The third season of A Discovery of Witches is upon us at long last and we immediate jump into the aftermath of Emily’s attack, the return of Matthew and Diana to the present, the vampire murders, the Congregation, and the covenant.
The storyline for the series is based on The Book of Life, the third book of the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. While there are some deviations from the source material, it still works for the overall narrative, at least for now.
Here are the must know moments:
Sept-Tours in the Present
As Matthew (Matthew Goode) and Diana (Teresa Palmer) time walk to the present, they immediate enter the room where Sarah is by Emily’s side. Emily though is still alive but soon closes her eyes with Sarah then crying out that the other witch is gone. Diana looks shocked but soon rushes to the other two women as the reality of what is happening hits her.
It’s a chaotic period at Sept-Tours with a lot of folks currently in residence, seeking refuge from the Congregation. Agatha Wilson though soon departs and heads to Venice, calling for a special meeting of the ruling council to hold Peter Knox accountable for Emily’s murder. Hamish and Gallowglass arrive some time later and during a meal with the group of vampires, witches, daemons, and humans, they discuss the challenges they face with not just Gerbert and Knox but the vampire murders in Oxford.
Miriam fills Matthew in that there have been a series of brutal killings done by a vampire with blood rage. Speaking of blood rage, Marcus confronts his father for not disclosing that they were both infected with the disease. Matthew says that his son is only a carrier and that there was no need to know, but the younger vampire icily states that wasn’t his choice to make.
The only positive news to come out of this time at Sept-Tours is that Diana is pregnant with twins! During a quiet moment by themselves as the witch processed the death of her beloved second mother, Matthew says that he hears two heartbeats.
Life at French fortress gets even crazier though with the arrival of Baldwin. Previously he was in Venice with Agatha and had learned all about the vampire murders, the covenant being broken by creatures residing in his ancestral home, the return of Matthew and Diana, and the death of Emily by Peter Knox. Gerbert and Knox naturally try to paint the de Cleremonts as the aggressors and the violators of the covenant but Agatha is able proclaim that the elder witch killed a member of his own species. He denies it, explaining that Emily died using higher magic and that he had to defend himself against Marcus. The daemon though won’t be deterred and moves to have Knox removed from the Congregation. She is supported by one fellow daemon, Baldwin, and Satu in a delicious power move. Baldwin is furious that Knox would enter Sept-Tours without invitation and the younger witch is clearly over being controlled. Agatha then calls Nathaniel and tells him to leave France immediately with Sophie and the baby because they are no longer safe there.
Upon returning home, Baldwin is all about exercising his dominance as head of the de Cleremonts. He has a family only dinner where Matthew is allowed to bring Diana, probably because he is curious about Philippe’s blood vow and wants to see if this is true. During the meal, Marcus, Diana, and Gallowglass all voice their opinions how the world has changed and that the covenant no longer makes sense, but Baldwin is traditional and still holds on to the belief of its validity a means to keep their kind safe from humans.
He also appears to know of Diana’s pregnancy and recalls how this isn’t the first time a vampire and a witch had a baby. Baldwin mentions that Matthew would know more about this and that the witches banished the mother and child (they died in the dessert). The head of the family then casually drops that this was around the time his brother sired Benjamin. Matthew reaches his limit and excuses himself from dinner along with Diana.
As the two walk outside and discuss their immediate plans following Baldwin’s announcement that anyone who isn’t a de Cleremont needs to leave in the morning, she asks him about Benjamin. Matthew explains that after the First Crusade he was in Jerusalem and Philippe dreamt of establishing a homeland for creatures. For that to happen though they had to reveal themselves to humans whom they felt they could trust. Benjamin had been one of them, but then the man threatened to reveal their existence and the vampire lost control. Diana realizes that she thinks she met Benjamin in Bohemia where he went by Fuchs (not de Cleremont) and could hear Philippe’s blood vow. Matthew adds that he turned the human into a vampire so that he could not reveal the truth about creatures without outing himself as well. After the geneticist abandoned him knowing the other had blood rage as well and this proved to be an extremely terrible miscalculation.
Meanwhile Marthe, Hamish, Miriam, and Sarah are all having dinner in the kitchen which is honestly a much cozier atmosphere than the serious event happening in the main dining room (missing however is Phoebe). They dedicate the moment to Emily, whom earlier they had held a funeral for at the Temple of Diana.
Another interesting development is the idea of forming a scion. While smoking outside on the grounds, Gallowglass comments to Marcus that this homecoming reminded him a lot of what it was like to deal with Philippe, and it was no wonder that his father Hugh and his mate Fernando struck out on their own by forming a scion. An excited Marcus then tells Matthew, Diana, Ysabeau, and Phoebe that a full-blooded member of the family could form an autonomous branch to chart their own path. Gallowglass adds that Matthew could take anyone he has sired and anyone they have sired. Diana realizes that their children would then not have to fall under Baldwin’s rule. Matthew however is against the idea because he feels it would be turning his back on the family that made him who he is today.
Moving to London
The following morning, everyone except Ysabeau, Marthe, and Baldwin depart Sept-Tours. This is a change from the books as the group split up with Matthew, Diana, and Sarah (with Fernando) heading to Madison, but this time they all go to London. It’s there where we get our first look at Hugh’s mate as he greets Matthew upon their arrival.
Fernando Gonçalves is one of my favorite ADOW characters and he is wonderfully portrayed by Olivier Huband. I’m so happy that they were able to show a bit of his and Sarah’s relationship in this episode. Fernando offers her coffee and shares a bit of his own story and his grief. The distraught witch says that everyone is focused on scions and vampires with no one talking about Emily. Fernando tells her that he was mated with Philippe de Cleremont’s eldest son, Hugh, for six centuries, yet the patriarch never recognized their union because of his bigotry. When Hugh died seven hundred years ago, his own grief and pain were never acknowledged, but reminds Sarah that her relationship with Emily was accepted by the de Cleremonts (some of them at least!). She realizes that Fernando understands her emotions and adds that the family should acknowledge his loss too. He is hopeful that may happen one day.
Before they left Sept-Tours Sarah gave Diana the page from Ashmole 782 that Emily hid from Knox. Matthew hopes that they can extract DNA from the document to try and learn more about creature genetics. They are still looking to understand the reason their three species are in decline and why some vampires get blood rage (as well as cure for it).
In search of a discreet laboratory to work in, Diana reaches out an old friend, molecular biologist Christopher Roberts. In the Book of Life, Matthew and Diana go to Yale, where both she and Chris teach, to conduct their research on creature genetics there. This time however, Chris is in London and learns about the existence of witches, vampires, and daemons through Diana, Matthew, and Miriam. The witch demonstrates her magic, convincing her skeptical old friend.
Something Wicked This Way Comes
At the end of the episode we see Benjamin in the present get a call from an unknown number who informs him that Matthew and Diana have returned. He then promptly departs and as he leaves his hotel room, we see a few bloodied bodies inside. The poor hotel cleaning staff member screams upon seeing the corpses. He’s apparently been doing some creepy Internet research on Diana.
Back at Sept-Tours, Domenico hands Baldwin an envelope in secret, saying that this contains images from the vampire murders. The devious Italian vampire says that he doesn’t have to be the other man’s enemy.
- In the preview for episode two we see that Benjamin, Knox, and Gerbert all seem to be working together. Makes a lot of sense given their mutual hatred for the de Cleremonts.
- Satu’s rebellion was fun to watch as she is finally able to stick it to the man!
- Fernando and Sarah’s scene together was my absolute favorite moment of the entire episode. It was so meaningful to see them in live action because of the beautiful supportive relationship they have in the books. He was really her main pillar of support in after Em’s death.
- Peter McDonald’s portrayal of Baldwin Montclair was so good! He did a terrific job in showcasing the character’s “my way or the highway” personality and need to control everyone in his sphere.
- While in Book of Life Emily had already died before Diana returned to the present, it was a small boon for her to see her aunt for even a second before the other woman passed.
- The relationship between Matthew and Baldwin was so perfectly captured in the dinner scene! The younger brother having to control and hold his tongue in the face of the elder’s arrogant jabs.
- So far it’s been really fun to see the changes in the adaptation this season and getting to witness characters like Fernando come to life on screen is pure heaven. Can’t wait for episode two!
A Discovery of Witches can be streamed on AMC, Shudder, and Sundance NOW.