In a way, Marilyn Manson has always lived in "Salem." It's his brooding voice that has been introducing each and ever episode of the WGN America series since day one -- with his fitting track, "Cupid Carries a Gun." So, it only makes sense that his face would eventually appear on the program and in Wednesday's (Nov. 9) episode, titled "The Heart is a Devil," the shock rocker put on his actor hat as he stepped into the very fitting role of barber-surgeon.
For those unaware, barbers used to provide more than just a shave and a haircut in American history and it's quickly revealed that Manson has varied knowledge of the creepier ailments that have been afflicting the townspeople.
We first see his barber-surgeon as he inspects the recently deceased body of Alice's (Ashlyn Pearce) uncle -- you remember, the pimp that was thrown from the window last week due to Mercy's (Elise Eberle) devilish game of Cat's Cradle -- and, it's his observation regarding the insane amount of bones broken in the man's body that sends Isaac (Iddo Goldberg) on an investigative mission of his own.
He may be inching closer to find out the sinister truth behind Mercy's brothel -- aka, "the Bird's Nest" -- but one person that may stand in his way is Hathorne (Jeremy Crutchley). Paying the new madame a visit, with the intention of copping a deal that'd grant him 50% of the establishment's profits, he soon finds himself in Manson's office begging for help.
It seems that Mercy has poisoned the man, resulting in a nasty case of canker blossoms appearing across Hathorne's face and body. And while he doesn't stay to seek a solution from the barber-surgeon, what's revealed is a burgeoning mistress/servant relationship between the man and the madame. She offers an antidote to his problem, but it seems getting him on his knees to submit to her whims may only be the beginning of a new alliance happening behind the town's closed doors.
As for Manson's role in the series, it seems that this is just the beginning. EP Brannon Braga spoke with Screener at "Salem's" PaleyLive LA World Premiere event and when Marilyn's barber-surgeon was brought up, he said the rocker fit right in on set.
"He actually kind of fits right in with the vibe of the show," Braga explains. "He was a natural. He plays this wacky Sweeney Todd surgeon and, when he first walked onto the set, he started pointing to weird surgical tools and some formaldehyde in jars, saying, ‘I have that at home’ and ‘I have that at home’ and ‘I have that.’ So he fit right in."
Exactly how he'll fit into the bigger conflict transpiring between the Devil (Oliver Bell), The Sentinel (Samuel Roukin) and Mary Sibley (Janet Montgomery), we do not know as of yet. But if he's sticking around for the duration of the season -- which we're told will physically go to hell -- then we have an inclination his role as town doctor will only expand as we go.
"Salem" airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on WGN America.