Season 2, Episode 9
Airdate: Sunday, September 14, 2014, 9/8c on Lifetime
[warning]WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD[/warning]
Witches of East End has a habit of balancing the darker elements of its story lines regarding the cursed Beauchamp family with some lighthearted moments. Yeah, not so much in “Smells Like King Spirit,” where the clear and present danger of Frederick (Christian Cooke) and Tarkoff’s (James Marsters) mission takes a sinister turn.
Last week in “Sex, Lies, and Birthday Cake,” Freya’s (Jenna Dewan-Tatum) birthday was cause for celebration by all the core characters. Many took their relationships to the next level, and in between the sheets, while others like Frederick and Dash (Eric Winters) met with the consequences of their actions. All together a solid episode, but even in some of the more gripping moments, there remained some element of hope. “Smells like King Spirit” feels altogether like a different type of episode with its surreal atmospheric moments and heartbreaking tragedy at the end.
So Much for the After Glow
The first half of “Smells Like King Spirit” reveals Frederick’s inability to transform his girlfriend Caroline (Anna Van Hooft) into the vessel for his grandfather, King Nikolaus (Steven Berkoff). It’s a revealing moment for Frederick’s character as it proves his reuniting with his family foils his grandfather’s plans. It also shows Frederick has a conscience. Caroline, after all, is only human, and the way Tarkoff and Frederick have sliced and diced many of the East End population speaks to Frederick’s adoration for her.
Tarkoff couldn’t care less about Frederick’s compassion as he viciously assaults him over and over with a disturbing sense of satisfaction. Marsters’ portrayal of Tarkoff is not only unnerving but, in many ways, perfect. Episode writers Al Septien and Turi Meyer shape Tarkoff into a chilling villain instead of some manic caricature—sometimes evil attributes are subtle, and Marsters delivers the goods with a mere icy glare.
With Frederick’s reluctance to aid him any longer, the situation forces Tarkoff to take matters into his own hands. Until now, we’ve only seen glimpses of Tarkoff’s cruelty, but when he goes after Wendy’s (Mädchen Amick) boyfriend Tommy (Ignacio Serricchio) as a candidate for the King’s vessel, all bets are off.
Meanwhile, Frederick tries to redeem himself in front of his mother Joanna (Julia Ormond) and works with Freya—using their twin powers—to locate Tarkoff. Not only do they discover his whereabouts, Freya learns Frederick has been working with Tarkoff the whole time. When they return to the Beauchamp household where Wendy and Joanna wait for more news, the proverbial shit hits the fan. Even though viewers know about Frederick’s change of heart, it’s the final straw for Joanna. In an effort to detain him, Joanna unleashes one of the three deadly black scorpions she created with Wendy. The first sting paralyzes its victim; the second kills instantly. I expected Joanna to spell Frederick but to unleash the scorpions and get in Frederick’s face to tell him it only takes “one” more sting to end him, I was shocked. Although, he has no one else to blame but himself.
All’s Well That Doesn’t End Well
Amid all the danger awaiting Tommy, there is still a lot of mayhem surrounding Freya and Ingrid (Rachel Boston). It’s ambitious but in addition to the main story regarding Tarkoff, the circumstances surrounding Killian (Daniel DiTomasso), Eva (Bianca Lawson), Freya, Ingrid, and Dash reach a critical boiling point.
After what appears to be months of drugging and scheming to have Killian’s baby, Eva’s plans fail when Freya catches onto her. Unfortunately, there is no catfight or crazy fight scene; instead, Eva is caught by both Killian and Freya in her true form—an elderly woman. Apparently, in exchange for power and youth, Eva needs to give birth to the child of a warlock to survive, and Killian is her last shot. Rather than vilifying Eva as a monster, her final scenes are actually sad and poignant; so much so, I couldn’t hate her.
In contrast to Killian’s problems with Eva, Dash continues to fight his own demons, as well as the loss of Ingrid. I find it strange how strongly Dash feels for Ingrid so quickly. When he discovers his grandfather’s old journal with a faded image of Ingrid—from one of her past lives—it adds fuel to his ever growing desire for her. Thank God, Ingrid is the sensible one when she discovers that the spell books Dash found along with the journals contain blood magic—the most potent and dangerous kind of magic; the kind that leaves a mark on your “soul.” Ingrid also realizes a pattern in what she has done for Dash. Similar to her actions in past lives, she helps cover up a murder. Ingrid feels she and Dash are repeating history all over again. After convincing Dash to destroy the spell books, Ingrid encourages him to make peace with his brother by telling him the truth. Dash then asks Ingrid if they can have a second chance, if he changes for the better. Ingrid tells him no, but he should change for himself, not for her.
I really enjoy the way Freya and Ingrid’s story lines reach some level of resolution. Yes, it’s a turning point for both of them but as far as the plot is concerned, it opens the door for new stories and characters.
Once Upon a Time in East End
“Darkness is rising,” the theme of season two, is both literal and figurative in “Smells like King Spirit.” From the start, Witches of East End didn’t hide the fact that at some point, Ingrid and Freya will die. So, it amazes me to see that, despite all Joanna’s attempts to protect her daughters from danger at the hand of her enemies, the one to kill them is someone she trusts.
The last half of the episode is a race against time. Tarkoff accomplishes his mission and finds a vessel through Tommy. And just when it appears Frederick has defeated Tarkoff, in a surprising move using one of Joanna’s black scorpions to kill him, the moment of gratification turns to horror. With Tarkoff’s dying breath he tells Frederick, “I left you a present in the garden.”
The scene cuts and follows Joanna and Wendy returning home. Frederick looks completely in shock. He apologizes to Joanna as she walks to the back yard to find Ingrid and Freya’s lifeless bodies. There’s no sound, as we watch Joanna’s silent scream and Wendy holding her back.
“Smells Like King Spirit” is easily one of the most difficult episodes to watch, considering how far Freya and Ingrid have come with their powers and the relationships they have with the Gardiner men. It’s hard to believe there are still more episodes left after what transpires in “Smells Like King Spirit.” What I do know is East End will never be the same again.
What did you think of “Smells Like King Spirit?” 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: http://www.mylifetime.com/shows/witches-of-east-end/, where you can also watch full episodes.
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Photos: ©2014 Lifetime Network. All Rights Reserved.
© 2014, Connie Allen. All rights reserved.
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