“The Thrall” plays with some interesting ideas and concepts as Mayfair Witches finally starts to pick up some steam.
This recap of Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches Season 1 Episode 5, “The Thrall”, contains spoilers.
You can say a lot about Mayfair Witches, and I certainly have over the last few weeks, but “The Thrall” is the first episode I’d describe as legitimately interesting, at least in the way it plays with the concepts of Lasher’s influence and Mayfair magic, especially that associated with the family house. You’ll recall that Episode 4 ended there after Carlotta tried to kill Rowan and accidentally skewered Ciprien, and we spend a good chunk of our time there in the latest episode, though in a deliberately nebulous way that for once adds something to the hour instead of making it tedious.
Mayfair Witches Season 1 Episode 5 Recap
What’s going on in the past?
We’ll get there in a minute. First, though, is the obligatory opening flashback, which I don’t mind addressing this week since it seems to be congealing into relevant context. As expected, it seems to be explaining how the idea of state-sanctioned misogyny under the guise of “witchcraft” takes root in a community. Suzanne and her sister are tending to a woman in labor whose husband is appalled to find his new son has webbed fingers. For this, the new father blames Suzanne and her “tonics”. Later, when the king’s witchfinder turns up with a warning about rooting out witchcraft in their communities, it isn’t hard to put the pieces together in terms of where this is all going. Just in case, though, the resentful man’s furious gaze lingers on Suzanne for long enough to make everything clear.
How does Lasher try to control Rowan?
Anyway, as mentioned above, the present-day Mayfair House shenanigans continue on from the previous episode, but initially in a dream state conjured by Lasher, who is trying to keep Rowan there. Once again, it manifests as Rowan and Ciprien in bed together, where they develop a romantic breakfast routine that seems to last for several days. Neither can recall how they got there. As the stab wound in Ciprien’s side keeps worsening, neither can remember how he got it.
Either way, he’s dying, which Rowan quickly deduces when he begins showing the early signs of sepsis. But there’s no way out of the house since all of the doors and windows are locked. Lasher wants Ciprien to die in the house and leave Rowan behind, but the next best option (for Lasher) is that Rowan strikes a bargain in exchange for Ciprien’s release, which is what she does, despite Ciprien’s protestations. Ciprien is magically teleported to his apartment, while Rowan is left behind with Lasher.
Who dies in Mayfair Witches Episode 5?
Lasher’s time with Rowan is halfway between an attempt at seduction and a tutorial on the breadth of her power. He wants her to understand that through her power she can manifest whatever she wants; he also, it seems, wants her to want him, to dance with him and eat cake together, which Rowan is resistant to initially. But only initially. The problem with power is that it’s compelling, especially for someone like Rowan, who suddenly has a great number of things she wants to use such a power to protect or avenge. Lasher’s manipulation is in allowing her to do so. He already saved Ciprien at her behest. In presenting Carlotta to her, he’s allowing her to take revenge for how Carlotta treated Deidre, and the whole murder attempt last week. How’s a girl to resist? Carlotta ends up falling over the balcony to her death after Rowan uses her powers on her.
Does Ciprien survive?
Ciprien is able to survive since after Lasher transports him back to his apartment, he’s able to summon the Talamasca for aid. But since his sister is present, she’s forced to hide while they conduct some weird magical rituals around him, which succeeds in healing him, but also tips his sister off to the fact that he isn’t in the FBI or CIA after all. This, one assumes, will threaten Ciprien’s position down the line, but he’s more immediately interested in returning straight to the Mayfair house to try and save Rowan again since that has gone so well for him every other time.
Of course, Rowan has already saved herself – from the house, at least. But it’ll be freeing herself from Lasher that proves to be the much more difficult task.
You can stream Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches Season 1 Episode 5, “The Thrall” exclusively on AMC and AMC+.
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