TV Recap: “Motherland: Fort Salem” Season 3, Episode 4 “Happy Yule!”

Welcome back for another recap of Freeform’s Motherland: Fort Salem. Stuck in the Cession on the longest day of the year, the group celebrates Yule.

(Freeform/Jeff Petry) Ashley Nicole Williams, Tony Giroux

(Freeform/Jeff Petry) Ashley Nicole Williams, Tony Giroux

Please note this recap contains spoilers for season 3, episode 4 “Happy Yule!” 

The White House is now home to a new leader as Blantan Silver (Victor Webster) is sworn in as President. Kara (Emilie Ullerup) watches with a smile and congratulates the new Commander in Chief. Elsewhere in the Capitol, President Wade’s body rests on an embalming table. Two technicians complete their work and as they paint her nails her hand becomes misshapen and her skin cracks. General Petra Bellwether (Catherine Lough Haggquist) walks in and says they’ll be using a closed casket.

In the Cession Scylla (Amalia Holm) continues to worry about Raelle; Adil (Tony Giroux) mentions Alder and the First Song which is a surprise to both Scylla and Nicte (Kandyse McClure). They ask what it is. Abigail (Ashley Nicole Williams) says she doesn’t know but Tally (Jessica Sutton) has a piece of it in her pocket. Nicte wonders if it really was Alder. Tally admits she was different.

At Fort Salem, Petra asks her team if the surveillance footage brought up anything of Anacostia and Sterling. Just then President Silver arrives and asks if it the attack was the Witch Bomb. Petra says it’s too soon to say. He introduces her to his Civilian Oversight Committee who are there to reassure the American people they’re protected and help with the leadership transition. He also presents Colonel Jarrett who’s been assigned to directly oversee Petra. She says she’s happy to work with patriots, witch or not.

Scylla makes another attempt to find Raelle this time with a dead mouse. A mushroom grows out of the corpse and she breathes in the air. She hears something and calls for Raelle. She looks out the peep hole in her door and sees Marshal standing outside her room.

(Freeform/Jeff Petry) Jessica Sutton

(Freeform/Jeff Petry) Jessica Sutton

An audience has gathered at the White House and Alban Hearst sings/speaks “America the Beautiful” but his voice keeps cracking and changing (because it’s not his!). Finally he gets through his song and introduces the main event of the evening, unveiling three large glass chambers. Inside are groups of witches, two civilian women (dodgers), two cadets, and Sterling Woodlot (Luc Roderique) and Anacostia (Demetria Mckinney). The audience is amused and applauds. Herst then announces the President. Ana and Sterling are shocked by the reveal. Hearst touches his bandaged throat.

Petra goes to see Izadora (Emilie Leclerc), with Colonel Jarrett in tow. Izadora tells him he’s welcome in the lab but what they’re about to do requires frequencies that could alter their organs. He wisely opts to wait outside. Grateful to be alone, Izadora shows Petra her game changing discovery: Penelope is alive. She was infected with a different strain of the Witch Plague so she could remain alive as a host, spreading the disease across the base. After the Witch Bomb, she’s lived in the atmosphere until Izadora found her. While she’s not fully herself, she’s becoming more human every day and learning to control violent tendencies.

The new president talks to Ana and Sterling through the glass. Ana accuses him of killing his daughter, but he says it was her beloved Bellwether unit. As he walks away, Sterling mentions Penelope and a lunch they had with the governor of Georgia years ago. She spent all afternoon learning to ride a bike then proudly showed off her newfound skill, “look at me daddy.” Kara interrupts, but Silver is slightly shaken with the memory.

As the Marshal (Michael Horse) makes his rounds, all the girls step out of their room and attack at once, but he whistles, causing them to fall down. The next morning, he’s waiting for them with the newspaper. Tally, Abigail and Raelle are the cover story. They are suspects in the assassinatoin of President Wade. The Marshal asks where Raelle is and Scylla says she’s not in the U.S. Nicte suggests this could be a sign Rae’s alive. The girls point out that Tally and Abigail are accused of being there too, but clearly they've been in custody. Plus, Raelle wouldn’t kill the president. The Marshal says the Council of the Great River wants to meet them after the Yule celebration. And since it’s a holiday, he’s going to stretch the boundaries so they can enjoy fresh air. Since Scylla has more experience in the Cession, Abigail asks about the Council. She says they're known to be fair. Abigail believes they can convince the Council and make them allies. Nicte laughs. Does she have another idea? “Maybe,” she says, walking away. Abigail mutters “Once a terrorist, always a terrorist,” and Scy doesn’t like the comment.

Back at the White House, the two cadets are now fighting each other in the chamber. As they watch, Kara mocks Hearst for not being able to sing. She’d hate to see him made a fool of by little girls…again. She tells him mom and dad would be proud, no, horrified just like they were with all of his little experiments. She changes the subject and says the Company is thinking his pet projects are a waste of time. She hopes he proves them wrong.

In the Cession, Khalida (Kylee Brown) is outside touching the earth and singing. Tally watches and the vial in her pocket burns. She pulls it out, tossing it to the ground right as Alder (Lynn Renee) appears and picks it up. Khalida tells Alder she’ll be ready to go after saying goodbye to Adil. Tally asks Alder to stay and explain what’s happened to the Council. She can’t. Tally asks how the song will heal the world and if it’ll heal Rae. “I don’t know, Tally Craven.” Alder hugs her and says, “we must trust the Mother.”

Alder goes to the Marshal who doesn’t seem surprised to see her. He says he’s sorry about her Biddies, and she admits they made a great sacrifice. She thanks him for sharing the song of his people with her 400 years ago. She shows him the vial with the First Song and asks if he knows the Steward, because their life is in danger.

Adil doesn’t want Khalida to leave. She says she doesn’t expect him to understand but wants him to honor her decisions. She promises they’ll see each other again then give him something that looks like a mushroom. He can use it if he needs her or is in danger.

Adil and the others carve symbols into the Yule Log and Abigail suggests they don’t tell Nicte that Alder was there. Tally muses that if gets better at seeing, maybe she can find Raelle. The group is interrupted as Petra appears and hugs her daughter. Abigail says the president was assassinated. “I’m aware.” Just then the Marshal rounds the corner with President Wade (Sheryl Lee Ralph) and M (Ess Hodlmoser).

Catherine Lough Haggquist

Catherine Lough Haggquist

Petra explains that Izadora created a golem and they swapped out the bodies right before the explosion, getting the President to safety. Petra asks about Raelle, and Scylla says she’s healing (after being poisoned) in the Mycelium. Nicte suggests she might be dead and Petra sends the former Spree to the kitchen. For now, the plan is for the group to stay put with the president. Abigail tells her Alder is back and Tally adds she has an all powerful song to heal the world. Abigail assures her mom Alder isn’t interested in her old job. Petra has to leave and tells the girls to let Wade do the talking with the Council.

Scylla tells Nicte that if she ever says Rae’s dead again, she’ll be the one to end up in a grave. Nicte scoffs and says Scylla is stronger when she’s angry. Scy corrects her. It’s not anger, it’s love, Nicte’s too miserable to tell the difference.

Inside the Piimatsawin Museum a woman is being attacked, but manages to fend off the foe right as Alder arrives. “Noodin!” she calls, “you’re alive!” She says the Marshal told her where to find the fellow witch. Noodin asks why they wanted to kill her. Alder tells her she’s a Steward of the First Song that was stolen from her family when she was a child. “The time is coming soon for you to sing it again.” She opens the vial and recognizes the lost music. She tilts the song toward her open mouth then leaves with Alder.

(Freeform/Jeff Petry) Michael Horse

(Freeform/Jeff Petry) Michael Horse

The President adds her own carving to the Yule Log and the Marshal lights it. Each sigil starts to glow and the group reminisces about holidays past joking about the visions they’d claim to see. Scylla comes in with a heart in her hands and asks for everyone’s help. They go outside and offer the heart to Earth. Scy starts singing, (similar opening notes to the show’s theme!) and even Nicte joins. Nothing happens. After a few moments everyone starts to disperse. Tally is the last to leave and Scylla makes a final attempt pleading with Raelle to acknowledge her. Raelle whispers her name and glowing mushroom “R” appears.

Back inside Wade talks about missing her family over holidays and someone puts on music. Adil stands under mistletoe and Abigail joins him. He starts to dance, making her laugh. She says seeing her mom has her thinking about what “Dwight” and “Shelby” discussed: starting a family. “The Union of Earth and Sky” might be about offspring, and he’s Interested in testing out that theory. She laughs, “slow down Witchdaddy.” But once all this passes, once they’re exonerated and things calm down, she’s willing to try.

Scylla finds Nicte in the kitchen and compliments her cooking. She apologizes for her earlier comments, but Nicte said they were true. Her mother dodged when Nicte was five, and she was left with her cranky grandma. Her grandma told her if her mom was to come back it would be during Yule, but Nicte never saw her again. She tells Scylla that Raelle’s lucky to have her. Scylla thanks her for joining the song.

(Freeform/Jeff Petry) Ess Hodlmoser

(Freeform/Jeff Petry) Ess Hodlmoser

Tally and M spend some time together and Tally shares that a lot of what’s going on she didn’t see coming. She further shares that sometimes she feels caught in between worlds without belonging to any of them. M knows the feeling and reveals that when they conscripted there wasn't’ a place for them. Had to choose between Weapons Building with the men or Basic with the women. Neither was the right fight. But Alder saw M for who they were and encouraged War College. M looks at Tally and says, “I see you for who you are.”

Outside, Scylla whispers to Raelle, “I love you, I won’t lose hope.” Inside Tally and M sit by the fire. As Tally looks at the Yule Log, she sees Raelle. They’re in a dark space and Tally calls her friend. Raelle (Taylor Hickson) turns around and starts glowing then falls over as golden dust pours out of her. Tally says to stop. Rae struggles and glows brighter until she explodes taking Tally with her and leaving nothing but darkness. Tally tells M, “I saw her! There was nothing left. I think she might end the world.”

At the White House, Hearst announces a special treat: Army vs Spree. He releases a woman into the chamber and drops in a knife. Ana says, “We don’t have to fight.” The Spree witch says the plan is you die, we live then screeches at Ana knocking her down. Sterling slowly picks up the knife and… starts stabbing himself. Ana cries out and tosses the girl across the chamber killing her. She tries to heal Sterling.

In the Capitol, President Silver speaks at Wade’s funeral mentioning “the evil attack.” The group is watching and Wade says that’s not a eulogy, but an inaugural speech. The Marshal enters the room and whispers something to Wade. She has to go, it’s not safe for her here. The girls ask about the Council? “Don’t tell them I was here.” Before he leaves the Marshal says “the patient hunter spends most of his time in the blind.”  

On TV, Silver closes out his speech with a threat: he's going to, “break the binds of the Salem Accord and I will lead these great United States towards a better world. Free from the sin and corruption of witches. And together, we will silence their songs of murder and chaos…forever.”

Motherland: Fort Salem airs on Freeform Tuesdays at 10pm ET/PT and next day on Hulu.

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