TV

“Motherland: Fort Salem” Episode 203 Recap: Don’t worry, It is all part of the test.

Previously on ‘Motherland: Fort Salem’:

-The explosion comes only from Raelle

-War College brings new classes like Mother Tongue and Off Cannon Workings

-Tally can see the sounds and set a new record for the Doll House

-Khalida #owned General Alder and is looking for a new home for her and Adil

-Tally’s dreams haven’t stopped and she discovered a photo of the witch who used the Spree Workings

I’ve put this off for too long as once this is done, we are 1/3 of the way into the season and already I know I’m not emotionally prepared for it. 

We begin this week at The White House with Alder, Petra and the Biddy’s facing down The President (why yes I have missed you Ma’am!) and the VP. Alder wants national testing centres so that they can find all the lost witches before the Camarilla does. President Wade though knows that this move is political suicide, but with the VP whispering in her ear, she shuts them down and refuses to issue the Presidential Order. The Biddy’s though start whispering and instantly Wade’s mind is changed and turns on her VP, Blanton Silver. And can I just say, WHAT A NAME! That name was just MADE for me to play with! Is it this universes version of Chad? Either way, we get an epic staredown between Alder and Wade that honestly keeps me so well fed!

Tally, Raelle and Abigail are walking in the pouring rain. Our little cluster have been broken up into their own specialities for training with only a few classes together. Abigail has been learning even more in weather work with Tally learning even more about her whole seeing sounds, while Raelle learns even more about her mushroom explosion powers. Yeah, even that doesn’t sound as cool as it actually is. Abigail is completely salty over it though and when Raelle moans about getting to do something cool and brand new, she threatens to throw a water spout at her again. Yes, they are all getting to do cool stuff, but Abigail is doing work that is known and isn’t getting to branch out into doing anything new. 

In their new Barracks, the Imparatrix is waiting while sipping on a cup of tea in front of a nice warm fire. Who is she though? As the Matriarch, she is responsible for making sure that everyone’s line continues to grow and she makes suitable matches for them all to keep their witch line strong. Sounds like an arranged marriage to me but ok, go on. She instantly singles out Raelle as being ‘rebellious’, but isn’t that everyone in our little cluster? She singles out each and every single one of our witches and highlights something about them. Tally for growing up in a Matrifocal Society (no men!!), and Abigail simply for being a Bellweather. One sip of her tea and an announcement that the Matrimonial Season has begun with an event the following evening and she is out!

Back in her office with Petra and Alder, the Matriarch shows her true colours as being a Blood Purist. Seriously, what is it with magic societies and wanting a pure bloodline? She looks down on ‘Outcrosses’ and almost dismisses them outright! I get that she takes her job seriously and all, but come on! Any new blood you can get in and get trained up at this stage is a boon, not a poor decision! Alder calls out the fact that these witches have been lost to them and that the Matriarch needs to learn their place. She seems to be the only person on base who doesn’t report to Alder, and she is in no way Star Struck by the General and kicks them all out. The power move! Petra and Alder catch up over recent affairs outside with Petra saying a little too much about Alders powers of Persuasion (seriously that woman can roll a double Nat 20 on her Persuasion ANY day of the week!) which tips Alder off. It is at least something to think about.

Raelle is exhausting all of her options singing to Madame Mushroom Wall but is not having much luck. Izadora asks for respect for Madame Mushroom, who responds only to external stimuli. She explains that the wall chose to form a relationship with Raelle, but clearly, consent wasn’t everything. She should ask a certain piece of Crabgrass for some pointers on that one. Being left alone, Raelle asks why. Why she was given this power. Why she has to die for Madame Mushroom to do anything. She gets an answer in the form of spores reaching out and grabbing her wrist, showing her a seed that Scylla sang on their first date to sprout a Deathcap Mushroom out of the grass. I’m calling this seed the Magic Mushroom. I’m clearly not in my right mind but when am I ever? Raelle clearly thinks it is a good idea to sing the seed again right at this moment in time while she is unsupervised. Madame Mushroom responds finally and makes its way up to Raelles mouth and clogs her airways. Izadora, back in her office, feels the earth quake and runs to help, employing a seed kept in a box to force her out and back into the wall. 

Abigail has been summoned to the office of the Matriarch to look at the ‘family line’. She attributes everything that Abigail is to ‘good breeding’ essentially. Every Bellweather has had the same traits. I feel that is less to do with nature and more to do with nurture. She even has Abigail’s line all planned out and wants Abigail to handfast with Gregorio, completely ignoring Abigails wishes to be with Adil. Shot down, Abigail learns that her Handfastening has already been set and will take place at the end of the year. Way to kill a girl’s hopes and dreams! Seriously, has no one learned yet that you can’t chain down a Bellweather’s ambitions?

Our little squad share a meal together and catch each other up. It is a heavy episode for both Raelle and Abigail. Raelle is medically fit to continue, but that much cause some kind of trauma. I hope the Army had a good therapist on the bill. Tally is still helping Penelope get ready for the opening of the Test Centres. She can’t the seed quite right but Tally gives her the good old ‘I’m Tally Craven And You Can Do This’ pep speech trying to get Penelope to hate herself less. She has sung the seed before, so it can’t be that hard to do it again. This next try sets the tuning fork off and cracks a mirror. She is already having ‘bad luck’ in her books, what is seven more years?

Scylla and Anacostia make their appearance back at Bonnie and *insert White Guys name that I’ve already forgotten his name here* house. Turns out they have a daughter and that they are restricting and forbidding her from playing with her friend anymore because they found out that she is a witch. It is a Nouveau version of the Witch Hunt. They are running tests on poor innocent little children to see if they are witches or not. Before too much can be said about it, they are interrupted by a mysterious figure called Jack. He takes Shane (praise the gods for captions and giving me the correct spellings and names when I forget them!) Bonnie continues to say that she doesn’t know what she’d do if they had a witch in the family. I can tell you exactly what they’d do. It is the whole idea (which is still happening) where homophobic parents find out that their kid is gay, or that one of their friends is gay. They chuck them out onto the streets. They restrict what they can do. They send them to Conversion Camps. It is so poignant that this discussion is being had (even though it is being masked behind the guise of witches in this show.)

Scylla and Anacostia stake out the house waiting for Jack to leave. The Mysterious Jack pays the pair to go to the vigils and to cause trouble. Anyone who is employing people to stir it up and to cause panic and an uprising is a bad one to be around. I think Bonnie may have been led by Shane and Jack but I won’t hold out much hope. The pair argue over each other’s methods but once Jack leaves it’s all business. 

The Matriarch has called Tally and Raelle to her office to discuss their future. Tally is eager to please as always, but Raelle shuts down any notion of handfasting (and men) VERY quickly! One wrong step by the Matriarch in badmouthing Willa Collar marrying a civilian and Raelle let’s lose! Speaking in Mother Tongue, Raelle puts together what The Matriarch has said and instantly retorts herself in Mother Tongue. Yaas go off Queen! Raelle, who hasn’t been able to string a sentence in Mother Tongue before, manages to cut The Matriarch down to size in an instant.

War College isn’t just all about workings. Close Combat Training is also on the docket for our squad, which means ARMS! Yes, they are in tank tops and Abigail is fighting none other than Gregorio. She lets everything loose on him and works out her anger on the mat. Tally and M are paired together but with the dreams, Abigail is now having visions of the blade being covered in blood. That is NEVER a good sign. Maybe you should let someone know that isn’t Raelle or Abigail. Maybe someone like Alder? 

Speaking of, Alder and Izadora are in with Madame Mushroom waiting on Raelle. They have found the seed that Raelle sang, but it is so complex even Alder hasn’t heard it before. Sitting her down, Izadora pulls out her little magic mirror X-Ray machine to check Raelle’s vocal chords. Madame Mushroom has changed them and has invaded her voice box. Alder begs Raelle to try and sing the seed to Madame Mushroom again and takes a few steps back. The seed itself is beautiful and haunting at the exact same time. Madame Mushroom reacts to it and Raelle’s eyes glow blue before she throws it off to the side and Madame Mushroom destroys the concrete wall. 

Raelle has an out for the reception that evening to conduct a ‘Weapons Test’ for her ability, something she isn’t exactly eager to give up. Abigail wants more from her life than just being a fighting and baby-making machine. She wants to make a name for herself. She wants something that she has created that hasn’t been pre-determined for her. Raelle heads out but Abigail is definitely against going.

Scylla and Anacostia had followed Jack to four different schools now. Anacostia is ready to make a move to see what he is up to but Scylla can change her appearance and knows her way around the real world better than she can. Her face burned off, Scylla goes into the school following a sound leading her to a room with Jack, a Nurse and a teenager who is wearing headphones. A dial is turned on a machine they are using and Scylla’s disguise is removed but it seems that the teenager is off the hook. Jack and the nurse talk about testing more kids in a higher age banding due to their ears being more developed and Jack leaves after asking for updates as more come in. 

Abigail spends some time before the reception in the Museum looking at a painting of Jem Bellweather with her storms and her journal before it. It is something no one has been able to recreate, maybe because the Bellweather’s don’t want anyone to outdo the Infamous Jem Bellweather. Abigail is ready to flout tradition and uses what happened to Adil’s people as an example of why you shouldn’t blindly follow tradition. The tradition of not using Jem’s working isn’t something Abigail is about to sit by and observe. She is ready to rage against the machine and stop the war and the Camarilla with something of Jem’s machinations. 

En route to super-secret military land, Raelle and Alder are alone in the back of one of the convoy vehicles. Alder comments on Raelle’s combat charm passed to her from Willa, which gives Raelle the leave to open up with Alder and admit to her nerves. Who wouldn’t be nervous before a big test? I know I am nervous even when I am filling out a quiz on Buzzfeed eager to get the right outcome that I want. Abigail stops by Bellweather Hall to wish Tally luck in her matchmaking before heading away to conduct her super top-secret work. 

The test is upon Raelle with Alder telling her not to hold anything back. Alder admits that she hasn’t seen anything like Raelle can do, which I guess makes it both easier and harder. Easier because there are no expectations set for what someone prior has done. Harder because it is her setting them and it has been hyped up so much.

In their Camarilla hunting mission that feels a million miles away from the base, Anacostia and Scylla have tracked Jack in the rain to a car park. They surmise that the testing by The Camarilla has been going on for years for them to have found the Lost Bellweathers. They have stolen their voices and have reversed engineered them to figure out how their ears work as well. Scylla burns her face and heads off to investigate Jacks car, which has been left running. He is not in it though. Cue the pantomime cry of ‘He’s behind you!’. He attacks Scylla and has a device on him that cancels out magic, but Anacostia has been trained for this and stabs the device with a pipe and knocks him out. Now they have a captive. 

The Matriarch looks at the reception with an eager look in her eye watching everyone make connections. Tally turns up alone, but Gregorio is there to walk beside her through it all. I can already see the cogs turning in the Matriarchs head to pair the two up. 

Testing is about to begin and they have an audience. General Sharma and the amazingly named Blanton Silver are there to oversee the tests alongside the Biddy’s and Petra Bellweather. That really is an unfortunate name. I should really do something about it or I’ll end up calling him Blandton. (Sorry Victor Webster! I loved you as Coop in Charmed but that name doesn’t do anyone any favours). He explains his being there at the behest of the President with that Wade has become ill. Yeah, become ill from you being Grima Wormtongue in her ear! We can’t dally on the white man though. Petra, after escorting Raelle to the testing area, heads back into the safety of the bunker to watch. 

Lights flicker on one by one and a protective bubble is formed over the onlookers. Raelle starts singing with her eyes glowing blue. Madame Mushroom activates and lifts in the air before Raelle before she pushes it forward in a blast. The lights go out and before us is luminescent mushrooms growing in the blast radius. Petra goes out to Raelle and helps her up. I honestly love how much Petra has taken on Raelle as one of her own. 

Tally is stuck listening to the males at the function throwing around their relatives names like they are bait hoping to catch a fish. (Bad analogy but I had a long day at work and had marketing to do afterwards for D&D stuff so please forgive me). Tally becomes distracted by a vision of Sargent Butan, the previously unnamed soldier fighting alongside Alder. Alder claims that she had to set the building in front of them on fire. A building I can only assume housed the Camarilla. She claims Alder’s heart is black before storming off with Alder calling out her name, Nicte, to get her back. Before we can see any more we are back with Tally in the present day who drops to her knees. The Matriarch approaches and looks on worried.

Back in their room, which is now bunkbed-less, Tally recalls the memory she had of Alder to Raelle. Before they can continue their heart to heart they are interrupted by their worry about Abigail and the oncoming storm that they can hear. Adil, who is out walking, sees the clouds forming in a tornado and runs to Abigail’s aid. She is forming a huge storm cloud and is trialling Jem Bellweather’s working. She creates two tornados that dance alongside it, but it is too much for her. She rises and her eyes begin to go red with blood pouring from her mouth before collapsing to the ground. 

And that is all they wrote! I have still to find the time to figure out how I will get screencaps but the good news is that I am off work all of next week so I will be able to dedicate some time to that AND get episode fives to recap out on time (aka within 24 hours!) Exciting times. Until the next time!

-Written by Christine

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