Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches received a huge simulcast premiere event on five networks and the build up was worth the wait. “The Witching Hour” introduces us to the Mayfair women, Deirdre and Rowan, along with a few additional characters. Let’s jump right in to everything that happened.
A doctor newly assigned to a homebound patient in New Orleans arrives to the large home where he finds his catatonic, unresponsive patient on the patio staring at nothing. He’s shocked to find a 47 year old woman, not an elderly patient given the thickness of her file. Deirdre stares blankly while her in home nurse meets the doctor and informs him he is late and she needs her shot. He chooses to review her files first. As he reviews her files, moments of her early life play out, interspersed with looks into Rowan Fielding’s ongoing life.
The story of teenaged Deirdre begins at her catholic school where she gives confession, all the while carving the name “Lasher” into the wood. She leaves to find the younger girls dancing in the courtyard as rose petals float around them. One of the sisters chastises them, but Deirdre notices a man, Lasher, watching from afar. Her highly strict Aunt Carlotta picks her up and tells her not to encourage him. Tired of being locked away, Deirdre dons a beaded gown and runs off to her uncle’s masquerade party (one that looks like fun!). She’s more than a little out of place, but her uncle welcomes her and (unbeknownst to Dierdre) hands her off to a young man of his choosing. They dance the night away and hook up in an upstairs bedroom. Patrick seems to get into the spirit of the party and even puts on a mask and sharp nailed gloves for their hook up.
The next morning, Deirdre goes looking for Patrick only to spot a covered body being carried out of the house. Nine months later, we learn Deirdre got pregnant the night of the party. Distraught that she’s been locked away by her aunts in her third story room, she is visited by a priest. It’s clear the man is just as afraid of her aunts as everyone else and Deirdre screams at him to get out while sobbing. She finds herself tempted to the edge of the balcony, stepping over the railing and intent on taking her life. Just as she lets go a powerful force slams her back into the railing and tells her no. Lasher, in the garden below, tells her where to find him. The lights flicker as Deirdre sneaks from her room downstairs, overhearing her aunt praying for her and the child to be protected from the darkness.
In the downstairs sitting room, Deirdre asks Lasher for one good reason to live. He appears to her and tells her the child will be born and change Deirdre’s life forever. Lasher also says he is bound to Deirdre, a choice made for her by her mother. He is bound to her by the key necklace she wears at all times, however it’s time she remove that necklace and he show her what he is. If she chooses to bind them, he will be hers to command. She removes it, and his face shifts into different faces (one of which is three faces melted together) while telling her he is everyone and no one, saint and demon. Knowing this, she accepts him as hers and puts the necklace back on and binding him to her.
That’s when her water breaks and she goes into labor. No sooner has she given birth than Carlotta takes the baby away saying it needs to see the doctor. Later, we see Carlotta meeting with a young woman and giving her the baby on the condition she can never know she’s a Mayfair and must never learn the truth. The woman asks what her name is, Carlotta says Deirdre wanted to name her Rowan.
Blessed with her mother’s same blue eyes and dark hair, Rowan Fielding returns to dock on her boat where her adoptive mother, Ellie, meets her and wishes her a happy adoption day. They celebrate the day, and Rowan returns to work where she’s a children’s surgeon. She meets with her patient who asks if his surgery is a big deal because all the grown ups are freaking out. Rowan assures him she’s got a great feeling that everything is going to turn out fine. She scrubs in and arrives in the operating room only to discover that the head surgeon, Dr. Keck, has taken over her surgery. She argues that the method he is using is going to risk the kid’s life, stating again and again she has a hunch but she doesn’t get to make her point before the child starts bleeding elsewhere and they have to jump into action. Rowan was correct about her “hunch” and the kid thankfully will recover because of her presence.
Leaving her surgery, Rowan finds Ellie at the hospital. Ellie tells her that her cancer is back and it looks bad. She has to undergo treatment again, and Rowan is determined to get her into a study. To do so, she asks the head surgeon to call in a favor with one of their big donors who runs a research team. Her hope is to get on that team as an intern and get her mother into the trial even though it’s full. Dr. Keck begins telling her off for her arrogance in the operating room and as she gets angrier, Rowan pictures the artery in his brain. Dr. Keck suddenly grabs his head and drops dead. She’s horrified and leaves, telling her mom during her chemo treatment what happened. Ellie assures her there is no special power and it was a coincidence. Rowan recalls a time as a child when the same thing happened, but Ellie again writes it off and sends Rowan on an errand.
Ellie pulls a card with only a symbol and phone number from her purse and quickly makes a call. A secretary picks up and Ellie asks for the agent assigned to her daughter’s case. While on hold, the secretary finds a binder in a old shelving system and informs her there is an agent, Ciprien Grieve, assigned to the case and he will call her. She tells the woman that it’s happening again and needs to have this checked out.
Even with the death of Dr. Keck, Rowan applies for the fellowship and meets with Lemle who hires her. He claims to have an instinct about her and knows she wants her mother in the trial. Rather than add Ellie, Lemle hands Rowan the list of 30 names already in it and tells her to pick one for her mother to replace. Rowan refuses even after he pushes her and loses her temper. This time, as she tells him off for his behavior, she intentionally pictures the same artery and Lemle does die.
Horrified by her abilities, Rowan runs to her mother’s and wakes her up to tell her what happened but Ellie shushes her and tells Rowan just to lay with her and that she’s tired. What Rowan doesn’t know is that before she arrived, Ellie gets a call from Ciprien who heads to the old Mayfair house in New Orleans. He confirms for her that Lasher is still around the house though he can’t see him, which is good. It means that he’s not there with Rowan. Ellie asks him who is going to protect her because she’s about to die from her cancer and she needs to know. Ciprien vows to be the one to protect Rowan. Soon after, Ellie passes with Rowan by her side.
Having read her file, Deirdre’s doctor notes the scratches on her chest surrounding the key necklace. He asks if she’s been trying to remove it and takes it off for her, placing it in her pocket. He readies his needle but whispers to her that he’s not giving her the injection her nurse demanded, he wants to know the Deirdre under the medication.
Once the key is removed, the secretary lets Ciprien know that Lasher is on the move. He quickly calls Ellie but the phone only rings.
Late at night a storm rolls in, rocking Rowan’s boat. She wakes and walks to the door only to see Lasher outside the window.
Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches airs Sundays on AMC+. You can find our other coverage of the series here.