Season 2, Episodes 12 and 13
Airdate: Sunday, October 5, 2014, 9/8c on Lifetime
[warning] MAJOR SPOILERS[/warning]
After watching the Witches of East End season two finale, make no mistake about it; in the world of the supernatural genre, the writers knows how to weave a well-driven ensemble piece with evolving characters and storytelling that pushes boundaries. In the aftermath of the thrilling two-hour season finale (episodes “Box to the Future” and “For Whom the Spell Tolls”), I’m still processing the weight of the surprising turn of events, as well as the impact they will have on the future of the series as a whole. ‘Darkness is rising’ is not only the theme for season two, it’s the foundation for so much that transpires in the finale. Episodic writers Richard Hatem and Maggie Friedman go all out with shocking revelations, and heartbreaking losses.
19th Century Blues
The first half of the finale, “Box to the Future,” focuses heavily on Joanna’s (Julia Ormond) plight with retrieving the magical box or as Wendy (Mädchen Amick) calls it, “soul sucking box thingy.” Yet the real crux of the matter happens when the key to the portal door is lost, sending Wendy and Freya (Jenna Dewan-Tatum) on a hunt to find it. This provides enough time for Tarkoff (James Marsters) to kidnap Joanna, whose disdain for Tarkoff is readily apparent.
One of Witches of East End’s strengths is the casting. Marsters is flawless in his portrayal of Tarkoff, whose psychopathic and obsessive tendencies are completely unnerving. In one scene, he takes advantage sexually of a half conscious Joanna and while not graphic, it is very suggestive. The moment is vital in demonstrating the depth of Tarkoff’s madness—he waited 500 years to get Joanna in bed, and will kill anyone who gets in the way of his plans. Yet, Tarkoff isn’t entirely a monster; the only moment of clarity—the part that makes me somewhat empathetic for him—is when he explains how Joanna took his confession of love and threw it in his face, “and then you laughed…” Ouch, yeah, that’ll push someone who is already a little off kilter into crazy town.
East End Hustle
I have to give Ingrid (Rachel Boston) credit; the woman doesn’t give up. Even though Nikolaus (Steven Berkoff), her royal grandfather, may be aware of her dealings with Dash (Eric Winter), Ingrid moves forward with her schemes to destroy him. Things, unfortunately, don’t go quite as planned when Dash meets Nikolaus and learns of their Asgardian connection, a point Nikolaus uses to manipulate him.
Despite a lot of missteps, the dynamic between Ingrid and Dash is refreshing, albeit different in comparison to his darker side whenever he’s around agent Raven Moreau (Sarah Lancaster) or Killian (Daniel Di Tomasso), which surprises me. It also illustrates that maybe Ingrid and Dash are better together (platonic or not) than apart. There is a connection between them, similarly to Freya and Killian, whether they like it or not. Unfortunately, for now, Ingrid may not have the luxury of avoiding Dash considering her delicate situation.
Fate versus free will is another major theme in the finale. The way Dash undergoes an internal struggle to subdue his more volatile nature is a great juxtaposition to Ingrid, who falls into similar trappings. Overall, Dash’s growth this season is tremendous and fascinating to watch, making him one of the show’s most developed characters. He’s gone from a pristine doctor to a cold blooded killer. One can only imagine the kind of havoc he will create next season.
All You Need is Love
Like many star-crossed love stories, there is always the matter of life and death situations. Both Freya and Killian have been near death’s door; however, the situation is dire this time around. Rather than live a life without Freya, Killian decides to drink the deadly potion since he believes Freya is still dead. This scenario plays out like a scene from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Kudos to the writers for not having the women in Witches of East End just sitting around waiting for change to happen. As is often the case, they take action. It’s Frederick (Christian Cook), the only son in a family full of strong women, that I kind of feel sorry for. Despite his shortcomings, Frederick is another Beauchamp ready to risk his life for love, choosing to spare his girlfriend and face his grandfather’s wrath. Despite being the wild child, Wendy, on the other hand, is completely loyal to the ones she loves, and proves it in the end.
Team Beauchamp Forever
It wouldn’t be a finale if there weren’t a showdown, and the Beauchamp women deliver it in spades. Earlier in the season, Ingrid discovered each of them has a unique gift: Ingrid is the key; Freya is the traveler; Wendy is the bridge; and Joanna is the dagger! The extent of how far these abilities reach remains a mystery, except for Freya and Ingrid. What is clear is the strength they have together while attacking Nikolaus in a final effort to destroy him.
It’s such an empowering moment witnessing how Ingrid’s words still hold weight despite Nikolaus taking her powers away. Yet the price for such a great moment, in a show full of twists and turns, comes with grave consequences. Even Freya and Killian’s slightly ‘happy ever after’ takes a nasty turn, but worst of all is Wendy’s fate. Steady and true to her words, Wendy is one of the strongest characters in the entire show. Hopefully, the end is just the beginning for Wendy, and we’ll see her with a whole new bag of tricks!
Since the Witches of East End debut last year, I’ve enjoyed watching the Beauchamp family band together against the malevolent forces invading their town of East End. Season one dealt with the theme of discovery, taking viewers on a journey with Freya and Ingrid into the world of magic and mythical realms. Season two abandons a lot of the more whimsical elements from season one and focuses much more on the consequences of magic and the dangers lurking in town since the portal to Asgard opened up. Also, the development and direction of the Gardiners’ story lines is great! The continuity between the first and second seasons is some of the best I’ve seen in a long time, as it pays meticulous attention to details like the talisman that acts like a voodoo doll—something not referenced or seen since season one when it was used by Penelope Gardiner (Virginia Madsen).
Witches of East End is one of the unique series that can both charm and captivate your attention while simultaneously focusing on the power of family and the everyday dark side of life. Sure, there are some very sweet romantic aspects to the show that may not be for everyone, but the mythology and action that take place balances it out. Although Lifetime has yet to announce news of a third season, I cannot imagine a finale with so many cliffhangers left dangling. Hopefully, Witches of East End will return in 2015 to sort things out.
What did you think of “Box to the Future” and “For Whom the Spell Tolls?” Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @conallen.
Follow the series on its official site: http://www.mylifetime.com/shows/witches-of-east-end/.
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Photos: ©2014 Lifetime Network. All Rights Reserved.
© 2014, Connie Allen. All rights reserved.
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