Motherland: Fort Salem Season 1 Up is Down Has A Very Raelle Problem

This week's episode of Freeform's Motherland: Fort Salem sparks up something very important that I need to address: viewers need to start having a serious conversation about Raelle (Taylor Hickson). Her petulant character continues to take the attention away from the matters at hand and distracts from the storyline with no real character development. While other characters have grown, she continues to take steps backward by being the most inconsistent one by far. The episode felt choppy, even more so on the first half as if someone strung together a series of thirty-second scenes that kept jumping from POV to POV.

Abigail learns some much-needed truths on Motherland: Fort Salem, courtesy of Freeform.
Abigail learns some much-needed truths on Motherland: Fort Salem, courtesy of Freeform.

I actually had a lot of hopes for this episode of Motherland, to be honest, and it failed to deliver. The ending once again saved this episode. I mean, with such a Pirates-of-the-Caribbean-like title, "Up is Down" (no one? anyone?) how can you not? Anyway, if it were not for Abigail (Ashley Nicole Williams) and the last scene this episode would have been a waste of time for two reasons: Raelle and how chill everyone and everything seemed to be right after a personal attack from the Spree even after finding out they were going for Bellweathers. As much as I did not like her, Abigail has turned out to be the main reason why I continue watching. Her and Tally (Jessica Sutton) have shown so much growth. Their character development was especially noted in this episode as they both struggle to accept their grief and each handled it surprisingly mature.

Abigail Struggles with Vulnerability, While Tally Struggles to Keep Secrets in Motherland: Fort Salem

Raelle, on the other hand, looks to up her own pettiness and continuously weigh down the unit just by herself. Great job. She was the character that had the most potential in my eyes and has been the most disappointing no matter how much I still want to like her. I understand being a troubled soul, I understand being rebellious; but what I do not understand is how she constantly handles her problems like she is a cliche 12-year-old who keeps throwing tantrums.  Every other character seems to be developing and trying to be a bit better, but Raelle is not even trying to look for the answers she went there for in the first place.

Can we also talk about how she manages to get away with all of this? I still have not seen what she is really great at. She keeps dodging training and making them look bad, so what are her powers really and why am I supposed to be impressed? The only thing Raelle has shown us is that she is good at being distracted, having an attitude, sneaking around, and not really pulling her weight. And that little outburst she had about all her higher-ups acting like she is crazy: really? No one has said a single word about your grief or about the way you are acting, the going of: that was the crazy part.

Okay, enough with Raelle. The whole episode had me on a cloud of disbelief because witch or not if you were recently attacked by the enemy you keep searching for, in your own territory, no one would remain that calm and collected. I get that it is still a military base for witches-in-training, but where was the sense of urgency after so many witches were slaughtered at the same time? The herky-jerky, stop-and-go flow of the episode did not help the pacing situation. On the other hand, it kept pulling me from the story an just making me question every single second of this episode. I find this to be the most disappointing part as I really think the themes explored and the world-building and elements of Motherland have the potential to make this show last. I mean, there are so many other facets of this world they could make seasons of like prequels. However, the appearance of Scylla (Amalia Holm) at the end being questioned and kept inside some facility saved the ending for me, and the curiosity will bring me back for the next episode.

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About Alejandra Bodden

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