A Discovery of Witches Episode 2 was tighter and more intriguing than the premiere, but it’s still let down by hackneyed writing.
I want to like A Discovery of Witches, and I feel as though I will eventually. It’s crafting an age-old conflict between witches and vampires with enough contemporary flavouring that it might, eventually, result in some of the magic we’re hearing so much about. Or perhaps that’s wishful thinking.
Either way, A Discovery of Witches Episode 2 was slightly better than the premiere episode… and still not very good. The writing continues to be laughably hackneyed and the plot is thus far little more than vague nods to stuff that might be happening here and there. But what’s actually happening, like, right now?
Well, in Venice a saucy young vampire, Juliette (Elarica Johnson), is sinking her teeth into tourists, much to the dismay of Gerbert D’Aurillac (Trevor Eve), the snooty head of the ancient family she belongs to. And she also has some kind of link to Matthew Clairemont (Matthew Goode), who buggers off to the country pile of a demon buddy so that he can chase down a stag and suck its blood – as a distraction, you see; he’s craving the nosey witch Diana Bishop (Teresa Palmer) and his lusting after human women has apparently gone badly for him in the past. (I can sympathise.)
So there’s that. Also in A Discovery of Witches Episode 2 is Peter Knox (Owen Teale), trying mightily to overcome the script’s inherent absurdity and doing a decent job of it. The introduction of various competing factions gives the show a bit of a broader mythology, but none of it strikes me as being particularly original. That shouldn’t necessarily matter, but if you’re going to peddle rote ideas, probably better to do it with a bit of panache. A Discovery of Witches has some of that in its globetrotting location photography, but not in its plot or its character writing, which is where it would have more of an impact.
The budding romance between Matthew and Diana is also pretty toothless; of course vampires are horny, of course this one nobly feeds on wildlife rather than indulge his baser urges, and of course a reluctant witch tickles his fancy. They’re predictable, these sorts. Then again he can’t spend all of his time peering into microscopes or roaming the Bodleian Library (referred to insufferably as “The Bod” by those in the know) for ancient alchemical texts. Did the witches create the vampires? Can they “un-create” them? No idea. I’m hoping A Discovery of Witches gives me a reason to care.