Witches of East End: Box to the Future & For Whom the Spell Tolls

Witches of East End

Witches of East End is one of the most fun shows on television. Edgar Allan Poe is a recurring character. Lady-positive sex montages are a thing it embraces. There once was a tentacle sex monster. No show trades in crazy like Witches of East End, and that’s why it’s a show I love to watch and talk about week to week.

However while the show’s craziness makes it exhilarating, it also makes it one of the most frustratingly plotted shows on television this week. Character motivations and plot points are just thrown around like confetti from week to week and good luck to the brave soul that tries and catches these pieces to figure out what’s going on. One week, Killian’s in love with Eva, then Eva’s bad and mind-raping him, then Eva’s good and trying to reunite him with his true love Freya and we like her again. One week, Dash is a good guy brought down by bad circumstances, then he’s a conflicted man who needs Ingrid to guide him, then he’s a stupid man having sex with people he knows he shouldn’t have sex with, then he’s good again, then he’s all of those in a week. Tarkoff’s dead, he’s alive, he’s dead, he’s alive. And let’s not even try to figure out what was up with Frederick, because that got too confusing to deal with.

Witches of East End, especially this season, was a show that worked great when you didn’t think about. Enjoying the sex montages and family bonding and wackiness was a pure thrill ride. Sadly, it’s just a mess when you look at it from a big picture perspective. What really was the theme of this season? Who were the real enemies? What was the arc? Nobody knows. Least of all me.

I think a lot of these plotting concerns I have would have been eased if the show ended on “Smells Like King Spirit.” That episode would have made a great finale, tying up some of the major plot arcs of the season while leaving dangling some huge plot ends. Witches of East End had a 13-episode season though, and my worst fear when writing about that episode came true: the show didn’t know how to pace itself for those final three episodes and it became a weird mess. Were there powerful moments in between? Absolutely. Joanna’s suicide attempt was a great moment. Edgar Allan Poe was a highlight of the season. But nothing in these final three episodes really hung together and it was ultimately a disappointing effort.

Now, as weakly as I think the season as a whole landed, I still love this show to death. It’s too fun and female-friendly not to. And if the show doesn’t come back for a Season 3, I will miss it terribly. I need my fix of tentacle sex monsters and rough sex and great hair. It’s just when you love something, you always want it to be the best version of itself. And I know that Witches of East End has it in itself to be both bonkers and well-plotted. I hope it gets the chance to prove it.

And after that long tirade, let’s get to what you really came for: it’s time for the final edition of the Most Valuable Witch rankings.

Edgar Allan Poe

You can’t rank anyone higher than Edgar Allan Poe. You can’t do it. It’s not allowed. If this show just was renamed into Edgar Allan Poe of East End, would anyone mind? I doubt it. Thank you Edgar Allan Poe for existing in this episode once again, with your old-timey mustache and terrible Southern dandy accent. I wish Freya took you back to the future with her. It would have made this show the best show on television, character arcs be damned.

Ingrid

Oh poor baby. She loses her powers. She gets tortured by her grandfather. She’s pregnant either by a newly formed psychopath or a tentacle sex monster. Things are not going her way at all. Even still, this show needs Ingrid, because without her nothing would ever get done as every other character wallows in being stupid and inactive. Ingrid makes sure King Grandpa is defeated, she makes sure Freya and Wendy and Joanna get back to the future, and she makes sure to wear amazingly cute dresses all the time. Ingrid is the hero Witches of East End deserves, but just like Batman in The Dark Knight, the show never is able to treat her right in return.

Wendy

So Wendy is in … hell? That certainly looked like hell. And she seemed to be gasping at her sister, Hellena, which — based on this show’s love of puns — sure seems ominous. And just like Ingrid, she doesn’t get what she deserves. She’s been the most consistent character of this season, and she’s wonderful again in this episode. She gives her last life up to save Tommy, who she dragged into becoming bodysnatched by King Grandpa. She makes sure to save Joanna from her Tarkoff-induced drug hell. She is able to be sassy and strong when faced with torture from her father who makes sure to sneer about how he always loved her least. Wendy is a capable, strong, badass female character and maybe the most fully realized individual on this show. If there is a Season 3, I am excited to see Wendy claw her way out of hell, because if anyone can do it she can.

Dash

He’s only rated highly because his body-switching move with Killian at the end of the episode is super smart, if super evil.

I honestly don’t know what to make of Dash this season because the show wanted to do six hundred things with him at once and as a result he became an absolute mess of a character. Look at these two episodes alone: he’s a great friend to Ingrid and makes sure she doesn’t get implicated in his murders, he’s a dumb idiot who is having sex with the FBI agent who flat-out tells him she’s investigating him for murder, he’s the evil genius swapping bodies with his brother, and he’s the conflicted guy in over his head as he digs himself deeper and deeper into becoming a bad seed.

I started this season in love with what the show was doing with Dash, because it looked like they were really going to make him into an interesting Walter White type figure who sends himself to hell through mostly good intentions. Apparently this show has less patience than I do though and tried to send him back and forth on this character journey like he was a boomerang. Make Dash good, make Dash evil, make Dash conflicted. I honestly don’t care. Just please, please, please stick with it. I’m sick of being jerked around.

Joanna

This show never gives Joanna anything to do. She spends most of the time in a drug-induced haze by Tarkoff, then she breaks free of Tarkoff’s spell thanks to Wendy’s quick thinking, and works her way home to send Grandpa King straight to hell. With all of that happening, you would think Joanna would be the centerpiece of the episode and that Julia Ormond would have tons of kickass moments. But she doesn’t. She’s just the deus ex machina that saves everyone else. I gave my Joanna rant last week, but I’ll reiterate the main point of it again: for the lead character of this show, she deserves more to do than just wearing the wardrobe’s department dregs. Maybe Frederick’s death will kickstart her into a righteous anger arc. One can only hope.

Killian

Killian spends the entire episode poisoned after his Barrio Boulevard hijinks because he thinks he’s going to become reunited with Freya that way. Turns out that as per usual, he was being a rash idiot, and that’s not the case. Thank god for true love though because Freya is able to Once Upon a Time him back to life with True Love’s Kiss. This good fortune lasts for all of five seconds though, because Killian’s back to being an idiot six seconds later and ends up bodyswapped into jail with Dash.

While this is yet another instance in a long string of instances of Killian being stupid, I think that this plot development is great news for Daniel DiTomasso. He seems to really do his best work when he steps away from mopey-eyed, lovestruck, doofus Killian and plays around a bit. He was super fun as Edgar Allan Poe and he already seems to be having a ball playing evil as Dash in Killian’s body. Maybe next season, he’ll just get to play both those characters all the time while leaving Eric Winter to make the most out of normal Killian. It’d do wonders for my appreciation of him.

Freya

We were doing so well, Freya! I was liking you so much! And this episode happened which once again reduced you to your True Love with Killian. It was such a dull end for a character who proved to be a lot of fun this season.

That’s not why you were ranked so low though. All throughout this episode, you kept talking and talking and talking about how you were able to read Killian’s soul anywhere no matter what he looked like or what he was doing. That your True Love was so grand that you would always be able to recognize it. However, Killian bodyswaps with Dash and you barely suspect a thing. That seems suspect to me, Freya. You should have some idea about what’s going on.

Frederick

So it looks like after eight hundred false starts, Frederick is finally dead in a move that seems to be setting up Season 3’s witch hating ladykiller (I’m probably wrong though because nobody except Tom Lenk is ever truly dead on this show). Thankfully, before Frederick died we got to see him ping-pong back and forth on the side of good and evil another six hundred times. He was good in the end, as he always was going to be.

Even though I’m ranking him last in the witch rankings, a ranking he totally deserves, I feel bad for Frederick. The show never really cared about him at all to craft a character around him that has goals and motivations and a life outside of his constant flip-flopping in the family battles. He never had friends or hobbies or interests, he was just a plot object and a waste of time. The only time that the show even flirted with giving him dimensions was when they threw him a plot contrivance girlfriend who only existed so he could flip-flop some more before disappearing to who knows where. Frederick never got to serve a real purpose in the plot, and was totally extraneous to the show. In a generally strong season, Frederick was where Witches of East End showed its true colors in its weaknesses of a show based on characters. Frederick could have really been something, an interesting lynchpin in all the family shenanigans. In the end, he was a waste of time.

A few more things …

  • Speaking of ping-ponging back and forth on the dead and alive spectrum, Tarkoff: who was dead, then alive and now is stuck in the 1800s. I imagine he’ll be back in every episode next season, because James Marsters has cast a spell on the Witches of East End producers that leaves them unable to write him out fully.
  • The less said about the Fifty Shades of Dash plotline, the better. It should have been sexy, but it just made me uncomfortable.
  • The Eva and Barrio Boulevard plotline: a waste of time or the world’s biggest waste of time?
  • Can we bring back Freddie Prinze Jr. next season if it happens? Let’s do that. It’d make me so happy.
  • We will never know what happened to Plot Contrivance Girlfriend. I hope she got out of Frederick’s bedroom okay.
  • If I was grading these last two episodes of Witches of East End, I would give them a C-. If I were grading the season on the whole though, I would give it a B-. And if the season ended on “Smells Like King Spirit,” it would have gotten a B+. On the whole I liked this season a lot, I just wish it was better paced. I’m guessing the writers were just getting used to a higher episode count, and they’d be better prepared for the challenges if given a Season 3.
  • And in conclusion, I know this last write-up was a bit negative but I did have a ton of fun covering this show the last few weeks on the site. Thanks to LaToya and The Televixen for giving me the opportunity to discuss and rant about all the crazy East End shenanigans at length! Hopefully, I’ll be back to talk about Season 3 with you guys, or at the very least talk about some other crazy shows here. We’ll see. Thanks for reading!

Photo Courtesy of Lifetime

About Kacey

Kacey is well-known (in her own mind) for her amazing ability to sit through her bad pop culture, her endless love for made-for-TV Christmas movies and her endless quest to be the sassy sidekick in somebody's romantic comedy. You can follow her on twitter at @kaceybange and see her other pop culture writing at POPCULTURECRAZY.