‘A Discovery of Witches’ Season 2 Episode 4 Review: Trouble Brews in the Present

In this week’s episode of A Discovery of Witches, we move to the present where trouble is brewing as Peter Knox, Gerbert, and Domenico plot to destroy the de Cleremonts.

Here are key moment to note:

Knox, Gerbert, and Domenic Team Up

Knox heads to Venice where he tells Gerbert that the Madison coven finally cracked and revealed that Matthew and Diana formed their own shadow cabal of three witches, three daemons, and three vampires in secrecy. The witch is sure that whatever the group is planning has to do with the Book of Life. He convinces the old vampire that they need to pool their resources together if they are to stand a chance against them. Gerbert agrees and shares with Knox everything he’s known about Ashmole 782 since the 13th century.

Previously of course Domenico came to the other vampire with a proposal to help destroy the de Cleremonts in exchange for control of Venice.

Marcus Buys Some Miniatures, Meets a Girl

Marcus is tasked by Ysabeau to buy small portraits of Matthew and Diana that surfaced at the Cooper Sinclair auction house in Oxford. These were previously commissioned by Diana for Jack as she and Matthew were leaving for France and then Bohemia in search of Ashmole 782. In the novel Shadow of Night, the miniatures were painted by the artist Nicholas Hilliard, who was renowned for his portraits of the members of Queen Elizabeth I’s court.

There he meets Phoebe Taylor and there’s some clear sparks there. He wants to buy lot 42 for his grandmother, but she reveals that it’s going to be auctioned off and he won’t be able to purchase it outright then and there. Undeterred, Marcus returns to win the portraits, but he can’t get the items until his payment clears the following day. However, things take a turn for the worse when a robbery occurs at the auction house and the miniatures are taken with a missing security guard. Incidentally, Domenico had been tracking the vampire killer and it led him to the very same establishment where he discovers the very dead personnel.

The next day Marcus returns to collect the portraits when Phoebe explains what happened and that the art pieces were stolen. He temporarily leaves to tell Ysabeau the bad news but upon returning asks Miss Taylor out to dinner. She is reluctant at first but gives in. Meanwhile across the street, Domenico’s been staking out the building when he sees the duo heading out on their date. He follows them of course and shows himself to Marcus discreetly, prompting the other man to tell Phoebe that he needs to call his grandmother again for just a moment. The two vampires have a conversation outside where Domenico asks what the other man was doing at the auction house. Marcus asks the same question back and Domenico instead leans in for a deep sniff. He seems to decide that Matthew’s son is not the creature he is tracking and explains that there’s a vampire killing warm bloods, one man on his way to work and last night a security guard at the auction house. He had caught the scent of the killer and found the guard inside the vault and had to clean up the mess before the police found out. Marcus asks Domenico if he took anything, but the other man brushes it off saying that this is serious. The elder male then adds that whoever did this was infected with blood rage. Confused, Marcus thought that his grandfather eliminated the disease centuries ago but Domenico scoffs that apparently that wasn’t the case. The younger vampire is also to make sure that his date doesn’t ask too many questions.

Despite this run in with Domenico, Marcus’s dinner with Phoebe ends well and as they are walking down the street she kisses him before getting into a cab. Later on she texts him and he invites her over to his house for a night cap. Phoebe confesses that she’s searched him online and was surprised that he had no presence on social media and wonders if he’s even really a doctor because how could he afford this place. Marcus says that he is a medical professional and has family money. She points out however that right now and when they were talking about the robbery it seemed like he was hiding something from her. Very perceptive Miss Taylor! But then Marcus kisses her and she is thoroughly distracted as they head upstairs to his bedroom.

Needless to say some passionate times were had but Phoebe can’t help curiosity and while downstairs in the kitchen to get a glass of water, she finds a bag of blood in the fridge and is confused. Wait don’t all doctors have random blood bags in their kitchen? Then she pokes around some more and finds a box of pictures with Marcus throughout the years in an old soldier’s uniform and many more. Sophie finds her there confused with Marcus soon coming down the stairs. The daemon quickly makes her exit leaving the two lovers alone.

Back upstairs Sophie is upset thoroughly believing that Marcus is hiding something from her and the entire situation is weird that all his ancestors look exactly like him. He finally seems to give in and asks her to take a walk. Their talk doesn’t quite go smoothly though as Marcus eventually reveals that he’s an actual vampire and that witches and daemons exists all around her hiding in plain sight. Sophie thinks he needs help and says goodbye.

Emily Tries to Summon Rebecca Again

Meanwhile in Sept Tour, Ysabeau warns Emily and Sarah to stay indoors since Congregation eyes on them right now with Matthew and Diana’s disappearance. Sarah is especially unhappy about the situation feeling like they are trapped in a prison. Em though is still more concerned about figuring out a way to help their niece. She asks her ladylove what if they could talk to someone who had more experience with the Book of Life, aka Rebecca who must have come in contact with it to leave the page for her daughter. The redhead protests that the last time the other woman tried to use the higher magic it had not gone well but Em brushes it off saying that she’s a lot more experienced now. This leads to Sarah freaking out asking her partner to promise her not to try summoning because it was too dangerous.

Em agrees to placate her but of course in the dead of night she goes off and tries it again. This time she is able to conjure Rebecca for a few more moments, but her spirit dissipates before being able to say much.

Gerbert Visits Sept Tour, Outside the Grounds At Least

Ysabeau meets Gerbert outside the boundary of Sept Tour where the man is surprised that they don’t have their conversation in her home. She doesn’t answer and he comments that he’s heard rumors that she’s harboring Diana’s aunts, which of course must be untrue. Ysabeau nods and agrees with him but he presses the matter saying that they broke the covenant by having daemons and vampires in their abode, fraternizing with other species. Cool as ice, she states that it doesn’t concern of her because she’s never met them. Gerbert is apparently worried that her love for Matthew has blinded her, but she asks what would he know of love?

He doesn’t answer and instead goes on and on about how Philippe’s choices were always focused on the preservation of the vampire species and her son’s chosen mate is now in direct conflict with that. Gerbert also tells her that he knows Matthew and Diana are hiding somewhere in time but he wants to know what they are planning. Ysabeau suggests that next time he should just send her an email rather than travel all this way from Venice to just ask her that.

Undeterred, Gerbert brings up the murders in Oxford and how it was done by a vampire infected with blood rage. She wants to know what he expects her to do about that. He of course is using it as a blackmail tool. Gerbert wants her to side with him and he’ll steer any investigation away from her family. Ysabeau though calm asserts that they have nothing to do with this and walks away. He says time will tell.

 A Baby on the Way

Nathaniel, Sophie, and Agatha have been staying with Marcus in Oxford to protect their lives under the Knights of Lazarus. It’s suspected that Sophie’s baby will be born a witch and that very notion is unheard of for two daemons to give birth to a different creature. However, we learned last season that Sophie herself comes from a family of witches. The unborn child would be in grave danger if the Congregation found out and taken from her parents to be studied. Marcus and Miriam have been monitoring the pregnancy and currently the baby’s heartbeat is a tad bit slow. Marcus recommends that the future mother give birth in a hospital instead of at home like they originally intended. He would make sure that they were well taken care of and protected. Sophie is reluctant though because it would be more exposed. Still, there was still time to consider it.

Nathaniel and Marcus have a conversation later on where the daemon says that they’ll go to the hospital to be safe in case of an emergency. The two men then talk about the Knights of Lazarus and Nathaniel asks what has the order actually done to help people in the present. With Marcus as the new grandmaster since Matthew went back to the past, the vampire pauses and seems to realize that his friend is right. The weight and responsibility of his new position hasn’t quite settled in yet. The daemon comments that the Knights of Lazarus desperately needs a rebrand for the modern age if they are to protect his child and others who can’t protect themselves.

Sometime later, Baldwin appears at the town house demanding that Marcus pick up his cell phone from time to time. The elder de Cleremont male asks if he’s aware of the recent string of murders clearly done by a vampire in Oxford. Marcus hadn’t known but asks what it has to do with the family. Baldwin doesn’t answer and instead wants the younger vampire to turn over control of the knights to him. As Philippe’s only living blood son it should be his. Marcus doesn’t cow though and retorts that Matthew entrusted him with the position. The older man says that his father has been lying to him and doesn’t deserve his loyalty. Turns out that Ysabeau sent Baldwin to ask Marcus to return to Sept Tour.

In France, grandmother and grandson have a serious conversation on his role as grandmaster. He wants to change the way things are done and is committed to make a real difference in the world. Ysabeau is encouraging and says that as the group’s leader he can decide what to do. She also reveals that Philippe created the order to preserve their species but also to protect her as a carrier of blood rage. This of course the disease that currently runs through the unknown vampire that’s currently killing humans in Oxford. She and Marcus are carriers, but it is active in Matthew. He realizes that his father did lie to him years ago when his children were all culled as it turns out not because he had been irresponsible but because some of his offspring likely exhibited the illness. Ysabeau explains that Matthew had been given orders by Philippe to wipe out the disease and had chosen to protect his son from the truth. She says now he knows what is at stake and how dangerous it is if they are linked in any way to the murders, the congregation will come for all of them.

Final Thoughts

  • SO MUCH RED WINE this episode! This was a nice touch as red wine was actually prominent in the books as a beverage that vampires could enjoy aside from blood.
  • Is it just me or demanding to know some very personal things about a person you hardly know a bit much? Ahem Sophie.
  • This episode was a very Marcus focused one which I loved. It’s going to be really interesting to watch him grow into his role as grandmaster of a very old and prestigious order and what he plans to do about it.
  • Interestingly in the books Ysabeau doesn’t reveal her connection to blood rage until the third book (The Book of Life). Curious to see what more from book three they incorporate into the show this season.
  • Who is the mysterious vampire on a killing spree in Oxford and what does he/she want with the portraits of Diana and Matthew? Well if you read the books you know exactly the answer to this heh.

A Discovery of Witches can be streamed on AMC+, Shudder, and Sundance Now.

Nicole Chttps://theworkprint.com
Nicole is the Features Editor for The Workprint. She may or may not be addicted to coffee, audiobooks, and sci-fi.

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