A Discovery of Witches (Episode 2.2) Review

The second episode of A Discovery of Witches further defines the troubles Matthew and Diana find themselves in. It’s the ‘90s–er, the 1590s, and Matthew is back to his old business. His old business being torturing witches, whom Queen Elizabeth suspects of plotting against her. Diana continues her search for a teacher, despite her initial rejection from the witch.

A Discovery of Witches is not a show that takes the easy route in any case. So obviously, a second powerful figure emerges to drag Matthew further into a conflict he no longer has interest in. This figure, the imposing vampiric-priest Father Hubbard, recognizes her and Matthew’s illicit relationship immediately. Matthew has to make a difficult decision when Hubbard threatens to expose their relationship to his father.

The second episode of the season isn’t all tension and grit, though. While Matthew is busy being the Matthew of his past, Diana finds a coven leader who believes she is the subject of a prophecy. New information about her powers come to light; she learns that she is a rare type of witch, a “weaver” that can create new spells.

In the present day, Satu–the “bounty hunter” witch from season one–also discovers that she is a weaver. Her mother promises that she will help her finish her training. It’s only a brief glimpse of what’s happening in the present day, but it’s definitely an important development. It will be interesting to see if the show eventually finds a better balance between the past and present timelines. So far, the show has focused on the present, only throwing in a few small glimpses of the present.

This wouldn’t be an issue if the supporting cast of Elizabethan England was better fleshed out. Unfortunately, these first two episodes introduce us to a slew of characters without developing any of them. This is only the second episode, so that’s somewhat understandable. However, it does make one wish for more time with Diana’s aunts, or Matthew’s “son” Marcus. These are characters that we’ve already grown to love. Sidelining them would be a detrimental move on the showrunners’ part.

That said, Matthew Goode and Theresa Palmer remain engaging as ever, and the set designs are still gorgeous. Who knows? The people that populate Elizabethan England may end up growing on me if they’re given the screen time to do so. The quick pace of this episode indicates that the writers are still setting the stage for what’s to come. A Discovery of Witches is slow-burn to a fault, but fans will have plenty to keep them occupied here.

A Discovery of Witches is streaming now on Shudder and Sundance Now, with new episodes every Saturday.

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