In episode 2 of the second season of A Discovery of Witches, Diana finds a witchy mentor while Matthew struggles with stepping back into his past.
Note: this review contains mild plot spoilers.
A Discovery of Witches S2E02 Review
Magical growth and finding direction
I love the sense of urgency episode 2 creates with Diana’s magic. Sure, we know she needs to find a teacher – it’s part of her grand plan to find the Book of Life, and to get back home. But that’s a sort of distant-future goal. By showing that Diana’s power is essentially leaking out of her uncontrollably, it adds the necessary urgency to kick-start the conflict. Diana needs a teacher NOW, or things are going to get ugly.
Ultimately, she does find a teacher. And not just any teacher. Apparently, the most powerful witch in England will help Diana learn to master her power. Goody Alsop even knows what kind of magic Diana’s meant to practice: she’s a Weaver. (That’s someone who can basically do anything, because they create their own spells.)
While linking up with Goody Alsop proved a bit of a challenge (Diana spent the first episode searching for a teacher too), after they meet it all seems a bit too easy. Goody Alsop won’t take Diana on without approval of the coven. At first, the witches are understandably wary; witch hunts in Scotland have the English witches on edge. And then the real doozy: Diana is married to Matthew, a known vampire, and sworn enemy of the witches.
Weirdly, this is an issue for about 0.1 seconds. Diana basically tells the witches to mind their own business, and they just… agree? And take her on anyways? Even though they know Matthew is both a vampire AND the Queen’s inquisitor, responsible for locking up and torturing their fellow witches? (I’m sure this is going to come back as an ongoing conflict, but then the drama of it is going to get on my nerves.)
The new villain: Matthew’s daddy issues
Shooting back in time hasn’t been quite the easy go Matthew seemed to count on. Apparently, living through the drama once doesn’t help you manage it a second time. At every turn Matthew is being reminded of how different he was 400 years ago. Most of this manifests as a more aggressive, violent, and self-hating personality, and most of that seems to stem from Matthew’s issues with his father.
In addition to setting up how falling back on the poor coping mechanisms of Matthew’s past will cause issues for himself and Diana, we also introduce a new villain, Father Hubbard.
Father Hubbard is sort of the Godfather-type leader of the London vampires. Or at least, I think that’s the intention with the character. I’m pretty sure we’re supposed to take him seriously as a threat, but honestly? He’s feeling a little goofy to me. I’ll try to reserve judgment until we see more of him. But right now, he just doesn’t have the same malicious energy as Satu or even Peter Knox.
What’s happening with everyone else?
I know Matthew and Diana are the core of the show. A Discovery of Witches is a romance, after all, and you can’t have a romance without your romantic leads.
But I still wish we were seeing a bit more from everyone else.
We did get some Satu time, and I appreciated that. It’s not much, but it’s enough to remind us the series villains are still at large and have something in the works.
Episode 2 also gave us a tiny glimpse at Sarah and Em joining Ysabeau at Sept-Tours. Then just as quickly, we’re back in 1590. Again, I know it’s not the Sarah/Em/Ysabeau show, but… I still want a bit more. These are three very powerful women, thrown together by circumstance with the backdrop of an ancient blood feud between them, forging an uneasy alliance as they literally become roommates. There’s a lot to work with there! I hope the show does more with them moving forward and doesn’t waste this opportunity.
And speaking of wasted opportunity… where the hell is Marcus?
The Bottom Line
A Discovery of Witches episode 2 shows an increase in magical urgency over the season premiere, but one can’t help but feeling things are falling into place for Diana a little too easily. The extended cast also feels divorced from any real plot. Hopefully, we’ll see stronger developments soon.