Sunday, February 19, 2023

REVIEW: 'Mayfair Witches' - Rowan Must Choose How Far She's Willing to Go to Protect Her Family in 'Tessa'

AMC's Mayfair Witches - Episode 1.07 "Tessa"

Rowan is drawn closer to the Mayfairs - and Lasher. Sip falls deeper down the rabbit hole.

"Tessa" was written by Sarah Cornwell & Esta Spalding and directed by Alexis Ostrander

Rowan made a choice. She wanted Lasher out of her life for good. Her family produced a ceremony to transfer him to someone else. They all grew up being told his power is a gift. They would be lucky to wield his majesty. Rowan knows the truth. It's completely agonizing to have him around. He contorts his needs with hers. It's enough for everyone to question where the line dividing the two is. Rowan fights for her own individuality. And yet, everyone is essentially ready to force a prophecy onto her. They don't really care what she wants. It's a crucial piece of information when they learn she's pregnant. So much of the family's power and the mystique of Lasher is connected through the passing down of these gifts generation after generation. Rowan had no plans to ever have a child. Her family told her she would have to reconsider. That's her destiny. She must keep this family line going. That's the only way she has purpose. That's not how she sought out meaning. She's accomplished with her skills as a doctor. But now, she has to wield her power as a witch in order to save her family. She can never escape. The appearance of any choice she can make is merely an illusion. The same is true of the memory Sip is trapped in. It's not Suzanne's story being told. It's easy to assume it was given the amount of time spent with her. Those scenes in 17th century Scotland always come from her perspective. And yet, it's all Lasher's understanding of the events. He made his presence known and gifted her with power. She needed to be saved. He answered the call when the words were spoken. It was meant to be easier for Tessa now that she is bonded to him. The necklace amplifies his presence. She's trapped without the power to defeat the cult members who have taken her. She wanted to fight for something that mattered. She felt newly empowered. The story that has long been told to her was a complete fiction. Lasher was never going to fight to protect her. He was always interested in Rowan. He tries to convince everyone that she is the one secretly yearning for power. It's always about his needs. He too is motivated by this prophecy. Cortland wants to make it happen so that the world enters a new era. It's a turning point for the Mayfair family's history with Lasher. They've been plagued throughout so many generations. Time has come for that to change. That too is a move towards freedom. Cortland wants better for his descendants. He doesn't say that. In doing so, he would be admitting that he wants to condemn Rowan to death simply because she carries this responsibility. She's also powerful though. She gets her way. That only reveals how much Cortland is risking by embracing this strategy.

Sip will risk his life in order to save Rowan's. He dies in the memory just so he can wake up in reality again. He was trapped. He found a way out. He made that choice. He refused to abide by Lasher's rules. Lasher exerts so much influence. However, he doesn't control everything. Sip still has his own skills. He's simply working for an agency that doesn't care about what he wants. Instead, the Talamasca is run by someone who believes they are meant to simply observe the supernatural world. It's necessary to keep this reality hidden from those who don't live in it every day. Of course, he's also moving towards this ancient prophecy that proclaims a new dawn of existence is coming. He's compromised as well because he has bought into the myth. Lasher's legend is simply too powerful. No one believes they can challenge his notion of what must occur. That leaves Tessa crying out for help. She is held responsible for all the heinous crimes perpetrated by the Mayfair family. She benefited from the suffering they collectively imposed on the members of this community. Her ignorance is certainly no excuse. She didn't care what her family did. She still saw an opportunity for relevance and power. She took ahold of it. Meanwhile, Rowan doesn't need Lasher in order to defeat this threat. Her abilities allow her to kill the cult members if she concentrates enough. That's more helpful in this situation than Tessa's ability to charm men for a few moments. Tessa appreciates that. She surrenders to the inevitability that Rowan is the head of the family. That can't be denied. That's not what Rowan wants though. She came to New Orleans for answers. And now, she has a family she has to protect. They show no loyalty to her. They view her recent actions as a betrayal. She will be blamed for Tessa's death. Rowan's selfishness made Tessa believe she could handle this situation by herself. It's yet another form of gaslighting. Rowan never has the opportunity to make decisions for herself. Even when she seemingly does, it's all just an elaborate trick. It's nothing more than convincing her she has control over the situation. In the end, she seemingly realizes that Lasher is the only thing that can help her. She fails to save Tessa. She gets shot simply because Rowan showed mercy on Keith. That was a mistake. Rowan makes sacrifices for her family. They nearly kill her. And yet, that's not what they actually want. The people with knowledge of the prophecy know something much more important is out there. They have a different understanding of events. However, Rowan and the audience live in the moment. It's frustrating because so much is being withheld. But it's also devastating when tragedy strikes and Rowan makes that inevitable cry out to Lasher. She had no choice as everyone asserts. The narrative still requires her to hit that breaking point in order to make any sense at all.