In the World of Motherland: Fort Salem, Sex Is Power, Pleasure, and Freedom

Why yes, it’s the sex dance.
Why yes, it’s the sex dance.
Image: Freeform

Motherland: Fort Salem is a weird show. It is also a horny show. This alternate universe look at an America where witches are part of the military isn’t just about doing drills and spells. It’s also about doing...well, you catch my drift. In their SDCC panel, the cast and crew of Motherland shared their thoughts on the importance of free sexuality in their show—and the world at large.

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The stars of Freeform’s Motherland: Fort Salem stopped by Comic-Con@Home to talk about the alt-history show, which has just been renewed for a second season. One of the most interesting points raised at the panel was about how Motherland strives to be a sex-positive show that portrays human sexuality in its many forms. As pointed out in my previous review, this show gets very horny—there’s a whole episode dedicated to the Beltane, a sexual rite the witches use to increase their powers. Creator Eliot Laurence joked about being “such an expert on female sexuality, a world-renowned expert,” before talking about how he based the show’s modern witch society on ancient fertility cults.

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“My view of witchcraft is not satanic, it’s more of a fertility cult. It’s a nature religion,” Laurence said. “It’s about sex and it’s about bounty and harvest and all of that stuff. It’s not sort of problematized in the way that happens in Judeo-Christian religions, and it leaves women in a very free place in regards to sexuality and agency.”

Several of the actresses on the show chimed in with their approval of the show’s approach to sex and sexuality. For example, actress Ashley Nicole Williams (who plays Abigail on the show) noted the double standard in praising men for having multiple sexual partners while women are often shamed for the same thing—but in the show, her character has a three-way with two men, and it’s never treated as salacious or forbidden. Demetria McKinney, who plays drill sergeant Anacostia, added that the show’s sexual expression is freeing for the characters as well as the audience—even if Anacostia hasn’t gotten to participate yet.

“Whatever your preference is, love is love, power is power, desire is desire. And at the base of it, it’s primal, it’s natural, it’s human. Whether you’re a witch or ‘other,’ those are things we just naturally need,” McKinney said. “We’re taking these opportunities to really embody a different perspective sexually, mentally, emotionally, with all of these things we’re attacking. It’s really cool. And I ain’t got to do the Beltane thing, but watching it made me feel powerful—”

“We’ll get you a Beltane moment in season two,” Laurence added.

“Oh no, you better lay low,” McKinney replied, jokingly. “I can’t have my potato salad out for just no reason!”

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The series has already been renewed for season two. Jessica Sutton, who plays Tally, shared how she found out before getting the traditional studio phone call because Williams spoiled it (she was freaking out in their group Instagram chat, sharing emojis and exclamations in all-caps). The three stars, which include Taylor Hickson as Raelle, later had a dance party over Zoom. As far as what we can expect in season two, the cast teased plenty of twists and turns to come. For example, the witches may have to form an alliance with their long-held enemies, the Spree, to face the rising threat of witch hunters. But above all, here’s hoping the show stays just as horny as ever.

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Motherland: Fort Salem is set to return sometime in 2021.


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Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

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DISCUSSION

Wraithfighter

“My view of witchcraft is not satanic, it’s more of a fertility cult. It’s a nature religion,” Laurence said. “It’s about sex and it’s about bounty and harvest and all of that stuff. It’s not sort of problematized in the way that happens in Judeo-Christian religions, and it leaves women in a very free place in regards to sexuality and agency.”

...okay, I know this is more of a difficulty with the language and how the word’s kinda been transmuted as a result of bad actors invoking it and all that...

...but I’m just sayin’, “It’s not Satanic, it’s a Cult!” is probably not as persuasive as you might hope >_>.