Salem S01 Ep01 – The Vow

Mary Sibley and Tituba

WGN America’s first original series aired on April 20. Entitled Salem, the drama is based on the real Salem witch trails that took place in the 17th century. To be honest, I didn’t expect to like it so much. The pilot is really good. Usually, pilots aren’t too dynamic. We are introduced to the characters, we get some hints regarding the storyline, and that’s about it. Nothing too spectacular. In Salem, however, things are quite different. First of all, at the beginning of the episode we are in 1685, while its ending is set 7 years later. Some characters die, whereas others change a lot throughout the episode. The most striking thing about the pilot is its action: many twists and turns and really shocking scenes. There’s nothing lavish about the costumes or the settings, but the atmosphere is incredible. It feels as if you are there.  If you’re faint-hearted, don’t turn off the lights while watching it. “The Vow” is far more violent and scary than I expected. But in a good way.

Mary SibleyThe pilot opens with a girl and a boy being tortured in the town square so everyone can watch. Witnessing public displays of torture or executions didn’t happen only in Salem, but it clearly gives us a hint that they have quite an appetite for torture. George Sibley is the one who calls the shots, but those approving of him aren’t less guilty. Mary believes John Alden to be dead so she has no other choice but to abort his baby; however, there’s a price to pay. This scene is pretty disturbing. It really kept me on the edge of my seat. Seven years later, John returns to Salem, but the village is very different from what he remembers. A bloody witch hunt threatens any inhabitant of Salem, as the evil witch holds a grudge against all of them. But who is she? None other than Mary Sibley, the most influential and rich woman in Salem. I might be a party pooper, but I don’t like Mary at all. Firstly, she knew the consequences an unwed pregnant woman would face so she and John shouldn’t have had intercourse or they should have married. Secondly, she uses her powers against innocents too. Giles didn’t harm her, he just stood in her way. She tortures Reverend Lewis’s daughter when in fact he is her target. And what about John’s hallucinations? He’s hurt and he doesn’t know the truth because she won’t tell him. So expect him to be ironic. Not to mention her sick vision of Salem being ruled by witches. I don’t know if Mary is acting like this because her powers cloud her judgement or deep down she was like this before too. Either way, I’m rooting against her.

As I’ve already said, there are shocking scenes. A priest reciting the Bible while having sex? Well, that’s nothing compared to a toad that lives in a man’s throat and suckles on a teat on the witch’s thigh. And these are just two examples.

John Alden and Anne Hale

“I’d like to draw you sometime.”

It is great to have Tamzin Merchant and Shane West back on my screen. After the first episode, they are my favourite characters. I can relate to both of them. Also, they have chemistry, but I don’t think they’ll be a couple. I hope Mary won’t harm Anne, but judging by the second episode’s trailer, I guess she will.

To put it briefly, I’m hooked! The pilot kept me captivated throughout and I can’t wait for the next episode.

What about you? Will you watch Salem next Sunday too? Let us know in the comments.


Watch “The Vow” on Amazon Instant Video.