A Discovery of Witches Season 1 Episode 3 Recap: In Which Diana Discovers a New Talent

A Disc of Witches S1Ep3 Sophie & Nate

In episode 3, Peter and Gillian push Diana for the Book of Life until she reaches a breaking point. Matthew helps distract Diana from Peter and Gillian’s machinations by showing her one of his old homes. Diana reciprocates by cooking him dinner. Marcus convinces Diana to let the vampires test her blood.

Recap

Matthew scouts out the Bodleian Library early in the morning, before Diana is even up, and finds that it’s already teeming with creatures hoping to be there the next time Diana summons Ashmole 782. He meets Diana outside her dorm and offers to take her on a day trip instead, since it’s unlikely she’ll be able to concentrate with so many eyes on her in the library.

Diana is wearing another amazing blue coat, this time a sky blue, mid thigh-length fuzzy number that she’s paired with a thick, cable knit, cream-colored sweater. It’s as if she knew Matthew would be waiting downstairs and wanted to look as huggable as possible. It worked, too, because he caught himself in the middle of ordering her to go with him and actually asked.

Before she can answer, Gillian (imagine me saying it the way Seinfeld says “Newman”) interrupts with, um, an urgent matter that she just thought up while she was following that vampire over from the library. She’s terribly worried that Diana is angry with her for betraying her to Peter Knox and needs to explain herself, right here on the street. Diana has realized that of course it had to be Gillian who told the other witches about Ashmole 782.

Gillian insists that she didn’t tell Peter- she told Sylvia, since her coven leader asked. Diana didn’t want her to lie to another witch did she?

Like the way she lied to Diana??

Oh wait, somehow Gillian has decided that Diana has been lying to her for years, so anything she now does to Diana is fine. Peter Knox said so and he’s in the Congregation. In Gillian’s mind, that makes him a good man who never lies. And he told Gillian that Diana has secretly been using her magic to promote her career, even though he didn’t even know Diana until yesterday.

I think we can safely say that Gillian is weak-minded, with average magical talent and easily corrupted, if she thinks it will help her chances of getting ahead.

Now that she’s insulted Diana a few different ways, Gillian says that she and Peter are very concerned about the time she’s spending with that. She points at Matthew. Trying to warn Diana off of Matthew with insults just drives Diana to prove them wrong. She gets in Matthew’s car, snapping at him that she can open her own door as she does.

He takes her to his house, the Old Lodge, in Woodstock, outside of London. Though he’s had the house updated over the years, he mostly stays in his rooms at All Souls College and only stops by occasionally. He can’t stay in one place for too long because humans get suspicious when vampires don’t age normally.

Diana asks about one of the portraits. Matthew is hesitant when he says it’s his sister, Louisa. Then she asks if he’s changed his name. He says he always keeps Matthew as his first name. His original last name is de Clermont, taken from his vampire mother when she sired him. She and her mate, his late stepfather Philippe, lived in France. He explains that vampires “can be killed, if you try hard enough.”

Satu drives herself to the private island in Venice that is the Congregation’s ancient government seat. She’s met by Rico Jean, who explains that though he’s human, the oldest male in his family has been the administrator for the Congregation for centuries. The Congregation Chamber is locked, other than when the Congregation is in session, so Satu can’t tour it right now. Each species of creature has their own section of the building. He shows her to the witches’ archives.

Matthew lets Diana examine his brother’s old alchemy books, which are still stored in his library. He nonchalantly asks if she used a spell to summon the Book of Life. She tells him no, she’s no good at spells. He wonders if the book has a spell on it and she met it’s conditions.

That’s something they’ve all wondered from the beginning, but Matthew and Knox’s egos wouldn’t let them take the notion seriously, at first, because they weren’t taking Diana seriously.

Matthew pretends he’s going to spill wine on the priceless alchemy book Diana is browsing. Without thinking, she uses telekinesis to save the book and scolds him for endangering it.

Matthew: “Your magic’s instinctive. It just comes out of you when you need it. You needed Ashmole 782 for your research.”

Diana tells him that it’s not as simple as that and peeks at the burn scar on her hand. Matthew agrees that she and the book are somehow linked.

In upstate NY, Diana’s Aunt Emily tries a scrying spell but she’s interrupted just as she gets a vision, which will become a running theme. She tells Sarah that she had odd dreams, too. She sees a man in the shadows following Diana. He’s not a witch.

Matthew is surprised that Diana doesn’t remember her magic surfacing much in the past. She explains that she doesn’t remember much of her childhood. Her parents died when she was young. And anyway, she gets along fine without magic. Doesn’t miss it at all.

Matthew points out that she actually uses magic in small ways all the time, like when she recognizes other creatures. She doesn’t deny the truth of that.

I want to note that the everyday bits of magic Diana usually uses are similar to what a child would use, and are not what Gillian meant when she accused her of using magic to cheat to get ahead in her career. That’s something Diana would never do. She’s only begun using stronger magic, like breaking the window next to Knox, recently, since other creatures started threatening her. Gillian is just jealous of Diana’s natural gifts in several arenas and grasping at straws to explain why Diana succeeds where she fails.

Matthew notes that she was born to be a witch and use her magic. But he was born a human. He finally reveals his age- he was born in approximately 500 CE, then reborn as a vampire in 537 CE. Diana asks him to have dinner with her the next day.

Disc of WItches S1Ep3 Diana's Coat & SweaterDisc of Witches S1Ep3 Old LodgeDisc of Withces Matt & Diana 1Disc of Witches S1Ep3 Em ScryingDisc of Witches S1Ep3 Aunt SarahDisc of Witches S1Ep3 Sophie's Alchemical Child

While at work, daemon Sophie Norman draws a picture that matches the photo of the alchemical child from the Book of Life. When she gets home, her daemon husband, Nathaniel, tells her he’s been sharing stories with other daemons on the internet. Daemons can be spontaneously born to human parents, so sometimes life is rough for them if no one helps them figure out what they are. Some want to meet in person already, but creatures congregating in groups is against the Congregation’s rules. Sophie advises Nathanial to stay online for now. He picks up one of the books she brought home with her, Alchemical Imagery Through the Ages. She’s marked a page with a drawing that matches a goddess statue she owns.

That night, Diana researches the feeding habits of wolves in order to find a recipe for her dinner with Matthew. Her Aunt Sarah calls to sternly warn her against hanging around with vampires. Diana figures out that Sarah knows because Em had a vision. Sarah is worried that Matthew will feed from her and steal her memories, but Diana is sure that’s a myth like all of the other rumors about vampires.

It’s not. We saw Gerbert feed from Juliette in order to gain her memories of murdering the tourist Mathieu.

Sarah is still worried but Diana doesn’t believe Matthew is a danger to her. Em asks Diana if she remembers the stories her mom, Rebecca, used to tell her about the Shadow Prince who lived between sunset and moonrise. Diana loved those stories. Em wonders if this is him. Sarah fusses some more at this idea, then Diana says she’s having him over to dinner, so she’ll just ask him what his intentions are.

When Diana leaves to go shopping, Marcus is outside standing guard, having been assigned by Matthew while he’s at a conference for the day. Diana asks if Matthew is always so controlling. Marcus says usually only with vampires he’s related to- never with witches. Diana decides to put her bodyguard to use and asks him to help her figure out what to feed Matthew for dinner. Marcus agrees, on the condition that she’ll give the lab a blood sample so they can run some genetic tests. It will be a win for her too, since she’ll get a copy of the results and can find out which of the four main witch clans she’s related to.

Satu researches Diana and her mother in the Congregation’s witch archives. As she looks through Diana’s mother’s file, she finds crime scene photos from her death, the report from when Peter tested Diana’s magical ability when she was a child and another report that’s completely redacted. Satu does a spell to reveal what it says under the black marker.

It’s a second copy of the test, which seems strange. We don’t find out anything else about it because Demonico comes in and takes the paper. He chokes Satu as he tries to read it, but the writing quickly disappears. He asks who Diana Bishop is.

As Miriam prepares to takes Diana’s blood, Marcus tells her that it will tell them about her inherited traits and powers and where she comes from. Matthew arrives back at the lab at that moment and takes over, possessively saying that he’s the only vampire who’s going to take Diana’s blood.

He also probably just spent the afternoon hunting instead of at a conference to prepare for their dinner tonight, so he’s the safest one at the moment.

Matthew draws Diana’s blood without incident. But Miriam and Marcus are professionals too, after all. They would have been fine.

Domenico brings the news he learned from Satu, that Matthew de Clermont is involved with harassing a witch named Diana Bishop, straight to Gerbert. Gerbert is skeptical that Matthew would leave himself open to punishment by the Congregation, but Domenico thinks they need to investigate to be sure. This is an excellent opportunity to bring Matthew in front of the Congregation.

Gerbert checks in with Meridiana, the witch’s head he’s kept enslaved as a thrall (vampire blood addict) for centuries in order to maintain access to her second sight. He whispers a prayer as the incantation to open her cabinet. Meridiana’s head is kept encased in medal. When he pulls her into the light, she speaks a prophecy: “Beware the witch with the blood of the lion and the wolf.”

Nathaniel’s mother, Congregation member Agatha Wilson (Tanya Moodie), pays a visit to him and Sophie, a couple of bags of groceries in hand. She notices Sophie’s new interest in alchemy and reads a quote from Sophie’s interest board on the wall: “Alchemy exists to transform mortals from a state of suffering to enlightenment.”

Nat tells her that the Congregation has ordered him to close the daemon chat room. He asks if Agatha turned him in. Agatha tells him that while she doesn’t approve of breaking the Congregation’s rules, she’d never turn in her family. Nat says that if daemons could support each other, they’d have fewer problems. Agatha isn’t sure the benefits would outweigh the risks, since daemons tend to get noticed when they congregate. Nat asks her to fight for daemon groups with the Congregation.

Sophie interrupts before the argument can spiral out of control, telling Agatha and Nat that the situation will improve. She shows them a small silver statue, saying it’s the White Queen, from alchemy. Agatha thinks the bow and arrow means she represents someone else. Sophie says she’s like the White Queen, anyway, and her dad said when the time comes, she should give the statue to the person who needs her. She’ll be given a sign to show her who the right person is.

Matthew considers buying flowers to bring to Diana, but changes his mind. He wouldn’t want her to get used to him treating her well. Miriam catches him at the flower stall and realizes he’s craving Diana. He tries to deny it, but can’t fool his assistant. She reminds him that the Congregation and the Covenant forbid romance and cravings between witches and vampires. Marcus told Miriam that Diana doesn’t seem to even know about the Covenant. Matthew tells her to mind her own business and continues on to Diana’s house.

Diana has everything ready for Matthew when Peter Knox comes to the door to threaten her again. “You’re just like your father, so open-minded that he put himself and your mother in mortal danger.” Matthew arrives and stands behind Diana, implicitly threatening Peter, who leaves this time when Diana tells him to.

Matthew brought a bottle of wine to go with their dinner of venison, berries and nuts. Matthew shows off his ability to sense very detailed information about the food and answers Diana’s questions about vampire abilities. He says that they can’t fly, but their abilities to run fast and jump far make humans think they can. They also have efficient metabolisms, so they don’t breathe often and their hearts only beat occasionally, plus they have large energy reserves. Human myths come from exaggerations of the truth.

After they each describe what they taste in the wine, Diana asks Matthew how he thinks she would taste. He gets angry and tells her never to ask that, because he could eat her at any moment and once he started drinking, he wouldn’t be able to stop. She comes close and he grabs her throat, holding her as if he’s about to commit some crime on her. He says she smells like willow sap, chamomile honey, frankincense and lady’s mantle. “Ancient things I thought I’d forgotten.”

So dramatic. All of those ancient things still exist. Vampires always act like they’re the only ones who get hungry.

He reiterates that her blood makes him super ravenous cause she smells delicious. This turns Diana on, because for some reason she interprets his need to consume and murder her as sexual and finds it really hot. She slowly turns and kisses him, even though he stands completely still, not pushing her away but not encouraging her. After her quick peck, he thanks her for dinner and rushes out of the apartment, ensuring maximum embarrassment on her part. He could have stepped away when she started to kiss him, after all, but then we wouldn’t understand how tortured he is.

And this is obviously about him.

The idea that women want to be used up, then tossed aside by men once we’re nothing but empty shells to them is one of the oldest tropes in the world, going back to ancient mythology, such as the Greek Ariadne. It’s always disconcerting to find it in stories that feature otherwise modern, independent women, like Diana. Diana is a contradictory character, who thinks of herself one way but frequently acts another.

The All Souls Trilogy revolves around keeping Matthew de Clermont sane and happy. In the dinner scene, the dynamic is established that Diana will do anything for Matthew, including turn against her own people, go to great physical effort to please him and even humiliate herself for him. But she expects nothing from him. Though she offers her affection freely, everything she gets in return will need to be earned, often at great cost to herself.

Speaking of controlling men, Gerbert brings Juliette up out of the dungeon, personally bathes and prepares her, then kisses her on the cheek with “love” as he sends her off to find Matthew, the man he personally brainwashed her into being obsessed with. Juliette thanks him for his kindness and excitedly looks forward to seeing the man who rejected her decades ago.

The next day, Diana is working on the bottle of wine Matthew left behind, alone, when a package of photos is slipped under her door. They are images she’s never seen before of her parents’ bodies at the crime scene. She goes to Gillian and accuses her of knowing about the photos. Gillian is horrified, which makes sense, because anyone can see that she’s nothing but a pawn in this story, the least likely person to have been given meaningful information by Peter, just as Diana remains a pawn in her own story.

As Diana is leaving, Gillian asks if she’s going to give the book to the vampire. Diana says she’ll figure out the book on her own.

Matthew shows up at Diana’s apartment uninvited, because even though she’s not allowed to want him, he still craves her and can’t control his addiction. Her door is cracked open and she doesn’t answer when he says her name, so of course he goes in. She must have stopped there on her way to the library, because the photos are conveniently spread out on the table, waiting for him to analyze them.

Diana goes to the library alone and convinces Sean to check for Ashmole 782, even though it’s closing time and it hasn’t appeared for the dozens of people who’ve been asking for it all week. The library appears empty, but as soon as Sean walks away, Peter, Gillian and several other creatures appear. Gillian tipped Peter off as soon as Diana left, because she’s a good witch, Peter explains, while Diana will end up like her mother if she’s not careful.

Not that he has any inside knowledge about Rebecca’s death. It was all Diana’s father, Stephen’s, fault.

Sean returns and says the book is still missing. Peter tells Sean to look again, then when he argues, uses dark magic to render him unconscious. Diana gets angry and instinctively brings up witch wind, an elemental force only available to especially powerful witches. Peter and the other creatures are blown across the library, then struggle to escape.

Matthew senses what’s happening and runs across campus to help Diana. She, of course, can’t control it or stop it once it starts. Matthew is able to talk her down once he gets there, with complicated advice like “breathe” and “don’t hold your breath”. After it stops, they clutch each other and he tells her, “You’re safe.”

He takes her back to her rooms and puts her to bed, because a woman can never use her powers without physical consequences (being consumed). At least she didn’t vomit or develop a nosebleed. Although passing out cold for several hours might be worse. Especially after Matthew pointedly told us that vampires are like energizer bunnies who can use their powers all they want.

Marcus checked Diana and Sean both over and they seem physically fine. He also helped put the library back in order, so maybe I’ll forgive him for being a bit callous toward Diana in this conversation. He’s been cleaning up after Matthew for centuries, after all, so that’s his automatic priority.

Matthew wants to go attack Peter Knox right now, but Marcus stops him, reminding Matthew that this would be seens as a direct attack on the Congregation, which would then involve and endanger the whole family. Matthew then gets defensive toward Marcus and starts to turn on him.

Marcus suggests that Matthew stop and think things through rather than starting a war over a witch he barely knows. He says Matthew should hide Diana away somewhere Knox can’t find her for a while. Note that Marcus is much more clear headed and a more natural leader than Matthew, but this solution has everything to do with protecting Matthew from himself and little to do with figuring out what Diana needs.

Matthew muses that he’s never been this protective of anyone before. Marcus says again that he should take her somewhere else to protect her and suggests a few relatively nearby places that Matthew can drop Diana off, which would cause the smallest amount of disruption to everyone’s lives. Instead, Matthew decides to take her to Sept-Tours, in France. Marcus is aghast, saying he can’t drop a witch off with Ysabeau. Matthew says he’ll stay at Sept-Tours with Diana, of course. Marcus looks at him like he’s lost his mind.

Neither considers asking Diana where she wants to go or even if she wants to leave town.

Diana wakes up after sleeping for 10 hours. Matthew tells her that no one has summoned witch wind for centuries and by the way, we’re leaving for France so that Peter Knox won’t stalk you anymore. Diana says she’d rather go to her aunts in upstate NY. Matthew tells her no. Witches won’t dare trespass on vampire land, so she’ll be safer at his house. He kisses her. She stops arguing with him and kisses him back.

They pack her bag and hold hands as they leave Oxford.

Disc of Witches S1Ep3 SeanDisc of Witches S1Ep3 Peter KnoxDisc of Witches S1Ep3 Witch WindDisc of Witches S1Ep3 Just BreatheDisc of Witches S1Ep3 Holding Hands


Commentary

A Lissie cover of Go Your Own Way, originally by Fleetwood Mac, plays over the final scene of the episode. This is a nod to the books- Diana’s parents, especially her father, loved Fleetwood Mac.

Matthew was practicing a combination of grooming behavior and trauma bonding in this episode.

Matthew and Diana meet when they are two very lonely people with serious issues they need to work out. The Book of Life gives them a common reference point to begin working together and supporting each other through a time of crisis for them both. Matthew gets to save someone, which is attractive to him after losses he experienced in his past. Diana gets to feel protected/saved and understood, which is attractive to her after her parents abandoned her through death and her difficulties with magic cut her off from other witches.

Sophie and Nathaniel’s scenes had a similar theme- Daemons need their own communities and traditions to help stave off mental illness, but they’ve been discouraged from offering each other support.

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