The Mother Song

The Mother Song

As we get closer and closer to the mid-point of the final season, there are a lot of questions up in the air and a number of threads beginning to weave together.

Warning: This post contains spoilers up to the current episode!

Raelle’s Absence

That’s something people have asked me. In November 2021, Taylor was in a car accident. She posted about it back in January, but a lot of us kind of forgot that impacted production:

While this accident appears to be less physically traumatic, Taylor mentions that healing isn’t linear. For her, this may be moreso. Back in December 2016, Taylor was working on Ghostland when the director, Pascal Laugier, told her that it would be fine to slam her fists against a window. Well, the window broke, Taylor fell on the glass, and that resulted in the rather distinctive scar on the left side of her face.

It would not be a leap to suggest that this has probably messed her up a little. Repeat accidents (in this case, both related to her work) tend to linger on people a little.

This has had a rather direct result with, just a couple episodes ago, Raelle being ‘sucked’ into the mycelium (for reasons we are not yet sure). The scene felt abrupt to many. She was ‘fine’ the previous episode, but then suddenly Scylla was running back saying she knew why Raelle was ‘sick.’ That plot was created in order to give Taylor the time to rest and heal, which is a wonderful act of kindness from the show.

M’s Assignment

As of last week, M, our glorious non-binary witch, was assigned to protect the president. That had an unexpected conclusion last week, and then a surprise reveal this week (if you missed the episode last night, go watch).

MOTHERLAND: FORT SALEM – “Happy Yule!” – The Unit spends the Yule holiday plotting their next steps. Alder seeks a steward of the First Song. This episode of “Motherland: Fort Salem” airs Tuesday, July 12 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on Freeform. (Freeform/Jeff Petry) ESS HODLMOSER

But the thing about last night’s episode is that M finally expressed to us (via our innocent proxy, Tally) about the decisions they had to make. Do they join the men’s college or the women’s? M knew they’d always have to decide, but it was Alder herself asking M to come, that M could excel at War College, that drew them in and helped them be a success.

Hearing that, even in the brief moment we got, addressed one of the larger questions I’d had about a gender-split system in their seemingly sexuality and gender aware world. Sure, Beltane was heavily into the hetero ‘sex makes a witch more powerful’ thing, but at the same time no one was demanding Raelle (or Byron, her gay friend) actually have sex. During the Reel dance, a number of women ended up paired with other women, and men with men. It appeared to be casually understood that some people were going to have a platonic Beltane and that was okay.

Even so, it left a question in the air the next season. What about the non-binary or gender fluid? Where do they fit in a world so seemingly evenly split between men and women? The answer appears to be ‘where they want to be.’ M was asked to come to the Witch side, but never pressured to be a woman or a man, only themselves.

Scylla’s Apprehension

Now, while we know Raelle’s reason for vanishing is life impacting art, in character they don’t. And Scylla, for the first time really, is facing that unknown that Raelle had in the end of season 1. But back then, Raelle saw the S on her hand and knew Scylla was alive, somewhere. She doesn’t have a way to report back to Scylla, which means that all Scylla has is hope.

Due to the immediacy of the change of plots, it stands to reason that we all feel like critical information is being missed out on. Amalia Holm is doing a wonderful job of balancing the rapid change with the feelings Scylla must be having. She’s been on the run before, that was her life, and she’s been entangled with the Spree and is rather used to hiding things. But now? Now Scylla’s part of a group who have her back, and who accept her.

That acceptance, though, is tenuous. Scylla knows she’s only allowed in because of her skills and because Raelle will walk without her. Since the others need Raelle, they keep Scylla without much complaint. Still, that unease lingers. If Raelle is, in fact, dead, would they still need Scylla? They’ve got Nicte who is more experienced at hiding who she is long term, and a far more terrifying fighter.

On top of all that? Scylla is in love. She didn’t expect that to happen (do any of us?) and that feeling of finally finding her place and a person is being ripped away from her bit by torturous bit.

Future Adaptability

The world has changed entirely for the Witches. Tally, and her burgeoning ability to actually see the future, may start to wonder how much is really set in stone. Abigail, the pinnacle of Bellweather genetics, has something about the union of earth and sky on her mind. Is her future a done deal? Nicte has been fuelled by anger and rage for so long is now finding a place maybe she too belongs. The functionally immortal Alder is back, but wildly different.

I’m sad that it took this final season to get to dig into things like the Cession and it’s politics, to show us the different people and flavours of magic. I am glad, however, that we’re getting it. This world has so much potential and so many layers, it could go decades with more and more information we don’t have just yet.

Motherland: Fort Salem airs Tuesday

Make sure you’re watching Freeform on Tuesday nights as our coven fights for their future.

About Mika A. Epstein

Mika has been deep in fandom since she could say 'Trekkie.' With decades experience in running fansites, developing software, and organizing communities, she's taken on the challenge of delving into the recesses of television for queers long forgotten. Making this site with Tracy is nothing short of serendipity. Mika lives with her wife in Southern California. Of course she has a hybrid, but she'd rather ride her bicycle.
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