Review: Salem 1.12 – “Ashes, Ashes”

In the penultimate episode of “Salem,” John Alden finds himself in a terrible situation: he is being put on trial for being a witch! Can anything or anyone save him from hanging? Only time will tell.

Mercy Lewis, being the crazy young witch that she is, hangs out in the ditch of dead bodies, talking to the bodies, telling them she is their mother. Mary appears and tells Mercy that Increase has captured her four friends and says they will all have a place in their new world. She reveals the evil Malum to Mercy. Death is coming.

Back in town, the Malum has also picqued the interest of Cotton Mather. He journals about it and wonders about it’s power. He is interrupted by Anne Hale, who is concerned she might be a witch after her father’s claim last week. She asks Cotton to inspect her. He reaches around under her dress as she gasps for air. Suddenly, her eyes turn red and a small forked lizard-like tongue comes out of her mouth. Neither she nor Cotton seem to notice that. He says she is good. Um, no.

cottonAnne12Meanwhile, in the torture house, Increase takes joy in torturing Mercy’s four friends. He tells them the first one to confess, won’t burn. When Increase is gone, Mercy sneaks in like a crazy evil cat. Girl has got acrobatic talent! She tells them to do and say whatever Increase wants and they will be saved by their Queen. She instructs them to speak against Alden.

Back in the woods, Mary meets with the coven of old witches. They are happy because the Grand Rite will finally be complete with the last 5 victims. They happily chant about the Malum. Mary still is upset about Alden, but they say it is a necessary sacrifice.

Cotton, meanwhile, brings his theory about the Malum to his father. It means apple (correct!). But, Increase doubts his theory, saying the simplest explanation is the most logical. Cotton just wants to stop the Grand Rite. Increase tells him a story about how he stopped the Grand Rite once before with a coven of German witches. He ended up strangling a six year old girl and touching hellfire (his hands are green and burned), but he was successful. Side Note: Increase is an insane person.

cottongirls12The town of Salem has turned into an angry mob, shouting and throwing lettuce at Alden as he is brought to court. Increase stands and gives a lengthy testimony about Alden’s guilt, talking about his time with the Indians, his betrayal of Mary, forcibly kissing Anne in the street, visiting Mary late at night, etc. Cotton stands and disputes these claims. Increase slaps at Alden at one point for laughing. Increase brings in his four “torture victims” to testify against Alden. Emily stands and claims that Alden tricked Mercy and them and then laid with all of them. Cotton asks what would happen if he inspected her maidenhead, but Emily tries to back pedal. Cotton rightfully claims the girls are having fantasies of the head because of their duress under torture, torture by his father! Cotton says his father is the real violator of women, holding up one of the nastier torture devices. The courtroom gasps. Increase shouts at his son. GO COTTON!

mary12Later, in Alden’s cell, Cotton asks him where the Malum is. Alden tells him he buried it with Giles Corey. Cotton goes to search Corey’s grave and doesn’t find it. So, he goes to his father. At the time, Increase, for some reason, cuts his wrist open, puts his blood on a napkin, and hands it to some servant saying, “You know what to do with it.” What is that about? Cotton shows up and says he is afraid because he knows the Malum is here, but he doesn’t know where. He reveals he found the Malum with Alden.

The father and the son storm into Alden’s house searching for the Malum, but can’t find it. Increase is further convinced about Alden’s guilt and tries to persuade his son. Cotton goes back to Alden’s cell and questions him. Alden sticks to the truth about the Malum. Screams fill the air. The four girls are being brought to the gallows to hang! Emily rushes to Alden and tells him she regrets lying about him. The girls cry and scream. Alden urges Cotton to stop this. He tries to intervene, but his father is unrelentless and the four girls hang! Mary watches with a scowl. Anne looks fearful. Alden stares up at their lifeless bodies, emotionless. Mercy’s other friend, Dollie, who somehow escaped persecution, witnesses all of this in tears.

Dollie rushes out to Mercy and tells her the news about the four other girls. Mercy’s master was supposed to protect them, but she didn’t. Mercy tells Dollie to go back to town, for Mercy says she is now going to be the new queen. Oh, crazy, crazy Mercy.

increaseAlden12Back to the trial, Increase brings up the fact that Alden is a murderer and a traitor, saying he took up with the Indians and killed his own men. Alden says nothing, only denying he is a witch. Increase says he has sworn testimony from Tituba. Mary cries at this information. Increase says Alden will hang for his crimes even if he isn’t a witch.

In his cell, Cotton demands the truth. In flashback form, we finally get Alden’s tale. He says he was found by a tribe of Indians, taken in, and saved. “Red” overcame him and he killed his own men, who had slaughtered tons of Indians. He says he knows nothing of the Malum. Cotton says someone unburied it. Alden says the world isn’t black and white. There is a lot of grey. I agree with him on that!

Mary sobs in her room as she holds Alden’s promise coin. Isaac comes in to comfort her, saying it’s his fault Alden is in the position he is in. Isaac says Mary can still save him. She says she can’t, but Isaac persists, saying “magic” Mary can find a way.

Mary12twoThe talk with Isaac apparently inspires Mary because she goes to visit Alden in his cell. She tells him she can save him, but he doesn’t want to be saved. He says all the people he wanted to save now want him dead and he is guilty of murder and treason. Mary says love is stronger than everything else in the world and there is still a place for them in this world. They kiss and when Alden opens his eyes. He and Mary stand in the daylight in the woods. He looks at her as if he finally (FINALLY) realizes the truth. Mary is a witch!

Wow, what an ending. The season finale will not disappoint. Let me know what you guys thought of this episode. I thought it moved quickly and was a lot of fun! Comment below with any questions, comments, or concerns. Only one episode left!

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

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Post Author: Ben Fleck

1 thought on “Review: Salem 1.12 – “Ashes, Ashes”

    FlipFuzion

    (2014-07-09 - 6:51 am)

    Thought it was super gay when Issac somehow manages to sneak into Mary’s bedroom of all places and she’s like “oh hey Issac what’s up” haha

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