Saturday, December 4, 2021

‘Motherland: Fort Salem’ Recap: Season 2, Episode 3 “A Tiffany”

Motherland: Fort Salem‘s season 2 has seen the Unit grow in their powers at War College already, and the latest episode showed Raelle, Abigail, and Tally all take even bigger steps into their own Works. With higher stakes than ever before, “A Tiffany” did not disappoint, so let’s jump right in.

General Alder, the Biddies, and Petra Bellweather meet at the White House with President Wade and Vice President Silver about a bill allowing the military to test young women of conscription age for witchhood. The President has changed her mind and won’t sign the bill, but General Alder’s anger sparks the Biddies to whisper unintelligible works. Petra notices, but suddenly the President agrees with Alder and signs the bill without further delay. It seems Alder hasn’t left behind her days of using her abilities to influence the president behind.

Abigail, Raelle, and Tally head back to their common room completely soaked after Abigail unleashed a new skill she learned in Weatherwork. Tally laments that they are all on different paths now and says her Sight is all over the place thanks to her constantly wondering about the redacted soldier in the photo. Raelle’s Witchbomb lessons will now focus on her trying to sing Seeds to set off the ability, something she’s not looking forward to, considering she can barely speak Mothertongue, a basic skill. They arrive in the common room to find others circled up with a new, older witch waiting for them. She introduces herself as the Imperatrix, a powerful witch who is also in charge of the growth of the witch bloodlines. She recognizes Raelle as the “Outcross” (Raelle’s mother crossed with a civilian) and Tally as a Matrifocal daughter immediately. After talking down to them, she calls Abigail the North Star and envy of all War College. She’s at Fort Salem because the Matrimonial Season has begun and the Paragon Reception in Bellweather Hall is tomorrow night. During this time, the witches will narrow down their male choices for continuing their line.

Freeform/Jeff Petry
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Petra and General Alder meet with the Imperatrix in her office. She tells Petra that Abigail needs to get in line because the Bellweather bloodline could end with her. Fewer witches are being born, and they must ensure the continuation of strong bloodlines. Petra highlights that new witches might be found with testing, but the Imperatrix claims “they’re not replacement for the power of purity.” Alder points out that the Imperative lost track of the bloodlines, and she is quickly dismissed by the Imperatrix. She doesn’t answer to Alder. She doesn’t answer to anyone.

Raelle stands before the Mycelium singing a Seed, but she’s unsuccessful. Raelle has sung every Seed she knows. Izadora tells Raelle to show some respect and reveals that she’s been studying the Mycelium for years and still knows so little. The Mycelium is fungal-like, ancient, responds to stimuli such as threats, “She chose to form a symbiosis with you.” Izadora suggests they call it a night, bidding Raelle goodbye. However, being Raelle, she stays behind and has a heart-to-heart with the Mycelium.

“This thing you gave me, I don’t want. Can’t even use. Abigail would love it. But you gave it to me. Why? Why is it that I have to die for you to do anything?”

With that, the Mycelium sends out small tendrils to connect with Raelle who sees a vision of when Scylla sang a Seed and grew a Death-Cap for Raelle. Seeming to understand, Raelle sings the same Seed, and the Mycelium responds with many tendrils coiling up her arms and around her. Things suddenly change when the tendrils suddenly wrap about Raelle’s neck and shoot down her throat. Raelle claws at them with no success. The building rumbles, which Izodora feels in her office, and she runs to Raelle using a box with a set sound to repel the Mycelium. Raelle is shaken but unharmed.

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Abigail meets with the Imperatrix who informs her that the Bellweather line is one of her greatest triumphs, having preserved all the classic Bellweather traits. She informs Abigail that she will be handfasted to Gregorio to continue her line. Abigail refuses, but the Imperatrix tells her she cannot be handfasted to Adil, and that even her mother was resistant at first. Abigail wants to be afforded options rather than assigned a single man, just like her mother was before her. The Imperatrix informs her she will be handfasted at the end of the year, an acceleration of the usual timeline.

At dinner, Raelle fills Abigail and Tally in on her training. She has a clean bill of health, but they are researching if anyone has ever sung the Seeds that she did to the Mycelium. As Abigail puts it, “You’re a top-secret military experiment.” She’s angry over her planned handfasting to Gregorio, but Tally dashes off to train Penelope. She’s struggling to sing with her throat to hit the note she needs. Tally reminds her that she’s already done this, and has her sing the same word from the song in church, to remember how it felt to sing that note. With that, she’s able to hit the note and cracks a mirror.

Freeform/Jeff Petry

Anacostia and Scylla join Shane and Bonnie at their home for drinks as they discuss Penelope, the way soldiers aren’t helping people at home, and how the Spree are targeting innocent “regular” people. Shane is angry, and Bonnie shares that she told their daughter Brianna that she can’t play with her friend Tiffany because she was tested and is a witch. Anacostia and Scylla try to play it cool and lament with them over it. The man who met with Shane, Jack, arrives then and they disappear to another room. Meanwhile, Anacostia gets Bonnie to say that Jack helps organize the events. Anacostia and Scylla stake out the house after they leave to follow Jack. Because Jack pays them to attend vigils and stir things up, Anacostia believes he’s their link to the Camarilla higher-ups. When Jack leaves, the follow him.

Raelle and Tally meet with the Imperatrix who says she’s not sure what to do with them. Tally is unfamiliar with the ways of the military, but Tally says she’s a quick study and willing to adhere to their practices. Raelle, however, is less willing: “I’m not interested in handfasting. Or men,” she tells the Imperatrix. She’s undeterred though and tells Raelle she’s still required to fulfill her obligations, even if she is an “augmented” Outcross. The Imperatrix points out that Willa wasn’t properly handfasted, but Raelle’s heard enough. She stands as she says her mother was a war hero and she’ll be making her own arrangements. As she leaves, the Imperatrix calls her an insolent child in Mothertongue. Shockingly, Raelle insults her in fluent Mothertongue before she and Tally leave. They are both shocked by Raelle’s sudden command of Mothertongue.

Abigail and Tally attend combat training where Abigail is paired with Gregorio. The instructor tells them to fight, and Abigail doesn’t hold back. Taking her frustrations out on him, she lays Gregorio out quickly. Tally trains with M, but when Tally goes on the offensive, the knife she’s holding suddenly looks like a bloody machete to her. She’s shaken when M takes it from her, but the moment passes.

Raelle arrives to her usual training room to find Izadora and Alder waiting. She’s informed that the sound she made is composed of thousands of layered voices, something unheard of before now. Izadora inspects her vocal cords to find them altered, and they now contain mycelial threads. The Mycelium colonized her larynx. Alder asks her to try singing to Her one more time. She’s reluctant but agrees. Raelle immediately makes the connection with her Seed and uses the power to blast a hole in the concrete wall. Alder asks Raelle if, with control, she thinks she can recreate the blast.

In their dorm room, Raelle prepares for her weapons test while Tally laments she can’t attend the reception. Abigail is also frustrated with their sudden demand to procreate, and she tells the girls she wants more for herself.

Anacostia and Scylla continue to track Jack Orsatti as he visits yet another school. While he heads inside, Scylla changes her face and follows him. Outside the nurse’s office, she watches as he uses certain soundwaves to test a child for witchhood. The tones irritate Scylla and cause her face to change back to her normal self. The nurse tells Jack that they might find positives as older groups are tested next month. Jack asks her to let him know and heads out.

Freeform/Jeff Petry

Adil finds Abigail in the war museum area staring at the painting of her ancestor. She’s upset but won’t tell Adil why, and she instead tells him that her ancestor, Jem, stopped a war by using Workings that no one had ever seen and that have never been repeated. She begins to wonder if it’s time for another Bellweather to step up and make history (obviously meaning herself). She lashes out at Adil when he defends respecting tradition, and he leaves her to stew in her anger after she says a new Bellweather should build a Working to end this war.

Raelle is transported with Alder to a secure location. Alder asks about her combat charm, Raelle is wearing it for luck to help her nerves. Alder reminds her she’s not headed into combat tonight.

Abigail finds Tally pacing outside the Bellweather Hall, but says she won’t be attending the reception. She asks Tally not to tell anyone what she’s doing, and though Tally is nervous and frustrated, she heads into the reception alone. Abigail leaves, intending to make her own fate.

Raelle and Alder arrive at a secure training location on the base. Here, Raelle can demonstrate her powers without holding back, observers will be protected, and there is no worry about Raelle hurting anyone. Raelle asks if anyone has ever been able to do what she can, and Alder tells her she’s never seen anything like what Raelle has.

Meanwhile, Anacostia and Scylla follow Jack to a presumed drop location. Anacostia speculates that if they’ve been running these tests for a while, then it explains how they found the lost Bellweather line. Scylla changes her face and follows Jack; however, when she peers inside the empty car, he attacks her from behind. He has a speaker that plays the tone that affects their powers and causes her face to revert. Just as he’s about to attack Scylla, Anacostia steps in and subdues Jack. Scylla (reluctantly) thanks her for having her back.

Tally enters the reception where witches are mingling. Gregorio brings her a drink and tells her, “Let’s go find someone worthy of the Craven name.” They head into the mix as the Imperatrix watches.

Alder joins General Sharma and the Vice President behind the secure barrier where they will watch Raelle. Petra takes Raelle into the open area and gives her a reassuring squeeze to the shoulder before leaving Raelle alone. The lights go up, and Raelle begins her Seed, focusing the power she exhibited the day before. She throws a blast of power and decimates huge areas of concrete, lights, and matter. In that area, luminescent fungi begin to grow just as it did with her first Witchbomb. Everyone is stunned.

As Tally talks with a witch about his family heritage, she begins to see a vision, a memory from Alder’s mission in the jungle. The unknown witch cries as she shouts that Alder stole her Work and is using it to force someone to kill themselves. Alder addresses her as Sergeant Nicte Batan, claiming what’s happening had to be done. Batan argues that the people had already surrendered. Tally begins to cry as she watches, and she nearly collapses when she comes out of the trance.

Freeform/Jeff Petry

The next day, Tally fills Raelle in but asks her to talk about her night. Anything to distract her. Raelle says she “blew up a shitload of stuff.” Raelle realizes Abigail didn’t come home, and Tally tells her Abigail wasn’t at the reception either. They connect the sudden growing storm outside with Abigail’s long absence. As Adil walks outside, he realizes it too and rushes to find her. In the field, Abigail builds a storm with an attempt at new work. Two tornadoes bind together, it snows, and she begins to levitate with the force of the work. It’s too much for her to control though, and her throat begins to bleed. She collapses to the ground coughing up blood, and Adil rushes to her side.

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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