Always a Witch Season 1 Episode 3: Ouija Recap

Always a Witch 103 Johnny Ki and Carmen.png

Episode 3 begins with Johnny Ki explaining the threat he made to Carmen at the end of episode 2. He shows her a video his mom made the last time he saw his parents, then explains that his parents were killed in a boating accident. He was learning to drive and lost control of the boat, so he blames himself for the crash. He wants Carmen to help him talk to his dead parents so that he can get their reassurance that they don’t hate him and that they forgive him.

Carmen can’t speak to the dead, so she can’t help him. But she assures him that real love is unconditional, so, wherever his parents are, they still love him and have forgiven him.

Carmen tries to leave, but Johnny questions why she can levitate, but she can’t speak to the dead.

Because those are two really different powers?

She says that she’d love to communicate with the dead, but for that she’d need to be able to communicate with Aldemar. Then she could tell him that Ninibe is missing.

Johnny wonders why he gets stuck with the most incompetent witch in the world, after he’s spent a year wasting his time and money on crackpot ideas to try to communicate with the dead. Even the Ouija Board he got was a waste of time.

Carmen doesn’t know what a ouija board is, so they get Johnny Ki’s board out and give it a try. Carmen calls for Aldemar and Ninibe, but neither answers. She does get an unexpected answer: “Ninibe is not here. Don’t look for her anymore, because you will lose.”

The spirit disappears when it finishes the message. Carmen tries to ask if it’s Lucien, but doesn’t get an answer. She explains to Johnny who Lucien is, and when he hears that Carmen and the other witches’ enemy is a serial killer, he decides they should forget all of this magic stuff.

Carmen tries to contact Cristobal with a message of love. She confesses to Johnny that she came forward in time to save Cristobal. She blames herself for what happened to him. To save him she needs to find Ninibe, so that she can complete her mission for Aldemar.

Johnny isn’t interested in helping Carmen if there’s nothing obvious in it for him, so he packs up the ouija board and walks away, reminding Carmen that it didn’t work. Carmen says that someone has to have heard them.

As she follows Johnny, another boy appears and says that he can hear her. But she can’t see or hear him. Carmen raised a ghost, just not the right one! Or is he the right one? 😉

The next day, during breakfast, Carmen hears on the news that the bodies found at the forest site she discovered are having their DNA tested to help identify them. Everyone is worried that one of the bodies is Ninibe.

The ghost is waiting for her at school, and so is Esteban. The ghost hovers in her face trying to get noticed. He has a little more impact than the night before, but not enough to get through to her.

Carmen decides to sneak into Ninibe’s office to look for clues, but Esteban stops her the second she steps one foot over the police tape. He’s definitely watching her. Carmen asks him about the bonfire killer and if he thinks Ninibe is dead. He gets defensive and asks her why she’d ask him that, which seems like a strange answer. Wouldn’t the entire campus be talking about it, and the students asking the professors about it?

Alicia interrupts their conversation, because she needs to complain to Carmen that the potion Carmen gave her didn’t work. Her boyfriend Angel didn’t forget her, so he sent the sex video of himself and Alicia to Dani, Mayte and Leon in retaliation for her walking out on him.

The potion didn’t work because Alicia didn’t follow Carmen’s instructions, but whatever.

Carmen is still having a hard time understanding why this whole social media thing is so important to everybody. And obviously she comes from a place where much worse things were happening. But, she’s still trying hard to help Alicia, even though she doesn’t even know her. Alicia is so totally focused on herself and how she thinks other people will perceive her that she can’t see anyone else.

Carmen’s ghost buddy is still with her, and making comments on her conversation, which Carmen can suddenly hear. When he says he’d like a peek at the sex tape, and that Alicia shouldn’t mind because it’ll make her famous, Carmen has a few words for him. Alicia thinks Carmen is talking to her, turns it into a one-sided argument, and walks away, all within less than a minute.

The ghost gives us the typical male response to Alicia’s situation, treating it like it’s a great joke and like Alicia’s just uptight for not going along with the fun. He’s an example of rape culture attitudes at their finest. At least Carmen doesn’t put up with his attitude, though she’s a compassionate person, so she still tries to help him.

Once Alicia is gone, Carmen focuses on trying to help the ghost figure out who he is and how he can go back to where he came from. She discovers that she was the one who summoned him and he has a mission to fulfill, but he can’t remember what it is. Even worse, his presence is continuously drawing on her magic, which will allow Lucien to find her.

The ghost goes to class with Carmen, where Esteban lectures that, originally, the missions of science, religion, and magic were the same, to understand the world. The ghost feeds Carmen answers to Esteban’s questions about the history of science. The class receives a homework assignment that’s derogatory toward magic, which is definitely not something Ninibe would have assigned.

Esteban tells the class to investigate the origins of science and how magic became the realm of superstition and children’s stories, in which some adults still believe. While some take New Age ideas seriously or turn to modern witches to have their fortunes told, none of that uses the scientific method.

Carmen asks what Esteban thinks about ghosts, since there’s one sitting next to her. He says that when people die, they disappear forever. They live on inside us, in our memories, and sometimes we’re haunted by those memories. Carmen disagrees with him, because, again, there’s a ghost she’s never met before sitting next to her. She thinks the dead stick around. Esteban tells her to explore the concept in her assignment.

Johnny Ki looks up Aldemar, since Carmen mentioned him as her mentor. He discovers that Aldemar is a legendary wizard. The legend is based on a true story:

“Aldemar’s story was inspired by the real story of an inquisidor accused of witchcraft, who in 1646 was condemned to be burned at the stake. Several legends of the time say that Aldemar the Immortal was burned every Friday after sunset, but he always came out alive.”

Onscreen, Aldemar laughs while he’s burned in the same square where Carmen was, while Cristobal and Hilda watch. Cristobal decides to talk to Aldemar to ask for news of Carmen. He hopes Aldemar can explain where her letter came from. Hilda is superstitious, and doesn’t trust Aldemar. She thinks Carmen is dead, so she won’t return, and Cristobal must accept it. But Cristobal won’t give up on Carmen. Her letter has left him with too many questions and he’s sure Aldemar can help him. He enlists Hilda to help him break into Aldemar’s cell, against her better judgement.

The ghost is bored with following Carmen through her day, but he also feels like he’s getting stronger and accomplishing what he’s supposed to when he’s near her, so he sticks around. Carmen makes a deal with him- if he’ll help her with Alicia’s boyfriend, she’ll help him figure out who he is.

She sends the ghost to Angel’s bar to haunt and harass him, invisibly. Angel gets so scared that he wets his pants. Dani takes a video of him as proof, which they can use to humiliate him. Carmen, Mayte and León are also there. They use the photo to force him into taking care of the video of Alicia.

Johnny Ki uses the internet to look for Aldemar the Immortal, because where else would you find a wizard who was last seen in 1646? Carmen knocks on his door to ask for help, but he turns her down and tells her to catch up with modern culture, fast. He’s not always going to help her, since she has nothing to offer him.

Carmen has a conversation with the ghost, who remembers he has a cousin named Lino. Johnny Ki is now more interested again, since ghosts are cool. He wants ghost to give his parents a message in the afterlife. Ghost says he’ll try.

Carmen describes ghost’s identifying characteristics. She notices that Johnny has a book of magic in his room and gives him a lecture about using magic without a license, making him promise not to do it anymore. Pretty sure his fingers were crossed though. He still wants to find a way to speak to his parents.

While Carmen and Johnny are arguing, ghost learns how to walk through walls. His new skill gives Carmen an idea. She sends him to Ninibe’s office to search for clues as to who Ninibe’s disciple is. Ghost doesn’t have to worry about being seen crossing the police tape.

He finds the photo that Ninibe keeps on her desk of herself and a friend with some tribal men. Ghost recognizes Ninibe and her friend in the photo. It makes him want to cry.

While they were gone, Johnny discovered that someone on the university baseball team died last year. His name was Lucho Gamez. His Facebook page is still up. They recognize ghost in the photos. He was a biology student and captain of the baseball team. He died when he jumped from the 14th floor of his dorm. He broke every bone, including his skull.

Lucho doesn’t think he would have chosen that way to go, especially since he’s afraid of heights, but he finds a head wound that’s been hidden under his baseball cap. Johnny and Carmen guess that his head injury is interfering with his memory.

Lucho’s mother is pictured on his page. He remembers that her name is Ximena and she’s very good friends with Ninibe, besides being a biology professor who works with her. She’s the woman in the photo.

Alicia has given up on getting the video back from Angel and leaves him a message telling him she doesn’t care about it anymore, even though she does. Then Dani, Mayte and León bring her Angel’s computer with the only copy of the video. They tell her how Carmen scared the heck out of Angel, which they got on video. If Angel’s lying about the sex tape, or bothers her about anything else, she has an embarrassing video she can use against him. Alicia is overjoyed and grateful.

Carmen and Lucho visit Ximena at the university. Since Ximena can’t see her son, first Carmen has to tell her things only she and Lucho would know to convince her that Carmen really can communicate with him. While they are talking, Lucho remembers why he killed himself.

Once Ximena accepts that Lucho is really there, the three of them go for a walk and Carmen helps them communicate. Ximena is distraught, because in addition to losing her son, she always thought they had a good relationship, but she has no idea why he would take his own life. Lucho says that he was hearing voices and strange sounds in his head. He thought he was going crazy and had to put an end to it.

He wishes now that he’d been brave enough to tell his mom or his friends, or that he’d had loyal friends like Alicia’s who’d noticed that something was wrong and offered to help. But he doesn’t want Carmen to tell Ximena that, because it would only upset her. He says to tell her that he wants her to be happy.

Lucho touches Ximena’s arm, and she feels it. She’s crying, and looks around for him, but she still can’t see him. Carmen delivers Lucho’s message. Ximena apologizes to Lucho for having been such a bad mother, but he’s quick to say that she was a great mother. He won’t be able to find peace unless she promises to rebuild her life. He insists that she promise.

Ximena makes the promise before Carmen can pass on the message. She says she feels Lucho’s wishes in her heart. She wants Lucho to go now and rest in peace. Lucho thanks Carmen, then moves on to the afterlife. Ximena feels him go, then they see a shooting star.

Carmen introduces herself to Ximena as a witch from the past, and shows the magic symbols on her arm. Ximena recognizes her as the Chosen One who will help free Aldemar.

Esteban finishes a piano lesson with Adelaida, and apologizes for being distracted during the lesson as she walks him out. They run into Johnny Ki, so Adelaida moves on to her next lesson and leaves Esteban with him. Esteban wants to know if Johnny has any weed. Johnny is dry, but will have more soon, so Esteban asks him to send it to school with Carmen. Johnny rebels at that thought, because he doesn’t want to corrupt such a sweet, innocent girl.

They’ve both noticed that she doesn’t seem to have any friends or family and is generally a lone wolf. She’s Johnny’s best friend, which he believes means she must be a mess. But she’s also nice, so Johnny doesn’t want her to know about his business.

Cristobal dresses as a monk and bribes his way into Aldemar’s cell. He tells Aldemar who he is and what he knows about Carmen’s time in the future, then pleads with the wizard to help him get a message to Carmen telling her that he is alive. Aldemar doesn’t care about Carmen or Cristobal. He wanted to use Ninibe and Ximena to help him escape from prison and that’s all he cares about. He cruelly tells Cristobal that Carmen will die a terrible death and the two of them will never see each other  again.

Carmen explains to Ximena that Aldemar sent her to the future wearing a stone for Ninibe to use. When she gave the stone to Ninibe, Aldemar was supposed to bring her back to her own time to save Cristobal. Ximena still insists that Carmen is a great witch and the only one who can save them from Lucien.

Carmen tells her that she’s not a great witch. She’s not even in control of her powers. Ximena doesn’t want any part of this fight, either. She’s lost her best friend and her son to magic. She doesn’t want to be turned into a pile of ashes.

Carmen wants Ximena to help her contact Aldemar, but Ximena doesn’t know how, because that was always Ninibe’s job. Ximena breaks down in tears and tells Carmen that she doesn’t understand what she’s facing.

Johnny Ki has found a spell for summoning a wizard. He listens to the instructions and gathers the necessary materials. Once everything is set up, he says the incantation:

“With this ritual I invoke the Great Master, the high wizard who can help me. This plant is for you. If I can be the Chosen One, I promise to be your disciple. Oh Great Master, let me see your face.”

When nothing happens in the first few seconds, he gets impatient, then gives up. He puts on his headphones and dozes off. Then Johnny finds himself in an underground tunnel with someone, but he can’t tell if it’s Aldemar or Lucien. He wakes up in a panic.


Commentary

The voices and sounds that Lucho heard before his death are concerning. Was that someone using magic on him, instead of a mental illness manifesting? As the son of a witch who’s involved in a war, he’d be especially vulnerable to attack. At the end of the episode, Ximena lets it slip that she thinks magic had something to do with his death, but she’s so afraid that she doesn’t want to investigate.

Esteban seemed like he was pumping Johnny for information about Carmen when he was supposedly shopping for weed, or at least multitasking. Good for Johnny for refusing to send Carmen to school to unknowingly hand off contraband to a professor. On the other hand, the exchange makes Esteban a more morally ambiguous character.

Cristobal wins points with me for determination. With Hilda as his reluctant sidekick, he’s willing to face anyone and to go to the ends of the earth to find Carmen. But Aldemar did not act like a good guy in this episode.

Johnny Ki must have some witch blood in him. Maybe he’s descended from Aldemar, or from Carmen and Cristobal. His family did inherit their house. He picks up spells easily, and now he’s actually getting them to work without any formal training.


Angel, Alicia & the Video

Angel was doing a terrible thing to Alicia, and he should be charged with a crime. But Alicia is so self-absorbed, and her whole focus seems so shallow, that it makes it hard to take someone posting a pornographic video of her as seriously as it deserves.

The truth is, it doesn’t matter what kind of person she is, how much sex she does or doesn’t have, or what kind of student she is/work she does. She has the right to determine what happens to her body and to likenesses of her body. It’s wrong to coerce someone into making porn and it’s wrong to make it public against their will.

Angel recorded this video to use it as a form of control over her. He knew she’d normally say no to being recorded, so he got her drunk first, then asked for consent while her judgement was impaired. She thought she was with someone who loved her, who she could trust, so that she was safe with him. Angel only seems to want to be in the relationship so that he can control and manipulate Alicia. In the previous episode we also saw him threaten to kill himself if she didn’t do what he wanted. Now he’s made her friends complicit in his scheme.

In this world, between technology and drugs, it’s hard to stay safe from predators who pretend to be loving boyfriends, then take advantage of your weak spots. At least Alicia had friends who rallied around her so she wasn’t overwhelmed by the situation.

Image courtesy of Netflix.

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