How the Witch War is Progressing on ‘Salem’ Season Two


We break down the first three episodes of WGN America’s wicked series!

I apologize, fellow heathens – I missed the first two episodes of WGN America’s Salem and as a result, I have not been able to provide you with reviews / opinions on a weekly basis like I would like to do.

Damn real-life, interfering with my writing!

Never fear, though: I have hurried to catch up, and will be tuning into WGN America on Sunday evenings from now to stay current.

So – what has gone down in the village of Salem so far this season?  Let’s breakdown the witch war so far!

Mary Sibley Has Come Out of the Shadows – And is Making Lots of Enemies as a Result

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For the majority of season one, Mary Sibley (made deliciously bad and sexy by Janet Montgomery) flew under everyone’s radar.  She pulled the strings and manipulated the people of Salem from the shadows, and while she still had enemies such as Magistrate Hale,

In season two, Mary is a much more visible presence in Salem, Massachussets, and as a result, she faces numerous challenges.  The first and most obvious is Mercy Lewis, who rebuffs Mary’s attempts to fall in line in the first episode of the season.   Then there’s Countess Marburg, played by the amazing Lucy Lawless, who knows who Mary is, even though Mary currently seems oblivious.  Mary’s even made a political enemy in Nathaniel Hawthorn (Jeremy Crutchley), who challenges her position of power among the Select Men and manages to worm his way into becoming the Magistrate of Salem.

And then there’s possibly Mary’s most dangerous enemy: Captain John Alden himself.  As far as everyone knows, Alden is dead, but the truth is that Alden is protected by Native American magic, and he is determined to kill every last witch in Salem.  Does that include Mary Sibley?  I don’t know, but he’s definitely a thorn in her side, and one she can’t even see coming.

There Are No Clear-Cut Heroes or Villains in the Witch War

It would be easy for the show’s writers to establish characters as “good” or “bad”: John Alden good, Countess Marburg bad.

Instead, the show is operating in the gray areas an awful lot.  Granted, this started last season – when he learned about how John Alden had killed some innocent soldiers in the war, for example.  Still, the gray areas feel a bit more pronounced in season two.  Sure, John Alden is justified in wanting to rid Salem of witches – but his self-righteous zeal blinds him to the fact that he is now in the business of murdering people, as well.

Mary Sibley herself is at least 50 shades of gray (sorry!) – she’s all too-happy to watch the Puritans suffer for what they have done to her people, but had John Alden not been shipped off to war, it’s easy to envision an alternate reality for her.  Now that she has been given the chance to spend time with her son, the boy she believed to be dead all these years, who knows what side of the battle she will wind up on?

Lucy Lawless is Amazing!

But then again, you probably knew that.  Her Countess Marburg is a worth adversary for Mary Sibley, and manages to match Janet Montgomery’s combination of evil sexiness tit-for-tat!  I can’t wait to see how she makes her entrance in Salem:

‘Salem’ airs on WGN Sundays 10/9c.

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