Warning: this A Discovery of Witches review contains spoilers.
Now we know the meaning of the watch. Last episode, traumatised witch Lena arrived at Sept-Tours wearing Benjamin’s stolen jacket – left out for exactly that purpose – and in which he’d planted a message. In the pocket was Philippe de Clermont’s engraved Cartier watch, a talisman of cruelty telling Matthew that Benjamin was the WWII Nazi who had tortured Philippe to madness.
If you were – like Benjamin – trying to find the perfect way to torment Matthew ‘Guilt would be my middle name if it weren’t Gabriel Philippe Bertrand Sebastien’ Clairmont, that would be the way to do it. Especially in the very hospital where Philippe’s torture took place (such a cool location, made all the more cool by that foreboding string score). Matthew believing that Philippe’s last lucid thought was that his son a) had betrayed his orders and b) in so doing had inadvertently brought about his sorry end, would tear him apart. No wonder that vamp walked straight into Benjamin’s trap. Or intoSatu’s trap, more specifically, because until she showed up, Benjamin seemed to be losing the fight.
As this story draws to a close, Satu remains one of A Discovery of Witches’ most frustratingly underexplored characters. She’s set up to be a magical antagonist – the dark witch to Diana’s light – but has spent three seasons overshadowed by other villains: Knox, Gerbert, and now Benjamin. Her own motivations in challenging Diana feel hazy. Why the great enmity? Satu wants to prove herself the witch of prophesy, so perhaps this is simply all about power for her? We’ve spent so little time with the character, it’s hard to discern, or to know exactly what we might want to see from a battle between Diana and Satu. Ideally, that would be incredible pyrotechnics and the re-emergence of Cora the firedrake, followed by the pair joining forces and directing their combined power towards true evil like Benjamin and his centuries-long accomplice Gerbert.
In the battle of Sarah vs Peter Knox, it was easy to know what we wanted to see, and episode six delivered it. “Diana will avenge me!” Em had promised Knox before he killed her, but she was wrong. Sarah was her avenger. It was the perfect choice – what poetic justice in the mighty Knox being brought down by a powerless “kitchen witch”! That’s where megalomania gets you, Peter, defeated by a force you don’t understand. Alex Kingston was excellent in that scene. Diana played her part in providing the spell and lending her Aunt strength when required, but the victory was Sarah’s.
Diana had her own stuff going on – namely, having absorbed the contents of the freshly healed Book of Life. After some magical forgery, library disturbance and book theft, knowledge of creature origins now lives within her. Now all Diana has to do is make sense of it. To that end, she went a bit A Beautiful Mind back at Sept-Tours, furiously scribbling equations and symbols to press into Miriam and Chris’ hands as the three of them tried to connect the dots.
Fittingly, Diana’s journey is ending back where it all began – with Ashmole 782 in ‘the Bod’ (Hello to Gallowglass, who overcame his heartbreak to return as protector of his ‘Aunty’.) The spell-bound Diana that unleashed her elemental power back then without a clue as to how to control it is very far from the woman she is now: a powerful weaver poised to change the fates of creatures everywhere.
Motherhood – as it so often doesn’t on TV characters whose babies can be there one minute and curiously absent the next – didn’t impinge on Diana’s mission in the penultimate episode. That must have been the purpose of all those godparents, to ensure that Matthew and Diana still had time to wrap up this trilogy’s various plot-lines without being distracted by teething or croup. Marcus announced that he’s taking the babies to New Orleans until all this is over. Thank heavens for Grand Masters.
And thank heavens – unexpectedly – for Domenico. For three seasons, he’s been collecting favours and pulling strings, doing what he can to shore up his own position from the shadows. Now on the eve of the grand showdown, the vampire’s finally developed a conscience. Gerbert’s vampire supremacy isn’t the way, so Domenico’s taken steps to unseat him. Telling Baldwin that Gerbert masterminded Philippe’s torture behind the scenes is surely the final nail in the Venetian vamp’s coffin. With Knox gone, and Gerbert exposed, the magical patriarchs are toppling in A Discovery of Witches. As Diana said, it’s time for revolution. But first, a rescue mission…
A Discovery of Witches Season 3 is available to stream in full on NOW in the UK, and will conclude on Saturday the 19th of February in the US on AMC+, Shudder and Sundance Now.