Sunday, February 26, 2023

REVIEW: 'Mayfair Witches' - Rowan Gives In to the Seduction of Power Lasher Has Always Promised Her in 'What Rough Beast'

AMC's Mayfair Witches - Episode 1.08 "What Rough Beast"

Rowan discovers her role in the Mayfair prophecy. Sip uncovers dark secrets.

"What Rough Beast" was written by Esta Spalding and directed by Alexis Ostrander

The thirteenth witch is the doorway. That's the crucial detail concluding the mystical prophecy that has detailed Lasher, Cortland and Albrecht's actions this entire season. Rowan is that thirteenth witch. She is destined to unleash the most powerful supernatural force this world has ever known. The Talamasca wants that to happen so they can observe it. Sip argues for why he should maintain his memories. He plays a crucial role in this story. He's more than just Rowan's guardian. He's the father of her child. He must be present when she gives birth. This isn't like any other child born from the Mayfair family though. Instead, it's Lasher reborn in flesh and blood. All of this has been in service to him maintaining a physical form. For generations, he has haunted these witches. He has gifted them with incredible powers. Rowan is more powerful than any witch in her family lineage. That was true before the prophecy begins to play out. She killed several members of the cult in the name of rescuing Tessa. She failed in that mission. It was in that moment of pure defeat and anguish that she called out to Lasher. That was when she accepted him into her essence. That was when she understood how he is always destined to be a part of her. It's terrifying because so much is kept hidden from her. She isn't the only member of the family to be kept in the dark. So many were desperate to accept Lasher. He was only interested in Rowan. Cortland understood the role he had to play. He wasn't going to let anything stand in his way. He was chasing immortality. That was the deal he made with Lasher. That's ultimately honored too. That's striking considering how afraid Cortland has been of Lasher in the past. He accepts how powerful and daunting this force is. He also wanted to use it for his own benefit. He was chasing the larger picture. He was still motived by his own selfish desires. Jojo was used for the specific visions she receives of the future. Cortland could plot out his schemes while leaving his daughter in the dark. She too has grown wise to his tactics. It's still too late. When she and Dolly Jean talk about the need for a new head of the family, it's when the prophecy is already playing out. Rowan has more power to wield now than ever before. She uses it in defense of her family. She orders Lasher to kill Keith in her final act of vengeance against the cult. Afterwards, she receives the power to heal herself. She has the capacity to do so much more than take life away from people. She is a healer just like Suzanne was. The start and end of this family are connected. Their motivations matter more than all who came in between them. They each have a specific relationship with Lasher. One that's heavily influenced by his corruption of their minds. They each had a choice though.

Of course, it's also completely random when Rowan and Lasher have sex while trapped in a dream. It's meant to convey the seduction of power. Rowan killed people and had the power to order even more deaths. She wields fire just as easily as Lasher can. All of this is because of him. That's intoxicating. She acts on that impulse. It's always meant to be seen as a toxic manipulation of the truth. Lasher is using her to get to his ultimate goal. She's terrified by all that she must endure. And yet, Deirdre and Suzanne are by her side to help make sense of everything. This was written long before she was born. It's her destiny. She was marked to bear the child who would change the world. Lasher altered what was possible for this family. They used that influence to help themselves. It came at the expense of so many people. Plenty of lives were lost from within this family too. They wanted to escape from this curse. In the end, everything still plays out exactly how Lasher wanted it. Moreover, Sip is no longer seen as the trusted ally Rowan can depend on. Sure, more time is wasted with Albrecht and Arjuna worrying about how much Odette knows about the Talamasca and the danger Sip is in. That's such a trivial concern in the greater scheme of things. It plays into a potential plot that Sip hatches in the hopes of keeping the Talamasca in charge of this massive turning point in history. And yet, he can't control Rowan. Everyone has tried to do that for her entire life. And now, she's granted power that makes them all bend to her will. It's provided to her by baby Lasher. He grows much more quickly than a regular child would. That creates the eventuality that he will return to his form as played by Jack Huston quickly. That's ominous because it makes more people aware of his influence. It also makes Rowan and Lasher's dynamic interconnected in a way that's much more powerful than it has been all season. Before, it was all about Lasher saying it. It wasn't necessarily true. Once Rowan gives in, then it all starts to make sense because she actually follows through on her desires. She resisted temptation for a long time. She was forced into making this choice. Once she has it though, she exerts her influence against those who have wronged her. She encases Cortland in stone because he raped and killed Deirdre. She can't kill him. She still inflicts so much damage. She can't be manipulated by Sip either. She refuses to make the same choices that condemned her mother all those years ago. She feels trapped in this perpetual cycle. She has finally broken out. She's free. She makes that known to everyone who ever tried to contain her. She's still dependent on Lasher. Her fate is always entwined with his. As such, everything could change if they ever clash or disagree once more. More lives are threatened to be hit in the crossfire. These powerful decisions are informed by the quest for more. At a certain point, they have to be resolved in having enough. That's not now. Instead, they are enraged by all that has happened and are determined to set course to a new, brighter future of their own creation.