Review: Salem 1.10 – “The House of Pain”

Physical pain and emotional pain are very prevalent in tonight’s episode, appropriately titled, “The House of Pain.” Increase Mather, always sane and calm (HA), is inflicting pain on his own body while muttering some crazy things. Meanwhile, Mercy’s unhinged friends, Dollie, Emily, and others throw Emily’s recently murdered father into a ditch. They miss Mercy. Where is Mercy you ask? Hiding under the table in Mary’s house after she threw Tituba under the bus. Mary is very angry and wants to know why Mercy did it. Mercy babbles and Mary grabs for her…but she turns into a spider? And Mary crushes the spider? Wasn’t too clear on what happened. Anyways, time for the creepy credits!

Anne Hale, always adventurous and curious, finds her father’s creepy mask. She holds it up and it forcefully attaches to her face, sending her to the woods. We’ll come back to her problems. Her father walks with Mary, reassuring her that Tituba will be okay, but Mary isn’t too sure. She doesn’t want to think of Tituba being tortured. Increase has turned the whorehouse into his own “House of Pain,” where he plans to find the truth by torture. Mary wants to see Tituba, but Increase refuses, calling Mary weak and part of the problem.

Inside the “House of Pain,” Increase shows off his various torture weapons to Tituba. She seems to be holding her own. Cotton, however, is not. As Increase begins the torture, Cotton runs out of the house, covering his ears like a little baby.

Back at the Hale household, Hale and his wife have discovered Anne is missing. His wife is furious, slapping Hale and threatening his life and hers if he doesn’t find and bring Anne back. Hale approaches a shirtless, wood-chopping Alden to help him find Anne in the woods, even though he is very skeptical of Hale. In the meantime, Anne is losing it in the woods, screaming, and then running into Indians.

Also in the woods, drunk and unhinged Cotton. He tries to drown himself in the river, but finds he is too weak even for that. A now drunk and wet Cotton hears devilish noises. He tries to attack them with his boot, but instead discovers a dead animal head on a tree. A butterfly comes out of the empty eye socket and suddenly, Cotton is enlightened. Out of death comes life!

IncreaseTitu10His father, however, seems to have other ideas as he shows a rough-looking Tituba a particularly nasty torture device called the choke pear. I won’t go into details about it. Tituba finally speaks, saying she is not a witch, but of the Aramak tribe. She just wants justice. She tells a story of her family being raped and killed by slavers, her village being burned, and seeing two red eyes claiming her as his own. Increase takes in every word.

Back in the woods, Hale and Alden almost get peed on by Cotton, who happily sits in a tree, taking in the beauty of the earth. They don’t take him seriously, walking away, calling him drunk and crazy, which he is.

Back to the “House of Pain,” Increase prepares a hot iron as Tituba tells a story worthy of a flashback! We see a young Tituba being sold by a man who looks strikingly like Hale. She finds a friend in Mary, but goes to the dark woods, where she meets the “Kenaima” – a gross, bloody demon man. He brings all those who have hate and anger and who seek justice together. Increase threatens to burn out Tituba’s eyes if she doesn’t tell him who else is in her circle. She still refuses, solidarity among the oppressed. Tituba asks who started the war? There are no witches, just people who are oppressed, like her, because they are different!

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The woods are now foggier and creepier as Alden and Hale search for Anne. Alden suddenly senses something: Indians. They appear and Alden converses with them in their language. Hale seems surprised to know Alden was with the Indians…once. As they disappear, Alden says the Indians have seen the “crazy” Anne. He says some other stuff that makes little sense to me.

IncreaseTitu210Anyway, back to torture town, Increase, staring at his scarred hand(?), tells Tituba it doesn’t matter who started the war, for it will end, and her side will lose. Tituba says she won’t betray the one true love of her life. That changes the game. Increase starts manipulating his speech, to convince Tituba that the one she loves, doesn’t love her back equally. He keeps pushing her as we get a montage of torture scenes. Tituba finally caves, whispering something in his hear. Of course, we don’t hear what she says.

 

It’s night time now as Anne wanders in the woods. She starts crying and rain starts falling. Then she starts laughing and the rain suddenly stops. A devilish voice speaks to her and she turns and sees a demon man! She runs….and runs…right into Alden’s arms. Then she hugs her father. She looks inquisitively at him, asking how they found her. Alden doesn’t understand and questions how she got to the woods, but Anne lies, for the sake of her father it seems.

anne10Back in town, Mary sobs alone in her house. Increase enters, saying he knows now the witch leader is also Tituba’s lover and he knows who it is. Increase also reveals Tituba explained how Mercy was turned into a witch and he will find her and her girls soon. Increase says he thought when he first arrived in Salem, the true leader was right in front of him, so imagine his surprise to find out JOHN ALDEN is behind it all! Mary is truly rendered speechless. (Sidenote: WHAT!) Increase asks Mary to come walk with him to witness a public arrest.

Alden, Hale, and Anne arrive back in Salem to see that the whole town has suddenly gathered outside. Some men approach Alden and arrest him…for witchcraft. Alden is obviously confused and shocked by this accusation. The whole time this is happening, Increase stares directly at the teary-eyed, blank face of Mary. As Alden is brought to his cell, the bell tolls. Tituba smiles in her cell. Blackness.

Well, that took a turn. Does Increase really believe Alden is a witch? I don’t know! What do you guys think? Comment below. Only 3 episodes left and anything can happen!

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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