A Discovery of Witches Season 1 Episode 7 Recap: In Which Diana and Matthew Travel to America

Following Diana’s rescue from her ordeal with Satu, in episode 7 she and Matthew decide they need a new hiding place where Diana can learn to control her magic. It’s time to visit her aunts at the Bishop ancestral home in America. Miriam and Marcus join them before long.

Baldwin holds off the Congregation by blaming Satu for his failure to bring Diana back to Venice with him. Domenico, who isn’t finished with his revenge on Matthew, goes on the hunt for the Finnish witch.

Agatha tells Hamish about the connection between Sophie and Diana. They wonder if the changes that are coming will finally bring daemons more respect.

Recap

Ysabeau and Marthe walk Matthew and Diana to their helicopter as they prepare to leave for Diana’s aunts’ house in Upstate NY. Diana thanks Ysabeau for everything. Then Ysabeau reminds Matthew that Baldwin will stall the Congregation for now, but he’ll only be able to give them a couple of days head start. She warns Matthew to be ready to lead the fight that’s surely coming, but she’s available to help whenever he needs her. Matthew thanks her, then he and Diana board the helicopter.

I maintain that helicopters have essentially become flying cars for the wealthy.

Sadly, we aren’t shown the private, snarky conversation Ysabeau and Marthe usually have following their interactions with others. Maybe someday we’ll get an aftershow made up of them having tea in the garden and dissecting the rest of the creature world. Or a creature world version of The View, with Ysabeau, Marthe, Agatha, Emily and Sarah, with Sophie, Miriam and Satu popping in to add variety. I would watch those women discuss any issue, fictional or not.

I’m from Upstate NY, but I will attempt to keep my frustrations over culture and geography mistakes to a minimum during Diana’s visit. I just want you all to know the sacrifice I’m making. 😉

It looks like late fall, with the trees already bare. Diana tells Matthew that she loves Madison, her hometown, best at this time of year. It’s actually supposed to be October, so the the trees should be in the middle of their spectacular and famous fall color, which is what Diana is referring to, along with the run of fall holidays and the harvest of apples, pumpkins, corn, etc that make it a festive time of year all the way through New Year’s.

The Bishop house is hundreds of years old and has been inhabited by powerful witches the entire time. It’s saturated with their magic, plus their spirits tend to linger on after they die. All of that magical energy has given the house a life of its own, quite literally.

Sarah and Emily went out for a while so that Diana could introduce Matthew to the house without interference. The house, which is wary of strangers to begin with, isn’t sure it wants to meet a vampire. It rattles as there’s an earthquake, but settles once Diana comes inside. She explains that the house is tempermental even under normal circumstances, “Slamming doors, flickering lights. One time the whole second floor disappeared for a week.”

Well, who hasn’t had that happen? I haven’t seen the front half of my dining room since the pandemic began. There are tomato plants growing in there somewhere.

Diana greets the family cat, Tabitha, who is also more than she appears.

Speaking of inexplicably losing things, Agatha doesn’t buy Baldwin’s story about how suddenly Diana disappeared from Sept-Tours. Baldwin wonders why she’s suddenly so interested in Diana and asks if she wants to share with the class. She claims that she just wants her questions about the Book of Life answered.

We know that the real reason she’s interested is because of Sophie’s connection to Diana.

Baldwin tells the Congregation (minus Gerbert and Satu) that Satu appears to have Diana. Once they’re located, he’ll bring Diana in front of them, as promised. Everyone looks at Peter. He explains that his people repeated the spellwork found at La Pierre Castle, where Satu originally took Diana, and corroborated that Satu was there with another witch. He says it’s unclear whether Diana was there voluntarily or as a prisoner.

Because witches frequently volunteer to have the opening spell performed on them and then be thrown in an oubliette.

Baldwin is delighted. For once, Peter had no idea what Satu and Gerbert were up to. That will slow down the investigation considerably and cause more in fighting amongst them, which will work in the de Clermonts’ favor. This is better than he’d hoped for. He orders Peter to continue the 24/7 search for Satu and Diana.

Then he asks Domenico why Gerbert is missing, following up on the question by sending Domenico to ask Juliette where Gerbert is. After that, Baldwin dismisses the Congregation from Venice.

Discovery of Witches S1Ep7 Diana & Matthew Meet HouseDiscovery of Witches S1Ep7 SpellbindingDiscovery of Witches S1Ep7 Old Oak TreeDiscovery of Witches S1Ep7 Kissing

When Sarah and Em get home, Diana meets them at the door and asks them if they knew that she was spellbound. Sarah has no idea what she means, but Em guessed the truth. She tells Diana that her parents, Rebecca and Stephen, spellbound her in order to protect her from Peter Knox’s malevolent interest.

Diana can’t understand why her parents would take such a drastic step and why Em would keep it a secret. Em tearfully explains that she didn’t understand why they did it either, but they were Diana’s parents, so she decided to trust that they knew what was best for her.

As Diana begins to angrily leave the room, the house replays several memories from Diana’s past that it has stored, as if her parents told the house to help Diana understand their motives and what they’d done to her.

In the first memory, Rebecca and Stephen realize Peter has found them. The house protects them while they spellbind Diana before Peter arrives. It’s clear that this is an option they’ve prepared for, but were putting off until the last possible moment. Perhaps they were hoping to find another way to protect Diana.

As young Diana lies very still in bed, Stephen does the actual spellbinding. To keep Diana calm, Rebecca tells her daughter a version of the story she told while Diana was in the oubliette at La Pierre Castle. It’s a fairy tale about a young witch, magic ribbons and a shadow prince, which includes coded instructions to help Diana in the future.

Unfortunately, Diana appears to have been too young, at age 7, to remember the story well enough to ever figure out the code on her own. I guess they implanted stronger versions of the memories in various places for her, but she’s had to withstand substantial mental and physical damage to get here.

As soon as they finish the spell, Rebecca realizes that the spellbinding ritual and its short and long-term effects are traumatic for Diana. Stephen is certain they did the right thing to keep Diana safe and alive. “One day, if she really needs [her magic], she’ll find it again.”

This memory seems to contain conflicting information- it foretells a Shadow Prince who’ll help wake Diana (as Sleeping Beauty) up to her magic again, but Stephen also talks about the spellbinding as potentially permanent. This suggests that either the memory or the scene itself were tampered with. Given what we’ll eventually discover about Stephen and Rebecca’s powers, it’s possible that they eventually went back and changed their original plan, potentially changing the terms of the spell. It’s also possible that another witch has tampered with Diana’s timeline or mind.

In another memory from later that night, Rebecca brings Diana to Peter, who’s arrived in their home at a very late hour, insisting that he test Diana’s magical power right then and there, a very unusual situation. Witches are usually taught by their own covens until they’re older, then tested by the Congregation once, when they come of age, simply to keep a central registration of known witches and talents. The way Peter hounded Stephen, Rebecca and young Diana shows that he was already power mad and consumed with using their powers for his own gratification. His visit had nothing to do with official purposes.

Rebecca tells young Diana that the test won’t hurt. Peter has Diana stand in front of him while he puts his hand on her forehead. As we already know, the spellbinding successfully blocks his ability to sense her power. He told the Congregation that she had very little innate power and that’s what her record in the Congregation’s Witch archives says.

The scene shifts to the front porch, where Rebecca and Stephen are loading up the car for their final journey. Em asks Rebecca what’s going on, but Rebecca refuses to answer. They say goodbye to Diana and promise to be back in a couple of weeks, even though they know they’re traveling to their deaths.

When this memory ends, Diana runs to an old oak tree in the backyard that’s as old as the house. She touches her mother’s initials where they’re carved into the bark as a way of connecting with Rebecca for a moment.

Matthew finds her there, telling her that the memories showed there’s nothing wrong with her. She wasn’t spellbound because she’s insane or a criminal, as they feared. Diana says that normally, spellbinding can only be removed by the witch who cast the spell. But her parents tied their spell to need, so she could break through it when she called on her magic. They note that breaking the spell was also tied to her need for Matthew, to them falling in love.

As they kiss, Diana notices her mother’s ghost watching them and smiling.

Inside, Sarah is upset that her sister, Rebecca, didn’t trust her enough to share that she was going through such a difficult time before she died. Emily explains that she never said anything to Sarah because she assumed Rebecca would tell Sarah when they got home from their trip, but then she and Stephen died. Suddenly they were grieving and raising Diana. Rebecca’s secrets didn’t seem to matter as much.

Em thought “Diana’s magic just wasn’t right,” since it was weak but very uneven, unlike typical spellbound witches, who have no magic at all. Sarah figures Rebecca thought that if she knew Peter was threatening the family, she’d go off on him like the hot head that she is and ruin everything. Em tells her that there’s still time for her to go after Peter. Rebecca trusted Sarah to be a warrior who would protect her daughter and so far, she has.

Satu sneaks into Peter Knox’s bedroom in Venice and uses his petrosphere to give him a nightmare. Then again, it looks like he keeps a bottle of wine on his nightstand, so maybe nightmares are a regular occurrence for him.

Instead of a normal greeting, Satu accuses him of murdering Diana’s parents. Instead of a normal greeting in return or answering her question, Peter asks where Diana is.

A practiced criminal is someone who wakes up from a nightmare to find a potential enemy in their dark bedroom and then efficiently deflects questions about the murders they’ve committed back onto the intruder. An equally powerful witch/intruder is one who won’t fall for the ruse.

Satu: “”You told me opening someone up would affect the spellcaster to. And you knew it because you cast a spell yourself. Twice. You opened them up to get to the power you couldn’t find in their daughter. Am I right?”

Peter: “No.”

Satu: “Did you find what you were looking for? [Peter doesn’t respond.] That’s because the power was never theirs. It was Diana’s.”

Peter: “No! I tested her!”

Satu: “Yes, you did. And you couldn’t find it because she was spellbound. She must be. Diana doesn’t even know her own power, what she is. You should have seen it, Peter.”

Peter is shocked, but realizes the truth of what she says. He figures out that it had to be Rebecca and Stephen who spellbound Diana.

Peter: “Rebecca could have led the Congregation. That’s where she was headed. And then we could have really, finally challenged the de Clermonts. But Stephen- I’ve never met a witch so secretive, so selfish. He got into her ear and that was it. Our great hope, gone.”

Satu: “You loved her.”

Peter: “I never intended to kill him, if that’s what you mean.”

Satu: “You loved her, but the power you sensed… you loved that more. I wanted it, too.”

She explains that her desire for more power led her to betray Peter, then use the opening spell on Diana and keep trying until she’d drained all of her own power in the attempt. Peter says her power should come back, with time and rest. She tells him that there’s a prophecy about the end of vampires and Diana, which means they need to get her away from Matthew, whatever it takes.

While Sarah makes a plan for training Diana to control her magic, starting with the basics, Matthew flips through her spellbooks and becomes frustrated with the lack of powerful defensive spells. Sarah explains that “Those spells haven’t worked in generations.” Which Matthew should have been able to figure out, based on his lab research. But it’s more fun to yell at Sarah.

She tries to explain that the most important thing is for Diana to have control of her magic so that it does what she wants it to do, when she wants to do it. Matthew yells about Satu trying to kill her and more witches coming who will kill them all. He wants Diana to be an expert adult witch instantaneously, as if the spellbinding never happened. Sarah tells him his scare tactics won’t work on her, because she’s already scared.

Diana interrupts their brewing argument and agrees to go back to the beginning of her magical training with Sarah. She asks Matthew to teach her self defense at the same time.

While Diana practices with Sarah, Matthew brings a wooden box that he’s curious about to Em. It looks like it’s from the 17th century, but it’s too new. Em admits that Stephen was a timewalker and brought Rebecca the box as a gift. Matthew asks how often Stephen went to the past and Em gives a non-answer that should be a red flag. He went less after Diana was born, but he took Rebecca with him sometimes.

Which means he went alone most of the time and he did it often.

Matthew asks how easy it is. Em says it’s simple to jump short distances, but to go to the past, Stephen had to find 3 objects from the time period.

Diana attempts a candle lighting spell and sets something behind her on fire instead. Sarah puts it out with a quick spell.

Domenico visits Juliette, who refuses to let him in. He already knows Gerbert is out of town, but what he wonders is why Juliette stays with him. She could just leave while he’s gone, since she has the keys. He asks if she’s still waiting for Matthew to come for her. She tells him he doesn’t understand her connection to Matthew.

Domenico tells Juliette that Baldwin says Satu has Diana, but he thinks she’s with Matthew. He can get ahold of Diana’s personal file, if he had a reason to. Juliette wonders why he’d do that for her.

Domenico: “I was born here, in Venice, did you know that? It’s the only home I know, so I keep Baldwin happy. Or Gerbert, or whoever’s pulling the strings that day, but you… you could go anywhere.”

Juliette: “I don’t remember my home.”

Domenico: “When did you last see Matthew? It’s been decades, hasn’t it? Gerbert doesn’t control you. He does. I’ll get you the file. The way I see it, you either go after Matthew or you burn it, prove I’m wrong, walk away from all this. Either way, you’d be free.”

Domenico fans the flames of Juliette’s love and resentment of Matthew, ensuring she’ll go to him and Diana, ready to fight for her place by his side. He knows that Juliette has no place else to go and has been trained by Gerbert to be unable to function on her own. The fact that she doesn’t remember her home, while after 1500 years Matthew still grieves his lost human family, once again suggests that someone used dark magic on her to turn her into the dependent, obsessed creature that she’s become.

But the books show no sympathy for her. In the show, we’re getting more back story on her, Satu, Peter and Domenico, which humanizes them, if you will. It makes Matthew and Diana less sympathetic, because they often react to perceived danger with violence or some other strong solution that creates some of their later problems. Not all- Peter and Gerbert really are after them, for example, but Domenico is more of an opportunist in the short-term. In the long-term, he hates the de Clermonts/Philippe for taking control of Venice for the Congregation. Matthew and Baldwin’s continued arrogance toward him keep his hate alive.

Discovery of Witches S1Ep7 Domenico & JulietteDiscovery of Witches S1Ep7 DomenicoDiscovery of Witches S1Ep7 The Page AppearsDiscovery of Witches S1Ep7 Alchemical Wedding PageDiscovery of Witches S1Ep7 Vampire Scientists

Sarah and Diana get into an argument over Diana’s frustration with her lack of magical progress. She says that her magic works differently from Sarah’s magic, so Sarah won’t be an effective teacher for her. Sarah is hurt and says they’ll take a break. She won’t listen to Diana’s apology. Diana stomps her foot in frustration and flashes out of the room.

Sarah, Em and Matthew are confused, but after a minute, Matthew hears her heartbeat in the barn. He races out to check on her. She’s fine, but she has no idea what happened. She says she wanted to go outside to get some air, and there she was. Matthew figures out that she just timewalked, explaining that her father was a timewalker too.

This one of the changes from the book that really bugs me. Diana was a functioning witch until she was 7 years old. Her family, including Sarah, already knew she was a timewalker, since she timewalked for the first time when she was 3. In the book, Sarah tells adult Diana stories about the times she timewalked as a child.

There was no need to have the male vampire explain a witch talent to the female witches, especially since he knew so little about it 10 minutes ago. It was an excuse to puff Matthew up even further and take even more from the witches than has already been taken with the de-emphasis on the books’ magic and alchemy storylines. In other words- enjoy the pretty pictures and added scenes in the TV series, then read the books, please. They are so much better than the series. SO much better.

Agatha visits Hamish for a consultation on all of the new developments. Because he’s close to Matthew, he can discreetly put her in touch with Diana. She tells him about Sophie’s witch heritage and her prophetic connection to Diana. She’s worried about the risk to Sophie and Nathaniel if they get involved with her, but Sophie is so certain of Diana’s importance.

Agatha: “There’s so much we don’t understand. If daemons can be born to witches, if cross-species families are possible, then everything we know about our kind is… Well, it’s all up for grabs. Think what this could mean for us. Daemons can finally have the status and understanding that we deserve.”

Gerbert and Juliette sit in front of Baldwin at mass. They exchange pleasantries, until Gerbert tries to blame Diana’s kidnapping on Juliette. Baldwin doesn’t believe that Juliette would make such a bold move alone. Juliette refuses to make a false confession when Gerbert tries to make her. Instead, she walks out of the church. Domenico watches her leave with a pleased expression.

Matthew races through the Bishops’ woods at night at vampire speed, taunting Diana for being unable to call on her powers to stop him. He’s lecturing her about need when he gets too close and knocks her down. Then he notices that she’s bleeding and gets all serious, assuring her that he won’t hurt her. Except for, you know, the way he just did.

Diana isn’t intimidated. She taunts him with her bloody arm, reminding him of the time at the boathouse when he sniffed her jacket like a creeper and ordered her to move past him slowly. He didn’t want her to trigger his hunting instincts any further by running.

So this time, she runs. He follows and when he reaches out to catch her, she flies. She intuits that she needed to actually feel the danger. And maybe be part of the process, instead of standing there while he does all of the work. He yells at her to be careful how she lands, but she intentionally lands on top of him. Making out ensues, which soon leads into the bedroom.

The bedroom stays in place, so the house must approve.

Once they’re done, Matthew makes a confession, because he actually believes that pillow talk is supposed to be about death. I would assume it’s a vampire thing, but I can’t imagine Marcus or Baldwin or really, any of the others making these maudlin confessions after every romp in the bedroom. They might bring up their glorious victories, if they were with someone who’d appreciate it, but not this.

Matthew: “There were two women. Two human women. Not like this. Not like us. But I did love them. And I told each of them that they were safe with me. I even believed it. If I ever harmed you…”

Diana: “Matthew, you will never harm me. I’m not human. I’m powerful. And you won’t hurt me because you don’t want to. You can’t. I won’t let you.”

Diana is very powerful, but she can still be deceived or taken by surprise. Matthew just told her that romance might not save her. He didn’t intend to harm the two women he loved and killed- something else got in the way. Anger, blood lust, betrayal- all can lead Matthew to act before he thinks.

Marcus and Miriam arrive in Madison to serve as additional guards. Marcus and Em are open and friendly, despite the mixed species company, while Sarah and Miriam are suspicious of the strangers in their midst. Tabitha the Cat keeps an eye on the front door and lets the humanoids argue amongst themselves.

Once everyone has gathered in the front room, Sarah marvels that the vampires are even able to pass for human, since they stand out so much to her. Miriam points out that Sarah is pretty eccentric herself. Marcus tells Sarah that she looks just like the original Sarah Bishop, who he knew during the Revolutionary War.

Em asks him to tell them more, but Sarah orders her to stop fraternizing with the vampires. She can’t see how this team up will work at all and gets going on a furious, somewhat justified rant. She winds up further when Matthew tries to interrupt her and go all patriarchal yet again.

Alex Kingston as Sarah Bishop is one of the best parts of this show.

The house rumbles and shakes as the argument escalates, making the vampires nervous. Diana explains that the house doesn’t like conflict. It solves the problem by changing the subject when the fireplace spits out a large envelope addressed to Diana from Stephen.

Miriam comments that it smells strange, as if there’s a normal smell for packages arriving from the fireplace (woodsmoke?). Stephen has “sent” Diana one of the three missing pages from the Book of Life. It shows the alchemical wedding, with Matthew’s insignia on the bride’s dress. Everyone reaches for the page at once, hoping to examine it further. Sarah wins, since it’s her house and she has an on site lab in the form of a still room. The vampires aren’t pleased with this outcome.

Domenico tracks down Satu in Venice and corners her in a blind alley. Her power still hasn’t recovered, so she’s defenseless. When she collapses, Domenico takes her hostage offers to keeps her safe from all of the other bad actors in Venice.

Diana realizes that she recognizes her father’s handwriting from the front pages of the Ashmole 782 manuscript. Ashmole had written a note in ink, then someone else had written in pencil, “In two parts, the first Anatomical, the second, Psychological.” Matthew points out that use of word psychological is an anachronism. It didn’t exist in Ashmole’s time. Diana already knows this- it’s why the inscription stood out in her mind. She noted it at the time. It’s also probably why her father used the word.

Diana wonders why her father would have had possession of the Book of Life. Matthew points out that she saw him right after she called up the Book of Life, then suggests that Stephen may have been the one to enchant the book so that it will only respond to Diana and only under certain conditions.

Diana is still coming to terms with the fact that Stephen was a timewalker. She wonders if “he meant for all of this to happen.” Matthew says, “I think that he wants you to have the Book of Life.”

Couple of geniuses, right there. Next you’ll tell me Stephen reset the spell after Diana returned the Book of Life to the library. And that it’s “fate” for Diana to give the de Clermonts access to anything she learns. Fate in the form of a very hard shove from her parents.

Domenico meets privately with Baldwin to share that he has Satu. Baldwin tells him to hand her over, so that he can question her privately and make her suffer for violating de Clermont land. Then he’ll reconvene the Congregation and turn her over to them.

Domenico is surprised that Baldwin is so keen on helping Matthew, the brother he hates, by keeping the attention focussed on Satu instead of Diana. He decides to keep custody of Satu while this continues to play out. Baldwin asks what Domenico wants, but he doesn’t want anything- yet. “I’ll be in touch.”

Diana and Matthew practice her self defense skills outside by playing hide and seek. Matthew continually changes places while Diana searches for him with her eyes closed. She senses a vampire in the barn and goes inside. Matthew, who is still in the woods, smiles at the way he’s fooled her again.

But he hasn’t fooled her. She sensed Juliette in the barn and walks right up to the other vampire, who stands still and lets Diana grab her shoulders. Then she squeezes Diana’s throat.

“You must be Diana.”

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Commentary

All those guards, and no one actually guarding Diana or the perimeter of the yard. Juliette must be exceptionally good at sneaking up on people, since Matthew didn’t sense her presence. If she didn’t have a villain’s flair for drama, Juliette could have killed Diana the second she set foot in the barn with her eyes closed. One quick twist to Diana’s neck and the series would be over.

Hiding in one’s childhood home isn’t hiding, since it’s the most obvious place for an enemy to look. What these characters really mean is that they’re running to the place where they hope their ancestors and creature protocol will protect them. Diana’s parents could have taken her into actual hiding, including somewhere else in time, for a few years. They could have gathered allies against Peter. The fact that they chose a destructive, drastic measure like spellbinding so quickly says to me that either they’d already been affected by their addiction to dark magic or one or both of them were being manipulated by some outside influence, such as a powerful vampire.

I want to specifically note that spellbinding is considered an evil thing for one witch to do to another in this universe. Rebecca said magic is an integral part of a witch’s identity and wasn’t sure they’d done the right thing. Diana said she felt like she’d been cut off from half of herself. It’s like amputating a limb or doing a lobotomy. For parents to do it to their child for any reason other than to save their life is abusive. I can’t say that I believe Rebecca and Stephen tried everything possible before turning to spellbinding to save Diana.

Peter may be sketchy, but maybe he’s not wrong about Stephen also being sketchy. Maybe like recognized like in this instance, and Rebecca had a type. Both of her boyfriends and her best friend were into dark magic (as was Rebecca). Em seems to keep her dabblings mostly to divination spells and to be such a good person that the darkness hasn’t affected her much. From what we’ve seen, she mainly has a penchant for secrets, while remaining warm hearted and curious. But Stephen and Rebecca were more affected than Em and Sarah noticed- just look at the number of secrets they kept, for a start. Stephen, at least, was living a double life, which Em may or may not know more about than she’s saying.

Diana took another leap forward with her magical abilities in this episode by discovering that she’s a timewalker (and realizing that her magic works differently from Sarah’s magic, but the show flew right past that revelation). Once again, a leap in ability was preceded by flashback memories of her parents that seem to have been programmed to reveal themselves at the proper moment.

Images courtesy of AMC.

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