Mayfair Witches Season-Finale Recap: Meet Me at the Witching Hour

Mayfair Witches

What Rough Beast
Season 1 Episode 8
Editor’s Rating 2 stars

Mayfair Witches

What Rough Beast
Season 1 Episode 8
Editor’s Rating 2 stars
Photo: Vulture; Photo: Alfonso Bresciani/AMC

Well, that was weird.

I almost admire Mayfair Witches for its commitment to absolute nonsense at all times. Eight episodes later and basically nothing has been resolved, but we have watched Rowan’s journey from fiercely independent surgeon to literally barefoot #BoyMom who sources her power from her infant son, to whom she is also more or less enslaved. Feminism!

I really thought Rowan called Lasher for some specific purpose, like to see if he could bring Tessa back from the dead. But no, she’s just big mad and ready to burn motherfuckers alive. So now that she’s been thoroughly Lasher-pilled by Tessa’s death, Rowan uses him to set fire to Medical Examiner Keith’s wooden hiding place — a murder she’s demonstrably capable of carrying out on her own, but that wouldn’t suit our already strained narrative purpose. Plus she’s tired of running after Keith through the woods. Finally having collapsed on the forest floor out of exhaustion, despair, and bullet wound, she invites Lasher right into her brain to poke around a bit. Remember how she blew off Tessa like one day ago because she was too busy trying to get Lasher out of her brain?

First stop on Lasher’s magical mystery tour of the mind is Suzanne’s house. “Where it all began,” he says cryptically, voice lowered to maximum husky. Because books are for nerds, Suzanne carved all her knowledge into the walls in magic runes that beam their meaning directly into Rowan’s mind when she touches them (negating the need for any inconvenient and time-consuming studying). The markings’ other magical properties include glowing mystically and healing gunshot wounds, and Rowan is so delighted with this that she and Lasher bang on her 12-time great-grandmother’s bed.

I suppose Suzanne wrote a lot of important things on her walls, but we only care about one of those things right now. The prophecy. The prophecy that says the 13th witch will be “the door.” By which we actually mean “sacred vessel.” A sacred vessel for a new, all-powerful Baby Lasher. I love feminism. I think we’re supposed to view this development as a bad thing, but nothing in the context clues is making that clear to me.

It is clear that Uncle Cortland is evil, though, so that’s one thing that’s reached a resolution of some sort. And, miracle of miracles, it is Ciprien who uncovers the whole horrific truth. Our boy is still negotiating with his ambiguously malevolent Big Boss when they shake hands, and Ciprien discovers that Big Boss’s “gift” is the power to erase, which sets in motion a series of small epiphanies that go like this: If Big Boss has the eraser power, then Big Boss must have been the one to erase the elevator (“a favor for an ally”), from which Ciprien deduces that Cortland must have hired the hit man to kill Deirdre, and the only reason to kill Deirdre would be to bring about the prophecy, and since Ciprien is the one who got Rowan pregnant, that means he has something to do with the prophecy, too, and this is a perfect argument to keep Big Boss from wiping his memory. Ciprien says that without him, the prophecy won’t be fulfilled, which doesn’t actually track but whatever. Cip is on a roll right now.

Cip is granted permission to leg it to the Mayfair House, where he finds Jojo glumly vaping on the back porch in her fabulous pantsuit. It’s about Rowan, so she lets him into the house and leads him to the office, which is also the place where the Mayfairs keep all of their most important ancient family heirlooms and tokens from their terrible deeds. Okay.

Jo leaves Ciprien alone for precisely the length of time it takes him to touch everything in the room, including a Mardi Gras mask from the night Deirdre got pregnant — which shows him not only that it was Cortland, not Carlotta, who murdered the floppy-haired teen but also that Cortland raped and impregnated Deirdre that night. So Cortland is Rowan’s biological father and also an absolute monster. Why did he do this? I do not know. But Jojo is a lot less shocked by all of this deeply disturbing information than you’d think. Cip tells her that her father is an incestuous rapist and murderer, and she’s like, “Oh yeah, actually that tracks. Let’s have you psychic-touch more stuff.”

She takes Ciprien to the family’s magic bone doll (these people truly suck at secrets), which gives him a vision of a woman speaking in a baffling accent and asking the heavens to explain this whole prophecy business. “Taill me of ze prophecy zat began when oor mozer Suzanne first bound hersailf to haim.” Lasher appears and whispers in her ear that “at the witching hour, over the bones of the foremothers, I will embody a form with power that has never been seen before. The 13th witch is the doorway.” Jojo and Cip shout, “Sacred vessel!” in unison and then high-five. Not really, but you get the idea. Also Dolly Jean is at the house, mostly so she can say, “Lasher’s ripening is counted in hours, not months,” so they know they’re on a time crunch.

Ciprien’s big plan now is to find Rowan and kidnap her newborn. (Just boyfriend things!) His Big Bad Talamasca Boss, currently finishing up inflicting magic brain damage on postpartum sister Odette, thinks this is a great idea. In fact, since Odette is conveniently both lactating and unconscious, Big Boss decides to kidnap her as well to serve as a wet nurse for her kidnapped nephew. It’s giving Thomas Jefferson.

At this point, you may start to wonder how literally any of this has anything to do with anything we’ve seen in previous episodes up to this point. Don’t. It doesn’t, and it doesn’t matter.

Back to Rowan. Lasher has sent Rowan on a postcoital funhouse journey through a series of tableaux, each featuring a different generation of Mayfair designees pointing to a clock. “Meet me at the witching hour,” he tells her in a ghostly voice-over, which is not helpful and does nothing to explain why every hour or so, her pregnant belly expands comically like a balloon. Somebody forgot to tell Rowan that Lasher’s gestation period is nine hours, not nine months, so she comes to just as she’s about to go into labor. What — and I mean this sincerely — the fuck.

Because while Rowan’s consciousness has been visiting waxwork figures of designees past, Cortland was driving out to the woods to pick up her body and deliver her to the family crypt, in which there is an altar (very normal), which doubles as a birthing bed complete with marble pillow. For this ritualistic nightmare, Cortland has dressed his daughter-niece in what appears to be the same miraculously well-preserved 17th-century nightie Suzanne was almost witch-hunted in and that astral projection Rowan has been wearing since she slipped into it after sex with Lasher (how?). Rowan wakes up, and before she has time to say, “My body, my choice,” Ghost Suzanne has appeared, and so have the labor pains. It’s the witching hour, baby.

The Suzanne apparition has come to use her midwifing skills to help Rowan deliver her demon baby while Cortland watches from the shadows, and oh my God, I hate this so much. I did, however, laugh out loud when Baby Lasher is born, and his face begins to deform as he rapidly ages à la Renesmee from Twilight. Rowan leaps off her altar in terror and tries to run away but is pursued by her crawling infant. (Question: How did Baby Lasher suddenly acquire a diaper?) (Another question: How is the crypt crypt size on the outside and Notre Dame size on the inside?)

Rowan seems to be hesitating between whether she finds Baby Lasher adorable or horrifying when who should appear but evil Uncle-Dad Cortland. Rowan realizes that Cortland was just after Lasher’s power for himself all along, though it is still unclear how exactly he would access it. Does he just have to pick up the baby? Is it like accepting the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ into your heart? Is there some sort of spell? Never mind; it’s of no real consequence because Rowan decides to scoop up Baby Lasher before Cortland can touch him. Cortland is still smirking and smarming, which is irritating, so Rowan turns him into stone with her eyes, which is something she can do now.

Cip, perpetually arriving about five minutes past the nick of time, pulls up just as Rowan is exiting the mausoleum with her now toddler-age son on her hip. “This is my son,” she tells Ciprien in a dazed, blissful tone that I most closely associate with lobotomy patients. “Our son,” he amends. Rowan is ready to head home to the Mayfair House when she realizes that her boyfriend is trying to steal her baby. So she shoos him away by shooting lighting bolts out of her eyes.

And that’s the end. What a bonkers way to end a bonkers season of television.

Mayfair Witches Season-Finale Recap