Relive each delicious moment of the TV adaptation of A Discovery of Witches with our weekly recap. This week? A Discovery of Witches Episode 1.
Do you ever find yourself yelling at the screen in front of you or mumbling snarky responses to the characters inside it while watching a show? We do. Sometimes we keep those responses to ourselves and, sometimes, Ashley and I text them to each other as we watch the same show at the same time 700 miles apart. We enjoy these conversations so much that we decided to document them for A Discovery of Witches and share them with you. Each week, for the next eight weeks, Ashley and I will publish an episode recap. You can read it while you rewatch the episode (because you know you’re going to rewatch) or just read it for your daily dose of all things All Souls. There’s no right or wrong way to do this, just do it. We hope that these recaps will be worth a few giggles for A Discovery of Witches fans and that they might even make you think twice about what you’ve just watched. On to Episode 1.
It Begins With Absence and Desire
It Begins with Blood and Fear
It Begins with…
A Discovery of Witches
The words, from the opening page of the book, gave me all sorts of eerie feelings the first time I read them. That was without the assistance of this foreboding music.
1:00 One minute in and we’ve been introduced to a witch, a vampire, Matthew’s father, and Oxford. Well played Bad Wolf, well played.
2:00 This dance around the apartment in a desperate attempt to reach maximum caffeination levels and stave off hunger until the next feeding is all too familiar to us. Was feeding a bad word choice in a show about vampires?
3:00 This musical montage about not looking back coupled with pictures of Diana’s parents and Diana accidentally using her magic is so poignant. We don’t always want to look back but sometimes it’s the only way forward.
4:00 Eek! Does Diana know that there is a famous USC History professor and author attending her lecture? Let’s just say right now how much we love this cameo by Deborah Harkness.
5:00 Gillian is clearly dismayed because there are “still no vacancies for a classical historian.” My guess is that her parents warned her about this more than once.
6:00 When I say something like “this morning it happened…by accident…in public” it usually means that I’ve tripped up the stairs or walked out of the restroom with toilet paper on my shoe (again) and not that I’ve accidentally used my magic.
7:00 If you’ve ever walked through the stacks of a library, you’d know that they are plenty unnerving on their own without books mysteriously appearing and disappearing.
8:00 Do you get the feeling that Gillian is searching for a bit more than friendship and a cuppa?
9:00 The look on Diana’s face when she opens Ashmole is pretty comparable to the look I had on my face during the entire reading of A Discovery of Witches.
10:00 The vampires are in distress and Gillian is clutching her stomach and walking like a zombie. It looks like there was a bad batch of hollandaise at the commissary.
11:00 We could chalk up the electrical outage to coincidence, and the seized-up witch to Eggs Benedict, but being branded by a book just yells supernatural occurrence. Right?
12:00 Diana told Gillian earlier that something had happened to her parents and now her father brushes past her. We’ll go ahead and rule out coincidence.
13:00 I saw this episode at All Souls Con in August so I know what’s going to happen. However, my teenage daughter just yelled out, “Are these two going to die?” I’m both impressed by her engagement in the story and troubled by the fact that she saw it coming. What is in that girl’s head?
14:00 Vampire Lesson #35, always look both ways before attempting vampire CPR in the middle of the street.
15:00 Vampire Lesson #36, always have a a cover story in case vampire CPR fails.
16:00 I’ve walked through a lot of university labs and I’ve never once witnessed a researcher drinking wine. Note to self, find better labs to tour.
17:00 SQUEE!!! Sarah and Em. Seriously ya’ll these two do me in every time I see them together. I really need them to be my aunts. I promise not to wake them up with 5:00 a.m. phone calls.
18:00 The way Em strolls outside and calmly presses the speaker button on the phone in the midst of Sarah’s anxiety is the epitome of their relationship with each other and Diana.
19:00 Sarah’s to-do list wasn’t exactly the support that Diana was searching for. I wonder how many times in the past that approach actually worked with their witchy niece?
20:00 “I have very good eyesight.” He has some other “powers” too. You might not want to stick around to see what they are.
21:00 Poor Marcus trapped in that car with Matthew enduring a parental lecture is all of us every time we sire a new vampire without prior approval.
22:00 Miriam asks if she needs to haul both Marcus and Matthew out of the pub. I would like to put that to a vote. Not only do I think she could do it, but she would earn bonus points for style and general badassery.
23:00 Can we just take a moment to dwell on the beauty that is this Bodleian Library set? It was built by craftsmen in the Bad Wolf studio in Cardiff, Wales. It is a work of art. Click here to see a time-lapse video of the build.
24:00 Wait a second, is goddammit an incantation? Have I been practicing witchcraft? I have so many questions.
25:00 We find YOU “quietly persuasive” in this role Matthew Goode. We have other phrases to describe you if you are interested.
26:00 Someone needs to tell Gillian that snitches get stitches.
27:00 It’s nice of you to drop by for a chat Professor Clairmont but, as you can see, I have this full English breakfast that I need to polish off before I go off to do professor-ly things.
28:00 Don’t threaten Professor Bishop before she has finished her tomatoes Professor Clairmont. You won’t like her when she’s hangry.
29:00 Warning. Threat. Pota-toe. Pota-tah.
30:00 I was never great at dating either Diana, but when you open with “my parents were murdered” it forces the conversation in one, incredibly morbid, direction.
31:00 Speaking of morbid, nothing good will ever come from an elegantly-dressed man and a gun-toting man wearing hunting gear walking through the woods together.
32:00 I admit that wind chimes made of bones don’t appeal to my personal design aesthetic but I always appreciate a good up-cycling project.
33:00 A ring of fire and death by sinkhole is a hell of a way to say “welcome to my cabin in the woods.” Satu needs to work on her hospitality.
34:00 That time you went to the library and the cute guy you’d been flirting with showed up in the spot where you usually sit.
35:00 And then he almost gets you kicked out because he’s warning you about all the witches that seem to have taken an interest in you.
36:00 If your friend looks at you the same way Gillian looks at Diana every time she walks away please find a new friend, stat.
37:00 Diana is doing her own version of cross-training; run to the boathouse and then row. I would happily call just one of those things a solid workout.
38:00 Matthew, we want to be on board with you but breaking and entering is a bad look. You just don’t go through a girl’s drawers, ever.
39:00 My bookreader image of Satu was a modern Maleficent; beautiful but clearly evil. This “goth girl” portrayal is totally working for me. I want to run from her and listen to Evanescence with her all at the same time.
40:00 Here’s some free relationship advice. If you have to ask the one pursuing you if he is threatening or stalking you, he probably is and you should probably seek a restraining order.
41:00 With that said, Matthew does seem to know some things about Diana that she’s unwilling to admit to herself.
42:00 And with that smelling of the jacket we’re right back to creepy, stalker dude. Matthew we’re rooting for you, really we are, but you’re kind of making it difficult for us to see you as a good guy right now.
43:00 The dilated pupils and growling are not helping, not at all. And then, that look from Diana. She’s hooked. Is it possible that she felt something within her that viewers couldn’t see (insert cheeky, bookreader smile here)?
Too soon! This episode ended far too soon but what a way to start! We knew from the beginning that the television adaptation would weave in and around the book. It could never just the lift the story from the pages. The production team had to find a way to be true to the original story while providing background for viewers that may not have read the books. I love what I’ve seen thus far; the early introduction of the congregation, the backstory on Satu, the workings of Peter Knox, and the immediate realization that all is not well for the vampires.
What did you think of A Discovery of Witches episode 1? Thumbs up? Thumbs down? Favorite moments?
If you’ve missed any of our A Discovery of Witches recaps, do not fret! You can find all of our Season 1 recaps here.