Previously on ‘Motherland: Fort Salem’:
-The Matriarch started planning everyone’s handfastings
-Raelle is now the big hotshot around campus and gets pulled into doing a weapons test in front of the VP and some Brass from The Hague
-Tally is still having flashbacks and has one at a function of Nicte leaving Alder
-Abigail, fed up with being only a Bellweather in everyone’s eyes, tries to recreate Jem Bellweather’s working
Alright then. Shall we jump in? I’ve been so crazy busy that I only just got a chance to watch this episode this morning so let us see where this one takes us.
We have a different type of opening this week with an Army Promo video for the lost Witches in the testing centres. I know that in this universe there is no HD TV etc but this video legit looks like it is from the ’80s or something and I am here for these vibes. With a voiceover from General Alder, we see a young woman answering the call and heading off to be tested with a huge ass smile on her face the entire time before she arrives at Fort Salem and we see a training montage including Penelope Silver and ending with Alder in front of a green screen with a US flag billowing in the wind telling us all to find our voices. A pretty good message even outwith of the Army.
With so many women in the intro, of course, we have to jump to the scene with two of the biggest softies in this show, Gregorio and Adil, with Adil tutoring Gregorio in Mothertongue. I mean it is all going well until Abigail appears and has a tete-a-tete with Adil with a storm brewing in the background. Given the amount of blood that Abigail was coughing up at the end of the last episode, it is safe to say that she has all but blown out her throat and needs to wait on it healing, which means that until further notice, there is a storm warning over Fort Salem. Abigail tries to play ‘Truce’, but Adil is on his way out to go visit a site in India that has been selected as a possible home for The Tarim. Angry at both himself and Abigail, Adil heads out to pack and complete his visit.
In full out ‘Imma punch my way out of these emotions’, Abigail is busy scorging training dummies while Tally researches from some books. Tally seemingly blames Abigail for her having the ‘episode’ aka vision and thinks that if she had gone to the reception then Abigail wouldn’t have blown out her throat, but Abigail is a Bellweather and would have done it either way. I mean we love a determined witch. Raelle joins just in time to hear that Adil has left and to see that Tally has become frustrated with her research to find out more about ‘The Martyrdom’, AKA Tally’s vision, and her lack of finding proof of Alder’s involvement.
Speak of the devil, Alder is busy dressing down Petra and Anacostia over their little side mission to find more of The Spree with having Scylla be bait. Alder is PISSED! While Petra rambles on about trying to speed up testing and expanding it, Alder quietens her and all but throws her out the room to have a one on one with Anacostia, who is BEYOND PISSED! Eyebrow slit and perfectly coiffed hair, Anacostia looks amazing in her uniform but can we have the flannel shirt back, please? Breaking protocol is not tolerated, but you lead by example, right? And that is exactly what Anacostia tells Alder. Even the Biddie’s are taken aback! I don’t think anyone has ever spoken to Alder like that before, and maybe it is about time. Sure we are only accountable for ourselves, but when our actions involve the lives of millions, there should be checks in place, and that check should be Anacostia. We do love a power struggle with Alder trying to hold on to every last shred in the Army while Anacostia is trying to move with the times and take out the Camarilla for good. Reaching a stalemate, Anacostia leaves while Alders lip trembles at the window.
Spree HQ and Mamma Spree is cooking up some mushrooms. Interesting choice seeing as her daughter has been colonised by one. The other cells are making the wrong choices, but all Scylla sees is the pictures of Raelle stuck to the fridge and she steals one. Mamma Spree and Alder have the same idea with getting someone to stay on BBEG (AKA Jack Orsotti) and before Scylla heads out Mamma Spree tells Scylla to keep the photo of a fresh pre-army and pre-side braids Raelle.
The testing centre is about to open to the public but the interviewer is about as subtle as a slap to the face when Alder uses the phrase ‘Prospective Recruits’ in her interview, but the interviewer stupidly corrects her to ‘Prospective Witches’. Sure these people may be coming to be tested to see if they are witches, but they are more than that. Alder isn’t training people up for the army who don’t have the vocal cords for it. Outside there is trouble brewing with a group of protesters with plaques and with facemasks on (safety first!)Naturally, this worries Alder with the signs saying things like ‘Lying Witch’ and the crowd chanting ‘Not Our Daughters’ and ‘Find Your Voice’. Things are only about to get worse with a new busload of people coming in and a protester handing over a box to a police officer, who hands it over to a worker who then passes out whatever is inside to a group like it is cupcakes and then places it in pipes, all primed and ready to go.
Lunch with Petra Bellweather is on the calendar for today with a side of sass on the menu. Petra is all in on getting Abigail to handfast, but she has bigger things in mind, like taking out The Camarilla, but Petra plays dirty and pulls the Charvelle card. Pulling away from Abigail, Petra sets her sights on Raelle and her test, and Tally jumps in by asking questions about Liberia and Alder’s involvement. Typically, Petra knows nothing about it, not surprising given that the history books have completely omitted Alder from those chapters. Petra tries to be political and escape from it by brushing Tally off to speak with someone closer to the story.
The Imperatrix has her work cut out for her, but at least she has created a trading card game for all the eligible bachelors for Raelle to give the once over. Think any of them are the shinies? Could probably get some good money for them in a few years time. Abigail is in one hell of a sour mood and feels like a failure. Raelle gives one hell of a good pep talk for a shitbird but there isn’t time to dwell on it as orders have come down from Alder herself. Raelle throws down the cards and four of them land perfectly as if they have been chosen. Yeah, that is totally going to come back and bite her in the ass. M has orders from Alder herself that they are to go to the testing centre and make everyone feel safe. Basically, they are to be there as a presence if needed. Raelle and Tally have been given super extra special jobs. Raelle is on Alders personal protection detail, whereas Tally is with Penelope and Blandton himself in the VP limo with secret service agents.
Anacostia and Scylla have their own end of the mission. Hoodie on, Anacostia is taken aback by the sheer volume of vitriol being directed their way. Bonnie and Shane find the two of them and give them masks before joining in with the chanting leaving Anacostia and Scylla no option but to join in or stand out like a witch mark.
Things in the limo are tense. Blandton is living up to his name and is using the whole ‘I don’t know what to do with you’ speech just because his daughter is in the army now, which means braids are pretty much mandatory now on top of the whole learning how to use her voice to be a great member of The Army. Penelope isn’t having it though and calls Blandton out but Tally tries to ease things out. The protest isn’t letting up with Jack waiting over by the Police.
The stage is set, and with Raelle on stage, Scylla is ready to leave. The beginning of the demonstration sees Penelope step up to the podium and use her songs to control the water like she has done numerous times now and step back after her quick display. The crowd goes quiet during it, but as soon as Alder steps up to the podium, the protesters are quick to jump right back in with their chanting. Alder tries to calm the crowds again, but they instantly rile up again in time for the first person to step up for testing. The poor young woman is confronted by the scene, but Tally escorts her inside and Raelle steps up to talk with Alder. Good thing too as when their conversation ends, a Molotov Cocktail is thrown right at Alder’s head, but with Raelle’s quick thinking, they duck and it lands on the flag instead. Secret service drags Penelope away, but Alder stands and with the fire reflected in her eyes, she looks like a demon from a fire plane back for vengeance and yes, I am here for it.
Testing complete (quick and painless with the weird x-ray mirror), Alder steps in and welcomes the new witch and calls her daughter, just as she calls everyone in the Army daughter. The new witch is very appreciative and thankful for the testing confirming it, and Alder is ready for her next batch of testees. The police welcome BBEG, leaving Anacostia worried enough to reach out to Alder in the testing centre through Farspeech. The fact that the Camarilla are there is worrying enough for Alder to call for Petra. With no other option, they choose to blame the Spree for anything that happens rather than reveal that the Camarilla are back and have them on the backfoot.
Blandton proves to actually care about Penelope and urges her to leave with him to get her to safety while he can still do something to protect her, a move that will probably prove to be costly.
At the protest, Farspeech is glitching right before a sharp noise worse than nails on a chalkboard is heard causing pain for all of our coven. Through it though, Charvelle’s voice comes through and speaks directly to Abigail. Not possible, right? Charvel is dead. Throat slit and voice box removed. It can’t be her. Whatever is stopping the Farspeech is also causing Tally to no longer have her sight (her witch sight not her regular sight). Tally and the rest of the coven move forwards to find it, but Abigail falls for the trap and heads in the other direction.
Running into an underground parking lot screaming for Charvelle, Abigail comes face to mask with the Camarilla agent who is using Charvelle’s voice against Abigail. Tyres from a van screech in and multiple figures clad in the same red balaclava with the same digital voice box and chest device step out. At least we know that the chest device prevents Abigail from using her seeds against them, but she has her Scorge and is trained in hand to hand combat (somewhat).
The protest is not letting up, and Tally leads them to the pipes with the bombs in them. They try and clear the area, but the protesters are formidable, but not Scylla who is busy hiding behind other protesters to avoid the gaze of Raelle while she uses Scyllas words to try and appease the crowds. The crowd closes in on Raelle but before they can move people away, the bombs start ticking and a panicked Tally screams out for Raelle. It isn’t your typical pipe bomb. A wave of sound hits everyone and they all collapse with the riot police moving in to move the protesters away. Sehkmet company are left to look at the devastation, but one of their numbers is missing. Abigail is not with them. M and Tally run off to find her.
Abigail is holding her own against them with her scorge, taking out chest device one after the other, until one of the Camarilla pull out a knife at just the right time and slice through her Scorge. Another scorge in hand, she continues, until that one is also taken out of commission. Now outnumbered, they grab her and hold her down with one agent taking off his mask to start slicing away at her throat. Thankfully Tally and M appear in time. M goes into full-on protector mode and hulks out to take down every last standing Camarilla agent in the parking garage while Tally runs to comfort Abigail.
Anacostia finds Scylla and urges her to run, but it is too late. Raelle, after taking a rock to the head, spots her in the crowd. Before Raelle can go over to her, she has ghosted out of there, but not before dropping the picture that she took from the fridge.
Izadora is already working hard to crack into the minds of the Camarilla agents that they recovered, but Petra is understandably preoccupied. They have come after her family again, and not even just her wider family. They came after her daughter. Again. Petra and Alder both want vengeance, but they need to be smart, and they need to make sure that the rest of the coven know that too (and that it is top secret hush hush) otherwise we will have Parental Figure M rushing off to take care of their company alone.
In with the fixers, Abigail is surrounded by her family, Tally and Raelle. Abigail is broken. She fell for it, but she is also being targeted. There is only so much trauma one person can take. Abigail is still tied to the storm as when her tears fall, the storm outside picks up and we can hear thunder and lightning. Abigail feels like she has failed again and all I want is to jump through my screen and give Abigail a huge hug (after Covid of course) and tell her it’s not her fault and it’ll be OK. She says that it doesn’t matter though, but when she finds out that the attack is being blamed on The Spree rather than the Camarilla she breaks down and curls upon herself.
Raelle and Tally can only look on while Abigail breaks her heart. Raelle tries to make Tally see sense again over Alder’s lies, but Tally has had enough. This one has hit too close to home, and she storms out. Alder is in her office having a large whisky after a long day with her hair down when Tally enters with the storm raging behind her and asks for the truth. She asks for the truth over Nicte Bitan.
And that is where this episode finishes. My heart hurts so much for Abigail. When will she ever get a break? I hope it comes soon because the next episode means that we are halfway through the season and I’m not ready.
-Written by Christine