“Bellweather Season” is Motherland: Fort Salem’s best episode yet

MOTHERLAND: FORT SALEM - "Bellweather Season" - Abigail brings the unit to a High Atlantic wedding, in hopes of increasing their odds for War College. Abigail struggles under family pressures, while Raelle leans on Scylla. Tally makes a discovery that will alter the future of the unit. This episode of "Motherland: Fort Salem" airs on Wednesday, April 15, at 9:00p.m. ET/PT on Freeform. (Freeform/David Bukach) AMALIA HOLM, TAYLOR HICKSON
MOTHERLAND: FORT SALEM - "Bellweather Season" - Abigail brings the unit to a High Atlantic wedding, in hopes of increasing their odds for War College. Abigail struggles under family pressures, while Raelle leans on Scylla. Tally makes a discovery that will alter the future of the unit. This episode of "Motherland: Fort Salem" airs on Wednesday, April 15, at 9:00p.m. ET/PT on Freeform. (Freeform/David Bukach) AMALIA HOLM, TAYLOR HICKSON /

In last week’s Motherland: Fort Salem episode, “Bellweather Season,” The Spree decided it was a nice day for a red wedding.

Hello witches! Motherland: Fort Salem brought us “Bellweather Season” last Wednesday, and my what a powerful season it was even in all its tragedy. I’ve been unsure about this series beyond the originality of its premise for a bit now, but each episode has kept me holding on because Motherland promises to be something great once it gets fully on its feet.

“Bellweather Season” proved that by raising the stakes and bringing war to our witches’ doorstep…at a wedding of all places.

The Wedding

The High Atlantic event of the year for our witches is the wedding of Charvel Bellweather and Ciro Hood. Those who have seen their fair share of witch based entertainment know that a witch’s wedding involves a hand-fasting, but like most things in its lore, Motherland adds a twist. Due to the lack of men among witches, marriage for their kind is a contract that binds a man and a woman together for 5 years.

It’s purpose, as was common in our own past, is progeny not love. It’s not pertinent to love your partner, only to be a good magical match. It takes the man involved “out of circulation” so that he may focus on the woman he’s made vows to. As was emphasized in “Hail Beltane,” the witches don’t care who you’re attracted to or who you love. Duty is the order of the day no matter your sexual orientation (though I can’t help but wonder how trans folks and enbys navigate this world; fingers crossed it gets explored).

Unfortunately, Tally finds this out the hard way thanks to Garrett’s inability to keep her kisses from distracting him when he needs to tell her important news. High Atlantic men wear sky blue sashes when they’re engaged. It’s a custom similar to our engagement rings, a symbol of impending nuptials and a ward against those who might try to make advances toward someone who is taken.

Clearly, Garrett did not expect to see Tally at the wedding though it’s not like he wouldn’t have worn his sash if he knew, he and his betrothed were set be recognized for their changed status. He just could have kept Tally from crashing so hard had he opened his mouth and told her before the announcement. Instead they exchanged ‘I love you’s which made things so much worse. I doubt the pair are going to wait the 5 years they’re supposed to before continuing on with their romance but things are certainly going to be different.

Speaking of different–or “sexy, weird” as they like to call themselves–Raelle and Scylla continue to be a doomed pair with so much sweetness one can’t help but smile whilst bracing for the inevitable heartbreak. Let it be known that my favorite thing about them is their greenery dates. If there is greenery to walk through from gardens to forests these two will find it and be cute among the trees and flowers. I’m sure there’s a Garden of Eden metaphor here somewhere, I just have to land on it solidly to extrapolate, but I digress.

Scylla and Raelle exchange gifts. Raelle gives her some kind of pin made out of a bird’s skull. It’s referred to as a corsage but considering pins have been twice referred to as charms in previous episodes, it may be more than that. Scylla’s gift is a piece of work that allows her to communicate to Raelle from wherever she is and, considering what happens with Scylla during the wedding, that’s going to come in handy in the next few episodes.

Gifts, however, aren’t the only things the two exchange. Raelle refers to Scylla as her girlfriend, defending her from Anacostia’s clear warnings to back off her cadet. Scylla, in defiance of her orders, doesn’t take Raelle to the Spree but instead tells her that she loves her and tries to savor what time she has left with her before she has to answer for her disobedience.

The romantic tragedy and impending doom are some of the lighter bits of “Bellweather Season” considering death doesn’t so much as knock at the Bellweathers’ door but rather blasts through and claims one of their own.

The Bellweathers

In the “After the Storm” video for “Bellweather Season,” showrunner Eliot Laurence described the Bellweathers as one of the first families. They’re one of the richest, most powerful both in work and politics, and most decorated families known to witchkind in America. Their legacy is as advantageous as it is a burden to each new member whose birthright it is to carry the name.

Charvel, our bride, spends her wedding drinking in order to get through it. Hers and Ciro’s is not a love match but rather a union that will benefit both their families. For the Bellweathers, as is true for most witches, love is not a part of the equation. Marriage is strategy and politics, and that is all. Listening to the witches speak on it brings to mind beliefs held toward marriage as a union of family names and rising statuses–social climbing, to be frank.

The Bellweathers’ pedigree speaks for itself, enough so that Abigail’s nervousness and determination to have her unit be the top of her class isn’t warranted. The Dean of the War College is perfectly fine letting her into the school no matter her credentials. It’s Abigail’s status as Petra Bellweather’s daughter that has confirmed her place at the college without her having to do a thing.

Abigail, however, is as proud as her mother. She doesn’t want her family name to open every door she intends to walk through. She wants to earn every bit of glory that is hers not be passed achievements and fleeted up because legacy dictates that she has every advantage. Petra says that advantage is what she worked so hard for to give to her, but Abigail believes her mother did it for sake of her own name not her daughter’s.

No matter how you land on that argument, it’s still true that Petra has never let Abigail rest on her laurels. The Dean of the War College may not expect much from her, but Petra certainly does just as Abigail expects a lot of herself, too. Her wallowing prompts Charvel to offer to reintroduce Abigail to the dean, so that she may make an impression of her own rather than the Bellweather name make an impression for her.

Charvel is a Bellweather, too. She has wanted her name to be recognized for her own merits not her family’s just like Abigail, so she understands her cousin’s desire to be seen for herself. Tragically, Charvel will never be given the opportunity to make a name of her own because she becomes a victim of The Spree.

The Spree Attack

When Abigail goes to check on Charvel, she finds the gruesome display of her cousin with her vocal chords removed. American witches primarily use their voices to do work, their vocal chords are a symbol of who they are as witches. What The Spree did wasn’t only brutal it was an act of hatred.

Abigail’s discovery nearly results in her own death as the Spree who did this are still in the bedroom. They attack her and disrupt her ability to use her voice to conjure work by utilizing a breastplate that produces a sound that counteracts her powers. Whilst she is fighting, the wedding guests are running for cover due to a mass of light blue balloons (The Spree’s calling card) descending on the property.

A line of experienced witches holds the balloons off with tornadoes produced by a sound that is reminiscent of tornado warning sirens. It’s an effect that’s too on the nose, and yet still charming as chaos begins to be unleashed on what is supposed to be a joyous day. As people run about, Raelle notices that Scylla has disappeared. Instantly on high alert, she tries looking for her as she best she can despite the commotion. Unbeknownst to Raelle, Scylla’s disappearance is most likely due to her disobeying orders and needing to flee.

Scylla was told to bring Raelle to The Spree at 6 PM. Her plan was to lure Raelle away with a promise to walk a beach called, Labor & Pain. It’s a most disquieting name for a beach but it’s full of fond memories for Scylla. It’s one of the only times in her life that she felt at peace, and she tells Raelle she wants to share that experience with her.

Earlier in the episode, the two playfully contemplated running away together. Scylla went as far as calling what they’d be doing a means to safety for them, but it’s Raella that pops their dream bubble by reminding Scylla that they are witches and no place is safe. Now Scylla has run off on her own without Raelle leaving Raelle to think something terrible happened to her.

Raelle has dealt with a lot of loss. Her mother’s death is still fresh for her. Confronting Petra did not give her the feeling she thought it would. As Petra described Raelle’s mother, Willa, as a skilled soldier with Raelle following in her footsteps as a Fixer, Raelle’s resolve crumbled. Petra said that Willa would be proud of her and hugged her.

It was a moment  of grief for Raelle and of sad resignation for Petra who has clearly had to give this kind of speech to soldiers who have lost loved ones under her command before. How Raelle will deal with Scylla’s loss has my interest peaked. Her go to is anger at almost every turn, but Raelle thinks her girlfriend is gone when Scylla is more than that as Tally and Anacostia now know.

For future reference, when you’re up to something always always check behind the doors in empty rooms to make sure no one is actually around to witness whatever it is that you’re doing. If Scylla had done that then she would have found a crying Tally in a stall and would have taken her nefarious mirror talking with a terrorist balloon elsewhere. Instead the cat was let all the way out the bag, and now Tally, who immediately went to Anacostia with her discovery, is burdened with Scylla’s secret which could crush Raelle.

Scylla’s infiltration into Fort Salem is also likely to bring fire and fury raining down on her once Abigail finds out. She lost a beloved cousin to The Spree’s efforts, and she and Petra laid a smack down on the two Spree members who dared try to kill her. It was the kind of fighting sequence I’m hoping to see more of from this series.

A mother-daughter duo throwing down with whips, fists, and knives was everything. It’s honestly the content we all deserve to see. To be real with y’all for a moment, my heart is even more alight because the duo are Black, and it was so exciting to see two Black witches protecting each other and their family’s home in an action packed scene that showcased their skill, combat ability, and ruthlessness when it comes to defending themselves and their own. I don’t often get to see that so I was super excited.

“Bellweather Season” is the best episode of the series so far, no contest. If you were struggling with waiting for this show to get fully on it’s feet, brace yourselves, I think it’s about to be on its feet and running. Laurence said what happened to Charvel will lead the series somewhere really scary, if that means seeing these witches truly bare their teeth then I am more than ready. Bring it on Motherland!

Until next time, witches. Stay safe, stay home, and a blessing on all your houses.

Next. Motherland: Fort Salem season 1 episode 4 review: Hail Beltane. dark

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