At first glance, one might deduce that living in the town of “Salem” is a hellish experience. Yet, while the devil (Oliver Bell) has arrived and begun to firmly build his roots there — with the intention of destroying everything to bring Hell to Earth — it’s become quite clear that, in Salem, hell is other people.

In Wednesday’s (Nov. 16) episode, titled “The Reckoning,” he moves ever closer to achieving his goal. After learning of Mary Sibley’s (Janet Montgomery) true intentions, The Sentinel (Samuel Roukin) takes the witch and confines her in the most claustrophobic looking prison imaginable. And it’s clear from the start that the bond between mother and son — no matter how slim — had been successfully broken. She did intend on killing her boy, and yes, he is the devil, but a boy will never know a bond much like the one he shares with his mom.

Instead of killing her, John (we mean the devil) reaps his own sinister vengeance by stripping all powers from her body — earth, air, water and fire. From the looks of things, Mary’s witch days are behind her. But if she’s the town’s only hope for salvation, this situation can’t be permanent… Can it?

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While hope draws dim on that front, Cotton Mather (Seth Gabel) has found some much-needed drive to free himself from the clutches of Anne (Tamzin Merchant) once and for all. For what feels like an eternity, the holy man has been cursed with his witch wife’s familiar — we’re talking about that rat, you guys — burrowing in his belly. Feeling like Mather may have drawn influence from that one “Sesame Street” episode, he goes on a mission to fulfill an odd grocery list. The goal: To concoct an elixir that’ll drive that wretched beast from his gut once and for all.

salem 303 tamzin merchant In Salem, love is like an unwelcome rat festering in the gut

We’ve been rooting for Cotton for some time to break from this very dysfunctional relationship. Yes, there are bigger forces at play here — Anne promised him preferential treatment once Salem becomes a burning hellscape — but sometimes a man needs to get reacquainted with himself before he can move forward in life. And with his clear mind and body, it’s quite possible that Mather may once again join John Alden (Shane West) and Isaac Walton (Iddo Goldberg) in their ongoing fight against “Salem’s” witch-y fate.

With the growing French threat and their connection to Baron Marburg (Joe Doyle) — along with Hathorne’s (Jeremy Crutchley) own secret curse — we have a feeling the uphill battle to save Salem just gotten a heck of a lot steeper.

“Salem” airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on WGN America.

Posted by:Aaron Pruner

When he was a child, Aaron memorized the entire television lineup, just for fun. He once played Charlize Theron’s boyfriend in a Japanese car commercial. Aaron’s a lover of burritos and a hater of clowns. TV words to live by: "Strippers do nothing for me, but I will take a free breakfast buffet any time, any place."