In episode 3, Diana substantially ups her sweater game while she and Phoebe continue their research into the missing pages. Matthew, Marcus and Jack visit New Orleans to convince Marcus’ family to put aside their hatred of Matthew and join the new scion. Gallowglass, Fernando and Sarah bond as Diana’s support crew.
We begin in New Orleans, home of the large circle of vampires Marcus (Edward Bluemel) made after he grew tired of the de Clermonts and ran away from home to join the circus in the 19th century. No, seriously- several of his children were circus performers before they were vampires. Marcus has always had a sense of fun and adventure. When he created a new home and family that was all his own, he made sure they shared those traits, in addition to wanting warmth and love as much as he did. Then the Congregation, Matthew (Matthew Goode) and Philippe took the community they’d built away from all of them again. They didn’t understand why until last season, more than a century later. Matthew earned the bitterness they feel toward him.
Matthew waits outside the courthouse while inside, Marcus speaks to one of his vampire progeny, Geraldine (Genesis Lynea). She and the rest of the family have heard his pitch for a new scion multiple times now and their opinion haven’t changed. They don’t care about blood rage or whatever Matthew wants with them. Ransome (Parker Sawyers), Marcus’ oldest child and the leader of the New Orleans clan, refuses to see him at all.
Marcus continues to pressure Geraldine as they walk outside, then Matthew actually threatens her. Geraldine threatens Matthew back. Matthew tells Geraldine to tell Ransome not to threaten him- as if he didn’t just hear the words come out of Geraldine’s mouth. Geraldine refuses to pass any messages back to Ransome.
Geraldine tells Matthew she considers Ransome her leader, not him. Ransome is the one who led them through the dark time after Matthew’s culling, when they found and buried the bodies he left behind. As she walks away, she tells Matthew and Marcus to go home.
On the walk home, Marcus argues that Matthew is only making things worse. He needs to let Marcus soften up his children first. Matthew thinks Marcus isn’t moving fast enough. He wants Ransome to deal with him directly like a man, instead of hiding behind a
Once again, Matthew takes Baldwin’s aggressive approach to making friends and influencing people.
Marcus tells Matthew that what Ransome needs is an explanation and an apology for the cull. Marcus could smooth the way if Matthew would back off and let him approach Ransome on his own first. Of course Matthew dismisses this plan, because it requires him to admit he was wrong and it wasn’t his idea.
They’re yelling at each other by the time they reach the front door, which is wide open, with broken furniture thrown onto the porch. Jack’s blood rage has surfaced again. This time his victim was an antique chair. RIP, Marcus’ belongings.
While Matthew searches for Jack (Toby Regbo), Marcus decides to enact his own plan. He calls one of his vampire progeny, Celine, and reserves a spot at the regular evening poker game.
Matthew finds Jack in an old cemetery, still in a blood rage frenzy. Matthew catches hold of him and talks him down, telling him to find something to focus on. He reminds Jack to control the rage rather than letting the rage control him.
Jack comes back to himself and sits down. He explains that he tried to stop the spiral with the techniques that Matthew taught him, but it didn’t work. Matthew assures him that his control will improve with time and practice.
Matthew asks if the video Benjamin (Jacob Ifan) emailed at the end of episode 2 triggered him again. Jack admits that seeing himself in the video has taken him right back to the mental state he was in at the time. Matthew tells him that was Benjamin’s goal. By keeping Jack in or on the edge of a rage state, Benjamin erodes Jack’s self control, making him easier to manipulate.
For the first time in a while, I feel bad for Matthew. This sounds like the voice of experience talking. He’s aware that this is how Philippe manipulated him for centuries, but he still hasn’t processed how abusive it was because Philippe wasn’t a monster like Benjamin.
Jack brings out the best in Matthew, just as he did in the 16th century. Jack’s vulnerability and willingness to explore his emotions and trauma gives Matthew permission to do the same, allowing them to rehabilitate each other. And Matthew makes an extra effort to keep his temper in check to help Jack stay calm.
Jack thinks Matthew should have left him in London because Marcus’ family won’t join the scion if they find out about his blood rage. But Matthew wasn’t going to leave a vampire with uncontrolled blood rage near Diana and their unborn children. And he wasn’t going to leave Jack with so little protection from Benjamin while he was gone. Before they leave the cemetery, he reminds Jack that they’re working on a cure for blood rage.
Miriam (Aiysha Hart) leaves another voicemail for Matthew from Chris’ lab. They’re frustrated that he’s been in New Orleans for weeks and hasn’t gotten them any new DNA samples. Miriam tells Chris (Ivanno Jeremiah) that Matthew ripped Marcus’ family apart. He replies, “But you can’t choose your family, right?”
As if he doesn’t understand how vampire families are created.
She tells him that vampires do have a certain amount of choice in their families, but they have to live with their choices for much longer than humans do. Chris says it’s hard for him to imagine the Matthew he knows as a cold blooded killer. Miriam says he was a different person then. He’d been convinced he had to rid the world of blood rage.
Chris: “Even though he has it? The cognitive dissonance is deafening.”
Glad someone in-universe noticed.
Miriam explains that Matthew wants to find a cure in case the twins have blood rage. Chris decides they should get back to work using the samples they have.
Diana (Teresa Palmer) believes that Edward Kelley hid two of the missing pages from the Book of Life in books from John Dee’s library. Phoebe (Adelle Leonce) has researched the history of John Dee’s books and found the current location of as many as possible. She recites a long list of libraries where the books currently live.
While Sarah (Alex Kingston) brings them tea, Phoebe hands Diana another list of books to sort through. The Book of Soyga stands out to Diana, but Phoebe had eliminated it as a possibility because it was stolen from Dee in 1583, several years before Diana spent time in the past. Diana finds the book intriguing because it’s full of ciphers and symbols that took scholars years to decipher. Such a mysterious book seems like the perfect hiding place for a page from the Book of Life.
When Phoebe investigates further, she discovers that The Book of Soyga was returned to Dee in 1595, just in time for Kelley or someone else to hide a page inside. The book is currently in the British Library. Diana says she’ll go examine it tomorrow. Gallowglass (Steven Cree), who’s been quietly siting across the room the whole time, tells her to let him know what time she wants to leave. She’s annoyed that she has to take a bodyguard with her
when there are various serial killers and kidnappers after her and she’s 8 or 9 months pregnant, but Gallowglass tells her he’s following Matthew’s orders.
Actually, he’s following Philippe’s orders, but whatever. I guess Diana’s not allowed to know that yet.
Celine (Francesca Henry) and Baptiste (Ben Wiggins), the vampires who are running the poker game, reluctantly allow Marcus to join the game when he arrives. It’s the first progress he’s made with his clan in weeks.
Marcus is too lovable to resist forever. And these are his children, who don’t really want to resist him. They just want him to send Matthew packing.
Late that night, Diana finds Sarah having a midnight snack- a grilled cheese sandwich, one of Em’s specialties. Diana eats half of the sandwich as Sarah remembers that Em “used to say her best magic was made with bread and cheese.” Diana misses those simpler times. Sarah hugs her and tells her to trust her instincts as well as her intellect.
It’s good to see these two connect. Sarah is eating Em’s favorite food as way to feel closer to her. Diana is so caught up in her quest for the book that she hasn’t noticed the way Sarah is languishing. Sarah is too burdened by her grief to jump in and keep busy the way she normally would.
Now that he’s spending quality time alone with his progeny, Marcus realizes how much he’s missed the New Orleans branch of his family. Celine and Baptiste tell him Matthew is the reason for the lack of hospitality he’s felt on this visit. They’re all wondering who Matthew has been sent to kill and they assume Marcus is part of the murder squad.
Marcus tries to convince them this visit is solely because of the scion, but they don’t buy it. When he complains Ransome won’t even see him, they correct him. Ransome won’t see Matthew. Marcus considers visiting Ransome on his own, but Baptiste discourages him. He says this is what Marcus should’ve expected when he brought the devil back to town.
Diana and Gallowglass visit the Britsh Library the next day to examine The Book of Soyga. Diana pointedly leaves Gallowglass outside the Reading Room. Once inside and settled at a table, she opens the book under the watchful eye of the reference librarian. She casts a cone of silence spell so that she can examine the book closely without the librarian noticing, then she tells the book to show her who’s had access to it. The letters on the pages shift to spell various names, ending with an H that lands on the spot on Diana’s wrist that she opened to give a drop of blood to Father Hubbard (Paul Rhys).
I thought sure the reference librarian was a daemon who had guessed what Diana was up to, but she apparently just thought Diana looked shifty. Diana now has access to magic that lets her break the library rules in peace, every bookworm’s dream.
In his London offices, Andrew is busy inducting a witch into his flock. As is customary, he bites the witch’s wrist at the end of the interview. Peter Knox (Owen Teale), who is waiting for his turn to see Hubbard, turns away in disgust.
Once Peter gets his chance with Andrew, he explains that he’s in possession of a letter written by Edward Kelley about the missing pages. Kelley said he passed one page on to someone he described as both the Angel of Death and the Angel of Life. Peter has deduced that he was referring to Andrew, who sired many vampires from humans who were dying from the plague during the Middle Ages. Andrew deflects, saying he barely knew Edward Kelley.
Peter uses a veiled threat against Andrew to demand the page. Andrew tells him that he knows Peter is no longer on the Congregation and offers him salvation for his crimes. When Peter reaches for his stone ball to cast a spell, Andrew shoves him against a wall and chokes him, threatening to kill him if he tries to cast a spell. When Peter stands down, so does Andrew, offering his blessing before Peter leaves.
Andrew is humble, but that doesn’t mean he’s powerless or stupid about the political machinations of others.
Sarah decides she’s had enough of sitting around doing nothing and books a flight home to Madison, where she hopes Em’s ghost will be waiting for her in the haunted Bishop farmhouse. Fernando (Olivier Huband) disagrees with this decision and rallies Gallowglass to help him convince Sarah to stay. Gallowglass asks what they’re supposed to tell Diana about her disappearance. She promises to call Diana once she’s in Madison, but she doesn’t want to give her niece the chance to talk her out of her decision. She’s certain Diana doesn’t need her anymore.
Gallowglass questions whether that’s the truth. Sarah says Diana is exceptionally goal-oriented, implying she’s currently got her sights set on a goal that will distract her for a long time. Gallowglass reminds her that Diana reads her way out of trouble until she’s formed a plan in her head, then she searches out her aunts to talk about it.
She’s currently in the research stage, with Phoebe’s help, but soon she’ll need Sarah for the next stage.
Sarah acknowledges that this is true, but she doesn’t understand how Gallowglass knows it. Fernando tells her that Philippe knew that Diana would be important so he asked Gallowglass to keep an eye on her while she was growing up, until Matthew could take care of her. Gallowglass says she and Emily took such good care of Diana that he hardly ever had to intervene.
Sarah is still determined to leave. Gallowglass tells her, “She needs you.”
Nowhere in this conversation do they mention that Diana is about to give birth to twins, the most glaring reason why Diana will still need help and why Grandma Sarah would want to stay.
When it’s her turn to visit him, Andrew brings Diana a cup of tea. (If only Knox could see how much more respect Hubbard shows Diana!) He mentions that Peter got there first and her face falls. She explains that she’s looking for pages from the Book of Life. He says that he has one in his possession, but he’s not sure whether to give it to her.
She tells him that now that Peter knows he has the page, keeping it could put his whole flock at risk, explaining that Peter and the witches believe that the Book of Life is the First Grimoire, which will restore the witches to full power. Gerbert (Trevor Eve) and the vampires believe the book shows the origins of vampires, how they can be made and unmade, knowledge which will bring about vampire supremacy.
She asks him to trust her with the page as a member of his flock. He wants her to promise in return that his flock won’t come to any harm in the war the de Clermonts are involved in, but she can’t guarantee that.
Diana: “I can promise you this. If we lose, any chance we creatures had to live in peace will be gone and there will be no reason for Knox or Gerbert to keep up the pretense that we are all equal. They’re already using the Covenant to divide us.”
Convinced, Andrew takes a painting of the crucifix from his wall and removes the page Kelley gave the vampires from its frame. As he gives it to Diana, he says, “I’m trusting you to have the courage to do what needs to be done, Diana. Whatever you may have to sacrifice.”
Else. Whatever else she may have to sacrifice. She’s already been kidnapped, tortured, gone into hiding for a year and lost her parents and Emily to this cause, not to mention giving up her career. And as she just told him, there’s real danger that the witches and vampires will try to wipe each other out in a civil war once the book is found, so it may be sacrifices all around.
Jack sits outside the house in New Orleans and draws. Matthew comments that he’s been at it for hours. Jack says he can’t stop seeing the faces of the people he’s killed and drawing them helps. Matthew still sees the faces of his victims, too.
Maybe Matthew needs a new hobby.
Matthew: “You mustn’t bear the guilt for what Benjamin made you do. He was the murderer. You were the weapon.”
Jack: “Just like you were your father’s”
Matthew: “There’s no comparison. Philippe relied on me to eliminate any threats to the family.”
Perceived threats to the family. Philippe had a lot of grandiose ideas that created the situations he sent Matthew to solve.
Jack: “Because you were good at it.”
Matthew makes a face. He’s still certain that Philippe was always right and that it was necessary to have a dedicated family assassin. Usually the de Clermonts, and vampires in general aside from Marcus and occasionally Domenico (Gregg Chilingirian), don’t question the need to solve disputes with murder.
Everyone in the de Clermont family, male and female, is very good at killing. It’s one of their signature family traits. But if Matthew was caught, they could blame the murder on blood rage- his disability made him expendable and the perfect patsy.
On the other hand, both Matthew and Jack were centuries old adults when the murders in question were committed. In addition to blood rage, they have an addiction to proving themselves worthy in front of alpha males.
Marcus calls Phoebe to check in. She tells him that her research currently has her scouring through libraries. They mention that Phoebe is waiting until there’s a break in the action to become a vampire so they can properly mate. He tells her that Matthew is making the situation worse in New Orleans because he can’t admit that it was wrong for him to kill Marcus’ family, even though both he and Jack are proof that blood rage shouldn’t have to be a death sentence. Worried Marcus will get caught in the middle of his family’s arguments and end up hurt, Phoebe tells him to be careful. He says he always is.
That night, Marcus visits Ransome’s bar, the Domino Club. Geraldine is already there, telling another vampire that Marcus betrayed their trust. When Marcus says he wants to see Ransome, she tries to put him off, but he tells her he’s there as Ransome’s sire rather than Matthew’s messenger.
Ransome is already listening at the top of the stairs, so Marcus follows him up to his office. Ransome knows that Marcus and Matthew are in New Orleans to form a scion, but he views it as a ploy to recruit soldiers for a war against the Congregation and another way to sacrifice Marcus’ children. Marcus explains that the scion is meant to protect them. He describes the controversy over blood rage that’s arisen again in the Congregation and in their family.
Marcus: “Baldwin could order another massacre tomorrow. He’s already ordered Matthew to kill one vampire in his line, but Matthew refused. Matthew is trying to find another way and that starts with a cure to blood rage. You can help us figure out why you and I aren’t afflicted. He can’t change what’s already happened.”
Ransome: “But he can own it, Marcus. Just by being here, he’s opening wounds that have barely had a chance to heal. I’m glad that Matthew’s found his conscience. But I can’t help thinking it’s a couple centuries too late.”
Marcus made a little progress with Ransome when he mentioned that Matthew refused a direct order to kill a vampire with blood rage. Searching for a cure is another sign of good faith. As with Marcus and Matthew, the New Orleans vampires are permanently banned from making more children because they’re blood rage carriers. A cure could potentially lift that ban. Marcus also pointed out that, regardless of how Ransome feels about Matthew, the scion would get them all out from under Baldwin’s rigid rule.
Ransome told Marcus that before he can agree to the scion, which includes loyalty to Matthew as the head of their family, he still needs Matthew to admit to his wrongdoing, face to face, in a meaningful way.
The next day, Ransome finds Jack in the cemetery and questions him. He speculates that Jack likes the cemetery because it’s quiet and he can be alone there. After figuring out that Jack is the blood-raged vampire that Matthew is protecting, Ransome wonders what makes him special. But he doesn’t hurt or even threaten Jack- he just walks away.
Once Jack tells Matthew and Marcus of the encounter, the three men brood about what it means until Marcus gets a text from Ransome. He’s ready to meet with Matthew. Both Marcus and Jack want to go to the meeting, but Matthew decides to go alone.
Phoebe gives Diana an update on her research into the location of the third page. As she lists the owners of the page, they notice that several were daemons. Sarah suggests that since pages were given to the vampires and the witches to keep safe, maybe the third page was given to daemons. For the last 30 years the page has been owned by TJ Weston. It’s described as having a Latin motto that translates as “They all wait silently, connected by secret knots.”
An eerie reference to weavers’ knots and the creature skin the book was made from.
In Venice, Benjamin and Gerbert receive word of Diana’s pregnancy, which seems a little late in the game, given that she’s been showing for months and is now as big as a house. Even in the books, some of the vampires haven’t bothered to update their spy networks to include use of the internet, so maybe whoever brought the news from London took a ship to Venice rather than texting.
Benjamin is confused about how this happened,
reminding us that Matthew abandoned him as a child before he could explain the birds and the bees to his eldest son. Gerbert says it shouldn’t have happened. But Benjamin isn’t repulsed, he wants to know more and is impressed by Diana’s power.
Benjamin thinks it’s time for them to make their move, while Matthew is vulnerable and distracted. Gerbert tells him to wait and let the de Clermonts do their work for them. Matthew and Baldwin are at each others throats already. They can just sit back and watch.
Gerbert: “You don’t interrupt your enemy when he’s in the process of destroying himself.”
Benjamin: “Perhaps I like it better when I’m the one doing the destroying.”
Gerbert: “Good boy.”
These two are my new favorite power couple. More, please. Benjamin has been toned down from the books and he’s so much more compelling. At the same time, Jacob Ifan punched up his portrayal of Benjamin for the modern era, as opposed to the buttoned up Benjamin Fuchs we met in S2. So far this season he’s hit that sweet spot of just psychotic enough to be riveting.
The entire vampire clan is at the Domino Club to guard Ransome while he meets with Matthew. Ransome tells his grandfather that he hasn’t missed him, even though it’s been about 200 years. When he brings up Matthew’s new policy of leaving vampires with blood rage alive, Matthew tells him that things have changed in the last 200 years and now he understands that blood rage can be controlled and possibly cured.
Ransome asks if Jack is under control. Matthew says he’s working on it. Ransome replies with the threat he’s been building to- if he were to obey the Congregation’s rules the way that Matthew did 200 years ago, he should kill Jack without mercy. It’s the first time Ransome has been able to use blood rage to hit Matthew where it hurts without also threatening someone they both love, such as Marcus.
Matthew, softly: “Well then you’d have to kill me, too.”
Ransome erupts in anger, calling Matthew a hypocrite. Ransome and those who were killed were just as much Matthew’s family as Jack is. Marcus and his bloodline had the right to expect more compassion.
Matthew is suddenly the voice of reason, explaining that the Congregation wants to wipe them all out, including the carriers, as a way to oppress creatures and keep them living in fear. Matthew tells them that it’s not really about the blood rage anymore. But he believes the scion will stop the Congregation.
Matthew: “I believe that we should live with truth and hope, not fear.”
Or at least Diana believes that for both of them. Matthew used fear to threaten Ransome and Geraldine yesterday, so Ransome has no reason to believe Matthew has changed. As he told Marcus, he’s looking for remorse, not a pretty speech. He needs a sign that his grandfather understands how deeply he hurt his own family.
Matthew: “I am sorry for what happened.”
Ransome: “No! It didn’t happen to us! It was done to us! Now, if you can’t understand that…”
Matthew names and describes the first of his victims in the culling, Malachi Smith. He describes how he killed Malachi, then continues with his next victim, Suzette Boudrot. As he goes on to his third victim, it’s clear that he stalked each one for some time before killing them. He speaks with emotion as he provides details about each murder.
Ransome threatens to kill him if he leaves anyone off the list. Matthew continues. It takes hours for him to name and describe what he did to all of them. Reliving the murders in front of the family of his victims is as close to a trial as Matthew will ever see for the killings he committed as family assassin and it gives some closure to their loved ones to have these details.
When Matthew pauses near the end, Ransome pushes him to finish the list. Matthew adds, “Jacqueline Lascelle, your mate and the love of your life. I followed her as she left this club. A short way down the street, she bought some flowers and a bottle of wine and then she walked home. And that’s where I killed her. It’s her face I see the most. But they all come back to me. I see what I did and I can’t change it. And I am truly sorry about that. I am sorry for what I did.”
This, finally, is a real apology and acceptance of responsibility. Ransome shakes Matthew’s hand and agrees to join the scion.
During the ride home, Matthew calls Diana, just to hear her voice. He tells her he has Ransome’s agreement. They exchange their other news and say “I love you.” Matthew hangs up when the car pulls up outside of Marcus’ house. Both of his sons are waiting on the porch. He tells them that the meeting went well, then apologizes to Marcus for the culling. Marcus accepts his apology, but they don’t hug or even look each other in the eye.
Benjamin finds Satu (Malin Buska) in the Witches’ Archive in Venice and introduces himself, then invites her to join his plot against Matthew and Diana. Satu plans to take on Diana alone so that she can show Diana she’s her equal. Benjamin is disappointed, but accepts her answer- for now. He gives her a long, calculating look before he leaves.
So many new additions to the cast in this episode. Though Ransome (Parker Sawyers) and Geraldine (Genesis Lynea) are the only ones who get more than a minute, Baptiste (Ben Wiggins) and Celine (Francesca Henry) also make an impression. This might be the New Orleans’ crew’s only episode, but fingers crossed they’ll show up again later.
Ransome’s mate, Jacqueline Lascelle, didn’t exist in the book. On the other hand, Matthew’s former lover, Juliette Durand, participated equally in the New Orleans murder spree. The addition of Ransome’s mate adds emotional consequences to the stripped down story and may be an aspect of Deborah Harkness’ canon that didn’t make it into the books. But erasing Juliette’s role, which denies her importance to Matthew, Gerbert and to the overall history within the story, bothers me.
This episode parallels episode 102, which introduced Juliette and Hamish, using Matthew’s history with them to discuss his longstanding penchant for violence and rage without naming his blood rage or his role as the family assassin. That episode also showed Matthew dropping his defenses and accepting that he was developing feelings for Diana, similar to the way he gave in and allowed himself to become vulnerable with Jack and Ransome in this episode in order to benefit his extended family. Peter and Gerbert plotted against the Bishop-Clairmonts to get the Book of Life in both episodes, but Benjamin has replaced Domenico as their co-conspirator. Peter introduced himself to Diana in the library in 102, then took her to tea. In 301, he precedes her in visiting Hubbard. Both Domenico and Benjamin are more interested in revenge than the book and use violence against women to get their revenge.
Matthew Goode (Matthew) and Toby Regbo (Jack) have some of the best chemistry between scene partners on this show. Their acting is among the most natural together, along with Alex Kingston (Sarah) and Teresa Palmer (Diana) when they’re alone together (which is too rare).
It’s fun for Marcus to have a pesky older/younger brother to get in his way at times.
In the book, Fernando seems to appoint himself as Matthew’s enforcer. This season has me wondering if he reconciled with Philippe before his death and if Philippe charged him with protecting the Bishop-Clairmonts, similar to the assignment Philippe gave Gallowglass. Both men referred to Diana as important when they convinced Sarah to stay, not Matthew and Diana or the family including the twins. What do they know?
Diana and Marcus are the MVPs in this episode, with assists from Phoebe, Ransome, Hubbard, Gallowglass and Fernando. Matthew’s apology helped bring the new scion home, but only after he’d wasted weeks making things worse. It was really Marcus and the diplomatic skills he inherited from Ysabeau who turned things around with his children.
Phoebe has done an enormous amount of leg work to help Diana, which I’m not discounting, but in the end it was Diana’s encyclopedic knowledge of old books and ability to do magic in the library that led them to the 2nd page. Then she used the secret 16th century blood pact she made with Father Hubbard to her advantage once again to convince him to give her the page, showing her own diplomatic skills.
Phoebe is a treasure. It’s only briefly touched on in this episode, but in addition to all of the other reasons Marcus has to be angry and impatient with Matthew, he and Phoebe are putting off their mating and marriage while Matthew and Diana work out their problems. Diana can probably be forgiven for not realizing, since she’s not a vampire and she’s been pregnant with twins since she met Phoebe. Matthew is another story. Phoebe is patient and willing to wait as long as it takes, but she and Marcus have the right to expect more support from his father.
Images courtesy of AMC and SKY.
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