Witches Of East End Recap: Season 1 Episode 1 - Pilot
You guys, the Witches of East End pilot was great! Lots of action, pretty dresses, gorgeous hair, cute guys, magic. (Seriously, everyone’s hair looked amazing — now that’s magic.) What more could you ask for on a Sunday night? The plot also hewed pretty closely to the Melissa de la Cruz book it’s based on, which as a reader, I super liked. As expected, Jenna Dewan-Tatum is probably actually a witch in real life, because she looks superhot and I’m pretty sure this pilot was filmed about 10 minutes after she gave birth to Channing Tatum’s baby. (Obviously witchcraft was involved.)
Onto the recap …
We open on a shot of a schmancy party, Hamptons style. But quickly the camera follows a trail of smoke into a garden, where a woman is carving a symbol into sand, all creepy like. A couple wanders by with their dog, and thanks to the music, we all know this isn’t going to end well. They smile their greeting at —Hey, Julia Ormond! Looking great! — Joanna, even though the dog knows something is up. Indeed, Joanna turns on a deadly vamp face and — bad times for the friendly dog walkers.
Smash to credits! Excited already?
Spoooooky shot of spoookiness to come. Can you feel it?
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Next we see sisters Ingrid and Freya Beauchamp (aka the witch known as Jenna Dewan-Tatum) hurrying to Freya’s engagement party. Freya pauses to say she hates her dress, so that we can all ogle at how amazing she looks. (She’s also wearing a white flower over her ear, that’s important soon, promise.)
Freya then tells her sister about a naughty dream she’s been having about a mystery man, even though she’s in love with her dashing fiancé Dash. (I promise that is the only time I will make that joke. Probably.) Logical Ingrid poo-poos her sister’s fear, scoffing at Freya’s instance that she has ‘the gift,’ cluing us in that the sisters don’t yet know that they’re starring on a show called Witches of East End. Also there’s a nice joke in there about Jenna’s boobs, which, post-baby, defy gravity. (A little witch humor for ya.)
Joanna, their mother, is waiting at the door. “Where have you been?” they demand, and the audience answers, out attacking neighbors? But no! Joanna’s been waiting in the car, or so she says …
We head to the party, where Freya and Dash Gardiner — whom soap fans will recognize as Eric Winter — steal a cute moment together outside Fairhaven, the Gardiner’s fancy estate. Dash is supercute and nice, so all soap fans know where this relationship’s headed. We then meet Dash’s mom, Penelope —aka Virginia Madsen! She’s immediately established as not so nice, because she “compliments” our girl Freya’s dress by saying, “I like how you just put it all out there, and screw what other people think is appropriate!” There’s even another boob comment when Penelope tells her future daughter-in-law, “We’ll go shopping — we’ll even find you a bra that actually fits.” Love it.
Heaving bosom alert! Jenna, we bow down.
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Freya, displeased, whispers that she hopes Penelope chokes on the hors d'oeuvre she’s just eaten. And she does!
Freya flips, Ingrid once again poo-poos. (Sensing a pattern?) In walks Freya’s dream guy, and the flower above her ear turns from white to red. Dun-dun-dun! (Emphasis ours.) Meanwhile … a couple wandering outside for a smooch discovers the sliced-and-diced neighbors.
They're shocked to see such hotness, we tell you. Shocked!
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Inside, Joanna and Dash look at the portrait of the man who built the Fairhaven estate Dash and his family live in, Archibald Browning.
“He was a real son of a bitch,” Joanna says, and then covers, “Or so I’ve read … ” And they talk about the renovations Dash has done on the place.
Meanwhile Ingrid chats up her friend Adam, and they are also talking about the house, which has secret tunnels, where animal sacrifices and goat orgies took place (she seriously says goat orgies, it is awesome). Ingrid exposits that she wrote her dissertation on witchcraft history — even though she’s logical and … doesn’t know she’s on a show called Witches of East End. Dun dun dun! Ingrid and Adam flirt, until Detective Adam gets a call about the attacked couple and skedaddles.
A freaked Freya finally gets to meet her mystery man — who turns out to be Dash’s brother, Killian. Freya hightails it outta there, but when she sees Killian heading upstairs, throwing some serious come-hither shade her way, up she goes for a steamy make out with her future brother in law. Their kiss is so hot, they literally set the flowers on fire.
Tell us you wouldn't follow that guy up the stairs, brother in law or no.
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Ingrid, meanwhile, is downstairs looking at some historical photos from the house, and she sees herself in a old-timey picture. It dissolves in her hands.
The next morning, a woman hits a black cat with her car. Only when she gets out to investigate, there’s a dead naked woman on the street, no cat in sight.
The Beauchamp women are debriefing over breakfast. Joanna looks concerned when she hears the woman who was attacked last night survived, but is in a coma. Freya’s having flashback issues because of her BIL make out. Joanna wants to know what the hurry is with the wedding, as Dash and Freya have only been dating for a few months. Joanna exposits that Dash travels a lot. Freya runs out to see her man, and we learn that he’s even more perfect — he’s a doctor without borders. (We’ll console you when this goes south, Dash.) He’s also leaving town again. Ruh roh.
At last we get to the bottom of the Joanna mystery, as we see Joanna leave and then Joanna 2.0 (complete with creepy eyes) walk into the house. Joanna 2.0 stops at a painting of a man in a desert and begins to chant. But Joanna 1.0 returns, having forgotten her purse, and poof! Joanna 2.0 vanishes.
Meanwhile at the morgue, Dead Cat Lady awakens! She shows up at the Beauchamp house because … she’s Joanna’s sister! They haven’t seen each other in 100 years. Joanna’s annoyed to see her sibling, but Wendy assures Joanna she’s there to save her life.
Oh! It's a black cat! Just kidding: It's your Aunt Wendy!
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Ingrid’s at work at the library, consoling her work buddy whose IVF treatments have failed. Work buddy knows she’s on a show called Witches of East End, and hits up Ingrid for a spell. Ingrid, being Ingrid, poo poos. Cutie pie detective Adam shows up to ask Ingrid what she thinks of the symbol found at the murder scene, and despite the gruesome pictures, they make a coffee date. Feeling emboldened, Ingrid tells her work buddy they can try a fertility spell, because, wouldn’t that be wacky?!
The older sisters Beauchamp bicker and we learn that Joanna is maintaining a Samantha Stephens-style magic ban, and her daughters don’t know about their powers. And here comes the exposition behind Joanna’s curse, and I was actually really pleased that they delved into this in the pilot. Like, let’s get to the meat of it, folks! So: Joanna is fated to raise her daughters, help them grow into their powers, and then die by their magic by the age of 30. It’s happened time and again, and as soon as she buries them, Joanna’s pregnant again. Sound exhausting!
So in an effort to subvert the curse and save her daughters, this time around, Joanna hasn’t told them about their magical abilities.
Wendy thinks this is a bad idea, and pouts that her curse (being cat-like with nine lives) is worse. “At least you got to have children.”
Joanna replies, “Having children is my curse.”
Freya’s working at the bar when sexy BIL Killian shows up. It must be noted that Jenna looks amazing in this scene. Killian propositions her, and tells her he’s staying on his boat.
Unamused, she throws a drink at him.
Back at the library, Ingrid and her work buddies cast their fertility spell, giggling all the way. We all know where this is going, right?
The elder Beauchamp sisters are back to arguing over their curses. Wendy points out that even though Joanna is immortal, she can still be killed, and the girls could be kept from being reborn. They pull out the tarot cards, and Joanna starts to realize Wendy is right, someone is out to get her. They try to figure out who. What about the Gardiners, aka Dash, Penelope and Killian, who bought Fairhaven? Joanna assures Wendy that Dash is mortal, she checked. There’s a hilarious flashback of her stabbing him at dinner to test his blood. Dash checks out.
Say it ain't so, tarot cards! (Doesn't her hair look amaze, though, peril notwithstanding?)
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So who’s out to get the Beauchamps?
Meanwhile, Freya’s having more steamy dreams of Killian. They’re making out on the docks. “Why do you look so sad?” Dream Freya asks Dream Killian. “Because I’ve waited 400 years for this, and it’s not even happening,” he replies. Oooooo.
The girls meet their Aunt Wendy, and Ingrid recognizes her as the other woman in the old-timey photo from Fairhaven. She runs away.
While the ladies are out at a farmer’s market (obvs) Joanna 2.0 finally completes her spell and frees the man from the desert painting. He is thirsty, and not so happy with Freya. Joanna 2.0 promises to help him get revenge.
Freya’s at work again, and guess what? Killian shows up! They decide to be friends, even though Killian’s sending long, lingering looks and talking under his breath about them regretting never getting together. Guess who else is at the bar? Angry desert painting man!
Freya and BIL play darts. Needing a break from the flirtiness, Freya heads to the bathroom, and Desert Guy follows her in. He is … not so happy. Apparently he asked Freya to marry him, she said no, he hit her, she stuck him in a painting for 80 years. (The usual story.) Desert Guy forces her to cast a spell by holding her at knifepoint and making her recite the words, which transports them into an old-timey bar photograph. Killian comes to look for her, but she’s gone.
And guess what?! We all knew it was coming, Ingrid’s work buddy is knocked up, just one day later! “You’re magic!” work buddy gasps. Ingrid’s freaked and heads home.
Meanwhile, our first victim is out of her coma, and she knows who attacked her. Say it with me: ruh roh.
Back at the Beauchamp house: look out, Wendy! Joanna 2.0 is right behind you! Wendy gets stabbed. Joanna 1.0 and Ingrid find a bleeding Wendy, who had a vision and warns them of Freya’s fate: if Desert Guy kills her in the picture, she can’t be reborn.
Wendy dies. (For real?!)
Joanna tells Ingrid that she’s a witch. Ingrid flips. Apparently Joanna cast a spell that made them forget. It didn’t really work on Freya (she went to therapy because she thought she was crazy. Ingrid, hilariously: “She’s going to be so pissed!”), and it worked too well on our logical librarian.
But Ingrid must get it together if they’re to save Freya!
Only, ding-dong! Guess who’s here? It’s our buddy, detective Adam, here to arrest Joanna for murder. Joanna hisses instructions to Ingrid on where to the magical ingredients to help Freya. She’s whisked away as Ingrid opens the cupboard and we fade to white …
Would that we had a cupboard like this at our house. You can save the day, Ingrid!
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And there you have it! Did you watch? What did you like or dislike? Comment below! And join us next Monday for episode two of the Witches of East End.