Oh, stop. That's not a spoiler. That would imply that the last scene of the season 2 premiere had anything to do with the rest of the plot. It didn't, but it did remind me why I love this show.

Here's the deal: No one in season 2 Witches of East End learned a thing from season 1.


No one. Not a solitary person involved in this ten car pile-up of a show. Not the characters. Not the writers. Not Lifetime. And not us, the viewers. Oh god, it was like the pilot all over again.

Season 1 of Witches of East End, while I grew to love it, was almost never able to put up episodes that stood on their own. And the premiere of season 2 exemplifies that problem. It's not so much an episode of television as much as it is connective tissue between the underwhelming season finale and ALL of the plots of season 2. At least, I hope they're all the plots, because there were a lot of them and I do not want to keep track of more.

And then, just as I was tiring of it all, they busted out the crazy-weird moment that hooked me. Dammit, Witches of East End. And after I finish this recap, I will be looking for the brain bleach.


Spoilers start now...

Generally, it's been a week since the finale. Joanna's still poisoned and dying and the rest of them can't remember what happened when the portal to Asgard opened. Which they'd like to do before they close it. (DON'T CLOSE IT. I WANT MORE ASGARD, NOT LESS.) The memory potion they take lets them see back to what we saw in the finale, but nothing more.


Since this was just a bunch of loosely connected events, let's break this down by character. Again. I'm going to dispose of the things that aren't really important first, because ALL THAT MATTERS IS INGRID, THE TENTACLES, AND THE LAST 20 SECONDS. But this is a recap, and I need to do more than weep into this space about that.


Joanna's a mess. In every possible way. This episode takes place a week after the season 1 finale, which saw Joanna poisoned by Argentium. She's still alive, but not out of the woods.


And, A+, Lifetime, for starting us off with really, really uncomfortable sexual innuendo. Because we get Joanna, naked, surrounded by candles, while her estranged husband straddles her and secures her hands to the bed posts. Then he says "Do you trust me?" and reaches for his belt.

... Which he then uses as a tourniquet. Because Joanna's treatment for Argentium poisoning is the insertion of bugs into her body and then pulling them out. 100 points for the pivot from sexy-disturbing to body-horror-disturbing. Plus, it's almost, sort-of foreshadowing for the thing that happens at the end.


The episode makes clear that they've been doing this treatment for a while: Joanna says she "can't keep doing this, it hurts too much" and Freya says "I hate it when she screams like that." So why haven't they just left a tourniquet up there, why does it have to be Victor's belt? And why is Joanna naked? And if they've been doing it for a week, why does Victor need to ask her if she trusts him now? And anyone who answers "MAGIC," gets a demerit.

As suspected, Frederick, Joanna's son who turned on them and sided with Joanna's evil father in the Asgard war, came through the portal. He has a symbol branded into his chest and there's a guy in the hospital who claims that he was dragged into the woods by a shadow who was carving the "ancient symbol of the king," which he has in blood on his chest and is the same as the one on Frederick.

Not that Joanna gives even the slightest of a fuck, because she's got her son back. He claims that he and his grandfather had a falling out. And, cementing his place in her heart, he heals Joanna. Who has been freaking out about being weak and dying. He takes the poison into his body, where it does nothing because he's spent a while developing an immunity to iocane powder. Sorry, Argentium.


Wendy tries her absolute hardest to make Joanna think just a little critically, but Joanna's not having it. GUYS. We went over this last season. Always listen to Wendy. How hard is that?


Wendy runs around helping everyone, so her only solo plot is related to an EMT she keeps running into. He's the one who brought the man in from the forest, by the way. They first meet fighting over a book of herbs in the library and then see each other later when a drunk Ingrid falls off a bar. She heals Ingrid I think just to spite the EMT.


As they do nothing but snark at each other, I predict that they bone by episode... four. Over-unders in comments appreciated.

Wendy, as usual, gets the best moments of the night:

Joanna: I don't need the woman who died in a trapeze accident lecturing me about safety.

Ingrid: I died in a trapeze accident?!

Wendy: No, I did.

Every little glimpse into these women's pasts we get are more interesting than anything happening in the present.


And after the flashback:

Ingrid: Mike really got burnt to a crisp didn't he?

Wendy: Oh, Mike was a little shit, he deserved it


Freya's plot is still about her boring-ass love triangle. She's getting sexy Killian visions (just like last season), but he's also dying in them. Blah, blah, she wants to find him and save him. Blah, blah, Wendy's tarot says he's survived his time at sea and is taking money from people, and he was visited by an "owl" who is protecting him, possibly to take advantage of him. Blah, blah, she asks Dash where he is, which I get, but is so stupid. Blah, blah, blah, they need to know what he knows about his powers before they do anything.


Dash and Killian

Remember when this happened in the season 1 finale?


Now Dash is trying to make magic on his own. In his attic. Where he's essentially all holed up because his fiancee left him for his brother, who he thinks he killed with powers he's never seen before, and is now seeing visions of. You know, last season Dash was the most boring character ever. Now that he's just as nuts as everyone else, it's a lot more fun.

Also, it looks like his power is tied to anger (like we were told Freya's is tied to "love"), because he can't do anything unless he's really pissed. Goaded by his hallucination of Killian, he manages to set fire to a picture of Freya and himself and, later, when Freya asks him about Killian, he telekinetically destroys a table. Guy's going the vengeance route of his mother. Just saying.

Also, the guy with the symbol on his chest is Dash's patient. He tells him that "many more will die before the right one is found" and that he's "one of them, I know what you are." Dash touching the symbol on his chest does something magical, and briefly brings the guy back before he flatlines.


Dash is also trying to find a medical reason for his magic, and it turns out his brain structure is the same as Ingrid's (who had a brain scan when she fell off a jungle gym as a child). Guys, Dash's medical ethics are not the greatest.

Which is fine, because someone has sent him photos of what he did to Killian (see the gif above again) and "will be in touch." Yeah, he's a powder keg.

Meanwhile, Killian's at a casino on Santo Domingo. His new powers are letting him win money by gambling, not that he knows its magic. And he's under the care of Ava, who has an owl tattoo.



And now the main event. Ingrid's got a lot of problems. Let's take them in order of magnitude:

1. Ingrid's character development this season is clearly going to be her breaking out of being the safe one. She does that by telling an easily proved lie about having a PhD, so she can get a job "at the university" (gotta love the vagueness) to curate a collection of documents related to witchcraft. When the guy finds out that "I have a PhD" is a lie, he rightfully refuses to give her the job.


Until Ingrid is convinced by Freya and her library coworker to try a spell to get the job, like she did to get her friend pregnant in the pilot. (Remember her? We never saw or heard from her again. Hope that magic pregnancy's working out fine and with no complications.) This spell requires shots.

Finally magic that I can get behind.

Ingrid ends up getting the job reading witchcraft-related historical papers. I'm sure that won't come up again at all.


2. She wakes up in the front yard, with no clue how that happened, in one of those outfits that only fictional people sleep in:

I still love this show's casual approach to the terrifying. Freya's response is to say, "Isn't that the third time this week?" and Ingrid's just shrugs and is like "I guess I sleep walk now." Freya reminds us that, despite having the least interesting plots, everything's about her by saying that "At least you are sleeping. I haven't had a wink since the wedding. You know, where my mother-in-law-to-be turned out to be an enemy from the past determined to destroy us and poisoned our mother and a guy you know forced you to open a portal to Asgard? It was a week ago, but none of us remember what happened when the portal opened. But none of that is nearly as important as the fact that my love triangle didn't get resolved."



(It's so much worse than I thought. So much worse.)

3. She's being followed by some sort of beast throughout the episode, in addition to her sleepwalking. Another instance of which ends the episode. The captions on these images are my real time reactions to this ending:






My brain is now the Nope Octopus and will never be clean again.

Dear Lifetime and Witches of East End,


  • Is the shadow thing Wendy followed (and saw an aura of evil for) Frederick or this bastard child of the Na'vi and a hentai creature? If it's the creature, does that mean Frederick's telling the truth and Joanna's reckless trust is being rewarded?
  • Or is this thing Frederick? Or taking the shape of Frederick?
  • If that's the case, is real or pseudo-incest happening here?
  • Are you trying to compete with HBO for weird supernatural sex shown on TV?
  • And how, how, did this get past the censors of a non-pay cable channel?

Please send answers to katharine@io9.com.