches of East End. The storyline in that show could have gone very far. Now another one bites the dust.

  9. Nassie says:

    Good Shows never see a good end to one satisfactory I remember “The Event” why not switch and sell a series to another Network.

  10. Terry S says:

    Set up for sequel. IE What Becomes of Dorcas?