In episode 2 of Always a Witch, Carmen settles into the 21st century as she makes an arrangement with Adelaida to stay at the hostel while working there. She also gets acquainted with a new group of friends, while searching for clues about Ninibe’s disappearance and trying to stay one step ahead of Lucien. Carmen audits biology classes as part of her modern cover story, which brings her into contact with many of the people she needs to meet and increases her knowledge about the 21st century and witchcraft.
It’s so refreshing to watch a show about a witch who fends for herself, without an older male handler acting as a father figure to “guide” her actions and education. Carmen has various friends, advisors and mentors in her life, as any normal person does. But there’s no one in her story whose opinion she allows to take precedence over her own, such as a vampire slayer’s watcher, the Charmed witches’ whitelighter, or the male partner of virtually any fictional woman. In both time periods, Carmen listens to the opinions of others, then makes her own decisions. Not even Cristobal can sway her opinions or decisions for long.
Since I hate the trope that a powerful/magical woman always needs a male handler or she’ll become out of control (looking at you right now, Roswell, New Mexico), I’m thrilled to see Carmen able to think for herself at 18. Once Cristobal teaches her to read and write, she adds those skills to her supernatural powers and begins to leave the mindset of a slave behind. During her arrest and trial, it’s clear that existentially, her mind is already free. The Inquisidor even accuses her of seeing herself as equal to her master. It’s not an attitude she develops in the 21st century.