When Freeform officials decided to cut short this story of the witches of Fort Salem, they should have given Eliot Laurence 12 episodes for its final season instead of the usual 10.
That way, Motherland: Fort Salem Season 3 Episode 9 wouldn’t have had to be so jam-packed with storylines.
As a result, storylines on which viewers had been waiting, including the trial of the Bellweather Unit and Raelle and Scylla’s wedding ceremony, flat out got short shrift as Laurence and company had to scramble to set up the series finale.
Which is a shame. There were enough developments for a couple of episodes, but significant action ended up having to take place offstage to speed along events. Only so much can be crammed into 42 minutes.
Abigail’s proposal that the Bellweather Unit turn themselves in was wise, as then there was no longer any reason for the Camarilla troops to continue to occupy The Cession.
Petra’s decision to give media access to the unit likely kept them alive. Silver and Kara realized the trial would take place in the court of public opinion, so the Camarilla had to behave when handling the captive soldiers.
(It can’t be a coincidence that the Camarilla judge in the trial resembled Mike Pence, can it?)
Even if it hadn’t been a sham trial, the unit would have lost, in part thanks to the testimony of Abigail and especially Tally. That was a reminder of how young they are. Raelle’s heartfelt speech had to be winning over viewers, but the witches were trailing badly at that point.
Then, just as things looked hopeless, Wade, last seen snowed in at a Cession cabin, came crashing into the courtroom, kicking ass and taking names. How convenient!
Instead of the rescue being an aside thrown in later, wouldn’t it have been fun to see their rescue by Thelma’s people after a tip from Nicte’s bats? But no, that ended up being incidental.
One address by Wade later, and the people of The Cession enjoyed greater autonomy, the unit was exonerated, and the Camarilla was on the run.
The witches took too much solace from their change of fortune. Sure, Silver (the political one) was in custody, but Hearst (the smart one) and Kara (the cunning one) were still on the loose.
That was no time to let down their guard. And why wasn’t Silver, the Camarilla figurehead, in a more secure facility than what appeared to be a local sheriff’s station? That was a jailbreak waiting to happen.
And why did the most apparent Camarilla target, Fort Salem, have such porous security? Shouldn’t someone of authority (maybe one of the generals whose names we never learned) stay there in charge instead of attending the wedding of two (later three) cadets? And how do the Camarilla wield such borrowed power so effectively?
So despite the happiness of the wedding festivities that accounted for, what, about half of the episode, the Camarilla slithering back from the shadows was going to spoil things for all the celebrating witches.
There was much done right in the wedding scenes. Most importantly, it gave viewers one more look at characters from throughout the series, such as Quinn, Gerit, and Minerva. Because that’s what weddings do: pull people together.
But it also featured another opportunity lost, when Alder, last seen singing inside the ice cave, and Khalida just strolled onto the grounds. Wouldn’t it have been enjoyable to see Khalida move that mountain? But maybe that would have strained the special-effects budget.
Instead, Alder stayed long enough for a quiet reunion with Anacostia before she was off again, skipping the ceremony to find that final missing piece of the First Song. There’s little doubt about its importance at this point.
Nicte was a surprise guest, as was Wade and Sterling confronting her there. Nicte seemed to regret her past actions genuinely and was willing to do what was necessary to defeat the Camarilla. Also, it was comical to see how much the longtime fugitive appreciated a good spread.
It was a nice touch for Raelle and Scylla to invite Abigail and Adil to share their special day and get married along with them (by President Wade, no less).
But it was disappointing to get a musical montage over the couples exchanging vows. After investing three seasons into these relationships, actually hearing the ceremony would have been better.
Even Tally got a pleasant surprise after a season of being the fifth wheel when Gerit turned up at the wedding, and they were able to become reacquainted.
Taylor Hickson got to show off her musical talents with Raelle’s tender ballad to Scylla. It’s too bad that was immediately followed by her becoming The Mother’s secret weapon after Hearst attacked the mycelium at Fort Salem.
It’s a shame about Izadora’s death at the hands of the Camarilla. But some supporting character was bound to go down in this battle royale with the Camarilla.
It’s likely that Hearst will regret taking Penelope. She’s appeared to be a bomb waiting to explode since her resurrection, and she’s bound to play some role in the finale.
To follow the couples’ relationships, watch Motherland: Fort Salem online.
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Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.