Review: Salem 1.07 – “Our Own Private America”

What are dreams and what is reality? For Mary Sibley and John Alden, it might be hard to tell. Lots of things come to a head in this episode, so let’s dive right in.

We open on a ship that is stalled in the ocean because the wind is gone! Oh, look, it’s Stephen Lang! What’s he doing on this show? Well, he is going around blaming the lack of wind on the forces of a witch. This can’t end well.

Meanwhile, back in Salem, Mary confronts Hale with Rose’s head, arguing with him about their mistrust of her. Hale promises he will honor her and names her the new “Samhain” (I guess that means witch leader?). Only 8 more dead needed, so let’s go!

Anne and her mother discuss Hale after Anne saw his mysterious figure last week. Her mother basically said that Hale is working with a foreign power, but he isn’t a traitor and everything he does, he does for his family. Anne, however, remains unconvinced. Her mother gives her one piece of advice: once you know things, you can never unknow them. Ain’t that the truth?

Hale goes to the whorehouse to watch our weekly lesbian sex scene. Suddenly, a message etches into the back of one of the whores. It’s from the witch on the stalled ship. The madam of the house, Mab (Morgana Shaw), who is also a witch, asks if Hale should tell Mary. He refuses, saying knowledge is power.

Mary has a plan to find the Malum. She is going crawl into Alden’s dreams and invade his thoughts to find it. Tituba is against this plan, knowing full well that Mary still loves Alden and shouldn’t be in his dreams, but she does it anyways. In the dream, Mary and Alden have full on sex. She scratches his chest. When he wakes up, he still has the scratch!

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Back on the ship, Stephen Lang talks with the captain. And by talk, I mean, he stabs him through both hands, accusing him of being a witch. How did he know? He is that good. The witch captain starts speaking in a different language, but Stephen Lang just kills him, and the wind rises…

Mercy has been receiving lessons from Mary and she practices her new skills on her friends as she entertains them. One of the girls, Dollie Trask (Sammi Hanratty), sees a skull in her drink because of Mercy’s doing. Mercy is proud of herself, but Mary says she must learn to leave her own body.

As Cotton crazily talks to a dead baby in a jar, Alden arrives, questioning his sanity. They talk about dreams. Cotton calls them “our own private America” – saying we spend about 20 years living in dreams. Alden seems to be troubled by his recent dreams. It is true that we can either forget our dreams or live them…

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Alden later has another sex dream with Mary. She discovers, through their sexing on Giles Corey’s grave, that the Malum is hidden there. Alden wakes up even more distressed. Mary celebrates her discovery. Meanwhile, Mercy’s friend, Dollie, whom she magicked earlier, is supposed to be bonded in marriage to a boy in some strange bedding ritual? Is this what Puritans did before marriage? However, she has strange visions and freaks out, rushing into the street. This leads to a big fight in the street between Dollie’s family and the Barker family, who are among the richest in Salem. Mary and Mercy are pleased to see their plan worked (their plan being the town accusing Goody Barker of witchcraft). During the mob, Alden appears stunned from his recent dream, bumbling around. He runs into Anne and kisses her violently. The kiss seems to break his stupor and he excuses himself. Anne looks all happy. Great job, Alden. To relieve himself of his sex dreams (I guess), Alden goes to the whore house, where he engages in an orgy. Okay, Salem and this gratuitous sex! It’s unrelentless!

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It is time for Mercy to “leave” her body. Mary gives her the task of scaring Dollie’s mother, Goody Trask (Rachel Whitman Groves), into believing Goody Barker (Sharon Landry) is a witch. Well, instead, stupid Mercy enters Goody Trask’s body and has her slit her own throat. WTF! Meanwhile, Mary leaves her own body to enter Alden’s dream again. She can’t get enough of the dream sex! However, this time, bad things happen. Mary isn’t alone in the dream, Anne is in his thoughts too. And then, Mary is in the woods, in the middle of an Indian siege. Alden is dressed as an Indian! What is happening?! Mary shakes and convulses, foam coming out of her mouth. Luckily Tituba wakes her out of it.

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Tituba and Mercy go to get the Malum from Alden’s hiding spot. Tituba happily holds up the magical apple. Alden arrives in person at Mary’s place. They finally sex it up for real this time. A mob scene breaks out in town after Goody Trask’s body is found. People shout and yell in the street that the Barker family did it. Cotton tries to keep everyone calm. Hale stays out of it. The Barkers are thrown in jail to await a proper trial the next day. Meanwhile, Stephen Lang arrives in Salem admist fog and menacing music….

Post-sex blues for Mary. She thinks about things and decides Alden should leave. He doesn’t understand why or what happened to her, but he leaves. Cotton gets word that the Barkers were burned alive…but how? Because of Stephen Lang, who is Increase Mather, Cotton’s father. He insults Cotton’s methods, calling him an imbecile. He says it is better that hundreds of innocents die than one witch walks free! That is a terrible strategy!

Alden arrives as the Barkers burn at the stake. Isaac (where has he been?) tells Alden he thought he was going to save them. Mary watches from her house, but is greeted by Increase Mather. They play up fake pleasantries. She asks if London was well. He recounts how evil forces tried to stop him. Mary plays dumb about the whole affair. He wants to see his old pal George, but Mary says he is unwell. Their conversation ends on a solemn note as Mather says he’ll be in town until every devil’s whore of a witch in Salem is dead. Welp, that is bad news for Mary.

Stephen Lang’s presence adds a great spark to the show. The real persecution is about to begin. What do you guys think is going to happen next? Will Mary be discovered? What is in the Malum? Will Cotton find peace with his father? Comment below with your questions/thoughts/concerns.

Salem airs on Sunday nights on WGN America at 10 pm ET/PT.

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Post Author: Ben Fleck

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