Freya stands in the middle of a circle formed by Ingrid, Wendy, and Joanna, as the three attempt a spell to break whatever blockage has obstructed Freya’s powers. However, their incantation, which includes a flaming stick that gets passed around above them, doesn’t work, meaning that the shifter has figured out a way to increase her powers and nearly draw even with the Beauchamps in terms of ability. They return home where Wendy and Joanna have come up with another spell meant to draw out the identity of the shifter; they explain to Freya that witches leave a magic fingerprint anytime they do magic and if they’re able to drain her blood, they’ll be able to use it to figure out the shifter’s identity, since the magic is still in her system. They get what they need and help run through the day when Freya lost her powers, only for Joanna to dismiss the possibility of the shifter being Dash or Penelope due to her already testing their mortality.
Well, she didn’t exactly test Penelope, but she plans to do it that night at the wedding rehearsal dinner. While Killian confirms to his mother that he’ll be sailing to Costa Rica and avoiding both the rehearsal and the wedding, Joanna mixes up the ingredients she acquired for the spell and turns it into a paint that she slathers on the blank canvas in front of her. The purpose? The magic fingerprint will slowly be revealed, so until then, she doesn’t want to contact Victor, an old friend of the family who Wendy thinks they should call in as a last resort. Meanwhile, Ingrid brings Freya’s wedding dress into the Bent Elbow and helps her sister try it on; Killian interrupts, seemingly to tell Freya that he wouldn’t be coming, and is visibly stunned by how beautiful she looks in her dress. He listens to her ramble about everything she’s got coming up and wishes her the best before heading back behind the bar.
At the catacombs, Dash calls Amy and tells her to meet him there that afternoon so they can go over the change the wall has undergone. Once covered in Ramus Mortium, it’s now caked in a gum-y liquid metal and he wants to be able to examine the composition of the new material with her. Elsewhere, Mike arrives at the library with diaries that his father used to write in every month, including the final one he had before he lost all mental faculties. The final pages were filled with the phrase A Parching Imbued written dozens of times and he says that Ingrid can help him figure out what that means because she’s a witch. When he saw her defend herself at the charity event, breaking the fingers of her attacker with a few Latin words, he knew she was something and she quickly separates herself from him, though she denies that she’s a witch.
While Dash and Freya stand on the altar and talk about how they’re ready to go on a great adventure with one another, Wendy finds Victor, a professor at Columbia, and tries to convince him to help her recover Freya’s powers, citing the fact that she and Joanna already discussed reaching out to him for help. He hasn’t practiced magic in quite a long time, but he does agree to give her five minutes, just as Penelope readies the torture chamber in the cellar of Fair Haven and Joanna touches the painting, which has begun to turn black on her. Amy arrives in the catacombs looking for Dash and accidentally finds Penelope loading the liquid metal from the walls into a syringe. The shifter then tells the doctor that it’s a poison from another world that’s deadly to mortals before injecting it into her system, killing Amy instantly.
Penelope then visits Freya at the Bent Elbow in her Joanna form and sends the girl flying into the wall. She cuts off a lock of Freya’s hair, gives her a message in Latin to give to Joanna and Wendy, and leaves down 4th street, with Joanna hot on her tail after Freya called to tell her what happened. Joanna almost catches up to Penelope on the street, only for the shifter to get across the street from her and disappear once a large truck came driving by. Wendy gets Victor home and convinces him to stay until Joanna comes home so she can convince her sister that bringing him onto the plan is their only shot. At the library, Ingrid runs into Mike again and tries to get him to leave her alone; however, he’s persistent, mentioning that he knows about the code, and breaks out a large medieval-looking weapon, burying it into one of his legs. The reason? He wants Ingrid to heal him, show that she’s a witch, and agree to help him find the door to Asgard, so he’s decided to appeal to her sense of humanity and compassion. If she chooses not to help him, he’ll die and she’ll have a lot to explain to the police, which forces Ingrid to do a quick incantation, reveal herself as a witch, and heal his leg completely.
Joanna arrives home with Freya and tells Wendy that they should contact Victor, only for Wendy to bring him down from upstairs where he was hiding. When Freya asks who he is, it’s revealed that Victor is her father and she’s understandably shocked by the news. Even though she’s apprehensive being around him, Freya does agree to let him help her and soon enough, she’s outside with both of her parents preparing for the spell. In short, what they do is something of a magical blood transfusion, which requires both parents and can be very painful, especially in cases where a lot of magic is needed in order for it to work. He cuts their palms and almost as soon as they lay their hands in a pile, Freya writhes in agony, so much so that Joanna uses her magic to push Victor away and break the spell while it was in progress. However, this only upsets Freya and she heads inside.
To let off some steam, she goes out for a drink with Ingrid at the Bent Elbow and tells her about meeting their father. While Freya wants to get to know him on some level, Ingrid is totally closed off to the idea, saying that she grew out of the fantasies she used to have about him coming back into their lives and that he missed his chance on getting to know them. At the rehearsal dinner, Wendy serves drinks and immediately picks the glasses back up following a toast from Penelope. The intention? Testing each party guest’s mortality and seeing if any of them could be the shifter. Unfortunately, while the painting is clearing up, Wendy finds that everyone checks out okay. Before they can check on the progress of the painting, Victor arrives, just as Penelope discovers that the painting has revealed her as the shifter and begins changing its contents.
The family has a confrontation near the front door after Victor comes, with Joanna wanting him to leave and Ingrid not looking to hear any excuses as to why he didn’t try to be a part of their lives. However, Freya invited him to the party and she wants the chance to talk with him; when they’re alone, he shows her a newspaper clipping of her wedding announcement, indicating that he’s been keeping up with her, and Joanna interrupts their conversation to tell Victor not to abandon Freya again. Freya goes outside and Dash gets her to go somewhere with him for the time being, while Victor goes into the kitchen to try and talk to Ingrid, only for her to storm out without any eye contact. Dash takes Freya near the water and promises to never leave her hanging high and dry like her father left Joanna, calming down the fears that she had developed since his return; Victor thanks Joanna for taking such good care of the girls and confesses that he’s not been able to forget her even after being apart for centuries, which leads the two to kiss.
While in the backyard, Ingrid gets approached by Mike, who exposes that he knows about both the destroyed first key to Asgard and the second key – Ingrid. He claims that A Parching Imbued is code for the key to Asgard and that she is going to help him fulfill his life’s goal of completing his father’s work. Joanna and Wendy find that the painting is now of the catacombs under Fair Haven and not of a face, leaving them perplexed. Over in the torture chamber, Penelope mixes up ingredients, tells the portrait of her father that she’s going to kill Wendy and come home, and tosses the mixture onto the pipes, causing white flames to erupt and quickly spread. Freya answers a knock on the door and finds Killian there, wanting to say goodbye to her. However, he offers to take her with him to Costa Rica, telling her that he loves her, how he realized he was running toward her vs. running away from everything in his life, and that Dash will destroy her if she goes through with the wedding.
Additional thoughts and observations:
-“Please tell me you did that for dramatic effect.”
-So, hey, the opening scene was similar to one of the pre-premiere ads that Lifetime ran. It had the same effect on me as characters in a movie/TV show saying the name of the project they’re in mid-conversation.
-I think my favorite effect/power on the show thus far is Penelope’s ability to watch events in water. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that portrayed before and it’s always a neat trick when employed, just sinister enough with fun visuals. Speaking of inventive ways to use magic, the painting spell from Joanna was a nice use of a hobby she’s practiced on the show and added suspense to the episode, as we waited to see whether it would work and whether Penelope would catch on to the spell. Witches is treading some well-worn ground in terms of story and tone, so if they can keep doing stuff like this, it’ll allow the show to remain fresher for longer.
-Very curious why Joanna and Wendy think that someone being mortal excludes them from picking up magic. Are there beings in the Witches world who aren’t born into power and seize it for themselves? Also, how could Penelope be read as mortal when she’s been around for 100 years?
-Freya looked phenomenal in her wedding dress. Props to her taste in gowns, because that was immensely flattering on her and felt very much like something she would like.
-I like how Mike went from seemingly normal, flirty guy to crazy conspiracy theorist within the span of an episode. I mean, he was right on about Ingrid being a witch and all, and I get why he made that connection when he did, but using the blade on himself and basically threatening Ingrid into opening the door to Asgard felt like big jumps to make. Compelling stuff, and well-acted from both Enver Gjokaj and Rachel Boston, but still, maybe too much. Unfortunately, this means he’s not the long lost Frederick like the show insinuated last week; he’s just a regular ol’ kook looking to a doorway to a land of Gods. Also, having a human being a key just gives this show even stronger Buffy vibes.
-Awesome of Ingrid to berate her father for being gone for so long, ask him why he never came back around, and then cut him off, telling him she didn’t care what his excuses were. A bit The Rock, that Ingrid.
-I get the feeling that Dash and Freya aren’t getting married and their time on the altar together, pledging that they want to go on a grand adventure together, is going to be the closest they get to delivering vows to one another. Killian saying that Dash would destroy her kind of sealed the fact that she’ll leave him, since she’s been on high alert following the tarot reading; I just don’t know if she’ll go with Killian or pull a Kelly Taylor and choose herself.
-Crazy prediction: during the season finale, we’ll see Penelope bring Archibald back from the dead in order to take on Wendy one last time. Her talking to his portrait, stationed in her torture chamber/lab, multiple times seems to point in that direction, foreshadowing a time when he actually will be there.
-Nobody on the street noticed that there were two Joannas? Leo didn’t come to the engagement party with Wendy?
-Daddy Beauchamp! Hopefully he sticks around for the second season so we can explore his past with Joanna and Wendy, in addition to figuring out who he is, what his powers are, and why he’s been away for so long.
-In two weeks on Witches of East End: It’s the season finale and while Joanna and Wendy discover the true identity of the shifter, Mike takes dangerous steps to complete his plan with Ingrid.