Thursday, September 16, 2021

‘Motherland: Fort Salem’ Recap: The Army Undergoes Big Changes in Season 2, Episode 9 “Mother of All, Mother of None”

Motherland: Fort Salem‘s penultimate episode was just as jaw dropping as we’ve come to expect from the show. With a huge change in leadership for the Army, a big reveal about the Mycelium’s origins, and a terrifying final shot, this episode had it all!

Alder Steps Down

Freeform/Jeff Petry

The capture of Nicte Batan and the subsequent outing of Alder’s actions during the Liberian Conflict in front of the President and Vice President results in Alder being forced to step down as General, the first leadership change in 327 years! This has been a long time coming as Alder’s past has slowly been revealed over the season, and her shoes are unsurprisingly going to be filled by Petra Bellweather. Petra has been determined to do things by the book all season, and we’ve watched her slowly enact plans and gather information to finally unseat Alder. The whole episode is beautifully done and pays homage to Alder’s extensive past and reveals her origins with the Camarilla (see below!).

It’s a massive shift for the show, for the characters and for fans to accept with so much of the story focusing on Alder’s extensive war experience and past knowledge. Plus we have to wonder if soldiers will easily fall in behind Petra after such intense loyalty to Alder.

The Unit Demands Changes and It Works

Freeform/Jeff Petry
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The Unit have been unsatisfied with the way the Army operates for some time, and at the execution of Nicte Batan, Tally chooses to do the unthinkable. She invokes the Rite of Proxy in which she will battle Alder to the death on Nicte’s behalf. Alder nearly kills her, but Raelle, followed by the entire Coven, steps forward to also invoke it. They’ve had it with the death of witches and ask that the practice change. Tally also tells everyone the real reason Alder is stepping down, creating a powerful moment of unity. Alder gives a moving speech to explain how the Camarilla have used the fight between the Spree and the Army to get witches to kill each other. This can’t continue, witches need to unite against the Camarilla.

This is a huge turning point. Raelle has refused to go on the Testing Facilities Tour (where she would be a poster child of the Army), Abigail demands the right to go to the front lines from her mother (aka the new General), and Tally has finally completed her season long goal of uncovering the truth. So what’s next for them? The final moments of the episode (which we discuss below) make it clear that the fight is coming to them and not in the way anyone ever wanted it to.

The Origins of the Mycelium

Freeform/Jeff Petry

Let’s be honest, we’ve been dying to learn more about the Mycelium since the first moment she was introduced to the Motherland world and tied to Raelle. This episode finally gave us an answer, Alder created her. When Alder and her first coven helped the early US army defeat the British, she accompanied the soldiers to the coast. When she returned, she found her entire coven had been murdered, burned at the stake by the Camarilla. Alder sang a grief song so deep and profoundly moving that the song was soaked into the Earth, creating the ancient Earth sentience, the Mycelium, which becomes a receptacle for all witch souls after they die. This is why Izadora often refers to her as The Mother. In her are the souls of dead witches and because of the connection with Raelle, she can channel the power of those witches.

This is all revealed to Raelle by the Mycelium in a vision while they are alone. Raelle realizes that she can use that power to defeat the Camarilla. Her eyes are also opened to Alder’s past in a way she didn’t expect. She feels for Alder and understands the deep grief that drives the General. It has huge implications for Raelle and the coming fight with their enemy, but it also means Raelle will need to be on the front lines to utilize that power.

Scylla Learns a New Skill

Freeform/Jeff Petry
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We’ve known that Scylla is a talented witch, though she’s chosen to align with the Spree. With the downfall of Nicte, the end of the episode gave a glimpse of what will become of the Spree and of Scylla. She teaches herself Nicte’s new Work, using Pushing through the cries of a crow. Scylla, who has been staying with Edwin Collar and befriending the local witches, demonstrates this new Work (which she names Morgan’s Whisper) to Quinn by forcing a group of civilians to dance. Quinn is immediately on board with using this work against the Camarilla.

The demonstration is unnerving given Scylla’s shady past with mass murder, but it remains to be seen if she’ll decide to fully focus on taking down the Camarilla rather than revert back to the Spree’s mission of killing civilians. She’s had a season-long arch that’s taken a deep dive into her motivations, so we’re optimistic that she’ll continue to work with the Army and other witches to fight the Camarilla.

The Witch Plague Comes to Fort Salem

Freeform/Jeff Petry

Is it even Motherland: Fort Salem without a jaw-dropping final scene? Of course not, so it’s no surprise that in the penultimate episode they gave us a huge cliffhanger yet again! Fort Salem is under attack from the Camarilla. Raelle and several of her Coven run outside to help a witch who is bleeding from … well, everywhere. It quickly becomes clear to Raelle what’s happening when black tendrils creep out of her mouth and engulf her body, exploding outward. The Witch Plague has come to Fort Salem. They flee, but it’s just yards behind them. Yep, that’s all we see before the episode ends. It’s a nail biter to be sure, but there is no doubt that next week is going to be an incredible episode!

Motherland: Fort Salem‘s season 2 finale airs Tuesday, August 24 on Freeform.

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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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