Monday, October 25, 2021

‘Motherland: Fort Salem’ Recap: Season, 2 Episode 2 “Abomination”

Last week, Raelle and Abigail returned from their first deployment with a new power they don’t yet understand but were determined to recreate and Tally, upon learning they had survived, accepted General Alder’s offer to free herself from her new role as a Biddy. The episode culminated in the Unit heading off to War College and that’s exactly where episode 2 picks up.

Izadora and Alder watch as Raelle and Abigail stand in an isolation tank singing, attempting to recreate the event but to no avail. Izadora tells Alder they’ve been at it for days, and Alder is disappointed to learn there’s been no success. She’d hoped to present the new power as a weapon against the Camarilla to the visiting Hague delegation. When the girls emerge, Alder orders them to end their tests and join Tally for their formal training at War College. Abigail and Raelle leave, but Izadora has something more to show Alder. A specimen from the Tarim region where the blast occurred has arrived, the head of the man covered in what looked like mushrooms. Izadora is baffled, there is no human tissue remaining. The Mycelium wall is ominously in the examination room and Alder glances at it before leaving.

The Unit have breakfast as they discuss the suspension of the tests, Abigail wants to continue them but Raelle prefers they figure it out themselves. Tally fills them in that she hasn’t had anymore weird dreams relating to Alder. With that, Abigail gives a run down on War College. They are part of the Sekhmet coven, named for the Egyptian war goddess, and there are already rumors flying. Many witches believe they only got into War College because Abigail’s mother pulled strings. They also notice Penelope, the Vice President’s daughter, eating alone and Tally feels bad for her sudden immersion into witchhood.

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Back at a new safe house, Scylla checks in with Willa informing her that she believes that the Camarilla could be behind the rallies. The events are too well funded and organized to just be grassroots, and she’s working on infiltrating the well connected members. She’s befriended Bonnie and Shane, though Willa warns her not to get too attached (low blow, Willa). Scylla wonders why Willa didn’t contact Raelle and we get some answers at lasts to that burning question. Willa was angry at seeing Raelle grow up without her every time she came back from a mission. She believes the Army kept her away from her family because they didn’t approve of her marrying a civilian. Her anger blinded her to everything but the Spree mission. Once they confirmed the Camarilla returned, she felt Raelle would be safer in the Army.

The girls sit in a common room when their Coven leader, M, arrives. They inform them that some training will be as a Coven but most days will be individual, specialized training. As they head to their rooms (Units still bunk together) a male witch named Gregorio approaches Abigail, and she only says hi before leaving. M asks Raelle to stay behind and M informs her that gossip is intel at War College. While they talk, Izadora witnesses a bizarre event with the specimen. Its eyes open and it speaks Raelle’s words as she talks to M, she is somehow connected to it. M wants to make sure Scylla is firmly in the past and Raelle doesn’t have other secrets that could damage the Coven.

Once the Unit is in their dorm room, Tally wastes no time digging for the details on Gregorio. He was Abigail’s Cavalier at her debut, the one Libba “stole.” Naturally this is when Gregorio walks in and he finishes the story. He wasn’t “an object” to be stole, he and Libba were actually together but had kept it secret. Abigail didn’t know, and the reminisce about Libba for a moment. Tally changes the subject, asking about him being a male witch at War College. He snaps at her that she can just say witch, then starts laughing (he has quite the sense of humor). They are summoned to the common room where Alder gives The Unit plus M and Gregorio a speech about the importance of their mission and training as they face their new enemy, the Camarilla.

“I also want to encourage you to embrace the foundational principles of War College. To know you must be constantly seeking the truth no matter where it leads you. To dare to be utterly fearless not just in facing the enemy but also what lies inside you. To will to effect change in the world around you with total control and conscious intention. And to keep silent, you spoke the words in your oath: all secrets keep.”

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Meanwhile, Izadora continues her examination by cutting open the specimen to inspect the brain. Inside, she finds not a brain, but the Mycelium. It’s part of their Mycelium, Izadora realizes Raelle and the Mycelium are still connected after she touched it (and she’s not happy about it).

Scylla arrives at the mall for the next memorial, and mentally relives causing these deaths that people are mourning. Either she’s just trying to fit in, or she’s carrying a bit of remorse as she looks around at the result of her actions. Shane gives a moving speech about bringing the Spree to justice. Afterward, Bonnie finds her and as “Justine” (aka Scylla) talks, Anacostia takes the stage as a mourning attendee. She calls out Scylla (though no one knows it), asking if the witch who caused this feels any remorse at all. Anacostia confronts Scylla about her intentions in visiting these memorials. Anacostia is having doubts about the Army and about Alder so she wants in on Scylla’s mission to infiltrate this movement and determine of the Camarilla are behind it. Bonnie and Shane arrive and Anacostia introduces herself as Amelia, a fellow memorial attendee and quickly suggests they all go for drinks.

Freeform/Jeff Petry

Penelope hangs up the phone with her father as Tally walks by and notices her crying. She offers comforting words as she heads to class with Raelle and Abigail. They all take their seats in class, where Adil is also joining them, as the instructor Channing Grafton rolls in late. He’ll be instructing them in Mothertongue, the language that is the root of all other languages. Adil grew up speaking it from birth and it’s how he speaks perfect English though he’s never studied it. (Now I’m wondering how I can enroll in War College.) Certain work can only be done using Mothertongue, so they’ll need to master this new language.

After class, Tally requests permission from Alder to tutor Penelope so she’s caught up for basic training. Alder approves her request and heads to her office to meet with the Hague delegation. There she finds Khalida meeting with them to discuss her and Adil. Khalida intends to tour other Council nations, though Alder asks her to reconsider. The other Council leaders discuss additional reports of Camarilla attacks with their “Witch Plague,” so named because it does not harm civilians. Alder also reveals the technology using stolen vocal cords and they all agree to join forces to eradicate the Camarilla in each of their countries.

In the gardens, Adil fills Abigail in on Khalida’s plans to leave. He asks about her and Gregorio, but she says they were never intimate when he was her Cavalier even though most of those relationships are. Abigail hopes Adil will stay but he doesn’t answer her.

While asleep, Tally has yet another dream of Alder in the jungle with the unknown soldier. She learns that the weapon she witnessed is off canon (an unofficial form of weaponized magic). Alder tells her she needs to reign in that power, and offers to help her with it. They use their power to fend off another attack, but the bell tolls and wakes Tally from the dream. The Coven head to their first class of Off-Canon work with Major Magda Verger. This work is forbidden but the class will teach them now to defeat this kind of magic. She displays the power of sound with an open box that makes the girls feel hot and uncomfortable, but when the box is shut, they are fine. This is a lesson in weaponized sound.

“There are sounds all around us, at all times. Both above and below the range of our hearing. And all sorts of nastiness can be layered into those sounds. They can make you see and do terrible things. You must learn to recognize these sounds and resist them. Learn to identify and destroy their source.”

Verger rings a small bell the takes full control of their bodies. They stand, place covers over their heads, and march in unison to a room where they wake with no memory of how they got there. They are surrounded by sound. Clocks, whistling noises, chirping birds, and Tally quickly shuts the window to stop the birds. She realizes they must find the source of the work. Day one and their training has already begun.

Their speech echoes strangely, all sound is distorted in this exercise. Abigail smashes a box she believes is the origin causing a door to open. She and Gregorio head to it but Tally warns them not to go. Raelle grabs a chiming clock whose hands wind up her arms and attack her. She manages to break free as Abigail questions why Tally isn’t doing anything. But Tally is using her own gift to solve the riddle, she can see the lines of sound around the room. She leads them through a door and into a new room.

Meanwhile, Anacostia, Scylla, Bonnie, and Shane bond over drinks at a bar. Anacostia and Scylla act drunk while Bonnie heads to the bathroom and Shane goes for refills. Now alone, Scylla tells Anacostia needs to leave but there is too much at stake for either of them to leave now. They see a man hand Shane a bundle of cash at the bar.

Now in a room full of dolls, Tally is grabbed and the crew fight off the attacks. Tally again sees the sound but it’s a too late as Raelle and Abigail are attacked from behind and dragged into another room. Tally finds the source, the gas light in the room, and turns it off. Verger congratulates Tally on completing the course, no one has ever done it on a first try.

Raelle and Abigail have been dragged into individual isolation chambers by Izadora, who is furious with Raelle for touching the Mycelium. She tells her she must die for this offense and turns a wheel releasing a gas. Raelle screams for Abigail who passes out and Raelle begins to choke on the smoke which triggers another event. Raelle is surrounded by a bubble-like protection that shields her from the smoke in the chamber.

Izadora joins Alder for a drink and update. The phenomenon is from Raelle alone and she had to believe her life was in danger to trigger another event. Izadora thanks Alder for approving the test and Izadora says Abigail tried to punch her when she learned it was all a test. She also seemed disappointed it wasn’t her own powers aren’t part of the source. Izadora will continue testing Raelle, but Alder warns her to be careful, “She just became one of our greatest assets.”

At dinner, Raelle is angry over the test but Abigail seems distant. Raelle shares that she felt powerful but completely out of control during the event. She tells Tally there will be more testing, and Abigail excuses herself.

Scylla checks in with Willa again to tell her about Anacostia. She’s unsure if she can trust her, and Willa warns her to be careful. Anacostia is still Army. When Abigail heads to her room, Khalida meets her on the stairs and tells her she likes Abigail but Adil will choose his people over her when it comes down to it. She doesn’t want Abigail to get hurt.

Tally begins her mentorship with Penelope in the museum room with photos and the history of the Army. She begins to tell Penelope about Alder but spots an old photo that catches her eye. She can see through the magic used on it to hide a witch in the photo. It’s the witch Tally has been seeing in her dreams of Alder in the jungle.

Motherland: Fort Salem airs Tuesdays on Freeform at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT.

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Brianna
Brianna works full time in the publishing industry, passionately building books to bring to the masses. Her first fandom was Harry Potter, which she joined at age 11. Her love for books took her abroad to earn her Masters Degree at University College London, after which she lived in New York City, and now resides in Austin. She loves all things fandom including Supernatural, Doctor Who, and more. Ever the introvert, she can usually be found reading, playing with her dog, listening to music and practicing yoga. Brianna joined the Nerds and Beyond staff in 2018 where she unites her love for all things "nerd" with her passion for writing. Find her on Twitter here: @bookbag09

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