It’s been a long time coming — and finally, Cotton Mather (Seth Gabel) is free. But, as with most plot points delivered in WGN America’s “Salem,” freedom comes with a catch.
In Wednesday’s (Nov. 30) episode, titled “Night’s Black Angels,” the tortured holy man/recovering alcoholic finds himself running for his life through the treacherous woods, with the intention of making it to Boston. And while his mission is to relay the true state Salem is in, he hits a few roadblocks along the way.
First, his witch-wife Anne (Tamzin Merchant) tries a last ditch effort to get inside his mind and convince him to turn back. She may have put her familiar in his stomach — R.I.P. gross, festering rat — but she only did it out of love.
Ah, love… You so crazy!
But while it looks like her attempt at stopping his escape didn’t work, Mather was then treated to another stop on his trek. Running into some old Puritan friends along the way, he wholeheartedly accepts a ride on their carriage. Throughout his troubled life, there seems to be one lesson Cotton hasn’t quite mastered yet: Trust no one.
Instead of taking him to Boston, the couple — Mr. and Mrs. Stoughton, to be exact — put a spell on him. And upon waking? Strapped to a kitchen table and quickly realizing the awfulness of his situation: Not only was he captured by more witches, these two had a taste for human flesh.
Leave it up to horror maestro Joe Dante (“Gremlins,” “The Burbs”) to helm such an entertainingly dark episode of the series. It’s not often that we find ourselves equally cringing and laughing hysterically at the events that transpire on “Salem.” But given Mather’s continuous struggles to succeed, there’s something downright hilarious about his knee-jerk reaction to throw the couple’s poodle right into the fire.
For the past three seasons, “Salem” has succeeded at finding its groove in the world of genre TV. With Dante behind the camera, we not only got some intense action moments in Wednesday’s episode, but he even threw in a nod to Hitchcock’s “The Birds” for good measure.
Once Mather escaped the clutches of the cannibal couple (say that three times fast), he was attacked by crows in a scene that had us wondering if Tippi Hedren could possibly be making a cameo. Instead, we had to settle for Tituba (Ashley Madekwe) — cat eyes and all. The Seer offered Cotton safe haven, and even direct transport to Boston if he so desired.
But with the Dark Lord’s army looming around every corner, she presented the holy man with a more meaningful task: Kill the devil. But how exactly would Cotton be able to defeat the boy? Apparently with the help of his unborn child.
And now, after breaking free, and running for his life, it looks like Cotton Mather is about to return home of his own volition.
With Mary’s (Janet Montgomery) powers returning and John Alden (Shane West) getting closer to unlocking the real motives of the French forces, it looks like things in the town are about to get a lot more chaotic. Really, though… Who knew that was even possible!?
“Salem” airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on WGN America.