Weekly coverage of A Discovery of Witches begins anew as the third and final season begins.
Let’s bitch it out…
Missed a Review?
- Season 1 (Links to Hazel & Katniss & Harry & Starr podcast)
- Episode 2.01 / 2.02 / 2.03 / 2.04 / 2.05 / 2.06 / 2.07 / 2.08 / 2.09 / 2.10
Grief and rage overtakes everyone at Sept-Tours in the wake of Aunt Emily (Valarie Pettiford)’s murder by Peter Knox (Owen Teale). As Diana (Teresa Palmer) and Aunt Sarah (Alex Kingston) struggle with their pain, Matthew (Matthew Goode) pledges revenge, despite his mother Ysabeau (Lindsay Duncan) advising caution.
Meanwhile, in an emergency meeting of the Congregation, daemon representative Agatha (Tanya Moodie) makes a bold move to expel Knox, which is supported by Matthew’s vampire brother Baldwin (Trystan Gravelle) and witch Satu (Malin Bushka).
In order to keep the peace and appear neutral, Baldwin arrives at Sept-Tours and, after an uncomfortable “family-only” dinner, orders everyone to disband. This prompts Diana, Matthew and Aunt Sarah to move back to London to tackle the mystery of the blood rage murders that threaten the de Clermont reputation.
In addition to the arrival of Gallowglass (Steven Cree) in the present, two new characters of note are introduced: Dr. Christopher Roberts (Doctor Who’s Ivanno Jeremiah), a molecular biologist friend of Diana’s who will assist them in narrowing down the origins of the blood rage, as well as Fernando Gonçalves (Olivier Huband), the mate of Matthew’s dead brother Hugh.
Of the two, Fernando makes a slightly bigger impression as he bonds with Sarah over their shared grief. His dialogue about how pain never truly goes away isn’t revelatory by any means, but the difference in how the de Clermonts have accepted and supported Sarah’s queer relationship compared to Fernando’s (Philippe refused to recognize him as a legitimate member of the family) is telling.
Christopher Roberts, meanwhile, will clearly have a great deal more to do in the episodes to come. Overall Jeremiah is just a very welcoming presence (I adored him in Humans). It’s admittedly a touch alarming how quickly Matthew and Diana reveal the truth of their identities, though it does include a fun water-shattering demonstration.
- There are two big revelations in the premiere. The first is that Diana is pregnant with twins!
- The second revelation is that Benjamin Fuchs (Jacob Ifan), introduced back in 2.07 and seen again in the S2 finale, is confirmed to be Matthew’s “son” who was disowned after being turned (Matthew admits the conversion was solely to prevent Benjamin from revealing the existence of magical species and that casting Benjamin aside was one of the greatest mistakes of his life). In the closing moments of the premiere, Benjamin is revealed to be the blood rage vampire who has killed at least six people in London. It’s unsurprising, but should offer some good drama considering we now know that the murders are very clearly Matthew’s fault.
- Gallowglass was hot in the past, but in contemporary clothes? Hubba hubba. More of Cree please!
- Domenico (Gregg Chillin) makes an arrangement with Baldwin to coordinate forces to catch the killer, which is intriguing considering Domenico still supported Knox at the Council vote. Domenico seems more than a little untrustworthy, so this could get interesting.
- I get that Sept-Tours is meant to be protected, but why didn’t Nathan (Daniel Ezra), Sophie (Aisling Lotfus) and baby Margaret go on the run the minute that Agatha decided to make a move against Knox? It seems ridiculous to wait until he’s expelled from the Congregation and “has nothing left to lose” for Agatha to warn her son to go into hiding!
- It just wouldn’t be an episode of A Discovery of Witches if there wasn’t an uncomfortable dinner. Considering how tense things get when Marcus (Edward Bluemel) and Diana argue with Baldwin’s support of the antiquated covenant between magical species, I agree with Miriam (Aiysha Hart) who argues that the “below decks” dinner of non-family members is the far better of the two options.
- Did anyone else legitimately forget that Phoebe (Adelle Leonce) was a character on the show? Her cringe-worthy introduction to Matthew is…well…cringe-worthy.
- Was Alex Kingston’s hair coloured between seasons? Because that red is unnatural. I thought series two and three were filmed back to back (or perhaps even simultaneously?) to accommodate Palmer’s real life pregnancy.
- Finally: Matthew may not support it, but Marcus’ suggestion to form a sion by means of “branching” their family, which would allow them to disregard Baldwin’s authority while still affording the privilege and protection of the de Clermont name to the others, DEFINITELY seems like a winner. It seems clear that we’ll hear more of this in the future.
The Bottom Line: S03E01 is a table-setting – rather than bombastic – premiere for the show. A few solid character beats, a lot of irons in the narrative fire and Knox getting stripped of his power means that we have all of the ingredients for an exciting conclusion. It’s all come down to this, so buckle up for a big, spectacular third series.
A Discovery of Witches airs weekly on Fridays on Sky One (UK) and Saturdays on AMC and Shudder (in North America)