A Discovery of Witches Season 1 Episode 2 Recap: In Which Matthew Visits a Daemon and Diana Is Betrayed

Disc of Witches S1Ep2 Peter & Diana at Library

In episode 2, Matthew and Diana go their separate ways for a bit. Matthew takes a trip to visit his daemon friend Hamish to hunt and gain some perspective. Diana continues her research while the other witches try to convince her to give them the Book of Life. We’re also introduced to the vampires of Venice, where the Congregation is located.

Recap

We begin the episode on location in Venice, Italy, home of the Congregation, with vampire Juliette Durand (Elarica Johnson) sipping an espresso at an outdoor cafe next to one of the canals while Haley Reinhardt’s version of White Rabbit plays. This is peak, atmospheric All Souls Trilogy, my friends. Drink it in. I’m writing this in late January, 2021, after almost a year in COVID lockdown. Shows like this, that give us beautiful views of the wider world without the troubling aspects of reality, are a lifeline right now.

Or maybe lifeline isn’t the right word, since we’re currently on vacation with a mentally unstable vampire. Chances are, as long as your name isn’t Matthew, you’ll be fine. 😘

Disc of Witches S1Ep2 Juliette Drinks EspressoDisc of Witches S1Ep2 Juliette & MatthieuDisc of Witches S1Ep2 Wedding Cake DecorDisc of Witches S1Ep2 Matthew's PreyDisc of Witches S1Ep2 Domenico Examines BodyDisc of Witches S1Ep2 Diana Dreams of Webs

Juliette, who is gloriously beautiful in her own right, notices a handsome, brown-haired human male crossing a nearby bridge over the canal just as his female companion calls out to him: “Matthieu!” It’s a name Juliette can’t resist.

She leaves her espresso behind to follow Matthieu (Freddie Thorp) and his companion (Imogen Comrie), catching his eye whenever possible and sending him come hither glances. She’s an ancient vampire, with the charisma and skill to seduce her prey typical of the species, so it’s not long before Matthieu forgets the woman he was with in favor of Juliette.

She lures her conquest into a narrow alley. Once they’ve exchanged names, they don’t waste any time getting down to business. Juliette mentions that she used to know a Matthew. Matthieu corrects her, but Juliette ignores him- vampires’ names are fluid over the centuries, after all.

They tumble back out to one of the bridges for a little public sex. Oops, it’s public murder, as Juliette chooses this moment to bite her prey’s neck. He stumbles away, pulling his pants up as he goes, but no matter. The sun is setting and her fun is just beginning. She hunts him down in the dark, then bites him over his heart, as vampire lovers do, but she intends to kill him.

The Matthew who matters (Matthew Goode) arrives at the country home of his daemon friend Hamish Osborne (Greg McHugh), intending to go hunting on the moors. He manages to insult Hamish several times in the first few minutes, but the daemon is a good humored sort who at first either ignores Matthew’s churlishness or mildly teases him in return.

Hamish has redecorated his home since that last time Matthew visited- the vampire says it looks like a wedding cake. Hamish tells him to cut the bull and tell him what’s going on. When Matthew says that he needed to get away from witch that he’s craving, Hamish goes stock still. This is a deadly situation that’s come up before.

Diana dreams of spiders and being wrapped in spider webs again. When she wakes up, the burn on her hand looks worse. She’s not handling the Book of Life situation effectively yet and its magic isn’t happy.

Diana gets dressed and goes to work, checking her faculty mailbox, where she discovers Matthew washed and returned her jacket. She’s inordinately pleased that her angry stalker returned the item he took while engaged in fetish behavior.

Seriously, people- we have to expect more than abuse followed by common courtesy without even a meaningful apology. He didn’t do her a favor here- he returned an item he stole. She has no reason to look so charmed.

The fact that this seems like such a meaningful gesture to Diana shows how emotionally barren her life has been until now. Matthew doesn’t even have to use the common technique of love bombing to suck her in. He just has to not be horrifically abusive toward her. Her loneliness due to the absence of a community of creatures or humans she feels like she belongs with will do the rest for him.

Back to Venice, where vampire and Congregation member Domenico Michele (Gregg Chillin) arrives at the morgue to examine Matthieu’s body. The coroner argues that Domenico has no right to be there, but the vampire informs him that he’ll receive a call in a few seconds arranging permission for him to view the body of the tourist who came in last night. The phone rings with the predicted call.

The coroner shows Domenico the body with no further ado. When the coroner explains that the body is bloodless, French and named Matthieu, Domenico puts the pieces together.

Matthew and Hamish drive out onto the moors until Matthew senses his prey, a large buck. Matthew chases the deer on foot across open fields until the animal is exhausted.

Diana finds the library crowded once again. Sean can’t explain the crowd, but dozens of eyes watch Diana as she walks to her seat. Daemons have joined the crowd of observers today, as evidenced by their fanciful wardrobes.

Diana has barely sat down before Peter Knox (Owen Teale) introduces himself to her and brings up the Ashmole manuscript. He assures her he’s a friend, but this conversation is intercut with Matthew killing the deer, so that probably tells us all we need to know about Knox’s intentions. Diana tries to get rid of Knox so that she can finally just get some research done on her paper, but then he reveals that he was friends with her mother and she’s hooked.

Meanwhile, having been run into exhaustion, Matthew’s prey gives up. When it collapses to the ground, he kills it.

This is not a flattering metaphor for either Matthew or Peter’s relationship with Diana. I suspect both men are underestimating Diana as prey.

As they walk to the cafe, Peter says that he didn’t know Diana’s father as well as he knew her mother. He describes her mother as “passionate, clever. Stubborn as a mule when she wanted to be.” He tells Diana that he and Rebecca met when they were teenagers. He cared about her mother and has thought about Diana over the years, but her aunts kept him away.

After Matthew feeds, Hamish tells him that he should stay away from the witch he’s craving. Matthew agrees, but he’s not sure he can. He explains that Diana is entangled with the Book of Life, which he won’t just walk away from.

As they drink tea for two, Peter asks Diana how she called up the Book of Life. They told him at the library this morning that it’s been missing for years. She insists that she didn’t do anything special to retrieve the book. Then she returned it the normal way when she was done with it. Peter admits that there could have been something unique about her timing in calling up the book- maybe it only responds on the equinox. Or maybe there was a spell on it that she broke.

Peter asks her to describe the book to him, so Diana gives him a vague description. When he presses her for more, she asks why it’s so important to him. He tells her he thinks it’s the witches’ first grimoire, the original spellbook which could explain how they created vampires.

Peter: “Vampires have used their brute power and longevity to gain far too much control, but if we created them, then we could un-create them.”

Diana: “I won’t have any part of that.”

When she tries to leave, he grabs her arm to stop her, ordering her to take the book out again. She demands that he let her go and he does, but he tells her that they’ll see each other again.

After Diana leaves, Satu joins Peter at the table. He tells her that Diana’s lack of cooperation means they might need to put more pressure on her using “firmer tactics”.

Domenico visits Gerbert (Trevor Eve), Juliette’s father and an old and powerful vampire who also sits on the Congregation. They have a police matter to discuss. Gerbert sends Juliette out of the room.

Diana visits Gillian to discuss her concerns about Peter and the book. Gillian takes the side of her coven and encourages Diana to do what Peter, a senior witch, wants. Diana is naive about coven politics, so she doesn’t realize that she’s putting Gillian on the spot and asking her to continue to choose sides. I think Gillian also feels important for once, so she doesn’t want to question Peter’s motives.

Diana tells Gillian that Peter hates other creatures and she doesn’t trust what he’d do with something as powerful as the Book of Life. Gillian tries to convince her that it’s none of their business what a witch like Peter does with the book, but Diana won’t turn away from her personal responsibility like that.

She wonders how Peter found out that she was the one who retrieved the book. Gillian waves the question away, saying things just get passed around. Diana laments that that she can’t live a normal life. Gillian tells her she couldn’t live a normal life if she tried.

Gillian suggests again that Diana just get the book out for Peter and then go on with her life. Diana doesn’t think she’d be able to retrieve the book while the library is full of creatures. Gillian asks if Matthew is still following her. Diana says he’s disappeared for the moment. Gillian thinks that’s a good sign, but Diana says there was something about him- he knew more about the book than anyone else. She wishes she’d asked him more questions about the book, but instead she sent him away.

Gillian tells her she was right to send Matthew away. Diana admonishes her for being prejudiced. She thinks Matthew was less prejudiced against witches than witches are against vampires. Gillian points out that she’s hardly an expert on vampires after one conversation, but Diana isn’t in the mood to listen to the witch version of common sense. She has to go to a party at the Oxford dean’s house.

And so Diana begins to talk herself into believing that she made up Matthew’s flaws, because she needs someone to trust and she’s always been afraid of her own people. The witches she knows in London aren’t helping. Peter Knox is a fanatic. Though Gillian isn’t a bad person, she lacks imagination and is prejudiced. No one else from the coven has even reached out to Diana.

Meanwhile, Matthew is mostly trying to protect Diana and himself from his own violent tendencies. His obsession isn’t really about her as a person yet. It’s more about blood lust.

Matthew says this to Hamish- while they need the Book of Life, he can’t pursue it without putting Diana in danger. Hamish notes that it’s more dangerous to leave the book where it is. Daemons are struggling just as much as witches and vampires are, showing increased rates of suicides, homelessness and mental illness.

Marcus checks in with Miriam, who’s still working on his blood tests. James’ results are normal, so the issue with the siring was with Marcus.

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Disc of Witches S1Ep2 Diana Calls EmDisc of Witches S1Ep2 Em Talks to Diana

While Diana is out for another run, she’s stopped by Satu, who examines the burn on her hand, then uses a spell to examine the magic inside Diana. She can tell that someone did something to Diana to hide her magic. Or maybe Diana did it to herself? As Diana walks away, Satu asks if the other witch fears persecution. Diana answers defensively, saying she hasn’t until now and to tell Peter she won’t get the book out.

Satu tells her, “This isn’t just about the book. It’s about you.”

Satu is the first witch to recognize Diana’s power and, like Matthew, she did so immediately. That says as much about Satu and Matthew as it does about Diana.

Satu is also the first person to recognize Diana’s trauma as a source of her issues with magic and to ask a pertinent question- are you afraid of persecution? Yes. Diana’s parents were persecuted and Diana is afraid of the same thing. We aren’t told what Satu meant by her question, but it could be that if Diana had answered yes, Satu would have considered helping her escape, even if other witches were doing the persecuting. Or maybe not.

Diana phones home to Auntie Em to ask about Peter Knox and her mother. Em says that Peter tried to stop Rebecca from marrying Stephen, but she only thought of him as a friend. Then Peter got into dark magic and they grew apart. Rebecca and Stephen eventually grew to distrust Peter. Em warns Diana to be wary of him.

Gerbert calls Juliette in to question her about the death of Matthieu. He’s angry because such an obvious vampire killing will get back to Baldwin, the third vampire on the Congregation and Matthew’s older brother. Juliette tries to remind him that Baldwin is out of town right now, but that doesn’t matter. A vampire as powerful as Baldwin has spies everywhere and hears everything, just as Gerbert does.

Juliette lies about the death of Matthieu, so Gerbert feeds from her to discover the truth. He bites her painfully in the neck as part of her punishment, then reads her recent thoughts and memories in her blood. While she was with Matthieu, she was remembering the period when she was lovers with Matthew Clairmont. In a rage, Gerbert drags her to a flooded basement cell and locks her in. As he leaves, she screams, “You taught me to crave Matthew! Father! Father!”

While Hamish and Matthew play chess, the daemon rants that the vampires and witches keep stealing the Book of Life back and forth between each other but daemons never even get a look at it. Daemons aren’t even allowed to ask why it’s important, because they’re viewed as unimportant 3rd class citizens.

Matthew, exercising his privilege even more than usual, begs Hamish not to start a political argument when Matthew has real problems. Remember when Hamish brought up homelessness, mental illness and suicide a few minutes ago? Well, his good friend Matthew now says that Hamish’s life seems great, so why is he worried about the rest of the daemons, anyway?

So much for Matthew’s brief appearance as a decent person. Remember this later, when he’s with Diana. His interest in scientific matters is not the same as an interest in solving social issues. As for Hamish and the daemons- rich people have mental illnesses that lead to suicide too. And people can appear wealthy but actually be about to lose everything.

Or, like Hamish, who is a good person, they can just be compassionate beings who care about others besides themselves.

Hamish checkmates Matthew in their chess game, blindsiding his opponent. Hamish explains that there’s more to chess than protecting the queen. Matthew has an epiphany and prepares to head back to London to get the book instead of protecting the queen.

Hamish is horrified. Matthew has decided that he needs to get the book before anyone else, no matter what the cost, and that only he can do it. Hamish tries to convince him to let Marcus work with Diana to retrieve the book, but Matthew refuses to surrender control or possession to anyone else.

Hamish asks him to remember the fates of the other women he’s craved- Elena, Cecilia… Matthew’s response is to wish he hadn’t told Hamish about his crimes, rather than to acknowledge the danger he’s about to put multiple people in. Hamish tells him that he confessed because he wanted Hamish to act as his conscience in exactly this type of circumstance. He’s just trying to protect Matthew. Matthew says that he’ll try to take Hamish’s advice to stay away from Diana until he’s sure he can control himself around her.

Diana arrives at the dean’s party, only to find that Peter Knox had the dean invite her so that he could take another shot at coercing her, this time using dark magic. Peter tells her he’s been informed that a vampire is following her, so the situation has become more urgent than he realized. Diana insists she can take care of herself, the vampires are no threat to anyone and she won’t change her mind. Then she walks away. Peter uses telepathy to threaten to force her to get the book for him. She leaves the party, though he’s telepathically commanding her not to.

Once Diana is outside and Peter can see her through a window, he tries to coerce her again, telling her she can’t escape him and reiterating that he and the witches need the book. He gives Diana a headache while he repeatedly sends the message to her.

Diana’s magic kicks in and her hands glow. She telepathically tells him to get out of her head and uses telekinesis to break the window he’s standing at, one-upping him. Satu watches from the shadows as she walks away.

Peter claimed she couldn’t escape him, but we only saw him affecting her when he had a direct sightline to her, so I think that was a bluff. It seemed like he was trying to make her obey physical commands, but they didn’t affect her like he thought they they would. The part about forcing her to do something might not usually be a bluff.

But if Peter was as powerful as he says he is, he would have followed her out of the party and kidnapped her right then, so that he could take her to the library as soon as it opened in the morning. He was counting on scaring her into cooperating. Unfortunately for Peter, unlike him, the only time Diana is motivated by fear is her instinct to stay away from witches.

The next day, Peter goes to visit his informant Gillian, to find out if she knew that Diana was capable of the powerful elemental magic she performed. Gillian had no idea Diana could perform any spells on purpose. He suggests that Diana has kept her magic hidden from everyone so that she could secretly use it to advance her career, a story calculated to play on Gillian’s resentments of Diana’s successful career as compared to her own.

They’re interrupted when Diana knocks on the door, anxious to talk to her only witch friend in London about the events of the night before. Peter is visible when Gillian opens the door, so Diana finally understands that Gillian has betrayed her.

Diana goes over the events of the last few days in her head and realizes that Matthew is the only person who has been straight with her. She goes to his rooms, but he’s not there. As she starts back down the stairs, he’s at the bottom. She looks at him with relief, while he sees her with dread.

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Can’t Help Falling in Love

This moment on the stairs recreates the moment when they saw each other for the first time in episode 1, with her up high and him down below, but it also reverses that moment. In that first scene together, they got off on the wrong foot. This is a chance to start over.

In the library, Matthew came looking for Diana and was in control of the conversation. He had more knowledge about the book and the creature world, while Diana was at a disadvantage. Now, Diana has gained knowledge about the situation with the book and her powers have expanded. She came looking for him, while he’s vowed to avoid her because he feels out of control.

The next scene is where their love story really begins. They’ve both had their exterior defenses stripped away and realize that the other isn’t their enemy- they’ll have to trust each other and work together to get the book.

While Matthew isn’t my favorite, he has his moments and I’m a sucker for a good love story between equals. This next scene makes me cry when I watch it closely.

Matthew is a very confused vampire at this point, not sure what would happen if he went over to Diana to comfort her. Diana is one of the most straightforward people in the world, able to cut through all of Matthew’s complexities with a single sentence like a superwoman. No wonder he hardly knows what to make of her. After the hundreds of years of scheming he’s lived through, he can’t imagine that someone exists who just says what they think, every single time.

Jumping ahead a bit– In the 4 screencaps directly below, you can see that over the course of the interrogation once they’re inside Matthew’s rooms, both Matthew and Diana are placed in front of the window, highlighting their individual dedication to science and reason, and in the light in front of the window, highlighting their innate goodness and dedication to justice and discovering the truth. This is what they both finally see inside each other in this sequence, starting with Diana’s flashbacks when she leaves Gillian and culminating with Matthew having his moment of realization when Diana says she won’t give the book to Peter Knox.

He then shows her his original copy of Darwin’s book, purposely revealing who he really is to her for the first time. He asks her to the lab, wearing his coat, which marks her with his scent, telling other vampires to keep their distance. He physically enforces this with Marcus in the lab. (It’s subtle, but Matthew uses his body to keep Marcus away from her and flinches when he gets too close.) This is also the point where we start getting frequent two shots of Matthew and Diana (shown in the bottom group of screencaps), signaling they are now a couple, even if they don’t fully realize it yet.


Disc of Witches S1Ep1 Matthew in His RoomsDisc of Witches S1Ep2 Diana in Matthew's RoomsDisc of Witches S1Ep2 Diana in Front of BookcaseDisc of Witches S1Ep2 Matthew Realizes He Can Trust Diana

They move into his apartment, where he stands at one end of the room with his back to her, listening to her rapid heartbeat. She sits at the other end, crying just a little, and tells him what he’s missed.

I’m sure it helps a lot that she tells him he was right- other creatures came after the book.

He asks her to calm down, because her adrenaline is high. She’s surprised that he can smell her adrenaline. He thanks her once she calms down. Then he asks why she came to him, since she told him she never wanted to see him again.

She answers honestly- he’s the only one she’s sure she can trust. But as they continue to speak, he putters around the room, virtually ignoring her, even as he questions her at the same time. She gets the message and apologizes for disturbing him, preparing to go.

As she turns to leave, he blurts out, “Does Knox want the book?” Diana explains that Peter thinks it’s the first grimoire and asks if Matthew agrees. Matthew says that Peter thinks “witches created everything and everyone.” Clearly, he doesn’t agree.

Not surprised that those two aren’t friends.

Diana says that Peter wants her to get the book out for him. Matthew asks if she will.

Diana: “I don’t want him to have it.”

And there it is. The glance between them is brief, but Matthew finally begins to actually trust her. That was a thinly veiled interrogation by a former interrogator and she passed the test. He doesn’t expect her to turn against all witches, but working against Peter Knox is non-negotiable.

He goes back to the bookcase and pulls down a book that’s suspiciously accessible. It’s an original copy of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, with a personal note from the author tucked inside. After Diana reads the note, Matthew explains that he met and corresponded with Darwin. Then he began to apply Darwin’s theories to creature origins.

He heard rumors about an alchemy book that referenced creatures and had been kept hidden from humans, Ashmole 782. He eventually found and read the rest of Ashmole’s large and unique collection, but he’s never been able to find Ashmole 782. He’s been searching for the book since 1859 (ish).

Diana tries to guess how old Matthew is. He’s older than 500 years and has seen multiple falls of Carthage, but doesn’t commit to anything more. He changes the subject by inviting her to his laboratory where he can explain in more detail the work he’s been doing on creature origins. He gently promises not to hurt her.

Diana accepts his invitation. He holds up a coat and tells her to put it on because she’s cold. She asks how he knows that.

Matthew: “Adrenaline causes a rise in metabolic heat production. Your adrenaline has dropped and so has your heart rate.”

Diana: “You can hear my heart?”

Matthew: “Yes. All the time.”

He turns and walks away.

If your loved one is a scientist, that “All the time” is as good as an “I love you.” I guarantee you, he can ignore the heartbeats of the rest of the population. Thinking through that her drop in adrenaline and heart rate will mean that she’s cold and then offering her a coat is about as warm and fuzzy as it gets. Added to the show and tell session with the book that just ended (which matched her interests perfectly) and the lab session that they’re headed toward, this is pretty much their first date.

At the lab, Matthew explains that there are hundreds of similar genetics labs, but they are the only one that studies creature origins. They are researching all three species- witches, daemons and vampires. They obtain many of their samples by extracting DNA from burial sites.

Miriam and Marcus join them and are surprised to find a witch in the lab. Marcus can tell by smelling Diana that her blood type is AB negative, which is an unusual blood type. Diana says no when he asks for a sample of her blood. Miriam asks why Matthew brought her to the lab, if she’s not giving them a sample?

Matthew: “I wanted to show Diana that the work we’re doing here proves beyond all doubt that creatures are dying out. Vampires are failing to sire. Daemons are increasingly prone to madness.”

Diana: “And witches?”

Mathew: “Are losing their powers.”

Matthew shows Diana a graph of the powers of a powerful 7th century witch named Benvenguda. Then he switches to the graph for Beatrice Good, Benvenguda’s last known descendant. She shows many fewer markers of witch’s power. Matthew theorizes that witches are relying less and less on their powers to survive as time goes on, causing them to weaken. Eventually they’ll go extinct.

Peter takes Gillian to lunch with Satu. Gillian says doesn’t know who Diana would talk to, other than her. Satu says she tried to look inside Diana, but didn’t get anywhere. Yet Diana interests her. Gillian doesn’t mention that Diana might go to Matthew and Satu doesn’t mention that she sensed power hidden inside Diana. It’s a frustrating meeting for Peter.

As he walks her home, Diana confirms that Matthew thinks Ashmole 782 will help with his research. She notes that creatures aren’t going extinct right away. He agrees, but says he has a different sense of time from her. He’s watched the changes that have happened over the last several hundred years. Changes that will happen over the next few decades and centuries feel imminent to him.

Matthew: “You’re right though. It’s not going to happen immediately, tomorrow, but it’s already begun. One day, there’ll be just one species. Humans. And at first, they won’t notice the difference because they’ve never noticed us, but gradually, eventually, they’ll come to see that all the magic has seeped out of the world. And they’ll look around them and everyone will be the same.”

Diana asks if he thinks she should use her power. He says that at the very least, she shouldn’t be afraid of it. He believes there are two basic emotions that rule the world- desire and fear.

Diana tells him that her aunt says, “Magic is desire made real.”

Does that make dark magic fear made real?

When they reach her door, she gives him one last gift of trust: She tells him what she learned about Ashmole 782 when she opened it. She says that the book is a palimpsest, the official term for a book with new words written over the old. It was heavy for its size and smelled strange. It was missing three pages. “The only page I saw showed a baby floating in an upside-down vessel. It was probably the alchemical child, although I’ve never seen it represented like that before.”

Matthew solemnly thanks her, then kisses her wrist at the pulse point before taking his leave.

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Commentary

So much tea/coffee drinking and snacking in this episode. It’s almost like the characters were all overwhelmed by sexual tension and they didn’t know what else to do with it. By the end, Satu, the most sensitive witch other than Diana, gives up and binge eats. She looks so awkward when Peter and Gillian catch her with a feast in front of her. Then she manages to barely pull a little attitude together during the conversation.

This episode is also filled with windows and glass, which Diana finally breaks through, so that she can finally begin to see the truth about herself, Matthew, the Book of Life and her past clearly. Given how much glass was shown with everyone, I have a feeling the changes in Diana will have an effect on the entire creature community.

The camera work on this show is usually steady and stable, like Diana. Except for when Peter or Gerbert are either on camera or being discussed- then the camera tends to become handheld, twitchy and swooping, as if it’s intentionally trying to disorient viewers.

In Roman mythology, Diana is the huntress. “Diana was also revered as the goddess of the woods, children and childbirth, fertility, chastity, the moon, and wild animals.” (X) Apollo, the God of light, is her twin brother. Think about that- the original Diana is a twin. One twin is a hunter, associated with the moon (darkness, vampires), while the other is associated with the ultimate form of fire, the sun.

What Diana Didn’t Share

When Diana tells Matthew what she observed about the Book of Life, she leaves a few things out. She doesn’t mention that the second set of words in the book were moving and some of the print left the book to move under her skin. She also doesn’t tell him that the burn on her palm is from touching the illustration of the vessel and is in the shape of the vessel. She doesn’t bring up the modern inscription written in pencil on the front page of the book or that she saw her father as she left the library right afterward. She doesn’t add that she was more physically affected than anyone else and in different ways.

Just as Matthew interrogated her earlier and decided to trust her, but undoubtedly has many secrets he still hasn’t shared, Diana hasn’t lied to him, but she’s holding back. She learned her lesson about trust and betrayal with Gillian. She’s waiting to share her most dangerous secrets until she’s absolutely certain she won’t be harmed by whoever tries to understand them.

She already instinctively knew there are some things about the book’s magic and her connection to it that she shouldn’t mention to anyone until she knows more about the situation and who she can trust with her life. The words went under her skin and the vessel burned her. In this episode alone, Peter threatened her with physical force, Satu tried to look inside her and Marcus immediately wanted her blood. What might someone do to get to the magic that the book put inside her, since they can’t get to the book itself?


Peter vs Matthew: Two Angry Men

Note how Peter and Matthew’s attitudes and approaches toward the Book of Life, Diana and the opposing species (neither the witches nor the vampires count daemons as worth worrying about) in these first two episodes mirror each other and that both men have violent relationships with women in their pasts.

Each man has been searching for the book for a “long time” (relative to their life span); each tried talking to Diana using a shared reference point of familiarity (work or family); each talked with her at a cafe to facilitate a feeling of comfort; each suggested that the other species was too dangerous to be allowed access to the book; each recruited associates to help them acquire the book; and each expressed such a strong desire for/obsession with the book that they are willing to go to extreme lengths to possess it.

Peter said that he was very fond of Diana’s mother, then Em made it sound like he stalked her and tried to break up her marriage. How does Peter’s obsession with Rebecca equate to the way Matthew “craves” Diana? Matthew’s craving appeared to settle down once he and Diana were together, since he was able to safely linger over her pulse point for a few moments- though his eyes did pop open, which could either mean he realized he was about to bite her or he realized he was becoming embarrassingly romantic. Or both. The point of the craving seems to be that both occur at the same time.

Matthew was certainly a different person with Diana in this episode, especially once she passed the Peter Knox test. Matthew had also fed/hunted and had a good long talk/argument with Hamish, relieving the emotional and physical tension that had built up inside him. He was ready to start fresh, allowing him to see Diana for the person that she is, rather than through his fears.

That’s the difference between Matthew and Peter- they have many of the same flaws, but Matthew can eventually pull himself back from the brink and be made to see reason. He keeps a circle of friends and family around him who will quietly and persistently stand up to him when he becomes unreasonable, until he finally comes back to himself.

Peter Knox seems to be motivated by fear and the need to dominate, but unlike Matthew, he’s not tempered by reason or compassion. He’s cultivated powers that allow him to exploit others using the same things that motivate him, showing that his worldview is limited to believing that everyone is as emotionally stunted as he is. He uses manipulation as his default interaction style.

Once we get past Matthew’s walls, we see that he doesn’t hate other creatures as a group- he’s actually trying to save them. Peter, on the other hand, wants to commit genocide against the vampires and possibly against the daemons. He’s even willing to use unscrupulous methods on other witches to achieve his genocide. Matthew can be snobbish and classist toward individuals, but he’s open minded toward creatures as a whole.


Diana’s Isolation from the Human and Creature Worlds

By saying Diana’s emotional life has been lonely and barren, I don’t mean that Sarah and Em were bad parents. I mean that there was only so much two witches could do for a stubborn, tragically orphaned child who didn’t fit into either their witch culture or human culture. Diana was clearly traumatized by her parents’ death, which caused her to reject the magical world and profoundly affected her relationship with her aunts.

By rejecting her own culture and attempting to “pass” as human, Diana has denied herself the comfort of the culture she was born into. But she can never be truly close with humans, either, as her scene with Sean in episode 1 showed us, because she’s a witch and has secrets she can’t share without endangering herself and others.

Of course, as we’re beginning to learn, she has very good, instinctive reasons for rejecting the creature world. Reasons which Sarah and Em didn’t pick up on at the time of her parents death, perhaps due to their own trauma from the loss of family and the sudden need to take over parenting Diana.

I should note that in the book, Diana has a human best friend at Yale, where she teaches, who’s left out of the TV series. Book Diana has done a better job of blending in with the human community and so is less isolated. But she’s still living a lie, including lying to herself, so her deep emotional isolation and long term trauma is very much the same. And she’s just as isolated in London as TV Diana is, so she still needs to turn to Matthew at the same time.


Images courtesy of AMC and SkyOne.