Motherland: Fort Salem Episode 7 Review: Mother Mycelium


I enjoy the relationship between the three young women because they are so different and they balance one another. What happens to one affects them all, but they’re all uniquely affected. The writing gives them space to exist as individuals while still treating them as a unit. My only real—not issue, but note—is that Abigail feels a lot more adult and mature than both Raelle and Tally, and not just due to her upbringing. She is perhaps too experienced by comparison and, despite being on the same emotional maturity level, feels much more like a big sister rather than a peer. Characters, often Black women characters, are written into a corner, where they’re too competent and too wise, and that can be dehumanizing. Abigail isn’t in that place, but I’m cognizant of the potential for her to be, and hope the writing for her steers clear of that.

That said, Abigail is being pushed in new ways. Last week, I asked to spend more time with Adil and Khalida and “Mother Mycelium” delivers. Khalida is being treated for her mysterious illness by Fort Salem’s best, and Adil is spending time with Abigail while he waits for her. Abigail is a soldier, born and bred; it’s her whole identity. Adil despises war and his people have refused to participate, holding back their songs —their very powerful magic— from all the countries who seek to use it, including the US.

They are drawn to each other despite this, but Abigail is especially ill-equipped for any kind of relationship —platonic or otherwise— with someone whose views are so diametrically opposed to hers. War is her frame of reference for everything, and she doesn’t know how to appreciate magic in any way that doesn’t come back around to how it can be used to win, which frustrates him. Their dynamic is one I hope to see more of, because so much of Fort Salem is presented through a specific, biased lens. Giving voice to other perspectives enriches the story.

When all of the magic at Fort Salem’s disposal fails to cure the girl, Abigail asks Raelle to help, knowing just how powerful she is— which is a drastic change from the High Atlantic girl who turned her nose down at that same magic in the beginning. Adil and Khalida arrive completely cloaked, but Tally is able to sense them—Adil says she is a powerful seer—and Raelle uses her magic to heal the girl. The mysterious illness that was spreading over Khalida’s body disappears, and Raelle doesn’t take on any of the illness, which is how her power usually works. The sick appears to have found its way into the substance Raelle touched last week, which doesn’t bode well.

Another thing that doesn’t bode well is Raelle being abducted by Anacostia in the dead of night. I half expected them to be looking to her for answers to Khalidas “miraculous” recovery, but they just wanted to use her to lower Scylla’s defenses, so they could finally get into her head. After that’s said and done, Fort Salem readies the troops to confront the Spree, forcing all the trainees to nut up or shut up on their first real mission. They’re taking the fight to them, and hopefully, broadening our view of this world to more than just these barracks.

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