Weekly coverage of A Discovery of Witches returns to the present day for another episode principally focused on Marcus and his slate of bad decisions.
Let’s bitch it out…
Marcus (Edward Bluemel), still hurting from Matthew (Matthew Goode)’s duplicity about the family’s Blood Rage, grows closer to antiquities dealer Phoebe (Adelle Leonce). The new lovers spend the day discussing the supernatural world and Phoebe ultimately encourages Marcus to use his position as the head of the Knights of Lazarus to change what he dislikes about the Congregation’s anachronistic behaviours.
Marcus’ decision to stay on as head of the Knights irks Matthew’s brother Baldwin (Trystan Gravelle), who retaliates by telling vampire Congregation member Gerbert d’Aurillac (Trevor Eve) about Nathaniel (Daniel Ezra) and Sophie (Aisling Loftus)’ newborn baby.
It’s bad timing because Gerbert tells Peter Knox (Owen Teale), the latter of whom seeks the baby out at the hospital. This prompts a round of threats between Knox and demon Congregation member Agatha (Tanya Moodie).
Unlike 2.04, the other Marcus-centric episode from earlier this season, 2.08 offers far less insight into his character. If anything, it confirms how petulant and childish he is. Marcus spends the first act of the episode pouting because he’s mad at Matthew. Then he spends a whole day divulging the secrets of vampirism to Phoebe, whose judgment he apparently trusts more than Miriam Shephard (Aiysha Hart)…after just two days.
The real kicker though, is when Marcus confides in Baldwin about the baby. Had this been treated as a slip of the tongue, it might have played better, but instead it confirms how thoughtless Marcus is. He knows that this child is an abomination in the eyes of the majority of the supernatural world, yet he just casually reveals it to a clearly power-hungry suck-up of the Congregation?
Sure Baldwin is a member of his family, but Marcus should know better. At best, this makes him look like a dunce; at worst, it feels like a convenient narrative development to move the baby plot forward.
- I don’t care how speedy the cashiers are at UK shops, there’s no way you could run to the store for ice cream, stand in line at the till and get home in under a minute. It’s just not happening!
- The casual, romantic vibes captured in Marcus and Phoebe’s day-long date, particularly the smooth transitions between locations, wind up being a fun way of capturing how time is lazily passing for them as they get to know each other better.
- With that said, A Discovery of Witches isn’t really adding anything new or interesting to vampire lore so listening to Phoebe’s inane questions and Marcus’ explanations about his speed and strength plays like a bunch of filler. Considering how close to the end of the season we are, this exposition dump really weighs the proceedings down at the exact moment when the series should be ramping up.
- Back at Ysabeau (Lindsay Duncan)’s estate, the de Clermont matriarch is once again threatened by Knox. Meanwhile, Diana (Teresa Palmer)’s aunts Sarah (Alex Kingston) and Emily (Valarie Pettiford) venture into the woods in an attempt to speak with Diana’s mother Rebecca (Sophia Myles) again. Frustratingly Sarah’s impulsiveness ruins the spell. Both of these stories remain firmly in C-plot territory, but with only a few episodes left in the season, they *should* become something significant soon.
- There are only a few scenes set in 1591, but it is revealed that Ashmole is actively resisting Diana’s attempt to read it. She also has an evocative nightmare wherein the tree of life is now a tree of screaming human skulls, which doesn’t bode well.
A Discovery of Witches airs weekly on Fridays on Sky One (UK) and Saturdays on Sundance Now and Shudder (in North America).