Our beloved hero, John Alden, has now been accused of witchcraft and the stakes are higher than ever. Increase Mather is far from done with his witch hunt, even going as far to believe that Alden- someone he thought of as his own son- is now a witch. I feel like Increase knows that Mary is a witch, but still hasn’t just come out and accused her yet. Mary pleads with Increase to let the board decide Alden’s fate, which Increase actually agrees to. Mary also asks if Increase has found Mercy. He says he soon will. Cut to Mercy in the woods (not dead) and sleeping on top of a dead body (as you do). If you are new to this show, it does, in fact, go there.
In the Hale family, Anne questions her father about his magic mask and wants to know the truth. He keeps lying to her and she sees through it. She says she is going to ask Increase. Hale looks worried. Increase, meanwhile, has a chat with his failure of a son, Cotton. He says this is Cotton’s chance to be a man and speak for the board and condemn Alden. Cotton doesn’t seem to agree. Increase tells a story from his past about a friend he let free, who later turned out to be a witch. Aha! So that is why Increase is all butt-hurt and witch crazy. His pride was hurt, of course!
The time has come to decide if Alden’s case will go to trial. Hale reported to Mary that all the votes lined up, and Mary would have the tie-breaking vote. Sure enough, a tie vote is reported (after Hale hesitates). Mary is about to announce her decision when Increase wheels out a “cured” but mute George. He can’t talk, but he can spit. And spit he does, in favor of a John Alden trial. Mary and Anne both looked pained. Oh, Alden too. Sometimes I forget about him.
Later that night, Mary visits Alden in his cell. She throws a pity party, apologizing for all of this, but Alden tells her to stop, saying all their choices led here. Mary says she will help him escape, but Alden refuses, saying he won’t give in and that he would rather die than run. Just like his dead mentor/friend, Giles Corey. Oh, honorable, stupid Alden!
Anne approaches Increase as he eats dinner and starts hinting about witchcraft, but her father intervenes before it gets anywhere. Increase leaves his meal to go to a healthy round of torture. He has rounded up Mercy’s friends, throwing boiling water on them. They are convinced Mercy will save them, but Increase thinks he will catch her!
Mary meets the one and only Mercy in the woods and tells her Increase must die! A plan is set in motion. For some reason it involves Mercy scratching Mary’s back with elongated gross nails. Mary then lets Isaac see her back, telling him a story of Mercy’s whereabouts while he drinks a bewitched tea. He is to go to Increase with this story.
Back at the Hale household, Hale finally sits Anne down and tells the story of his life (as we get to see flashbacks). His parents were burned when he was 8, he came to the New World, was taken in by people who helped teach him powers, and (surprise) he is a witch. Anne gasps and rushes out of the room. Later, Mrs. Hale expresses doubt that Anne will turn in her father, but Hale isn’t so sure.
In the courthouse, Increase gives a rousing speech to the town about mistrusting neighbors. Cotton drunkenly stumbles in and Increase angrily (and literally) throws him out. Isaac goes to Increase with Mary’s story. Increase shows him his self-inflicting pain chest machine, making him touch it. He seems to believe Isaac. Meanwhile, Mercy makes a weapon out of a bone.
Anne goes to Cotton and apologizes for things. The talk turns to witches and life. Cotton appreciates Anne’s candor, but being Cotton, takes it the wrong way and tries to kiss her. She backs away and says that his only failure is not becoming his father, which isn’t a failure.
In the woods, Isaac and Increase search for Mercy. Increase pulls a knife on Isaac, asking him who put him up to this, but then a giddy Mercy appears. Meanwhile, Mary chants in her house in front of a fire. She starts tightening the straps on her corset and the chains on Increase’s self-inflicting pain device get tighter. They chase Mercy, and she throws her knife bone at Increase, missing. He throws a knife into her shoulder, but she bounces back, swiping the knife back at him. Meanwhile, branches pop out of the ground and trap Increase. He, however, is able to slash Mercy across the stomach. She runs away and we see that Isaac was stabbed by Mercy’s first attack. Oh, no. I was really actually hoping Increase would die.
Back in town, Increase calls upon Mary, who is shocked to see him alive and Isaac injured. She promises an unconscious Isaac to protect him. Increase thinks someone tricked Isaac to kill him. Okay, c’mon, they both know its her. But they do not say it. Mary leaves, saying Alden isn’t a witch. She stares at him in his cell. Poor baby boy Alden, right Mary?
A sober Cotton visits his father and says he is going to defend Alden, which causes Increase to slam the door in his face. Anne returns home and tries to run past her father, but he tells her the mask only can be used by someone with the gift… meaning… Anne is a witch. DUN DUN DUN!
Only two episodes left. Alden’s trial is next week. What is Anne gonna do now? Stick with me through the home stretch! Comment below with questions, concerns, and your hopes and dreams!
Salem airs on Sunday nights on WGN America at 10 pm ET/PT.