‘A Discovery of Witches’ Season 2 Episode 7 Review: Book Hunting in Bohemia

In this week’s A Discovery of Witches, Diana and Matthew arrive in Bohemia where they embark on a dangerous game to find Ashmole 782.

Here are the key moments from season 2 episode 7:

Arrival in Bohemia

Upon arriving in Bohemia, Matthew (Matthew Goode) and Diana (Teresa Palmer) are escorted by Emperor Rudolf II’s (Mike Jibson) men after Matthew claims that he is more than an English diplomat and seeks an audience with the emperor. The couple are granted a very brief audience with the monarch who clearly does not like Queen Elizabeth’s spy and tells him as much. The geneticist states that they are here to speak with her majesty’s servant Edward Kelly to which Rudolf claims that Kelly is in Prague. Matthew won’t relent and counters that he’s heard Kelly travels with the emperor’s court. The emperor then asks if the other man is questioning him and states that he knows Matthew is a vampire.

Rudolf reminds him that he is allowed on Bohemian soil by his grace when Diana interjects, apologizing on behalf of Matthew who is only pressing her case. She has been hoping to be granted a discourse with Kelly on alchemical texts. This rouses the interest of the emperor who inquires if she has an interest in alchemy to which she responds that it’s been her life’s work. He then asks if he might know her name and she answers Diana. As the shorter man kisses the witch’s hand, Matthew introduces her as his wife. Rudolf scoffs that if Elizabeth’s shadow had taken a wife his spies would have informed him. The vampire suggests that he hirer more thorough ones and the monarch only addresses Diana and bids her to enjoy her time in Bohemia and that perhaps she can teach her husband better manners befitting his court.

An Unexpected Guest

As the two take their leave of the emperor, they are met outside the castle by Gallowglass (Steven Cree) whom they haven’t seen since landing at Mont Saint-Michel. He and Pierre have secured lodging for them but they’ve received an unexpected guest. When they arrive at their home in Bohemia, Diana and Matthew are greeted by Jack (Joshua Blue Pickering) who has arrived there with Francoise. Matthew is super upset because it’s incredibly dangerous for a young child to be there, but the housekeeper felt that she had no choice because Jack was trying to come on his own and he was suffering from terrible night terrors. Diana is thrilled to see her adopted child but is also keenly aware of the perils all around them in Bohemia.

Rudolf Takes Great Interest in Diana

Later that evening, Matthew, Diana, and Gallowglass discuss whether or not Kelly is in the area or not. The Scotsman says that no one has spoken to or heard from the daemon but Matthew says that he doubts Rudolf would leave behind the man who could give him eternal life. Diana asks about the book, but her husband is confident that as long as they find Kelly, he will lead them to Ashmole 782. She comments that Rudolf won’t be willing to relinquish the book since he believes it can give him the fabled Philosopher’s Stone. Suddenly there is a knock at the door and Gallowglass goes to see who it is. The man outside has a gift for the goddess and it turns out that the emperor has given Diana an automaton of her namesake, the goddess of the hunt.

Matthew is on edge as they are preparing for bed with Rudolf setting his sights on his wife. The historian though wants to use this to their advantage and says that the gift is a sign that the emperor wants her to return to the castle. She can bring him back Dee’s book and convince him that it’s something of value. Matthew wants is convinced that they need to focus on Kelly but Diana interjects that they don’t even know if the man is here. He needs to at least let her try her way and she’ll take Gallowglass with her.

The following morning Diana and her nephew return to the castle to offer a gift of thanks but there is an extremely long line of people doing the same, hoping to gain an audience with the emperor. After some time, Gallowglass temporarily leaves her, saying that he’s going to speed things up a bit. As she waits, a vampire introduces himself to her as Benjamin Fuchs, likely having recognized Philippe’s blood vow. He is working as a collector for the emperor and when she asks if he’s a friend of the de Cleremonts, he says that he’s beneath their notice. Benjamin was sadly cast out of his own clan. Though their exchange was brief, Diana should definitely be on guard with this one.

When it seems like the other guests are dismissed for the day, Gallowglass returns and motions for her to come up the stairs. He’s convinced someone that Diana is in possession of painting that the emperor wants but when they are in front of the monarch, the witch confesses that her companion fibbed. She presents Rudolf with Dee’s book but he’s already seen it and it doesn’t hold the answers he seeks. He is dismissive but Diana counters that nothing is useless if one has an inquiring mind. Rudolf seems to relent and asks his guard to send for the rabbi. He then asks her if she is interested in the rare and uncanny arts. The emperor takes her to his collection room and soon they are joined by Judah Loew. The monarch has invited the holy man to his court to translate some works for him. Diana offers him flattery, saying that he has so many objects in his possession that she’d never dreamed off that she expects him to have acquired the philosopher’s stone. Rudolf answers that unfortunately it hasn’t been discovered yet how to create one.

Matthew Sees Edward Kelly

Matthew thinks that Kelly (Tom Mothersdale) must have a laboratory set up somewhere in the area and along with Pierre checks out the local apothecary to see if they can glean more information. They happen to chance upon the proprietor leaving the shop for the day and the vampire comments how it’s strange to be closing so early. Pierre cleverly mentions that his master is the imperial alchemist to which the proprietor says no he’s not. This tells Matthew that this man has actually met Kelly. The man then rudely says that his clientele is exclusive and they should go to the market if they wish to browse.

Once the proprietor leaves, Matthew easily breaks into his shop and is able to get information that the man seems to have an awful lot of appointments with a man named Tolbert at very odd hours that only started about a week ago. Luckily, Tolbert has a meeting scheduled in the books tonight so they’ll soon find out who he really is.

That evening, it does turn out to be Edward Kelly escorted by two soldiers heading to the apothecary. Matthew gives him the queen’s greeting and the daemon asks what the other man wants. The vampire says just to talk and says that he can tell the guards to stand down. Kelly confirms he is a prisoner by explaining that his two companions don’t answer to him. Matthew says he knows that the daemon stole the book from Dee when Kelly angrily argues that the tome is his because it speaks to him. The soldiers drag him away as he begins to scream, “It begins with absence and desire. It begins with blood and fear. It begins with a discovery of witches.”

Diana Convinces Rudolf To Show Her Ashmole 782

Diana and Matthew visit Rabbi Loew and the holy man seems to know that they are creatures. He jokes that a Jew, a witch, and a vampire meeting in secret would send Christian tongues wagging. The rabbi tells them that the emperor is convinced that his people hold secret magic. She then asks if Rudolf has asked him to translate a specific book. He looks over at Matthew and can instantly tell that her husband thinks this is a dangerous question to ask. The rabbi offers the vampire some advice that he should find wholeness in a marriage, not a prison. Matthew takes the rare position of being quite frank by telling Loew that they are seeking a very specific book. The other man says that he knew he was not the person to read it as soon as he saw it.

Once they return to their lodgings, Jack hands Mistress Royden a missive and it turns out to be a summons to attend a pheasant hunt. Francoise ushers the young boy out with Pierre joining them leaving Gallowglass with Matthew and Diana. The couple enters into an argument where Diana is convinced that Kelly will not give them the book so they must go through Rudolf. She wants the emperor to let Loew read Ashmole 782 but Matthew counters that the rabbi will be imprisoned when he is unable to or worse. She then states that she can read and just needs to convince Rudolf to let her. Matthew then reiterates that Rudolf will not let the book go and will keep Diana with him as his new curiosity. She in turn slaps back that her husband just doesn’t like how the emperor is with her and he needs to trust her. The geneticist retorts that this isn’t about trust but then she snaps that he should then let her try. Gallowglass interjects then and says that he has an alternate plan. They should go to the hunt while he breaks into Rudolf’s collection to steal the book. Without it, the monarch will have no use for Kelly.

At the hunt, things go terribly wrong when Rudolf continually tries to undermine Matthew. The vampire is given the smallest falcon to work with but the animal ends up killing the emperor’s prized bird and they are dismissed angrily. Back in their temporary home, Gallowglass returns without the book but shows them a desiccated hand of a witch. He’s also seen vampire teeth and the brain of a poor daemon. Matthew then decides that was the last straw and they need to leave tonight. Diana still wants the book but her husband has had enough of it. Sensing a marital argument about to start, Gallowglass makes a quick departure.

Matthew explodes as the blood rage threatens to engulf him having been so newly mated. Having Rudolf’s scent on his wife is maddening and he angrily tells her that this is why he lied because of this fervent need to possess her once they have consummated their relationship. When he tries to leave Diana casts a fire spell and calms herself and him down, saying that he is not defined by the worst things he’s done and that he is her husband. Matthew is visibly struggling to keep himself in check as she tells him that he is brilliant, kind, gentle and stronger than this. After a few more moments he comes back to himself and the two make up.

After some time, Gallowglass returns and brings them another summon from Rudolf that they’ve been invited to a viewing that evening. Diana states that they have to go and Matthew seems to agree. However, he tells Gallowglass to have Pierre bring Francoise, Jack, and horses for all of them as they’ll likely need to make a quick exit that evening.

Later at the party, the ruler seems to apologize to Diana and he shows her a serpent goblet he is drinking out of, signifying that one should be careful of deceivers. She then takes the opportunity to ask him if there are things in his collection he keeps from the public. When he wonders if there’s anything in particular she wishes to see, Diana answers that she’s heard he has a very specific book that contains the secrets to life itself. But he goes on to say that his trust and generosity have been abused lately and Rudolf makes an example of Rabbi Loew whom he has put in shackles after declaring the elder man a fraud. The rabbi doesn’t argue and agrees with the emperor and is then taken away by guards. The ruler then turns to Diana seething and demanding why he would ever show his book to a spy and charlatan. Pissed, the witch shows him exactly what she can do and brings the small serpent adorning his goblet to life. This of course gives Matthew conniptions as she just displayed magic in public. She coldly tells Rudolf that she is no charlatan and this seems to do the trick.

Rudolf takes her, Matthew, and Gallowglass to his office and through a secret passageway through his bookcase. The trio are led to a large prison where Kelly is being held, Ashmole 782 with him. The situation begins to get chaotic as Diana tries to get the book from the daemon who manages to rip a few pages out. The Book of Life reacts to Diana and its pages come to life before the witch and everyone else to see. Rudolf tells Matthew that he can have Kelly because he has found something far better. Soldiers then come and all hell breaks loose as Matthew and Gallowglass fight them off, Diana grabs the book from Kelly and the three get the hell out of dodge.

They rendezvous with Pierre (Francoise and Jack riding ahead already) and all get on their horses to depart Bohemia.

Back in the underground prison, Kelly is still shackled moaning about Ashmole 782 when a mysterious vampire kills the guard monitoring him. It turns out to be Benjamin and he is very interested in the daemon’s book.

Knox Visits Bohemia

In the present, Peter Knox has made his way to Rudolf’s castle proceeds to tell Gerbert that Kelly had left the three pages he ripped from Ashmole 782 to someone from their three species.

Final Thoughts

  • How amazing is Mike Jibson as Emperor Rudolf II? The answer is incredibly. He had a very commanding presence and had such great chemistry with Teresa Palmer that each scene with the two actors was riveting.
  • When we see the pages from the Book of Life come to life towards the end of the episode, we see what seems of be the tree of life, the alchemical wedding, and two dragons (or firedrake!) entwined with each other. Could this be our first look at a certain firedrake? Hmmmm…
  • The significance of the alchemical wedding should be explained further into the series, not sure if they will do so before the end of season 2 or if they will wait until season 3 to do that. It does though involve Matthew and Diana.
  • Diana’s command of her magic seemed to be a lot improved this episode since first arriving in the past. She was able to summon fire, bring a serpent to life, command the winds, and take the Book of Life out of Kelly’s hands. Previously she seemed to be acting more on instinct but now it is purposeful.
  • At las we have more Gallowglass!

A Discovery of Witches steams on AMC+, Sundance Now, and Shudder.

Nicole C
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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