Sunday, January 15, 2023

REVIEW: 'Mayfair Witches' - Rowan Is Drawn to New Orleans Without Knowing the Horrors That Await Her in 'The Dark Place'

AMC's Mayfair Witches - Episode 1.02 "The Dark Place"

A grieving Rowan spins out of control. Deirdre and Lasher work to draw Rowan home.

"The Dark Place" was written by Michael Goldbach and directed by Michael Uppendahl

No one is truly protecting Rowan by keeping her in the dark about her family lineage and powers. It's impossible for her to ever have a normal life. She was always going to develop powers. She has no clue what's happening to her. She can't confide in anyone either. She must undergo a psychiatric evaluation to return to work after her mother's death. Even then, she can't provoke an emotion response without almost killing the colleague trying to help her. She can't control these impulses. It's an ongoing struggle for her. The idea of protecting her is built on an entirely different premise. The Mayfair family knows how Lasher has haunted their lives for generations. He has long lingered as an agent of chaos. Carlotta has drugged Deirdre for decades in order to keep him weakened. Because they were bonded together, he was only as strong as she was. That has changed now. He has the power to find Rowan and bring her home. Of course, she is drawn to visit New Orleans upon seeing Ciprien's surveillance. He disagrees with the orders given to him by the Talamasca. He believes Rowan needs to know the truth so she can actually protect herself. She shouldn't have to rely on others to do that job. That only leaves her vulnerable when those sources of protection suddenly vanish. Her mother served as that guardian for years. And now, Rowan realizes just how much of that relationship was a lie. Her mother knew much more than she ever let on. She deceived Rowan, who doesn't know how to handle that information. Ciprien can relate because he too was written off as being nothing more than a demonic presence. However, he found someone who could explain his powers and allow him to channel them. He needed that strength in order to help others. Rowan has done so much good through her work as a doctor. That has been fulfilling for her. However, that has only ever been one component of her life. Everything else has been a complete mystery. She has been shielded from the truth in the name of protection. Those choices made in the past have caused so many repercussions though. Carlotta may have acted out of love for her niece. Deirdre could never see that. She was only ever told what not to do. She is motivated now by reuniting with her daughter. Even that is a fleeting dream. Rowan lands in New Orleans as the pawn of these schemes. She does so without any further awareness of what's going on. She is powerful and skilled at finding the truth. She can't yet grapple with the extent of what's happening. She doesn't quite accept the idea of witches being real.

In this narrative, powerful women are gaslit into serving at the whims of manipulative men. Deirdre has long seen Lasher and Cortland as the allies she needs in order to fulfill her own agency. Carlotta always knew they were taking advantage of her and her gifts. She just couldn't warn Deirdre away from them in a way that was rational. Instead, she only pushed Deirdre further away. She wanted a better life for Rowan. One where these temptations weren't so present. That wasn't better. Moreover, Lasher and Cortland are still present. Deirdre has gotten old. She has served her purpose. She no longer needs to stay alive in order for this plot to continue. Cortland used her in order to conceive Rowan. He has shown some fear towards Lasher. Every Mayfair witch knows that his presence always lingers. His bond with Deirdre can be used to help both of them. Deirdre simply wants one thing. Lasher provides those answers to her. She knows precisely where to go. Meanwhile, Cortland was essentially waiting for the day when his niece would return to him. Deirdre is more aware of some of the tragedy and trauma her uncle has caused. That's because she was an active part of that particular story. For too long, Deirdre and Rowan have been passive in their lives. That agency was taken away from them by people who believed they knew what was for the best. It was all in the name of protection. And yet, Lasher is now free. Deirdre's neck is slit the moment she sees Rowan. She becomes the latest person to die right in front of her. That has become a truly alarming pattern. Rowan hasn't taken the proper time to cope with that either. This has simply become a part of her life. She has to accept it. She worries that she has caused it all to occur. She has that power in some instances. Not everything can be blamed on her. Her innocence has been preserved. That hasn't kept her safe. She still had to deal with threats from the world. And now, the misogyny continues to radiate because she apparently has something Lasher wants. She yearns for understanding and may find comfort in whomever can provide it to her. Ciprien is a potential lifeline in that way. Rowan heads to the hotel lobby because he promises to tell her the truth. So much happens before she can even arrive at that destination. So much happens that involves her without her having to do a single thing. That's not always the best for storytelling as it pertains to the lead character. But the mysteries continue to build and will likely only get more extreme now that Rowan is in New Orleans and dealing with these threats firsthand.