For a season finale, last night's Witches of East End was pretty slow moving. It was all about a wedding we all knew wouldn't happen and a confrontation that was surprisingly short-lived. We also learned that fighting magic runs on the same logic as cartoons. But the ending was enough to make you forgive all of that.
No lies, this was a surprisingly non-epic season finale. After weeks of playing plot roulette, this episode felt like everyone was exhausted by all that, and just wanted to get to the end.
But not everyone was exhausted. Two people grabbed the momentum baton, left sanity at the starting line, and vaulted through the episode like campy champions. They were also the ones who ended up crispy-dead. But I'm jumping ahead.
We begin pretty much where we left off: Killian begs Freya not to marry Dash, she refuses, her father catches sight of Killian right before he takes off. Enver Gjokaj's still trying to convince Ingrid that she's the key to the door, that he doesn't know why he's right, he just is. If she'd look at his research, he'd prove it! And Wendy's checked on the portal, which is leaking poison. She reports back to Joanna and Victor, who do some exposition for us. Apparently, that's what happens if you try to open the portal: It leaks poison. The kind of poison that'll actually kill Joanna. Victor points out that this is happening in the house that Freya's getting married in. Wendy tells him, and reminds us, that Penelope and Dash have both been tested for mortality.
Penelope/Athena's cooking up something full of sparks and crows. Virginia Madsen's serving up some serious crazy eyes. She's the first person who came to win.
Then there's some endless montaging and a lot of bad omens for Freya's wedding. No one listens to Wendy (ALWAYS A MISTAKE) about how bad these omens are, and Joanna insists that they'll just counter the dark magic with the light. Also, it's raining at the Beauchamp's house, which is one of the bad omens. But it never appears to be raining anywhere else. Plus, I legitimately can't figure out the timeline of this episode. I think it's all supposed to be Freya's wedding day. But the montage shows the sun coming up, and it being all light outside . . . and then it's raining at the Beauchamps? It doesn't seem to be raining when Ingrid's dealing with Enver Gjokaj. . . either time she's dealing with him. Maybe the rain and stuff is supposed to be happening the night before, right after the spell cast by Athena? But the montage came first. . .
All I'm saying is that if it's just raining on the Beauchamps, someone might notice there's something weird going on.
But it's finally time to introduce the only other person competing with Virginia Madsen in the "Committing to the Ridiculous" Award: Enver Gjokaj. Remember how he said he "just knew" Ingrid was the key to proving his father right about Asgard? Well, Ingrid breaks into his hotel room to figure out what he knows and. . .
Some things are never a good sign. Remember, he's only been in town for a few days. But he took the time to set up his ridiculous theory wall in his hotel room, just in case.
As Ingrid realizes that "I just know" is code for "I wrote out a bunch of anagrams all over my creepy collage, and then I found your name!" Enver Gjokaj arrives to threaten/beg her into helping him open to portal to Asgard. I'm still with him on this, although now worried about what this show is saying about that desire. To be clear: I do not have "A PARCHING IMBUED" written anywhere on my walls. My walls all say "REDRUM."
But Ingrid gets away from him in the first, but thankfully not last, instance of Slapstick Magic.
Ah, the old "Shoes glued to the floor" spell.
And now, some random plot points loosely strung together: Freya asks her dad to walk her down the aisle, Ingrid still hates him for leaving them. Killian leaves a music box for Freya, which appears to affect her emotionally. Joanna and Wendy are still casting light spells to counter the dark. Dash gives Freya a big-old diamond and sapphire bracelet. Ingrid corners her father about Asgard. He tells her the two of them are a lot alike, and also that they were forced to leave Asgard because they were on the losing side of a war. P.S. Don't open the door, the people on the other side are evil, more powerful, and super into killing the Beauchamps.
And then, a thing of beauty: Enver Gjokaj getting dressed for the wedding, whistling "Here Comes the Bride," checking his gun, all while looking into a full length mirror.
I love you. This is bonkers.
Then, everyone's at Fair Haven montaging getting ready for the wedding again. After Enver Gjokaj's creepiness, the happy music and montage is a little bit of a mood whiplash. They do one last good omen spell, and then Athena comes in and tells Freya that her father's looking for her.
He tells her that he's crossed paths with her other lives before. If that's true, and he's seen Freya before and not Ingrid, Ingrid's justified in being pissed at him all the time. Just saying. He tells her that he recognizes Killian from when he tracked her down in 1906. Back then, his name was Henry. Freya's dad says that she and Henry were deeply in love, and that it's possible that they've crossed paths in many a life, and are meant to be together. Also, Freya was a bartender back then, too. She fed her unwitting patrons magic drinks. Good to know some things don't change.
Now I present to you, the rest of Athena's arc:
1. Insistently defends Archibald to Joanna, letting her know that she's the shapeshifter.
2. Brings Joanna to her dungeon. Tells her who she is, that she's stolen magic from her ignorant sons and Freya, and that she's going to kill her. Pumps Joanna full of poison.
3. Tries to strangle Wendy, Wendy sets Joanna free.
4. The sisters work together to get a noose around Athena's neck.
5. BURNED ALIVE.
The pictures are missing the part where Joanna and Athena fight, and magic causes them to slide all over the floor. Ah, the old "Soapy Floors" spell.
While this was going on, Freya's broken it off with Dash. That pisses him off, and he figures out his brother's to blame. This means that basically he and Freya are in a race to get to Killian. Dash gets to Killian first, just as his mother is BURNED ALIVE. Holy shit, Lifetime. I'm still shocked you showed that.
Dash getting his powers back, not knowing anything about them, and being full of rage at his brother is bad news. Because then every gesture of Dash's sends Killian flying about the boat he's on.
It's Killian's face following him as he flies that really sells it. I mean, he may be dead as a result of this, but I can't take it seriously. I can laugh uncontrollably, but I can't take it seriously.
Dash unmoors Killian's boat/body and they take off before Freya gets there. So she's all sad because she used to have two boys who loved her, and now she has none.
And finally, Enver Gjokaj and his crazy have used a gun to force Ingrid into going down to the portal. He even shoots her in the arm. She puts her hands up to the portal, and it starts to glow and shake apart. Wendy helps Joanna, who says the poison's probably going to kill her soon, and they run to the portal. Wendy casually thunks Enver Gjokaj into a pillar (ALL THE MAGIC IS SLAPSTICK, I cannot stress this enough), and Joanna pulls Ingrid from the portal. When it opens, there's a shining light and figure there.
Well at least Enver Gjokaj got to prove that his father was right. . .
Or, the light from the portal incinerated him. Again, HOLY SHIT, Lifetime.
So that's it for the first season of Witches of East End. We laughed, we cried, we watched two of the best actors get burned alive. I really expected more of an epic showdown for the finale, but no. More than half of the episode was set-up, and the battle between Athena and Joanna wasn't even close to the knock-down, drag-out fight Joanna had with possessed!Wendy a few episodes ago. It was especially frustrating because they'd explained that, with Freya's power, the shapeshifter was going to be extra-amazing-super-powerful.
But no, there was a lot of strangling and then she was burned alive. Which, I'll give it shocking, but not really something that implied a lot of magical power.
And I'm really sad to see Enver Gjokaj go. I am glad that his adventure with the ax wasn't just a hilarious scene, but a clue that he wasn't a harmless adventurer. He was, in fact, desperately crazy and crazy desperate. The moral of this episode was definitely "Obsession with avenging your father's name will get you burnt alive." Get it stitched on a pillow and give it as a gift for the holidays.
HOWEVER, the episode ended by opening the portal to Asgard. All things are forgiven, Witches of East End. Next season should be a non-stop Asgard season. Fingers crossed!