This A Discovery of Witches review contains spoilers.
A Discovery of Witches Episode 7
This review comes from Den of Geek UK.
If you’ve got a lot of back-story to get through along with some tricky plot developments ahead, I highly recommend employing the use of a magic house.
The magic house in A Discovery of Witches belongs to two characters that I’ve been longing to see more of since the first episode: Diana’s aunts, Sarah and Emily, played so well by Alex Kingston and Valarie Pettiford who build a real chemistry between them. Living in Madison, New York, the aunts inhabit a wonderfully charismatic building on beautiful land – but what else would we expect from this series? Diana and Matthew arrived there, on the run from the Congregation, and explored the place, giving us the usual location-feast for the eyes. And then we moved swiftly into flashback territory, courtesy of the magic house. It could replay old events, allowing both the characters and viewers to find out more about Diana’s parents’ decision to bind her magic, keeping her safe from the mind-probings of a young Peter Knox (Owen Teale).
I had the feeling left over from last week’s episode that there would be a lot of ground to cover in terms of explanation, but this trick of sinking us all back into the past worked like a charm. We whizzed through watching Diana’s parents agonise, then bind her with a spell that made sense of those scary dreams she’s been having, then drive off to their death. And not only that – the magic house then performed the brilliant task of throwing out a vital piece of information at exactly the right moment. A page of Ashmole 782 appeared, complete with a few written words from Diana’s father, to really speed things along. The revelation that Diana’s father could travel in time is also a very clever one; by then showing us that Diana has the power, too, there’s another great device created by which events can be portrayed and rewritten. I’m expecting it to get some usage in the final episode.
But it wasn’t all set-up for what has gone before and what is it come; for a penultimate episode, this hour of entertainment managed to throw in some strong character moments that have been among my favorites in the series so far. Matthew and Diana had some properly romantic scenes while Satu and Knox sweated over their mutual desire to take Diana’s power from her. Sarah and Emily had a great scene, quietly played, as they discussed the past and their own guilt and fear over what had happened.
A bit of humor was also allowed to shine through, to counterbalance the darkness. Watching Diana attempt to master her powers could have been a very serious business, but with deep and unpleasant conversations going on across the water in Venice as the Congregation obsessed over power, choosing to show Diana’s attempts at something so simple as lighting a candle going awry was a welcome respite. It also brought a more playful note to her relationship with Matthew – although I’m really not sure of the wisdom of wafting around a cut hand and then telling a hungry vampire to chase her. Of course, that brings us back to the fact that Matthew is dangerous; in fact this week he even explained to Diana that he had been in love with human women before and those relationships had not ended happily. “I’m not human,” she reminded him. Could her powers be growing strong enough to protect her against vampiric strength and speed? Or how about the evil intentions of corrupt witches?
A big showdown has been promised between Diana and Satu after the torture session last week, but currently Satu has no powers, which is inconvenient. Still, that means we got to see the machinations of other characters around her, and it looks as though the smooth-talking Dominico (played with a sly intelligence by Gregg Chillin) might be making his own bid for power. He found Satu, and also sent the ferocious but easily manipulated Juliette off to confront Matthew. This could be the beginning of an attempt to seize control, which would only add to the furore that should be about to unfold for the finale.
This episode was light on demons, which was a shame; their fresh perspective on an age-old rivalry is always interesting. But even without the presence of the statuette that is yet to play its part but is somehow destined to find its way to Diana, A Discovery of Witches continues to push the idea that everything boils down to fate. There are prophecies and dreams which will undoubtedly be fulfilled in some form or another by the time we’re done, but there remains a lot to be resolved in one last hour for this series. With yet more plot to move through before fate can be said to have been fulfilled, that magic house might have to come in handy again. Let’s see if it’s a place where magic and love and power can all play their part to give us a satisfyingly spellbinding ending.