01x12 - Ashes, Ashes

Previously on "Salem"...

Increase: I will find Mercy Lewis with or without your help.

[Women screaming]

Anne: Are you saying that I am...

Mr. Hale: A witch.

Increase: Tomorrow I shall bring John Alden's case before the board.

Cotton: He is innocent.

And you know it.

Selectman: By order of Increase Mather, I place you under arrest.

Cotton: I've decided to defend Captain Alden.

Increase: To defend?

[Insects chirping]

[Owl hoots]

Mercy: Let the little children come unto me, for the kingdom of the Devil belongs to them.


Sit here, poor boy.

Poor, sweet boy, worked to death by your family.

Every day of your life, making you unfit for burial in the churchyard, so they dumped you here.

[Voice breaking] Alice.

Died in child birth, pregnant from your mother's brother.

There. There, the baby.

Smothered to hide the evidence.

Let mother and child be together.

I am your mother now.

All of you!

And you all are my children.

My father, the good Reverend Lewis, said that there is no purgatory, no place for souls lost between heaven and hell.

But he was wrong.

Earth is purgatory.

We are the ghosts that haunt this land.

Mary: No, Mercy.

You are very much alive.

Perhaps more alive than any of us.

Yet you have hidden yourself like a ghost.

Increase searches everywhere for you.

He will never look here.

Mercy: But my girls.

What of my poor girls?

Mary: He has four of them.

But do not fear for them or yourself.

Soon our grand rite will cleanse this land of the evil men do and the men who do it, like the great flood of biblical times, making way for our new world.

And rest assured, Mercy -- you, your girls, and all your children shall have a place there.

Mercy: [Panting]

Oh, thank you.


But tell me -- tell me so I may reassure them in their fear.

What is it?

What is coming?

Mary: Death.

["Cupid Carries a Gun" plays]

♪ Pound me the witch drums ♪
♪ witch drums ♪
♪ pound me the witch drums ♪
♪ pound me the witch drums ♪
♪ the witch drums ♪
♪ better pray for hell ♪
♪ not hallelujah ♪

[Indistinct conversations]

Cotton: [Thinking] 'Tis an ancient proverbial truth that it requires but one dead apple to rot an entire barrel.

And I come to believe it requires but one apple to make this whole land equally rotten.

And not just any apple, but the malum.

The icon of the apple runs through almost every image we have of the grand rite.

The grand rite brings about death, death on a mass scale.

We know little of its operation, nor the -- the mechanism of magic that unleashes the -- the death that follows.

Only this one enigmatically simple sentence --

"malum est aperta."

"The evil begins."

But I have been misreading it all these years.

We all have, my father included.

"Malum" means "evil," but equally "apple."

And I know believe the sentence to read,

"the apple opens,"

and, by implication, unleashes the death that results.

I believe I have seen that apple, or the box that contains it...

In the house of John Alden.

[Knock on door]


Anne: Reverend Mather?

I know it is late.

Cotton: What are you doing out?

Anne: I'm sorry.

I didn't know who else to turn to.

You are the only one who can help me.

Cotton: Well, then you did the right thing by coming.

Uh...How may I help you, and -- and with what?

Anne: Do you think it's possible to be a witch and not even know it?

Cotton: Um...

I-I think one would know if one had...Deeded one's soul to Satan.

Anne: But what if someone deeded it for you?

Cotton: I can assure you, Miss Hale --

Anne: No. I want more than your assurance.

I want...

I want you to examine me now...

For the mark of the Devil.

Then, you may assure me.

[Exhales deeply]

[Breathing quickens]

Cotton: I feel no sign of Satan.

You seem, to me, in every respect, unmolested by the Devil.

I assure you, Miss Hale, if you were a witch, you would know it.


[Clanking continues]

[Clanking stops]

Increase: Ask not for whom the bell tolls.

It tolls for...

I wonder who will be first.

Who will it be?

Emily: What do you mean?

Increase: Whoever will speak will not burn.


Close in here this evening, no?

Think I'll take some air.

While I'm gone, consider...

Which of you will be the first to confess what the witch John Alden did to you.

Woman: Aah!

[Door opens, closes]

Emily: Mercy, thank God.

We cannot hold on.

He is going to make us turn.

Elizabeth: But you have come to save us?

Mercy: No, it doesn't work that way.

You're not ready to travel as I do.

But remember, we still serve the queen of the night, and she has not forgotten you any more than I have, and there will be a day where she will save you.

I promise.

But for now, you must give that old goat what he wants.

Emily: I'm terribly afraid it's us he's going to serve up.

Mercy: This is surely part of her design.

Her web is greater than all of ours, and she has a vision, a vision of what this land could be.

So do as Reverend Mather asks and speak against John Alden at the trial.

Ancient witches: Malum aperta.

Mary: But why John Alden?

But he is innocent.

It matters to me.

Ancient witch: Mary, listen to me.

To free him would reveal what you are to him.

Ancient witch #2: You think he could love you then?

Ancient witch: Do not lose his love.

Use it for all of us.

That is the sacrifice.

Increase: In all of the literature on witchcraft,

on malice, malum is "evil."

So you tell me why, in this particular case, should it signify "apple"?

Cotton: I have reason to believe the malum referred to here is an actual object, and that object is here in Salem awaiting use against us.

Increase: Well, it's an interesting theorem, but...It fails the most basic tenet of rational thinking.

Tell me -- the shortest distance between two points is...?

-Cotton: A line.

-Increase: Correct.

And often, the simplest explanation is the correct explanation.

Cotton: I'm only trying to stop the grand rite.

Increase: Stop the grand rite?

You? [Chuckles]

Oh, my, the arrogance of youth.

Would you even know how to stop it?

And at what cost?

Or would you like to hear from one who actually has stopped it and has paid the cost?

Cotton: You?

I never knew.

Increase: Many years ago.

In Marburg.

You were still just a-a baby.

The German witches, oh, far bolder than even the Essex witches.

They attempted the grand rite.

Within the space of a month, a dozen children disappeared.

Their bodies were found bled dry.

Their innocent blood soaked the ground.

And as the full moon approached, more children disappeared, and I knew the grand rite was nearing its completion.

So while others searched for the children, I hunted the witch.

And I found him.

He had taken the appearance of a 6-year-old girl, but I knew this was no girl.

It was him.

And I strangled her with my bare hands.

And as the life left that body, the Devil reached out and snatched the body, but I held on.

I was determined that he should not return to his home in hell.

And my hands were plunged into the boiling black tar.

Cotton: Hellfire.

Increase: These hands have actually touched hell.

And they burn me still.

Cotton: But the grand rite was averted?

Increase: There really is only one way to stop the grand rite.

One must kill the witch that began it before the moonrise that ends it.

In this case kill John Alden.

[Townspeople shouting]

It's no secret that John Alden has a cold and a willful hatred for us, for everything we believe and for our puritan community of saints.

And so, it was that a young John Alden severed himself from Salem and, rootless, faithless, and loveless, cast himself into the crucible of war, where he was captured by the heathen Indians.

And that seed of evil within, already a hard and vicious knot, found fertile ground in which to flourish.

And the savage servants of the angry, eldritch gods, they saw in Alden a gift from Satan, a powerful and vicious weapon to be used in their hopeless war against us.

And so, because of his hatred for us and his hatred for one he felt had betrayed him, a powerful and a vicious weapon he became.

Cotton: Sir, this is pure fancy, bald conjecture.

You have no idea what may or may not have happened to Captain Alden while fighting for all our lives against the Indians or when he was held their captive.

Increase: Well, then, let him speak.

Let Alden tell us here and now exactly what transpired during that long period of time when you were lost amongst the savages.

Speak, man.



All those years, what could he have been doing?

I will tell you.

Like Satan in the book of Job, he was walking to and fro upon the earth mastering the tools of malice, learning the dark art of sending demonic familiars to do his bidding at a distance.

You will observe, here, upon his neck...

[Spectators murmur]

An iron-hard, raised lump with a hole, and it was here where he suckles his familiars.

John: [Chuckles]

[Spectators gasp]

Increase: You will not laugh again.

I'm sure you have laughed many times to think how, beneath the very nose of a devoted young wife, you turned our leader, a once robust George Sibley, into a suffering heap that he is today.

And after you had undermined the pillar of our community, you unleashed a campaign of terror.

It was Alden who projected that specter of dread, the night hag, to terrorize Mercy Lewis.

And you will ask, "why? Why Mercy Lewis?"

Well, perhaps it was because her father, the good Reverend Lewis, married Alden's bitterly lost love to a hated rival, or perhaps it was just to show that no one in Salem is safe, not even the daughter of a blessed Reverend.


You attended Mercy Lewis.

You had no doubt as to what ailed her.

Cotton: She was indeed under spectral attack, but Captain Alden --

Increase: Captain Alden -- what did he say when he witnessed such an attack?

Cotton: He cast some doubt upon it.

Increase: Some doubt!

I am told...

He said it was...


[Spectators murmur]

And he said that prayers were worthless.

Prayer? Worthless?


Ask yourselves -- every time we have attempted to catch and stop a witch, who has risen up to defend them?

Who alone among us, in encounter, time after time, with witches has emerged with nary a scratch upon him?

Whose name was on Giles Corey's lips as he died?

Who has proclaimed that he will see every man here in his grave?

And who stood up to defend Bridget Bishop even in the very sight of the monstrosity she had created?

I swear to you this man condemns himself every time he opens his mouth.

And like Satan in the garden of eden, John Alden understands that women are the open doorway through which evil enters to poison us all.

How many women, young and old, good and bad, has Alden bewitched?

It has been seen that John Alden attempted to seduce even the highest women in the land.

Mary Sibley.

Did not the accused forcibly enter your house, nay, into your very boudoir, in the dead of night?

Mary: Would I allow such a thing?

Increase: I do not know.

But your servant man has testified that Alden did indeed forcibly make entry in the night.

Mary: He came to discuss politics.

-Increase: Politics?

-Mary: Indeed.

To announce his intention to take his father's seat on the select board.

Increase: In the middle of the night?

Miss Hale.

The accused was seen kissing you forcibly in public.

There is no blame attached to you.

You are a -- a slight and defenseless slip of a girl.

But do you deny it?

Anne: He did.

[Spectators gasp]

Increase: He did.

A snake in the grass is what John Alden was and what John Alden is.

And when he was not attempting to seduce his betters, he was satiating his own inhuman lusts in roomfuls of whores in the brothel run by his very own witches.

[Spectators murmuring]

And, worst of all, I think, the tender, young maidens of Salem, so eager to fall prey to his serpentine ways.

Emily: Mercy told us it was -- it was John Alden who came I-in the shadows in the night, that he -- he kissed and licked and bit every part of her.

But he bewitched her so she might not name his name but she might blame all on the hag.

He took her in the night in spectral form and gave her body and soul to the Devil himself.

[Spectators gasp, murmur]

And she -- she drew us in after that w-with magical tricks a-and games.

And, soon, we were dancing in the woods with him, where we touched each other and, one after the other, laid with him.

Cotton: Really?

All of you?

Are you saying, Emily...

That you are not a maiden?

If I were to examine you, have one of the women here examine you...

They would find that you are not intact?

Emily: He -- he has tongue and fingers and invisible instruments of -- of pleasure.

Cotton: Ah.

Emily: But I-I had my eyes closed.

I don't know what he did.

Cotton: These are phantasms, fabrications of the mind.

And who here among us has not had, even involuntarily, some heated thoughts?

This girl has been overwhelmed by them.

Especially in the face of extreme torture by my own father.

Put to the rack, threatened with death, even an innocent girl might think herself a witch, and any man around her a Devil.

[Spectators murmur]

I submit to you that everything you have seen here today is the result of torture worthy of the inquisition!

Who is it who has really violated women?

John Alden?

Or one who possesses...

And uses...

Tools such as this?!

[Spectators gasp]

Increase: How dare you?

Cotton: No, sir! How dare you?!

[Spectators clamoring]

Increase: This session is suspended for the day!

We will resume in the morning when tempers have cooled.

John: The whole town wants to hang me like I'm some kind of monster, like I possess some dark, magic power.

Cotton: And you do.

John: Oh, not you, too.

Cotton: No.

Don't believe you're a witch.

But I do believe you possess something of dark, magic power.

Where is the malum?

John: What?

Cotton: The box.

The box you found that lured that infernal witch to your house.

John: Why?

Cotton: I believe it is the fabled malum, the key to the grand rite.

John: This more of your book nonsense?

Cotton: That box covered in images --

I believe it is the greatest weapon of the witches, that it contains some kind of supernatural agent of destruction which will open when the grand rite is completed, releasing its doom upon us like...

Like the myth of Pandora.

John: Look, if that thing is what you say it is, and your father knows that I have it, that is the final nail in my coffin.

Cotton: And what if it's the only chance we have?

John: Giles has it.

Cotton: Giles?

Giles Corey is dead.

John: And I buried it in his grave.

Cotton: [Inhales deeply]


Increase: [Grunts] You know what to do with it?

Cotton: Father, I must speak to you.

Increase: What now? More disrespect?

Cotton: No.


I still think what you do is fundamentally wrong, that there must be other ways, but... I am afraid. Deathly afraid. I fear, while we disagree on methods, we are both determined to stop the grand rite.

Increase: Well... I'm gratified that you at least acknowledge that.

Cotton: The malum is here. Or was. I saw it. I touched it, even.

Increase: Indeed? Then where is it?

Cotton: I don't know.

Increase: Well... Tell me where you saw it.

Cotton: In John Alden's house. Father, you don't understand. He was helping me. It was he who trapped the witch and carried her with me to the woods to question and kill her.

Increase: You don't understand. In some respects, the witches are not unlike us. They have factions. They have power struggles. Your friend Alden was not trying to catch a witch. He was eliminating a rival. You are blinded by your own doubt, and it will destroy you!

If I grant you that there is a possibility that Alden is innocent, can you not grant the possibility that there is a 1 in 10, nay, a 1 in 100 chance that I am right?! And if I am, thousands will perish. The nation itself may fall.

Can we take that chance? I cannot. Can you? I tell you, Cotton, you do not know this man nearly as well as you think you do.

Cotton: I searched Giles Corey's grave. The malum wasn't there.

John: That's impossible. I buried it myself.

Cotton: Who else knew?

John: No one. Just you. And you don't believe me.

Cotton: I'm not sure what to believe. I am certain only of two things. All our lives may depend on finding and destroying the malum.

John: And?

Cotton: And you are being less than honest with me.

John: I've told you everything.

[Townspeople shouting]

John: What the hell is going on?!

Selectman: Get up.

Woman: [Sobbing]

John: Those girls are innocent!

Emily: No!


Forgive me!

It's the only thing I regret -- lying about you!

John: Look, I know what they did to you.

It's not your fault.

Selectman: Get over here!

Emily: [Sobs]

John: Damn you!

Do something! They're just girls!

[Girls sobbing]

[Townspeople shouting]

Emily: You! You promised you'd spare us!

Increase: I am sparing you the flames of this world and of the next.

You will not suffer long.

A full measure of Mercy is being added to your legs.

Cotton: Let go of me!

Father, you lied!

You promised these girls they wouldn't --

Increase: Burn.

Nor shall they.

Cotton: Don't do this, father.

How can this possibly help?

You said yourself they were victims!

Increase: Sad but true.

But they're tainted... By the Devil.

I fear they carry his very seed.

Cotton: How can you be certain?

Increase: I am certain.

I am certain of the threat they pose to Salem, just as I am certain that your weakness poses a threat.

But above all, I am certain that, like a surgeon, I have no choice but to cut out the malignant manifestation of malice before it can spread any further.

Cotton: No! Stop!

Emily: Please help me! Please! Please!

Selectman: Get back!

[Girls gasp]

Woman: Burn in hell!

Let them burn!

[Townspeople shouting]

John: [Gasps]

Dollie: [Sobs]


Where are you?!


Mercy: What is it?

Dollie, what has happened?

Dollie: Emily, Elizabeth, Susanna, and Charity --

Increase Mather has hung them all.

You swore that they would be safe, but they're dead!

All of them have been killed!

You said your master would protect us, and she did nothing!


Mercy: Go back to Salem.

Gather the young, the poor, the suffering.

They will be our army.

A new day is upon us.

And that new day demands a new queen of the night!

[Church bell tolls]

Increase: I know that so many of you find it hard to accept, impossible to believe that John Alden, son of one of our founders and a brave soldier in our defense, is guilty of malefic witchcraft.



Suspend your belief or not. It doesn't matter.

The only thing that matters is that Alden...Be convicted and sentenced for what he truly is, a traitor and a murderer.

Cotton: What?

Whatever do you mean?

Increase: I submit that while John Alden was with the Indians, he not only took up with them.

He took up arms against his own people, slaughtering militiamen in his own company, good new england men, every one of them.

I swear this to be true.

And I dare John Alden to deny it!

I dare you to tell me that you did not paint your face as a heathen Indian and smash the skulls of men in your own company!

Cotton: Outrageous accusations!

Wherever did you find such nonsense?

Increase: I have sworn testimony from the slave Tituba!

Cotton: Aha!

Lies and fantasies.

Increase: Lies? Captain?


Do you dispute the charges?


Cotton: Captain...Is this all true?

John: Every sane man in this place knows I ain't a witch.

Increase: Are you a traitor?

Are you a murderer?

Cotton: Damn you, John. Answer him.

Increase: So, you see...

Sometimes, silence can be the most eloquent confession of all.

I have no doubt, not a sliver of a doubt, that John Alden is a witch.

But...Even had I not...

I would still maintain that he must hang for crimes he will not deny.

And nor should you.

Cotton: For God's sake, tell me my father is wrong.

Tell me you are not the man he says you are.

John: What does it matter now?

Cotton: It matters to me -- whether you duped me all this time.

John: Are you sure you want the truth?

Are you really damn sure you know the difference between good and evil?

'Cause you puritans, you think the world is just black and white.

What if the truth of the world is that it's nothing but gray?

After the battle of the great swamp, I was left for dead.

But I was found by the mohawk -- not the Indians we fought, no.

The mohawk aren't our friends, but they are the enemies of the Abenaki we fight.

In all honesty, I...

I don't think I'll ever understand why they saved me.

It is a mystery to me to this day.

The scar your old man found he said was from feeding a familiar?

That was from digging a ball of lead out of me and healing it with their medicines.

Cotton: They held you for ransom?

John: No.

They treated me with kindness and respect.

And their holy men took an interest in me.

I'm not even sure why or what he saw in me, but if he hadn't...

I'd be dead.

So I lived amongst them.

I shared their food and their shelter.

I even hunted with them.

One day, me and a few braves returned from a hunt to find the village had been burned to the ground.

The women and the children, they're all scattered like dead, fallen leaves, slaughtered.

Cotton: By the Abenaki?

John: No.


Our militia.

Couldn't even be bothered to tell one Indian tribe from another.

A red fog descended upon me, and it did not lift until I ran through those woods and killed every one of those bastards, everyone but one.

And that I corrected the night I found the box.

Cotton: And the malum?

John: I didn't know nothing about that.

You said it was something that the witches wanted badly.

When we lost that witch in the woods, I thought it was best to hide it, so, like I told you, I buried it with Giles.

Cotton: Well, then someone unburied it.

John: Maybe you have nothing to worry about, then, because according to your father, I am the witch behind it.

So, all you have to do is hang me, and then everything will be just fine.

Cotton: What I can't figure out, what I am trying to surmise, is, after all of this, after everything we've been through -- you needed a friend or a pawn?

Mary: [Sniffles, sighs]

Isaac: Weeping don't help.

Trust me.

Done my fair share.

Mary: [Gasps]


God, you're still bleeding.

Isaac: Around here, who ain't?

Mary: [Sobbing]

What have I done?

Isaac: I know none of this is your fault, and all of it's mine.

He was on his way out of town that day.

I stopped him.

If it weren't for me, he'd be long gone.

None of this would have happened.

I might as well pull the rope myself in the morning.

I've as good as killed John Alden.

But you...

You can save him.

Mary: I can't. I can't!

Isaac: You're Mary.

You're Mary.

They all call you Mary Sibley.

Do you know what I call you in my head, to myself, in my heart?

"Magic Mary."

You were always magic, even back when we was just sprouts.

And you could do anything -- always could.

You just have to want it bad enough.

And you do.

Don't you?

You do want John Alden to live.

John: How did you get in here?

Mary: They will hang you tomorrow.

John: "They"?

Well, aren't you one of them, Mrs. Sibley?

Mary: Sometimes, I no longer remember who I am.

But I know who you are -- an innocent man.

John: [Chuckles] Hardly.

Now it's almost funny.

Salem finally sentenced someone to die for something they've actually done.

Go home, Mary.

Go back to your life, Mrs. Sibley.

Mary: You are my life.

John: Well, it's a little late for that thought.

Mary: I'll not let you hang.

I can save you.

John: The good people of Salem, the people I've been trying to save, they all want me dead.

They think I'm the Devil himself.

I'm no Devil.

But I am guilty of treason...

And murder.

And I'm ready to hang for it.


I'm awfully tired.

Tired of living without you.

Mary: There's still a way for us to be together.

John: It's over.

What's wrong with you?

Have you gone mad like everyone else in this town?

Mary: John, I promise you --

John: No, don't.

Neither of us is very good with promises, so no more vows.

Mary: Listen to me.

John: I am listening to you, and you aren't making any sense.

Look around you.

These are stone walls. [Scoffs]

[Gate rattles] Barred windows, an iron door.

Right above us, a thick rope awaiting my neck.

Those are the stubborn facts.

And all the love in the world can't change a single one of them.

Mary: You're wrong.

Love is stronger than fact, stronger than everything.

But I tell you, John, there is still a place for us in this world.

John: Only in dreams.

Mary: All right, then.

One last time...

Dream with me.