A Discovery of Witches: 1.05
There was a bit more momentum to last night's episode of A Discovery of Witches, as Diana and Matthew acknowledged their feelings for each other, the Congregation began to act while hostilities between the vampire and witch populations began to escalate. It's not yet a war, though there is a real sense that things will soon spiral out of control.
Returning to Oxford, Matthew discovered that his lab had been broken into; the witches were understandably not happy that he had been testing ancient witch DNA but Gillian's plan to steal the secrets of the lab soon backfired when Matthew stalked her in the street and fed off her. I love how feeding allows vampires to extra memories; it certainly gives them the edge along with their natural long life.
Gillian has been a somewhat frustrating character (though Sherlock's Louise Brealey has brought a believable performance), consumed by jealously of Diana but not having the convictions of her actions. As somewhat of a pathetic character at times, I expected this to be the end of her sorry life, though perhaps her escape and recovery might bring her some of that missing conviction in the episodes to come.
Over in France, Diana learned the truth about who Matthew really was from his icy mother Ysabeau de Clermont. The hunt revealed their dangerous, blood thirsty side but this was not enough to sway her. Nor did Ysabeau's attempts to bring her down to the village chapel which Matthew built 1500 years ago. The loss of human Matthew's wife and child to plague was enough to see him jump from the tower to his death, though it only brought him physical suffering. Ysabeau saved him by siring him, confirming that the familial relationships between the vampires are based on siring rather than their original human connections.
In learning more about Matthew's past, Diana grew to love him more, something he admitted to when he returned to her in France. It's been great to see Diana grow in confidence and passion over the last couple of episodes, facing off against powerful characters like Ysabeau and Peter Knox. With her growing powers, I'm excited to see where that passion takes her in the fight to come.
And it seems as if Matthew and Diana isn't the only vampire and witch partnership forming. The dangerous Gerbert D’Aurillac opened his doors to witch Satu Järvinen at the end; her punishment at the hands of Peter Knox last episode certainly appearing to drive a wedge in their partnership. I'm not sure if Satu or Gerbert are playing each other or need each other, but I'm intrigued too see where this goes, particularly in light of the ending that saw Diana flung away from the grounds of the de Clermont castle (I presume by Satu) and into what appears to be the grasp of Gerbert. His witch head in a box, an altogether disturbing creation, made another appearance too, offering prophecies in return for blood. There was some dark stuff happening here.
There are a lot of things spiralling now; the demons need Diana and are starting to unite despite the restrictions being placed on them. Domenico was using Juliet's desire for Matthew to try and desperate Diana while Ysabeau seems to have willingly joined the fight against the Congregation to protect Matthew and Diana. Diana's aunts still feel wasted and out of touch with the rest of the story, offering only hints and advice at times but with the conflicts, power plays and romantic entanglements happening across the beautiful locations of Oxford, Venice and rural France, they are very much cut off from the rest of this richly developed world.
While there was still an element of setting up the story and continued world building, it seems as if there was enough happening in this episode to really drive the story forward. The teaser for next week's episode looks to be the most thrilling yet though the final three episodes do need to up the ante to pay off on the superb world building so far.