A Discovery of Witches Season 3 Episode 5 Review: a Bad Fairy at the Christening

The gang decamp to Sept Tours for a celebration interrupted by two nasty surprises. Spoilers.

A Discovery of Witches 3-5
Photo: Bad Wolf Productions

Warning: this A Discovery of Witches review contains spoilers.

What does one wear to a de Clermont creature Christening? The etiquette’s patchy, seeing as Diana and Matthew’s babies are a miraculous anomaly and the family hasn’t hosted a ‘do’ in five hundred years. Something floral, probably. That, or a suit of armour.

Rebecca and Philip’s official entry into the Christian Church was approached more like a military campaign than an excuse to get together and wet the babies’ heads. Invitations were sent out strategically, each one a bomb dropped on centuries-old tradition and on the authority of the Congregation. The run-up resembled nothing so much as the night before a battle, just with Ysabeau inspecting the floral arrangements and embroidered gowns instead of the troops. Jaws were set, grave pronouncements were made, canapes were prepared…

It all ended, as these things often do, with a family punch-up. Matthew initially tried to treat Baldwin’s rudely dramatic entrance with restraint and respect, but understandably lost his rag when his brother demanded that the twins be delivered to the vipers’ nest of Congregation HQ. Baldwin should have learned his lesson the last time he tried to throw his weight around in Diana’s presence. She sorted it, and now voila! The scion has Baldwin’s support. Another achievement unlocked for Dr Bishop.

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Even in the foreboding atmosphere before the Christening, space was found in episode five for some quite lovely moments. Sarah and Em’s temple ‘reunion’ was beautifully played, and Ysabeau’s heart-felt speech to Diana shut a door on those early years of suspicion and hostility. It was also adorable to see Jack so smitten with his new siblings, and the allies gather awkwardly before the service, everybody unsure just how all this was going to work.

The service too, had its moments. It was hard not to feel moved when Sarah read Em and Martha’s names aloud, or when the priest asked “Who will stand as godparents to these children?” and an entire football team rose up from the pews. Those babies are going to be drowning in Beatrix Potter books and Sophie the Giraffes.

One Christening present the babies can’t have expected was the dubious honour of being conscripted into an ancient army at only weeks old. (The Knights of Lazarus must have a creche?) Marcus recruiting the twins was nicely symbolic, but only leads to more questions about how this whole Knights thing actually works. As lofty organisations go, it seems about as difficult to get into as your average book group. Instead of a bonafide army, perhaps it’s more a casual ‘I’ve got your back’ thing? What’s the time commitment for members? Do they train? Go on missions? And if humans like Chris can be members, why not recruit Phoebe too? A Discovery of Witches is even sketchier about the Knights of Lazarus than it is about the precise nature of daemons.

While the allies gathered at Sept-Tours, somewhere out in the world, a Scottish vampire with a motorcycle was probably drowning his sorrows and trying to forget about Diana. And Gallowglass apparently isn’t the only one in Matthew’s bloodline with a Diana fixation. Benjamin also covets Matthew’s witch, and – irredeemable creep and coward that he is – has been enacting a villainous plan to that end. His precise scheme isn’t yet clear, and seemed to involve allowing his kidnap victim Lena (a young Polish witch who’s the spitting image of Diana) to escape and tell her story, and so luring Matthew out to confront him.

If that’s what Benjamin wants, it’s what he’s going to get, but as Diana made clear in that pre-coital debate (those two really need to work on their pillow talk), Matthew doesn’t come alone. Pick a mortal battle with one, pick a mortal battle with them both. Double trouble, just like their kids.

On the subject of mortal battles, there was no word of Peter Knox this week, and thus no sense of his building threat. Season three has suffered for attempting to juggle two main villains at the same time in Benjamin and Knox – neither has had a great deal to do, and the long gaps between visits have dissipated any peril they might have accumulated. With only two instalments left, it’s about time those baddies were dealt with.

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A Discovery of Witches Season 3 is available to stream on NOW in the UK, and streams weekly on Sundance Now, AMC+ and Shudder in the US.