This A Discovery of Witches article contains major spoilers.
Not every television series learns exactly how many episodes it has to tell its story, and the Shudder/Sundance Now fantasy drama A Discovery of Witches takes full advantage of that knowledge leading viewers down a season two path that intentionally raises more questions than answers. It’s been a wild ride as Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont continue their search for The Book of Life amidst the creature underworld of 16th century Elizabethan London, and not surprisingly there’s a lot to unpack about the season finale.
Throughout the season the actions of the principal characters center around the acquisition of the book, and though Diana and Matthew acquire the tome with relatively little effort, holding onto it proves a bit more problematic. Nevertheless, watching young Jack utilize his skillset to recover the book from Lord Burghley’s henchmen is delightfully subtle. That said, it’s easy to question why the pair decides to return the book to Dr. Dee even though Diana hasn’t really been able to read the contents. As she points out to Gallowglass, the book needs to stay in the 16th century so that she can find it in the 21st. Ah, time travel.
Rather than view the missing pages as a fantasy literature trope, we should instead look to Edward Kelley’s prescient decision to bequeath one page to each creature species. Though we’re not entirely certain how and where Emily hides the witch’s page, it’s the lack of clarity regarding the demon and vampire pages that keeps us wondering whether the search for them will highlight the show’s final season. And once obtained, will these pages in conjunction with Ashmole 782 help explain the reproductive difficulties the creatures encounter and set a renewed path for their futures?
Equally fascinating has been Diana’s progress in learning about and harnessing the immense power she possesses, and now that she’s mastered the ten knots as a spell weaver, her return to 2021 will likely place her timewalker abilities on the back burner. One of the big reveals of this season has been that Diana can not only transport herself and Matthew through time, but she can also accelerate it as shown through her manipulation of the bowl of fruit. It would have been cool to see her try that on Lord Burghley. It’s also wise to keep an eye on her fire breathing familiar Corra once she returns to the 21st century.
While the introduction of the Blood Rage makes for an interesting subplot, it’s the identity of the Oxford killer that neatly transcends the two timelines. Matthew appears to have his rage in control in Elizabethan England, but Domenico hopes to prove a connection between the tainted de Clermont bloodline and the perpetrator of the horrific crimes in the present. We don’t see much of Satu in this season, but when Knox refuses her help and insults her power at the same time, it seems a recipe for disaster in the greater witch community. Does he truly believe she’s so out of control that her assistance can be ignored?
Babies also generate a lot of interest here, and once The Congregation learns Diana’s pregnant, the internal squabble should escalate. We’ve not been given much clarity as to the genetics behind the creature landscape, but baby Margaret is clearly in imminent danger from Knox and the witch clan. Since demon Nathaniel and witch Sophie give birth to a witch, it makes sense that Diana’s child will also be a witch since vampires are created not born. When Diana returns to the present, her child will undoubtedly become a target, but Marcus’ groundbreaking proposal to repeal the covenant could bring the clans together rather than drive them further apart.
However, it’s the secret compact she makes with Father Hubbard that will likely come back to haunt Diana once Matthew learns what she’s done. Clearly, she agrees to this deal because of the protection it affords Jack in their absence, but Diana has become too important in this underground world to allow her family to be compromised at all. From a narrative perspective, it shouldn’t take long for Matthew to confront her about this and the potential damage it may do to their relationship.
The wild card in all of this though may be Marcus’ human friend Phoebe. As the only human allowed into this world, her art history background and inquisitive nature make her a perfect target for the demon and witch congregation, but the fact that she is an outsider, the Other, amidst the society of witches, demons, and vampires that should prove to be a tempering effect if Marcus is to achieve his dream of peaceful coexistence.
With a third and final season on the horizon, A Discovery of Witches enters its final run with The Congregation’s newly minted power couple ready to impose its will. Can a vampire and a witch bring peace amidst the chaos and ensure the survival of all three species? The path will not be without its bumps, but it will certainly be a lot of fun to witness.