Review of A Discovery of Witches, episode 3×02

Section 2 of A discovery of witches The section is about fathers and sons, and that many shapes and forms that the dynamics can take.

The episode begins with Benjamin Fox watching Father Hubbard (I know it’s hard to imagine him as someone’s son, even in his rejuvenated 2000s form) to ask about his own son Jack Blackfriars so he can torment him a little more. Jack, the orphaned boy that Matthew and Diana adopted in the 16th century, is now fully grown and a vampire that Hubbard has got to save him from the plague. Hubbard did his best to be a guide for Jack during all these centuries, even though he knew he could never be a true father. Only Matthew can do that.

After 500 years, Jack is finally reunited with Diana and Matthew. They embrace him as if no time has passed at all, as if he is still the hungry child in Blackfriars rather than an adult who looks like Toby Regbo. When Baldwin shows up and things spiral, we learn that Jack is really Matthew’s son; not just his adopted son, but his great-grandson through Benjamin and Hubbard, and he has the genes to prove it. Blood frustration shows up in Jack, and Benjamin’s torture has made it worse. Benjamin proves that Jack is the vampire murderer in Oxford who has received attention from the human press; he must be eliminated.

When Baldwin, as head of the de Clermont family, orders Matthew to kill his own son to protect their clan, Matthew cannot directly refuse. It is Diana who protests and protects Jack from Baldwin – threatening his life and suffocating him with a spell, no less. It is Diana who looks at Matthew with stern eyes and tells him briefly that a father should protect his children. It’s almost nice to see some tension between Diana and Matthew when they’re usually so in sync. It’s always good to see her stand up to him and his anachronistic manner.

Time is running out A discovery of witches Section 3 × 02

It was also refreshing to see Diana keep a secret from Matthew when it’s usually the opposite. It is revealed that in 1591 she gave Hubbard a drop of her blood in exchange for a promise of protection from Jack, as we saw in the last episode of season 2. Matthew has the decency not to act in public and get easily angry at the integrity of their bedroom . This is where we see how much Diana’s stomach has grown, which lets us know that a lot of time has passed. This means that time is running out for Miriam and Chris to investigate blood rage.

At least a whole month must have passed, so it’s hard to understand why Peter Knox would still be in Venice after being suspended from the church premises. in the last section, but we let it slide. After all, it feels good to see Satu get into her powers and her identity as a weaver … even if it goes to her head. She fully believes she has the right to challenge Diana now; she believes herself to be the witch of prophecy, the one with the blood of the lion and the wolf who will bring destruction to the world as we know it.

Instead of causing havoc, Diana right now is content to lie in bed and eat lychees and quarrel with Matthew. They disagree about the past, even if the future also depends on them. Matthew is not happy Hubbard’s father Jack when the latter should have died. Matthew is still struggling to come to terms with mortality and immortality; he really would not wish his existence on someone he loves, and we are brutally reminded that as a human being he tried to commit suicide when he lost his first wife and son. He chose to die before Ysabeau found him and decided to give him a new life and sentenced him to one he had not asked for.

This has always been a sore subject for both of them, one that they have not addressed properly, Diana out of fear and respect, Matthew out of shame. Her heart breaks when she asks him if he wishes he had died that day. And perhaps, despite the twists and turns, it’s the true emotional climax of the episode. Matthew breaks an impossible tangible tension by saying that of course he does not regret not dying that day. He reminds himself and Diana that he would never have met her and that he would not have had the chance to become a father again, and not just for their unborn twins, but for Marcus and Jack.

This is where the dichotomy with Benjamin Fuchs is sharp. He is the symbol of an abomination, one that Matthew never wanted to love. It’s as clear as heaven, for Matthew does not love his adopted son or his vampire son less than his carnal children, but Benjamin was never meant to be his son. Turning him around was a cruel punishment that Matthew demanded, like a biblical god who inflicted a catastrophe on his unworthy subjects. This is a relic of another Matthew, before he got the best of his blood fear.

Seeing Matthew help Jack control his blood feud is like watching him go full circle after Diana gives him hope. In the 19th century, he murdered over 20 of Marcus’ children because he had to eliminate all carriers of blood rage. With Jack, murder was never an option, despite the obvious danger he poses. The only uncertainty comes from the clear order Matthew has received from his Sieur Baldwin.

All the while, Matthew has repeated Baldwin’s mistake of assuming that everything their father said or did would be taken as gospel. But Diana cleverly reminds him that Philippe believed in flow, that the only reliable thing in the world was the change itself. Matthew finally accepts this, but not when he goes to find Jack, as he is still not sure if he will follow Baldwin’s orders. Matthew’s father wants to spare Jack, but he knows that the congregation will soon order his death, and would it not be merciful to give him a quick, painless death? It is when it is clear that Jack will not fight his own father, when he is ready to die in his hand, that Matthew accepts a new fate and a new impossible mandate.

Not obeying Baldwin means death. The only way Matthew could get out of his obligation to Baldwin is not to join his family longer. The descendant Marcus proposed to create in the first episode, for them to strike out and create a smaller branch of the family, is their only hope. But it’s not as easy as it sounds, because Matthew must convince everyone in his bloodline to accept the descendant and follow him, and that includes Marcus’ unruly children in New Orleans, the five Matthew did not kill. And it will be a herculean deed in itself.

Marcus is very much against Matthew, but he follows him without question. He owes it to him, but he also wants to. It’s the only way they can ever really be free to live the way they want. At the airport on their way to New Orleans, they finally talk after avoiding the elephant in the room for several weeks. In exchange for his forgiveness, Marcus sets impossible conditions for Matthew: that he finds a cure for bloodshed, fights the congregation, repeals the covenant … These are impossible feats, but Marcus does not mean to be unfair. He knows they can do it. He promises that he will be the first to swear allegiance. Father and son will be at peace.

This episode’s most emotional moment is without a doubt the conversation in the salon where Fernando reveals that Gallowglass is in love with Diana. It’s heartbreaking and impossible and they all know it. Gallowglass has no expectations, except to be around her for a little while before he releases her forever. The scene is fast, but it shows how much love and understanding there is between these two characters, a different kind of father and son.

This season has been moving at the speed of light, so the moment where Matthew reveals the existence of creatures to a lab of doctoral students is almost amusing; a scene that should have been epic and feels like the end of the world was dismissed as no biggie. Then there’s the way we get a tender farewell scene between Marcus and Phoebe but not between Matthew and Diana before the boys go to New Orleans. This season is so fast-paced that it hurts. People might argue that the events in this episode could have been covered in half the time, but I do not agree.

A Matthew-centered episode was necessary. Too often he is perceived as stoic, but even his determination can fall apart, which is something we must be reminded of. We need it for what is to come.

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