A Salem Community
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"All Fall Down" picked up directly where "Ashes to Ashes" left us hanging for over a week (sorry, football World Cup, missing braincells etc.), with John Alden and Mary Sibley somewhere in the woods around Salem, him realizing that Mary used witchcraft to teleport him from prison, and subsequently, from his certain death...

So John didn't really mind... A little cheesy the dialogue in that scene, but you know, it worked? It was THE moment to be cheesy is all I say.

Right after she left John, Mary was approached by an old acquaintance of hers...

LOL, Mercy, one of a kind...

And then she kind of lost it...

Back in Salem, Isaac was visiting Cotton - to ask him to visit John, him being his closest friend and all, but Cotton was too ashamed for his doubts and he felt guilty, in that he failed to find the true witch. Isaac was very sweet and left Cotton with that decision but urged him to talk as long as there is time to talk.
Also, Increase's men took all of Cotton's blasphemous possessions as it was part of a deal to let him back into the flock.

Imagine an upbeat, 80's sitcom theme for the next screenshot:

Anne is sometimes hilarious.

Back in the woods, with the old hags:

OMG memories... high school reunion, anyone? Alright, sorry, moving on...

But as soon as Mary was gone, it was time for the hags to begin with plan B...

So it was just a ruse by Increase to bet on Mary's feelings for John, so that she would free him and therefore reveal herself. Since both are gone with no witnesses, I don't know if Increase's big plan was so really thought through, but Increase was always a little full of himself...

Actually it's Increase's blood from when he cut himself and he planted it on John Alden. My fault, and additionally, I couldn't fit it as a tag on the picture. Good catch, @AndreaMcCooey!

Cotton did not like to hear this, but Increase wasn't really open to suggestions - not anymore.

Meanwhile, the Hales were arriving at their cabin in the woods...

Well done, Anne! A little weird, but yeah, whatever. Hale should have told his daughter sooner, mark my words, I have seen the episode. j/k

A huge reveal, the child unborn has been born... with some help from the devil, I guess. That's why the old hags were so sure to have still control over Mary...

Meanwhile, Cotton was really busy...

Brilliant, more of those witches, please!

While Alden had to deal with immediate execution, Isaac arrived at the infamous tree, Mary was seemingly thorough in her directions...

No! What were you thinking, Isaac... ugh. Mary should have known, he IS a simpleton.
Speaking of witch (haha):

Wow, the alarm went off nicely, Hale knows his stuff!

Anne freaked out - she wanted to help or at least warn some of the folks, but the only door to the cabin was locked:

Anyone still thinking watching Salem is a waste of time? No? Thought so.
What's John Alden doing BTW?

Nooooooooo°°°°°°°!!!!! John got saved from the gallows from his awesome Indian friends - only to catch the last bullet to the chest...

LOL, Tituba's timing was more than often spell-on, I think...
Speaking of spell-casting witches...

Hm... let's recall what happened in this very night to our dear characters:
Increase Mather, for example:

Or his son, Cotton:

Or what about Anne with her family ON HER FACE?

And John Alden:

And trusty old Isaac:

Hm... an eventful night, I'd say!
That leaves Mary and the promise Tituba gave her:

It's done. It happened. ALL of them DEAD I'm inclined to say, I mean, sure, "ALL Fall Down" leaves little room for any doubts that some of our beloved characters are going to bite the dust, but geez... There was a lot of dying, folks. And it was GOOD. Last week I wrote some about how I think this first season is remarkable to say the least, and this finale didn't disappoint in any way, I would have to dig up corpses to find any bothersome misplacement of a character or storyline considering the feverish pace this gem hustled us through the woods of Salem. Mercy Lewis and Cotton Mather and John Alden came a bit short in the finale but they will get considerably more in the first episodes of the second season, and I for one, was thankful for the larger parts the now deceased characters got in their final hour: Stephen Lang's Increase Mather, Xander Berkeley's Magistrate Hale, Iddo Goldberg's Isaac, you will all be direly missed, damn it, I miss you already! But I'm sure, other great actors will jump in and have fun in this, because beside all the darkness, the violence, the craziness of the whole premise, Salem gave me from the first minute on the feeling that I see the product of a sworn team, a well oiled, purring machine, an ensemble that likes working in this and with the others.
The cinematography was impressive to me, I've seen all seasons of American Horror Story and I was still impressed, from the pilot on we had this wonderful, consequent depiction of this time, the lighting was breathtakingly authentic, I can't believe what modern digital cameras are able to achieve nowadays, it made it hard sometimes to catch proper screenshots, lol, but hey, dark is dark...
Same with the characters - the ones who made it into next season have a hell of a ride behind them already. John Alden, the war hero, a cynic absent of any real hope of salvation and happiness, became a wise romantic, fighting for his own shot at salvation through love, gaining not only his freedom but maybe his soul also. He is now. at the end of this season between life and death in the hands of his brothers from the Mohawk tribe.
Mary Sibley was a fearsome witch with no remorse and an abundance of ruthlessness and she came around to sabotage her lifelong plan, to leave it all behind because she did have a heart, she cared for others and she wasn't willing to pay the price for all the power promised - in the end she was tricked to continue.
Mercy Lewis was a fearful child, now is a powerful witch, completely independent and fueled with a rage on the society of her time, she wages war on everyone with power and surrounds herself with others without power - brilliant!
The Hales... Anne was a protected daughter of the town's magistrate, nice, smart, but also naive and dependable, she realized, along her growing awareness what actually transpires in Salem , that she possesses the most whopping amount of witchcraft in all Salem - and she killed in a fury her parents! A Carrie-moment right there, the oppressed child uses her powers to un-break her chains of love and guilt. Papa and Mama Hale were paying the price for leaving her daughter too long in the dark, with the Grand Rite coming and all its implications, Hale should have told his daughter earlier, preparing her for what to come, but Hale was always shying away from bold decisions and taking stances, his whole life of deceit and lies came crushing down on him, more exactly on his face in disguise of a chunk of wood.
And Cotton... he went practically through all stages of a proper psychoanalysis, with his mother, aehm I mean lover, Glorianna, being exiled by his father, a fearsome witchfinder who was always showing his contempt for his son's "weaknesses". He was faced with the paradox to experience the consequences of a puritan society and all the pain and suffering it causes, while at the same time he was confronted with inexplicable witchcraft with all its danger and power. And when Cotton made his first own steps, decisions, he was played by the witches and I fear he will surpass his father if he ever finds out was really happened...
Salem's writing was a little shaky here and there, in the finale I asked myself how Tituba escaped the House Of Pain, but she was already portrayed as a powerful witch, so with the militia and Increase gone I don't see a reason for her to stay locked up. So even the smaller inconsistencies have been addressed and explained so far, I guess we will see why those Indians came to help Alden - they were not the ones he lived with - I think they were the ones John and Hale met when they were looking for missing Anne...
Be that as it may, Salem was really entertaining, the intro is perfect for the show, the actors, the fast paced and interwoven storytelling, the characters, the eery depiction of witchcraft, the gore, the satiric elements(Cotton's journey into the wild!), all that came together nicely.
So now this leaves us with some questions, indeed:
-will John Alden survive?
-why were the Indians helping him?
-will Cotton ever arrive in Boston - and if so: will he learn the truth?
-what about Mary's semi-aborted child? Evil, normal, good? Spawn of evil?
-what will Mercy do in the woods, with her army of the poor and crippled?
-was the Rite properly completed or did Isaac fuck it up?
-will Salem die of the curse(in case it worked as intended)?

Alright, now I will hibernate with a few spiders in an old tree until the madness returns...


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