In episode 6, Matthew leaves for Poland to find Benjamin and punish him for
being a de Clermont – acting exactly like Matthew – not getting the message that the de Clermonts don’t harm witches any more since Matthew met Diana. And for stealing his grandfather Philippe’s watch. While Matthew is gone, Diana and Sarah set out to retrieve the Book of Life from the library now that they have all three missing pages.
As Ruelle’s song Genesis plays, Matthew (Matthew Goode) and Diana (Teresa Palmer) say an emotional goodbye, then he drives to Poland, where Benjamin (Jacob Ifan) is holding witches hostage and waiting for Matthew to find him.
Diana informs Marcus (Edward Bluemel) that she and Matthew agreed she’d go to Oxford and retrieve the Book of Life while he was gone. In an out of character moment, Marcus tries to talk her out of it. He thinks they should all sit at Sept-Tours and wait for Matthew to come home.
Why would they wait,
when Matthew might never come back? The Book of Life will increase Diana’s power and their bargaining position with their enemies. It doesn’t make sense to leave the pages and the book vulnerable any longer than necessary. Benjamin isn’t the worst danger that they face. He’s a distraction meant to sidetrack Matthew, who their enemies in the Congregation see as the biggest threat among the de Clermonts, since they haven’t been paying close attention.
Matthew didn’t even tell most of the others he was leaving. Diana explains that she’s not going to let his side trip derail their plans. She’s moving forward with the plan to recover the Book of Life and make it whole again. Sarah and Fernando will go with her to London. Everyone else will stay at Sept-Tours to protect Rebecca and Phillip, who are being targeted by the Congregation and will be especially vulnerable with both parents gone.
Diana casts a spell on her library card to duplicate it, creating a new card for Sarah (Alex Kingston). She notes that she should probably make Sarah swear that she won’t bring fire or flame into the building, but Sarah refuses to make any promises. They’re ready for whatever will be waiting for them when they take the book out a second time.
Remember that time, in S3Ep3, that Gallowglass (Steven Cree) had to stand outside the British Library reading room instead of going inside with Diana because he didn’t have a library card? Now we discover that she could have slipped into the ladies room and whipped him up one on the spot, she just didn’t feel like it.
In Venice, Baldwin (Peter McDonald) and Domenico (Greg Chillingirian) arrive at Gerbert’s (Trevor Eve) lair just as he finishes coercing the two quieter daemons on the Congregation into supporting his coup and driving out Agatha. Once she’s replaced, the entire daemon contingent will denounce Diana and support full vampire control. Baldwin tries to protest this move, but Gerbert invokes Philippe’s name and his sponsorship of the Covenant with the Congregation to enforce it. He blames Matthew for ruining Philippe’s honored legacy and calls on Baldwin as Philippe’s only surviving son to honor his father’s wishes. Since Gerbert has just pushed all of his buttons, Baldwin concedes and agrees to support his plan for vampire supremacy.
As Grandmaster of the Knights of Lazarus, Marcus sends Fernando (Olivier Huband) to collect Gallowglass. With Matthew gone, Marcus feels Diana needs her bodyguard.
Which they should have seen coming before Fernando drove Gallowglass away. Gallowglass assumed Matthew would never leave Diana’s side again after the babies were born because if her were her mate, that’s what he would do. He’s not Matthew.
Fernando leaves immediately to find Gallowglass, so Diana and Sarah are on their own as they head to Oxford with the three missing pages. Though they namecheck Peter Knox (Owen Teale), no one seems worried that he’ll try to steal the pages on the way there. In reality, Diana is capable of protecting herself and the pages, but it’s always a good idea to have a partner to watch your back and I’ll never complain about an idea that gives us more Gallowglass. 😉 ❤️
Marcus sits Phoebe (Adelle Leonce) down and explains that if things go sideways for both Matthew and Diana, he’ll take the twins to New Orleans, then go into hiding, maybe for decades or centuries. Phoebe offers to follow him, but he discourages her, because of the uncertainty of the situation.
She asks what this means for their marriage and her siring. Marcus thinks they should reconsider, because if she doesn’t become a vampire she can still return to her old life. Phoebe refuses to consider changing her plans to become a vampire and mate with him. If she’s a vampire, she’ll have a long life and will be able to wait out the crisis with Marcus, which is where she wants to be.
Another inexplicable change from the novel, where Matthew is the only one who questions whether Phoebe should turn. It’s safer to be a functionally immortal vampire than an easily killed human. Phoebe is already a target because their enemies know she’s Marcus’ mate- she can’t just walk away from the conflict at this point.
Fernando finds Gallowglass in a tattoo parlor where he’s about to have his large tattoo of Diana’s firedrake familiar refreshed, since vampire tattoos fade after a few months. Clearly he’s not even trying to get over Diana. Fernando explains that Diana needs him, since Matthew has gone after Benjamin. Gallowglass says he’s done being the de Clermonts’ lap dog. Fernando asks him to help because it’s the right thing to do- the same reason he told Gallowglass to leave Diana’s side two episodes ago.
Of course Gallowglass can’t resist returning to protect Diana and is there waiting by the time Diana and Sarah get to Oxford. As the music swells, Diana runs to him for another huge hug, telling him he’s been missed. He says he’s glad to hear it, tacking on his nickname for her, “Auntie,” at the end. Then he suggests they finish what they started.
Time for a brief check in with Matthew in Poland, where the ominous music and tilted camera angles tell us things are about to get freaky. He parks his car on the side of the road and enters the forest, one scary monster on the hunt for another.
Gallowglass and Fernando decide to keep watch outside in the middle of the quad in front of the library while Diana and Sarah go in alone. Hope nobody decides to sneak in the back door. Diana tells Sarah it feels good to be back in the library, then hands the librarian her request slip for Ashmole 782, as the Book of Life is known to scholars. The librarian sends the request down an old fashioned tube to the basement.
Gallowglass and Fernando use their vampire hearing to eavesdrop on nearby conversations, listening for anyone planning to intercept Diana and the book. When the dumbwaiter arrives from the basement with the current batch of requests, Ashmole 782 isn’t among them. The librarian informs Diana that it’s listed as missing. Diana turns away from the desk, then senses that something has changed and asks the librarian to check the lift again. When she looks inside, the book has magically appeared.
I think they were trying to imply that the library is magically sentient (like buildings in the Harry Potter universe) and recognized Diana after a minute, so it belatedly sent the book into the dumbwaiter, but the cues were badly executed. The book and library act according to a spell cast by Diana’s father, responding only when she requests Ashmole 782. They don’t have minds of their own, though the book does have magic of its own.
Or maybe they are implying her father’s spell didn’t recognize her now that she’s mated with a vampire and had children. That would be hella sexist, so lets hope this show, which has already made too many sexist changes to these books, didn’t go there. In the novel, it takes a while for Diana to get the book once she enters the library, but it’s because the book’s location has changed so that Stephen’s spell can’t work properly and Diana needs to find a workaround.
In the novel, Diana definitely doesn’t act like she’s lost her brain as soon as Ashmole 782 hits the dumbwaiter. That whole thing is just insulting.
Diana takes the book to the nearest table and sits down. She opens it without any fanfare, then casts the same masking spell as she did a few episodes ago to hide her activities from the librarian in the British Library. Once she can work in privacy, she takes out the three missing pages. Each magically seals itself back into the book when Diana holds it in place.
When the book is whole again, it sends out a magical shockwave that extends outside the library. A spy for Peter Knox feels it and immediately reports the event. The pages of the book flip at high speed until Diana slams her hands down on them to still them. While she keeps her hands on the book, its contents flow from the pages into her body.
Staring into space, she goes into a trance and speaks some of the knowledge she’s absorbing out loud: “Here lies the lineage of an ancient tribe known as the Bright Born. Their power, boundless as the night. Their love began with absence and desire, two hearts becoming one when fear overcame them.”
Sarah reminds her that they need to get the book out of the library before other creatures arrive. Diana breaks out of her trance and they cast a disguising spell on the book, then walk out of the building.
Oxford has less security on its ancient books than your average city library has on a paperback romance.
Gallowglass grows concerned because Diana has apparently just been lobotomized, but she assures him that her brain has only been transferred to the lighted figures moving beneath her skin. I’m not sure that makes him feel any better (it definitely shouldn’t), but they need to get away from the library, so he helps her along without further questions. When they get to the car, Sarah removes the disguising spell from the book, sees that the pages are empty, and realizes that the contents of the book have entirely transferred into Diana.
Wasn’t Sarah standing next to Diana when this process visibly occurred?
At any rate, Diana is the Book of Life now.
Gallowglass urges them into the car so they can get to the helipad and fly back to the relative safety of Sept-Tours. Peter Knox’s spy lets him know that they’re on the move.
Matthew finds the abandoned World War 2 era hospital where Benjamin kept Lena and searches room by room. He comes across old shackles, suggesting this isn’t the first time the building has been used for torture and imprisonment. He grows agitated at what he sees and smells as he continues to search, ending in a room set up as Frankenstein’s lab, with a gurney standing up at a steep angle and IV drugs ready for the next victim.
Domenico returns to Gerbert’s lair, concerned about the civil war between creatures he’s encouraging. Gerbert doesn’t consider this a civil war so much as a long over due take down of the de Clermonts, one he’s been planning for centuries. He’s celebrating his success and invites Domenico to join him.
Since Gerbert chooses his words carefully, let’s allow him to speak for himself as he describes his master plan: “So, forgive my jubilant mood, but it has taken centuries to position my pieces on the board… Ever since I met Benjamin Fuchs. Philippe thought Matthew’d killed him, when he’d actually weaponized him. Imagine the sheer poetry of Benjamin being the last thing Philippe saw before he lost his mind. Never let it be said I didn’t capitalize on opportunities as they presented themselves. You’ve played your part well, Domenico. I couldn’t have done it without you.”
Matthew takes out Philippe’s watch and sits down to wait for Benjamin to find him. When Benjamin arrives, it quickly becomes clear that this is the place where Philippe was held prisoner and tortured during World War 2. Benjamin is glad to see Matthew, noting that Lena was an excellent messenger. Matthew says Benjamin didn’t care about seeing him, he’s just addicted to cruelty.
Benjamin and Matthew: The Bond Between Vampire Parents and Children
Like father, like son. Between the two of them, there’s more than enough violence and cruelty to go around. Matthew murdered most of his grandchildren and great grandchildren instead of teaching them to control their blood rage. He slaughtered everyone he could find who had or carried his own illness. He made Benjamin as an act of cruelty.
Benjamin also isn’t the first in his line to act cruelly toward witches. Ysabeau, Matthew’s mother and Benjamin’s grandmother, is an infamous witch killer. Historically, Matthew started some of the most devastating witch hunts and has been famous for centuries for hating witches.
Benjamin wasn’t necessarily lying when he told Jack that acts of violence were the way to make Matthew proud. Maybe he just hadn’t caught up with Matthew’s latest hypocrisies. Matthew is also wrong about why Benjamin wanted to see him- he may not have any parental feelings toward Benjamin, but Benjamin is his biological child and for most vampires that is a profound, lifelong relationship.
Benjamin has never gotten over being rejected and abandoned by his sire. When Matthew rejected him, he didn’t just leave Benjamin to fend for himself physically. He abandoned their emotional bond as well and since he and Ysabeau have been emotionally close and insanely protective of each other for 1500 years, he knew that he was punishing Benjamin’s petty political betrayal of Phillipe with one of the worst betrayals imaginable.
Matthew probably got the idea to punish Benjamin this way from Ysabeau’s terrible relationship with her own sire, which he would know about in full detail from the memories that come through the blood during siring. Feelings and memories are stored in the blood, so both sides learn each other’s innermost secrets during siring, as their blood is passed back and forth and their bond is created.
Benjamin’s concept of Matthew is more accurate than almost anyone’s, though it’s based on who he was almost a thousand years ago and skewed by his own mental illness. Ysabeau, Marcus and Diana also have Matthew’s full memories, each taken at different points in time, so that they each have more or fewer memories to sift through and their own personalities will determine which of Matthew’s centuries of experiences they focus on.
Though the de Clermonts hated human Benjamin and Philippe ordered Matthew to kill him, his crime was to betray the de Clermonts by threatening to expose the existence of creatures and Philippe’s dream of a vampire homeland to other humans. To a creature, this was betrayal, but you can’t blame a human for saying no to a vampire colony. He hated vampires and Mathew turned him into the thing he hated.
So, just like his dad, he’s hated himself ever since, but doesn’t take his own life. Instead he provokes and hurts others, secretly hoping someone will eventually kill him. Before he was a vampire, Benjamin was mentally ill or maybe a daemon and has blood rage as a vampire, so he focuses on Matthew’s violent, cruel tendencies, which can’t be denied. Matthew is more than his dark side, but he’d be depressed and probably violent even without the blood rage.
The novel’s treatment of Benjamin is very one-sided. He’s pure evil, much more so than we’ve been shown here. I appreciate the TV show giving him more nuance, which is mainly due to Jacob Ifan’s line readings. TV Benjamin is still terrible. He never found a way to move beyond his past and worked with the Nazis to kill Philippe, not to mention the serial rapes and witch killings, which the show toned down.
But he’s a much more interesting villain here. I even feel a little bad for the abandoned baby vampire inside him who wants a family and love, just as I feel bad for that part of Matthew who lost his first wife and son and has never gotten over it. But it doesn’t negate the other parts of them.
Benjamin admits that he was the one who tortured Philippe and he was paid for the information Philippe divulged. Matthew is certain that Philippe didn’t tell him anything of value. Then Matthew seems to lose his mind, claiming that Benjamin is living a lie when he sees himself as a wronged son. He rants about what Benjamin has done to the women he rapes, as if any of his son’s acts absolve him from his own crimes. Doesn’t work that way.
Benjamin, softly: “I am exactly what you made me. It’s too late to regret that now.”
Matthew, taunting: “My only regret, my son, is that I didn’t end you.”
Benjamin, still calmly: “No, you didn’t have the courage to kill me outright. Instead, you destroyed me, one day, one drop of blood at a time. Made me into a vampire and abandoned me in a city crowded with warmbloods. Do you remember what it feels like, that new hunger for blood? How it cuts you in two? How strong the blood rage is when you’re first changed?”
Benjamin: “And did you know you’d pass on your affliction?”
Matthew: “I prayed for it. I wanted you to be cursed for your betrayal of my family.”
Benjamin: “Blood rage isn’t a curse, Father. It’s a gift. The only thing of worth you gave me.”
A Word About Blood Rage and Punishment
Throughout their exchange, Benjamin has been much more in control than Matthew, which is fascinating, because Matthew is supposed to be the master of blood rage control. Maybe Gerbert’s toxic methods teach better control than Philippe’s toxic methods or maybe Matthew has a particularly intense case of blood range and we’ve been mislead by the de Clermonts about the range of typical symptoms. Maybe there are many subclinical and easily controlled cases that fly under the radar and it’s only the worst cases that are so uncontrolled that they get noticed.
And the All Souls universe hasn’t explored it yet, but Benjamin is correct- while I doubt anyone would wish for their illness, our challenges do give us unexpected gifts that make us different, sometimes even special and unique. Many who are the greatest in their fields have some sort of underlying disability that taught them how to be adaptable and pace themselves, including famous athletes.
As a person with a disabling chronic illness, blood rage as an oppressed disability interests me, especially as we hear more and more real life calls to let Covid cull the weak from society, signaling a modern rise of eugenicist and Nazi ideas. This may be shocking to some, but I think being killed by Benjamin and the Nazis was a fitting end for Philippe, after he had Matthew kill everyone else with his own illness to protect himself and Ysabeau, in a stunning act of eugenicism and hypocrisy. I’m not okay with the torture. But Philippe had ordered Benjamin’s death at least twice by the time his grandson took part in killing him (his human death and the blood rage purge). Live by the sword, die by the sword.
What Matthew and Philippe did was the same as collaborating with the enemy to save yourself. I’m waiting for karma to catch up with Matthew in a similarly fitting way. I agree with Benjamin. A mass murderer and collaborator such as Matthew doesn’t deserve happiness. If Benjamin deserves what he eventually gets, then something should be coming for Matthew.
Matthew asks why Benjamin chose now for his revenge. Benjamin explains that he waited until Matthew was happy, because ruining his happiness means so much more than taking away a miserable life. And he was intrigued when Diana gave birth to healthy children. He hadn’t realized witches were STILL able to give birth to the children of blood raged vampires like him. In his experience, witches are usually so fragile. Benjamin looks forward to seeing Diana again and testing her robustness.
Matthew tells him he won’t get the chance to find out, then attacks. They fight, toying with each other, with Matthew winning most of the time, but Benjamin gaining the upper hand a couple of times. Eventually Matthew gains a decisive win and Benjamin is unconscious on the floor in the hospital’s long central corridor. Matthew prepares to deliver a decisive blow and says in a creepy voice, “It’s not your fault. I wasn’t a good father.”
He’s stopped by Satu’s (Malin Buska) magic. She appears behind him in the corridor, dressed like she just came from a Halloween party, and makes him shrivel up and keel over. Though in general the sound and music for this episode are overdone and distracting, the stupidly loud thud when Matthew hits the ground is very satisfying, as are his excessive whimpers while he lies there in pain.
I guess Satu has embraced the dark side and feels she should dress the part? Maybe she’s going for Morticia Addam’s or Elvira’s look?? Is her costume a joke? Will Diana fight her in flowing white robes while riding a unicorn?
After Benjamin secures Matthew in Frankenstein’s lab, he finds Satu in one of the rape rooms. She can feel the residual energy from his previous activities there and isn’t happy about it. He tries to convince her that those witches had nothing to do with her, then distracts her with talk of her archenemy, Diana. She doesn’t feel the need to rush her confrontation with Diana. Once again, she proves she’s one of the smartest characters on this show when she counsels Benjamin to just go ahead and kill Matthew now, since Diana will come for him either way.
She even offers to do the job for him, if Benjamin can’t bring himself to kill Daddy. But he won’t go for it. He reminds her that he gets Matthew and Diana is hers. Though he taunted Matthew with thoughts of what he’d do to Diana, now he says he has no interest in her. He’s probably figured out that he shouldn’t admit to Satu that he wants to rape and impregnate his stepmother. Satu gives him an appraising look, then tells him they should be prepared to fight, because Diana will bring help with her to rescue Matthew.
Peter meets Diana’s car at the helipad. Gallowglass muscles out in front of the ladies to take care of him, which I would honestly like to watch. (I’d watch Peter die many times over- let’s give everyone a chance at him.) But Sarah rightfully tells him it’s witch business- she and Diana will handle it.
Peter looks like he’s been on a drunken bender since he got kicked off the Congregation, but he’s still full of male witch entitlement, telling Diana and Sarah they’re not important enough to possess the Book of Life. He demands they turn it over to him or he’ll take it from them. Sarah’s not having any of it, replying that the book doesn’t belong with a murderer. He hurls insults while admitting to murdering Emily, Stephen and Rebecca, saying they were all pests and not worthy of his time. He saves the worst for Sarah, calling her a mere kitchen witch.
While he’s busy gloating over his kills, Sarah begins the spell Diana gave her outside Timothy’s house in S3Ep4.
“Come the wind, capture the dark. Bring the darkness to an end. Scatter him to the corners of the Earth. For Stephen. For Rebecca. For Em.”
He yells that Sarah doesn’t have the power to hurt him. She tells him she has a powerful spell and continues. The spell brings witch wind and dust, which form a small tornado around him until he’s turned into dust and becomes part of the tornado. Then Sarah scatters the dust with a gesture.
Peter laughs at her, until he starts to feel its effect. By the time he takes her seriously and tries to work his own magic to stop her, it’s too late. Diana joins her for the end of the spell, saying Em’s name and holding Sarah’s hand, adding a final jolt of power.
That was a satisfying ending for a character with no redeeming qualities.
When they get home, Diana shows the family that the Book of Life is inside her now. Phoebe gives her a hug.
Domenico meets with Baldwin on the Congregation’s island. Baldwin notes that Philippe designed the circular chamber the group meets in so that no species was dominant. He wonders if Gerbert is right and it’s time for reform.
Domenico says he’s mostly done what he thought was right while serving in the Congregation. He’s believed that Baldwin was a pretty good leader and that the Congregation did right by creatures for the most part. But all of that will end if Gerbert takes control. His rule will be absolute, with no way to change things.
Baldwin thinks there’s nothing he can do to stop Gerbert at this point, thanks to Matthew. Domenico tells him that’s what Gerbert wants him to believe. He explains that Gerbert was behind Benjamin’s actions and the blood rage killings, then says that Baldwin can do whatever he wants with the information, but he’s out of this conflict. Baldwin asks him what he wants in return for the information. To his own surprise, Domenico doesn’t want anything.
It almost feels like what he wants is a date, or maybe a kiss, with their heads so close together in the dark. They’d make an attractive, lethal couple. Not kidding. Domenico hasn’t had this much chemistry with anyone since Juliette.
Diana spends the night writing out parts of the Book of Life that are pertinent to Miriam (Aiysha Hart) and Chris’ (Ivanno Jeremiah) work. They read the pages as she completes them. She says the book shows they’re all connected. By dawn, she’s ready to take a break and check on Sarah. Chris says they’ll try to call Matthew, too.
Sarah is still awake, thinking about what happened with Peter. She tells Diana that she wanted him dead, so she should be happy, but mostly she doesn’t ever want to do something like that again. Diana tells her Peter deserved to die. Sarah punished him for the sake of everyone he hurt and she shouldn’t feel guilty.
Marcus arrives with bad news. Benjamin sent a video to Diana showing Matthew strapped to the gurney in his lab in Poland. Benjamin is draining his blood while keeping him alive using a drug he designed. But Matthew doesn’t have long to live. Benjamin thought that Diana might want to stop by the abandoned hospital to say goodbye.
I feel a little cheated that Benjamin didn’t put Matthew in a surgical gown like he did with Lena. It’s only fair.
Matthew sings a song in the video but I couldn’t quite hear what it was. In the novel it’s the traditional German lullaby Der Mond Ist Aufgegangen, which he sings as a clue to the location where Benjamin’s holding him. Since they changed the story and Lena told the group where to find him, he may be signaling that Benjamin was the one who hurt Philippe. Philippe sang the same song after he was tortured in World War 2. (I keep forgetting that Benjamin didn’t actually kill Philippe. He was rescued from the Nazis, alive but gravely injured. He asked Matthew to euthanize him rather than live with disabilities. At least he was consistent in his hatred of weakness.)
I said in an earlier recap that Marcus and Benjamin reflect the two sides of Matthew, the humanist scientist vs the nihilist assassin. What they have in common is that both of Matthew’s vampire sons share a powerful need to create children and family. It’s been deemphasized in the TV show, but creating children is Benjamin’s main motivator for raping and having affairs with witches in the novel.
That is the opposite of their father, who abandoned both of them soon after he sired them, the difference being that he turned Marcus over to his family instead of abandoning him to be raised abusively by Gerbert the way Benjamin apparently was. Given the way Gerbert treated Juliette and Meridiana, I can’t imagine he treated Benjamin well. This powerful need for family is shared by Father Hubbard and Jack, Matthew and Benjamin’s descendants, who both lost their human families before becoming vampires.
The library sequence was beyond disappointing. I didn’t expect it to be anything like the novel, where it took hours for them to find the Book of Life and Diana’s firedrake was flying in the rafters. It’s clear that this season is a low budget affair with visuals, production design and special effects at the bottom of the list. The gray sludge has descended over the All Souls Trilogy. Then a gray filter has been put over that and a gray wash wiped over the gray sludge and the gray wash. Sometimes I have to try multiple screens before I can see anything, then make a screen cap and turn the exposure up all the way to see any details. There’s just no excuse for that.
This was a pretty show in season 1 and visually stunning for much of season 2. I guess they blew their budget and have nothing left for season 3, because each episode of this season gets progressively uglier, other than a few establishing exterior shots. Maybe they’ve saved some money to do something with the finale, but I expect we’ll spend most of the time fighting in Benjamin’s concrete dungeons and arguing with the Congregation in their chambers. Someone else will be given Diana’s fights or they’ll be gutted, so they don’t have to pay for special effects magic, ruining the entire point of the story.
Back to the library and the Book of Life, which is where this series began. Retrieving it, making it whole and then Diana absorbing its knowledge combined is one of the climaxes of the trilogy. The sequence deserved better than to be shot as a super low budget Harry Potter rip off. That’s right- if you, like Metamaiden, couldn’t figure out why you were suddenly thinking about Harry Potter while they were in the library, this is the explanation. The annoying, cloying, overbearing music during that sequence was straight out of HP. So were the magical camera angles and swooping techniques, though those were cut short and ineffective, since they didn’t want to fully commit to making the library a whimsical, charming place, instead just barely suggesting it.
I would like to write about the witches in as much depth as I write about the vampires, but unlike the novels, the show doesn’t give me the material to work with. Diana’s story has stayed superficial and underwritten. Unless I’m going to write analysis fan fiction, I can’t do much with Diana staring blankly into space or staring blankly at Matthew. I can conjecture about Galowglass’ feelings about her sudden loss of intelligence, since he reacted, but that’s more writing about a male vampire. When the show’s writers decide what to cut from the novel or the director decides how to stage a scene, it’s invariably the witches who suffer a loss.
Sarah has also suffered a lobotomy this season, her mourning turning her into someone who’s barely allowed to speak and who was specifically told her grief wasn’t as important as a that of a male vampire. In this episode she decided she can’t even handle great power, after they changed the way Peter died to give it to her. 🤦🏻♀️ Pretty sure she’s a Bishop witch and capable of handling whatever she takes on, just like the rest of them.
A summary of what we know about Gerbert’s schemes to create infighting between vampires and between witches and between vampires and witches so that no one noticed that he was slowly amassing power for himself and everyone else was losing power: Gerbert stoked Benjamin’s violence and hatred toward the de Clermonts, holding him back from taking his full revenge until the right moments. The two of them were instrumental in killing Philippe in the 1940s. He turned Juliette and raised and educated her according to Matthew’s tastes, probably with Benjamin’s help, so that she would be Matthew’s perfect mate, then sent her to become his spy in the de Clermont nest. He used Domenico as a spy and investigator to bring supposedly impartial information about the return of blood rage to the Congregation, in the form of the murders Benjamin coerced Jack into committing, which put the spotlight back on Ysabeau’s entire line and the suspicions that they carry blood rage. He’s used the memory of Philippe, blood rage and the Congregation’s inflexible rules to manipulate Baldwin’s prejudices and insecurities, exacerbating the tensions that already exist within the de Clermonts. He worked with Peter Knox against Rebecca and Stephen and then with Peter and Satu against Diana and Matthew, turning the most powerful witches of each generation against each other so that their focus was no longer on monitoring the vampires to keep their power in check.
Domenico figures out that the de Clermonts and Gerbert are more trouble than they’re worth. At the end of the episode, I suspect he makes nice with Baldwin and Gerbert in part because he doesn’t want either side to realize he manipulated Juliette into going to Madison in season 1 and he regrets getting pulled into the middle of their war. He just wants to extricate himself as painlessly as possible and stay out of it from now on, hoping Gerbert doesn’t find out he lured Juliette to her death and Diana and Matthew don’t find out he sent Juliette to kill them.
I believe that in the TV show, as far as Gerbert knows, Juliette just disappeared. (In the novel Gerbert is involved in sending her to Madison, but in the show it seemed that Domenico acted alone, looking for revenge after Matthew was rude to him.) That would be a fun revelation for Diana to drop on him someday when he’s in the middle of gloating about something. He’s probably also unaware of Domenico’s conversations with Marcus in season 2 and Baldwin in season 3 and that Domenico actually respects de Clermonts who aren’t Matthew.
ETA: Gerbert references Juliette’s death in the finale, so he knows Diana killed her. Analyzing this season has been a trial, because I’m never sure if the writers have just forgotten season 1 and book 1 and the changes they made or if they’re actively retconning things. Mostly, I think the new regime never went back and watched the old episodes when the show changed hands mid season 2, so they don’t remember certain changes that were made from the books in season 1, but who knows where the inconsistencies come from. I’m just glad to be almost done with trying to make it all make sense. The books are intricately and beautifully layered and all of the puzzle pieces fit together perfectly over all four books, making them a delight to read. There’s no excuse for the nonsense the TV writers gave us in seasons 2 and 3.
Images courtesy of AMC and SKY.