In a way, it makes sense that a show that relies so heavily on past lives would actually have some of those past lives be “meaningful.” In another way, it’s a little absurd to think that the Beauchamp witches played such an integral part in American literature. But that is the “Witches of East End” way — making perfect sense while still somehow being absolutely absurd. It’s all in the best way possible though, because “Witches of East End” has found its dark, campy groove this season and shows no signs of losing it.
After last week’s ending, which dropped Freya, Joanna, and Wendy in the old west, going into this week’s seemed like it would be the standard “Back to the Future 3” plot. Wendy would channel her inner Clint Eastwood, and everyone would have a grand old time gunslinging and drinking moonshine.
Thankfully, this episode isn’t full of draws at high noon and saloon performances — it’s just a fractured fairytale retelling of the story of Edgar Allan Poe (a past life of Killian, of all people). He falls for bar maiden Freya (in all these past lives, why can she not seem to branch out when it comes to her career path?), and they have a whirlwind romance where she is his muse. Because it is still Killian and Freya (and because the history books never write about Poe and his bar maiden), it’s doomed from the start; so when Freya decides a seance is the best way to bring back Poe’s inspiration, it’s all downhill from there.
Of course it’s all downhill from there. “Witches of East End” now solidly lives in the “all downhill from there” camp. It made its summer residency there, and now it’s taken it for a permanent home.
The strangest part about all of this is not Poe’s accent but who possesses Freya as a result of the seance: a spirit named Ambrose Bancroft, who has no connection to any of the plot, as far as the audience can tell. At first it seems like it might be Poe’s dead older brother, who he mentions in his first scene, but when that doesn’t turn out to be the case, the choice of Ambrose becomes extremely odd. Yes, on a show about witches, tentacle sex monsters, and everything in between, the choice of who demonically possesses one of the show’s main characters is the odd thing.
There is actually a good reason why Joanna chose this time period (1848 Maryland) to travel to and exposit about: It’s the one place when and where she can get the weapon needed to defeat the king once and for all. That weapon? Well, it’s technically a box. Yes, it is a box that can expel spirits completely, but it’s also just a box. An enchanted box is still a box when all is said and done, alright?
The only way Joanna can get it is after 1848 Joanna — who, in keeping with the death wish present day Joanna revealed last week, had a bit of an opium addiction as a result of Victor leaving her — uses it on possessed Freya. And to be more specific, using it on Freya also means killing Freya, because it both kills the spirit and the host. It’s basically the worst exorcism tool ever, even if it is a 100 percent effective box.
This all results in present day Joanna encountering 1848 Joanna and causing a headache courtesy of the time-space continuum. All over a magic box.
Even with time being a mobius strip, nothing about any of this can hold a candle to Daniel DiTomasso’s Edgar Allan Poe accent in these flashbacks. It’s like a more subtle Foghorn Leghorn, and it is everything that a past life accent needs. It sticks out like a sore thumb, much like Dash’s mustache back in the ’70s past life flashback, and nothing about that is a bad thing. On the contrary, it is far from it.
Back in the present, in East End, Ingrid plays double agent, relying on her brains (and not magical boxes) to figure out what the king is actually up to so she can stop him. She even enlists Dash — who really is digging himself deeper and deeper without Ingrid around to help him — to help her with this plan. All while Killian remains separated from what’s going around with him because he wants to play Romeo in his and Freya’s own little star-crossed lovers play … right down to him taking poison when Freya is not even really dead. Killian, Killian, Killian. If only his past lives could sit him down and explain to him why he needs to take time and think things through.
Next week is the two hour season finale of “Witches,” and it remains to be seen how the show can continue to top these past few episodes, short of giving everyone mustaches, accents, and sending them on their time traveling ways. Given this season’s track record, however, there’s no doubt there will be something to talk about once it’s all over.