“Second Line” gets a little bogged down in visions and reiterating things we already know, harming the pace a little, but Mayfair Witches still has some potential.
This recap of Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches Season 1 Episode 3, “Second Line”, contains spoilers.
“Second Line” is where, I think, Mayfair Witches starts to sag under the weight of its material. And that isn’t to say anything is especially complex right now, just that there’s a bit too much going on here, there, and everywhere for the amount of progress that the characters and plot seem to be making. If at least three central figures couldn’t experience magical, plot-convenient visions, I’m not sure anything would have actually happened in this episode.
Mayfair Witches Season 1 Episode 3 Recap
You’ll recall that Episode 2 ended with the murder, by persons as-yet unknown, of Rowan’s mother Deidre, and after another brief flashback to 1600s Scotland, that’s where we pick things up, with Rowan cradling her dead mother in a hotel elevator, covered in her blood. This is obviously a bit suspect as far as onlookers are concerned, but Rowan being a doctor lends some credence to her claims she was just trying to help. Carlotta tries to take her away, but she refuses, instead leaving with Ciprien for a bit of speedy exposition.
In the space of one conversation, Ciprien confirms that Rowan is indeed magical, that her adoptive mother knew this and hid it from her, that he works for an organization known as the Talamasca with a mandate to investigate the unexplainable and protect people like her, and that her family have a strong connection to a mysterious entity known as Lasher.
Lasher continues to present himself to Rowan in this episode, though his exact motives and even his powers remain frustratingly nebulous, especially given how often he shows up and how connected he seems to be to everyone of importance to the narrative. Ciprien wants Rowan to stay in his apartment and has some magical protections placed on it so Lasher can’t access her there, but the wily villain starts a fire that forces her out, and she naturally goes wandering towards the Mayfair house and ends up getting drugged by a woman at a carnival. Typical.
This is also Carlotta’s chance to establish her villain bona fides by picking on Delphine, forcing her to wear Deidre’s necklace, and locking her in the basement, where she – presumably being coerced by someone else, probably Lasher – bashes her head into chum against the wall. Mayfair Witches isn’t afraid to get bloody, it seems, and this bit, like Deidre’s neck-slashing, is effective because it’s a bit of brutality completely out of nowhere. It’ll be interesting to see how this tendency manifests as we go.
“Second Line” also feints in the direction of being a murder mystery, but the fact that Ciprien is unable to use his power – he can see the history of any object he touches – to investigate the scene of Deidre’s death means that this whole element doesn’t really have any legs. It’s mostly used as a character development tool, such as when he touches Rowan or Deidre. He’s able to tell Rowan that she was never abandoned, that Deidre would have never willingly let her go without being manipulated, which lends some truth to something Lasher said to her in her drug-induced vision which she had immediately written off as a lie. He’s also able to catch a glimpse of a man who entered the elevator with Deidre and sets the Talamasca to finding him.
None of this is really doing much for me, I have to admit. I think there’s a much better show in the margins of this one – I can easily imagine a spin-off starring only Ciprien, investigating supernatural crimes with his psychometry – that is struggling to make itself known beyond its lackadaisical pace and overreliance on mystery and visions. There’s still time for it to turn things around, though, and perhaps once the pieces start to come together a little it’ll be more engaging.
You can stream Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches Season 1 Episode 3, “Second Line” exclusively on AMC and AMC+.