Salem Season 1 Review “Cat and Mouse”

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On the latest episode of “Salem,” everyone’s past rushed forward to catch up with them, and the results weren’t pretty, in “Cat and Mouse.” Last week’s episode ended with John Alden being taken into custody after accusations of witchcraft were leveled at him by Tituba. Joining him this week were Mercy’s followers, who held up surprisingly well to Increase’s torturous methods, although he went decidedly easier on them than he did on Tituba. Mercy wasn’t exactly living the high life, however, as she was hiding amongst the dead in the body dump in the woods outside Salem.

After a close vote determined that Alden would be forced to stand trial for his accused crimes- including a surprise visit from none other than Mr. Sibley (who cast his vote via spit!)- Mary tried to aid Alden in an escape, but he refused, preferring to follow the lead of his old friend Giles and let the chips fall where they may. Meanwhile, Anne finally coerced her father Hale into telling her the truth, and surprisingly enough, he did, admitting that he was a witch and that his parents were burned as such as well- and that Anne was likely one, too.

Finally realizing that the time had come to rid themselves of Increase, Mary took matters into her own hands, hatching a plan to kill him that involved luring him to the woods via a spelled Isaac. From there, Mercy took over, and a fierce, exciting battle ensued. Though injured- ironically enough, mostly via that belt he wore to chastise himself as a sinner- Increase managed to get the better of Mercy, though Isaac was not so lucky, ending up with a stake in the gut for his troubles. At this point, Increase clearly knows that Mary is involved in everything witchy, and tried to convince her to come forward to exonerate Alden, who I don’t even think he thinks is guilty. Ditto his son Cotton, who decided to represent Alden in the trial against him.

This was an engaging episode, highlighted by the slam-bang fight between Mercy and Increase that was equal parts “Matrix” and “Evil Dead.” You had Mercy pulling off these insane ninja-like moves as she battled him, a la the former, while Mary assisted via witchcraft, tightening Increase’s belt and compelling the trees to attack him, “Evil Dead”-style. But alas, it was Isaac who received the short end of the stake in this melee.

I liked that Adlen refused to let Mary aid him escape, preferring to stand up for himself rather than run. I can’t decide if Cotton will manage to successfully defend him or if Mary will sacrifice herself in order to save him. Either one is a possibility, given the close vote in this episode, which could end up going either way in the trial, depending on how effective each side is.

I’m also curious to see how Anne handles the news that she may well be a witch, and likely is, given that the mask worked on her, which, according to Hale, it wouldn’t have if she weren’t. So far, her reaction seems to be to study up on witches with Cotton (who made a pass at her, unsuccessfully, no doubt lured in by her red hair- the same as his departed lover Gloriana’s). Will she out her father as a witch to try and save Alden as well?

On a side note, can I just say that, while I admittedly don’t know too much about fashion, least of all fashion in colonial America, the wardrobe in the show is pretty amazing, particularly in regards to Mary. Her early outfit was beautiful, but that gold dress she wore while spelling Increase later on in the episode was absolutely stunning. Janet Montgomery has always been easy on the eyes, but this episode took it to a whole ‘nother level. Nice going, costume designers. The production values on this show are nothing if not amazing, and consistently so.

What did you think of “Salem” this week? Did you like the big fight between Increase and Mercy, too? How about the Cotton freak-out in church? Are those girls that Increase captured doomed? How about Mercy? What will be Alden’s ultimate fate? How about Anne? Will she embrace her heritage as a witch or turn on her family? Definitely looking forward to what the final episodes entail, and can’t wait to see the outcome of Alden’s trial. See you next time!