Salem Season 1 Review “All Fall Down”

Salem Episode 13 All Fall Down (1)

On the season finale of “Salem,” it was finally time to see what happened with the long-awaited Grand Rite- and the fate of our main characters. Who would be left standing in the end- or would they “All Fall Down”?

Well, it wasn’t quite that drastic, or we probably wouldn’t have much of a show left, but things did take some unexpected twists and turns along the way. (Big-time spoilers ahoy!) Falling on the wrong side of the apple were: Isaac- who also unleashed a plague in the process; Hale and his wife- who died in a most spectacular fashion at the hands of their own daughter Anne, or at least by her mind, “Carrie”-style; and, adding to the theme of killing one’s parents, Increase, who died at the hand of his own son, Cotton, who thankfully, fled town right before the plague hit the fan.

Mary, on the other hand, duped Cotton into stabbing his own father, before finishing the job- and the Rite in the process- by making Increase the last “innocent” to die, though one could argue the validity of that term in his case, given his past torturous methods. Though she claimed to the Elders she was going to run away with Alden after the Rite was completed, Tituba put an end to that when she informed her that Mary’s child was, in fact, still very much alive, and would be reunited with his mother if she remained behind. Needless to say, Mary took the bait.

Not that it mattered, as Alden first almost got himself hanged by an angry mob, then shot after his old Indian homies stepped in to save the day and a fierce battle ensued, with a fair amount of casualties on both sides. At the end, they carted Alden off with them and also out of Salem, a la Cotton, so assuming they can fix him up- a fairly safe assumption, as he was shot in the shoulder- then he should be fine, too.

Next up, Mercy banded together all the willing young people of Salem and essentially declared war on Mary when she least expects it. I thought maybe she would kill her when she went to meet Alden, but obviously that never happened. So, I guess we’ll have to wait until next season to see what happens there, but Mercy certainly has the makings of a solid troop of followers. If I were them, though, I might want to recruit Anne sooner than later, because if Mary gets a hold of her, Mercy might not fare too well against her “Scanners”-like powers.

That was the gist of it, but come on: this was one action-packed episode, and a solid season finale all around. Colonists vs. Indians; Mary vs. Increase; Anne vs. her parents- what more could you ask for? Not to mention the exciting way all of the above was shot. That sequence with Anne flipping out was awesome, and, well, literally explosive. Did not know you could show head explosions on TV, even basic cable, so you learn something new every day, I guess. Not that I’m complaining. (Though I did feel bad for the chicken.)

It will be interesting to see where the second season goes from here. Mary will obviously continue to rule the roost. I assume that most of the town will perish as a result of the plague Isaac unleashed. Alden will heal and perhaps return to Salem looking for Mary eventually, and surely Cotton will too once he gets word that the witch presence is still afoot there as well. Hopefully, he’ll track down Gloriana as well. Mercy will continue to try and bring Mary down and Anne will no doubt struggle to come to terms with her powers- and perhaps use them to eliminate the witches herself, out of self-hatred for what she did to her parents and what she’s become. Those would be my best guesses, I suppose.

All in all, a pretty decent freshman season, I’d have to say. The show started out a little shaky, but found its groove fairly early on and continued to solidify it over the rest of the first season. It was definitely a little poky and aimless here and there, but in the end, you saw that the show-runners knew where they were headed with it after all and it all worked itself out. Kudos to the excellent costume design, especially as far as Mary was concerned, and the cast was really engaging overall, I must say.

The direction was reasonably steady and, for the most part, the show avoided most of the expected clichés, both plot-wise and in terms of obvious scares. More often than not, it went for unsettling over jump scares and the like, and there’s something to be said for that. I may not have been frightened by it, per se, but I was honestly disturbed by things in it from time to time, and that’s saying something for this longtime horror fan.

Whatever the case, it was better than a lot of the horror-themed stuff out there, though it didn’t quite achieve the level of artistry that “American Horror Story: Coven” did last season. But then, that show’s been on for three seasons, so it’s had time to find its groove, too- and who can compete with that show’s cast, right? Still, “Salem” was right up there with the best of what the genre had to offer this year, so it certainly didn’t embarrass itself either. Hey, it did get renewed only, like, two episodes in, or what have you. That’s pretty impressive in a world in which shows can get cancelled after one showing. I don’t know about you, but I’m down with another season.

What did you think of “Salem” this week? Did you think the finale delivered? What was your favorite moment of the show? Are you happy with the way it ended? How about the fates of the various characters? Any complaints about the plotting? Sound off below, and hope to see you next season!