I recapped both series out of order, so if you’re looking for an episode other than the current one, scroll through the tag until it shows up. For The Handmaid’s Tale, S2 & S4 are complete. I haven’t started S1 yet and have done about half of S3.
In episode 8, the season finale, Diana and Matthew’s enemies pose a greater threat than they ever have before. Friends, loved ones and new allies rally around them to find ways to thwart the species-separatist side of the Congregation. Diana’s magic and the Book of Life remain the key to a long-term solution, so they need to find a safe place for her to learn how to solve both puzzles.
We pick up where we left off, with Juliette confronting Diana and Matthew in the Bishop barn in Upstate NY. Juliette grabs Diana by the throat as Matthew belatedly realizes an enemy threatens Diana’s life and speeds to the barn to assess the situation. He asks if Gerbert is there too.
Juliette, breaking down in angry tears: “I’ve left him. You abandoned me! And now, you’re mating with her.”
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.
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.
In episode 6, the de Clermonts search for Diana after she is kidnapped by Satu and Gerbert. Satu attempts to torture Diana’s secrets out of her.
After abducting her from Sept-Tours while she was on a morning run, Satu flies Diana to an abandoned castle owned by Gerbert. The vampire waits for them there with Meridiana in her box.
When they arrive at the castle, Satu drops Diana into a courtyard and joins her there. Diana tries to escape, but is met by Gerbert, who is delighted to have seen a flying witch for the first time in many years. He examines Diana, noting that her scent is mingled with Matthew’s. He wonders if Matthew is attracted to Diana for herself, as well as for the Book of Life. “Women, after all, are his weakness.”
And apparently everyone knows it. But then Gerbert knows Matthew so well that he successfully created a vampire lover tailored exactly to Matthew’s tastes. Diana isn’t aware of Juliette yet.
Matthew and Diana are separated for most of episode 5, with him back in Oxford investigating the break in at his lab while Diana stays at Sept-Tours with Ysabeau and Marthe. Ysabeau takes the opportunity to test Diana by informing her about the realities of vampires and of Matthew’s romantic past. Matthew informs Gillian that it’s not a good idea to mess with vampires without backup. The various factions within the Congregation continue to huff and puff about the Covenant and the Book of Life.
Diana soaks in a luxuriously deep tub, recovering from her spontaneous witch water spell, while Ysabeau and Marthe look on to make sure she doesn’t flood the bathroom. Marthe brings her a towel and comments that the ability to produce witch water is a rare power these days. Diana says that she can’t control the elemental magic that she’s producing, like witch water and witch wind. Marthe thinks she just needs time, but Diana wants to visit her aunts to see if they can help her.
Ysabeau insists that she made a promise to Matthew, so Diana isn’t allowed to leave yet. Right now, they’re going hunting.
In episode 4, Matthew brings Diana to Sept-Tours, the ancestral French home where he was sired and where his vampire mother still lives. Matthew’s mother, Ysabeau, is a well known witch hunter, leading to a rocky start for her relationship with Diana. They leave Oxford in the hopes of avoiding further trouble with Peter Knox and the witches, but taking your girlfriend home to meet your mother isn’t exactly the most unpredictable move, so Peter and the Congregation discover where they are before long.
Matthew and Diana drive to Sept-Tours, rounding a section of road that overlooks the picturesque estate and village as they approach. Eventually, we’ll come to know this section of road very well, but for now, Matthew speeds through without giving Diana a chance to take in the view. As they drive through the village, she asks if the villagers know that the de Clermonts are vampires. He answers that they do- it’s safer for vampires to have a community, just like witches.
It’s also the only way the de Clermonts could have lived there through generations of humans without trouble arising.
In episode 10, the season 2 finale, it’s time for Matthew and Diana’s journey to the past to end. But first they need to tie up some loose ends and have another adventure or two. For the first time this season, the episode alternates between the present and the past. Matthew and Diana’s allies gather at Sept-Tours, as enemies close in on them.
Diana continues to practice her spellwork. She uses a magical thread that’s the color of abundance the first time she successfully completes the 8th knot. “With a knot of eight, a spell will wait.” Goody tells her to sense the ninth knot. She can see how it should be formed, but it falls apart in her hands. Goody notes that, “A knot about completion is never easy.”
This lines up with her choice of the abundance thread and the scenes of her happy 16th century family life that are interspersed with her magical practice. She needs to perfect the 9th knot in order to perform the magic that will take her and Matthew home to the 21st century. For now, her heart is too conflicted to allow her to complete the knot.
While they take a break, Goody tells Diana that she can sense another weaver has come to London. She says they’ll wait for the new weaver to approach them, since the weaver’s arrival at this time can’t be an accident.
In episode 9, Matthew must answer to Queen Elizabeth for his failure to return Edward Kelley to England. Diana resumes her magical studies with Goody Alsop and makes substantial progress. Louisa and Kit confront Diana about the spell they think she’s cast over Matthew. Matthew and Diana realize their time in the 16th century is running out.
As was shown in the bookends to episode 8, now that the Book of Life is damaged it has become unreadable. Diana studies it anyway, then hides it under a floorboard in her bedroom.
She tells Matthew that part of her wants to stay in the 16th century and make a family with Jack. Matthew says they’ve already stayed in the past too long. Diana wants to come with Matthew to visit the Queen today, but he says no to that as well. She thinks he’s being overprotective, but he angrily tells her that the Queen will already be in a foul mood with him. Diana would just make things worse. He orders her to improve her magic so they can go back to their own time as soon as possible.
In episode 8, we return to the present day, where Marcus continues to struggle with his new role as Grandmaster of the Knights of Lazarus and his new knowledge about Blood Rage. He’s also still thinking about Phoebe, who left an expensive scarf behind at his house. Sophie goes into labor and gives birth to a baby girl who is a witch, as predicted. The adults around the baby must now focus on protecting her from other creatures who won’t want her raised by daemons. Emily draws Sarah into her attempts to contact Rebecca using higher magic. The usual suspects continue their scheming and infighting.
The episode opens on Diana in her bedroom in 1591, where she’s trying to read the now-damaged Book of Life without much success. The words run around the pages as they did when she got the book out at the library back in season 1 episode 1. When Matthew joins her, she tells him the book is resisting her. Her attempts to understand it are making her feel strange. He tells her that the book is making her ill, which I thought was basically what she just said. Daddy orders Diana to stop looking at the book and come eat something.
In Venice, 2021, Peter tells Gerbert what he’s learned from Edward Kelley’s letters: “Kelley claims to have bequeathed a single page to each of the three species.” He wonders if he was unable to summon the book from the Bodleian because it’s damaged, but Gerbert points out that it appeared for Diana. Peter assumes that Diana had one of the missing pages to facilitate her spell. They need to find one, too. Gerbert will try to get the vampire page from Ysabeau, because who else would have it? Peter says that he’s already searching for the witches’ page.
At Sept-Tours, Emily obsesses over the page that the Bishop house gave to Diana.
In episode 7, Diana and Matthew arrive at Emperor Rudolf II’s court in Bohemia to search for the Book of Life and to check on Edward Kelley for Queen Elizabeth. They reunite with Gallowglass, Pierre and a few other members of their London family, who help out with their quest. The Emperor is quite taken with Diana, which sets off Matthew’s Blood Rage again, threatening their mission.
Diana and Matthew reach Bohemia and ride straight to Emperor Rudolf II’s mountain hunting lodge to request an audience. Rudolf’s guard refuses them entrance, telling them that the Emperor has had enough of Queen Elizabeth’s ambassadors. Matthew arrogantly refuses to accept the refusal, saying that he’s no ordinary ambassador. He won’t leave until the Emperor tells them no to their faces. The guard meekly acquiesces to Matthew’s demand, as if Matthew is royalty himself.