Aug 26 2014

Witches of East End – “Art of Darkness” Retrospective. Guess Who’s Coming to East End?

Eva doesn't play around.

Eva doesn’t play around.

Season 2, Episode 7

Airdate: Sunday, August 25, 2014, 9/8c on Lifetime


[warning] There are SPOILERS in this article.[/warning]

Just when it appears there may be some down time after the defeat of the mandragora, Witches of East End manages to keep up the drama with some unexpected new characters with all too familiar faces. “Art of Darkness” sets up the next phase of danger for the Beauchamp family, making the threat of the mandragora bite size in comparison to the king size problem awaiting them courtesy of Frederick Beauchamp (Christian Cook). Meanwhile, poor Killian (Daniel DiTomasso) remains under Eva’s (Bianca Lawson) spell. But don’t worry, there’s a lot of lighter moments too when an exclusive invitation by a renowned and mysterious artist arrives at Wendy’s (Mädchen Amick) door. And Ingrid (Rachel Boston) and Dash (Eric Winter) finally make their move toward a more intimate relationship.

Taking Care of Business

“Art of Darkness” wastes no time getting to the heart of things when it opens with a much enamored Frederick getting it on with a mysterious brunette. Originally, I thought the girl was someone he met at the bar where Freya (Jenna Dewan-Tatum) works, The Bent Elbow. It’s not until Frederick undergoes another seizure that the situation gets awkward real quick, ruining the mood with his special lady friend, and alarming his mother, Joanna (Julia Ormond), who rushes into his bedroom.

After Joanna helps Frederick, much to her surprise as much as the audience, Frederick reveals the brunette is his girlfriend Caroline (Anna Van Hooft). The last time Frederick interacted with anyone who wasn’t trying to kill him or his family, it involved attacking someone threatening Freya. But Joanna rolls with the punches and leaves the room rather quickly. Joanna later shares her shocking news with Wendy, who isn’t surprised at all; in fact, she’s known for some time. Caroline is into the environment, and works at the local university. Joanna’s reaction becomes her mantra, something I definitely relate to. “Nobody tells me anything!”  And it’s true, the business with Frederick’s girlfriend seems odd this late in the season; however, it suggests Caroline will serve a purpose.

Yet, girl problems are the least of Frederick’s worries. He encounters one of his grandfather’s allies, Tarkoff (James Marsters), who is there to make sure Frederick follows through with the “plan,” one that involves Frederick murdering his mother Joanna. It’s extreme, and the look on Frederick’s face reflects, for a brief moment, hesitation. I know there are a lot of reasons to distrust him but honestly, if he truly wanted the job done, all the Beauchamps would already be dead. Tarkoff, apart from being a telepath, has some wicked Asgardian tricks up his sleeve and knows how to torture Frederick—a point he makes throughout the episode.

As I suspected, the brand on Frederick’s chest is a direct connection to his grandfather, King Nikolaus (Steven Berkoff). However, there are a lot more sinister reasons for Frederick’s arrival to East End.

Love the One You’re With?

The love lives of the Beauchamp women, Wendy, Joanna, Ingrid, and Freya, are anything but easy. One of the hardline points from season one explores how their curses also bleed into their love lives. Freya usually ends up dead at the hands of a lover while Ingrid just has horrible luck in picking out the right man. So far in season two, for Joanna, Victor (Joel Gretsch) is gone, and for Freya, Killian is preoccupied with Eva. So, when I see how close Dash and Ingrid are becoming, as much as I love them together, I’m a little hesitant to trust the relationship considering Witches of East End isn’t known for giving its couples happy endings.

The breath of fresh air in “Art of Darkness” puts the spotlight on Ronan (Eddie McClintock), one of Wendy’s former flames. Turns out the mysterious, millionaire artist in hiding is none other than Wendy’s…wait for it…husband, or ex-husband depending on whom you choose to believe. Apparently, Ronan is a conman who uses strands of Wendy’s hair in his artwork, which is creepy enough, but it turns out Wendy’s hair is magical; it has an element that draws people to his work. But one interesting aspect buried somewhere beneath Ronan and Wendy’s banter is he may be able to remedy the problem with her necklace. Could Wendy’s hair in Ronan’s artwork somehow be used to sustain her life? Guess we’ll find out soon enough.

The truth doesn't really set Killian free this time around.

The truth doesn’t set Killian free this time around.

Deliver Us from Eva

Eva may not be everyone’s favorite character but she definitely has me fascinated by her origins. She uses a form of magic called Santería, which includes blood rituals. In “Art of Darkness,” Eva’s blood is hazardous.

The first scene with Eva and Killian begins peacefully in the morning with the two of them in bed together talking about their latest sexcapade. When Eva turns away, so Killian can go take a shower, he uses it as an opportunity to fool around again. Unfortunately, the mood shifts to horror when Killian suddenly sees a haggard, much older Eva staring back at him. Immediately, Killian closes his eyes for a moment and opens them again to see Eva’s youthful face. It’s the first time Killian is aware of his predicament, and a nice turning point for his character. Later, when Killian steps out of the shower, he sees someone has left a message on his steamy bathroom mirror telling him not to trust Eva and to look at his phone.

In a moment that seems inspired by the movie Momento, Killian discovers he sent himself a video message—a reminder to not trust Eva, and that his real love is Freya. Killian decides to confront Eva rather than devise a method of escape, but the end result leaves him her captive once again. What I actually like about Eva is her determination; even when Killian is yelling at her, she appears unfazed by his anger.

Can’t Miss Moments

  • It’s Dash-ing – From the moment Ingrid starts helping Dash, the spark between them becomes a warm little flame complete with a memorable night at the art gala where they dance cheek to cheek. What isn’t so nice? The tension between Ingrid and Freya. Sure, there is the unspoken rule of thou must not covet thy sister’s ex-fiancé but considering Mrs. Gardiner (Virginia Madsen) had a hand in manipulating Freya, does the rule still apply? I think Freya is just heartsick from missing Killian more than mistrusting Dash. Although, Dash’s actions, which are downright murderous, are a cause for concern. Then again, Ingrid has had her share of the dark side, more so than Freya, so it almost works.
  • The Vessel – One of the shocking and best moments of “Art of Darkness” is the revelation that Frederick’s mission in East End is to find a human vessel for the king to inhabit. The brand on Frederick’s chest is a means to an end. Adding to the mix are the king’s plans for his granddaughters, which involves their return to Asgard. So, not only are Freya and Ingrid in the cross-hairs of danger again, but someone—most likely someone they know—is going to be the king by the end of the season.

Bottom Line

The biggest strength of “Art of Darkness” is how well it advances the mythology by showing more details behind Frederick’s return, as well as the imminent threat that the king may arrive to cause havoc in East End! Also, it’s a great feat on the part of the casting department for getting James Marsters and Eddie McClintock on the show. Marsters is effortless in adding the necessary amount of evil and restraint when Tarkoff hones in on Frederick, and when he consoles Joanna. McClintock, known for his work on Warehouse 13, continues to play charismatic and charming characters. He’s perfect as Ronan, making me laugh and cringe (the hair thing is still stalker level creepy). There are also some minor issues, particularly with Killian. I like to believe Killian is a bit more street smart than his brother, Dash. So, why does he stick around after discovering the truth about Eva, knowing he’s only a fledgling warlock and she is a powerful witch who could kill him? Perhaps he underestimates Eva, and doesn’t think she is capable of attacking him. It’s a fair assumption since he hasn’t seen her in any other mood than happy or turned on. Then, there’s the matter with Freya. Poor girl, she doesn’t really get much action except to watch Ingrid and Dash get lovey-dovey all night long. I already miss Freya’s fight mode; hopefully, we’ll see her use her powers to battle evil rather than sitting around all mopey. Overall, most of the story line and tone feels even. The acting is great as usual, and the continuing dilemma with Frederick’s mission maintains the suspenseful elements of the show. Plus, now that we know of King Nikolaus’ desire to inhabit a human vessel, it leaves a lot to think about and speculate during the short interim break.

What did you think of the “Art of Darkness?” Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @conallen.

Tune in to Witches of East End, Sundays at 9 pm ET/PT, only on Lifetime.

Follow the series on its official site:, where you can also watch full episodes.

Follow Witches of East End on Twitter @WitchesEastEnd and @lifetimetv, as well as the cast:

@danielditomasso@rachelboston@EricWinter1,@jennaldewan@alseptien@auntwendythecat, @MelissadelaCruz, @biancabot4@RichardHatem, and @MaggieFriedman.

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Photos: ©2014 Lifetime Network. All Rights Reserved.


© 2014, Connie Allen. All rights reserved.

Connie Allen

I'm a writer, cinephile, avid reader, and pop culture enthusiast. I love historical dramas, and fantasy/sci-fi series. Currently living in SoCal.

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