Motherland: Fort Salem 1×01 Review: “Say the Words”

Motherland: Fort Salem’s series premiere was a powerhouse episode that further cements the fact that Freeform is bringing it’s A-game when it comes to fresh, relevant, meaningful, and diverse storytelling. “Say the Words” was but the first step in a show that prides itself in the number of women stories it tells in the midst of a fight to find one’s place that feels familiar despite this version of the US being vastly different than the one we’re experiencing now.

So without further ado, let’s dive into Motherland: Fort Salem’s series premiere episode titled “Say the Words.”

Raelle Collar and Her Mission 

MOTHERLAND: FORT SALEM – “Say the Words” – Three witches join basic training at Fort Salem where they’ll prepare for the front lines, fighting looming terrorist threats with supernatural tactics and weapons. “Motherland: Fort Salem” series premiere airs on Wednesday, March 18, at 9:00p.m. ET/PT on Freeform. (Freeform/Eike Schroter) TAYLOR HICKSON

I’d like to start off by saying that Raelle is my favorite. And no it isn’t because she’s queer and the leading lady. Wait…I take that back. It IS the reason why I love Raelle. Of course I love her because I enjoyed her work in Deadly Class and think the actress is a star just on the cusp of great things. But the fact that she is a queer woman at the forefront of a story of witches feels like it was made for me and those like me.

Raelle is queer in a way that loads of TV shows get wrong. It’s just a part of who she is. (I know, I’ve blown your mind. But wait, there’s more.) Her story isn’t all about the fact that she’s queer. There’s more to her than her sexuality and yet her sexuality makes her distinctive and stand out in comparison to other characters on this show. Why? Because we don’t get queer characters like this as often as we would like. 

It’s always coming out stories. One after another. And we’re kind of tired of it and glad to see Raelle giving us more than what we’re used to and joining the ranks of Waverly Earp from Wynonna Earp and Kat Edison from The Bold Type. If anything, Raelle’s story is about discovering what happened to her mother and what forces of witchkind or humankind led her to her death.

That’s different.

That’s refreshing.

And that’s why we’re here for everything and anything that has to do with Raelle and her journey, no matter how bumpy it might get along the way.

Tally Craven and Her Conviction

MOTHERLAND: FORT SALEM – “Say the Words” – Three witches join basic training at Fort Salem where they’ll prepare for the front lines, fighting looming terrorist threats with supernatural tactics and weapons. “Motherland: Fort Salem” series premiere airs on Wednesday, March 18, at 9:00p.m. ET/PT on Freeform. (Freeform/David Bukach) JESSICA SUTTON

Raelle and Abigail seem like the front runners for why, who, and what you should be afraid of when it comes to witches. But they’re not. We shouldn’t fear Raelle or Abigail. We should fear Tally. Why? Because she’s got conviction, belief, and feels like she’s got a sacred duty to fulfill for witch and human kind. And that right there is dangerous and interesting AF.

People with conviction and belief like Tally are dangerous because they are true believers who have faith in the higher ups of Fort Salem, the War Academy, and the United States government. They are stubborn and believe wholeheartedly that the path they have chosen in life is the only way to go and if you disagree, there must be something wrong with you.

It’s clear to anyone that things aren’t rainbows and butterflies when it comes to Fort Salem. It never is and if it was it’d make for a boring show. It’s also clear that Raelle is going to lead the charge of “there’s something wrong at Fort Salem and how witches are being treated.” And when she presents her arguments to Tally she’s going to hit a brick wall of faith and belief.

Tally is the one that will make the sacrifices, follow the rules, no matter what path they will lead her down because she’s chosen with her heart and there are no take backsies. Because of this, I have no doubt that the higher ups will use her to indoctrinate the rest of her team and the witches around them all. Because Tally doesn’t look dangerous, not one bit.

But she is. And everyone should watch out..

Abigail Bellweather and Her Lineage

MOTHERLAND: FORT SALEM – “Say the Words” – Three witches join basic training at Fort Salem where they’ll prepare for the front lines, fighting looming terrorist threats with supernatural tactics and weapons. “Motherland: Fort Salem” series premiere airs on Wednesday, March 18, at 9:00p.m. ET/PT on Freeform. (Freeform/David Bukach) ASHLEY NICOLE WILLIAMS

Not going to lie, the more that I think about Abigail, the more I truly see how one dimensional her character is in episode one. It makes her…boring and someone not as interesting as Raelle or Tally. I’m definitely going to give her a chance like every other character on this show but right now let’s talk about the Abigail we know as of now, every tropey bit of her.

Lineage is very important to Abigail. She comes from a long line of witches that were there on the frontlines 300 years ago when witches made a deal to secure the safety and place and witches. So she’s got a lot to live up, especially with a mom that keeps reminding her of that fact. This leads her to be harder on herself as a result, as most kids who want to impress their parents are.

The one interesting thing about Abigail is that she is a trifecta of circumstances. First of all, she’s a woman. She is already treated differently for being one. Toss into that she’s a woman of color and a witch and you’ve got a recipe for plenty of haters who don’t think she’s enough because of any of these three things. Jokes on the haters though because she is capable AF and just showing us what she’s capable of.

So, bring it Abigail. I’m ready and willing to see what you got, especially if it means sticking it to those that think you’re less because you’re a woman, a witch, or a person of color.

Motherland: Fort Salem airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Freeform.

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