Queen Elizabeth & The Philosopher’s Stone
Episode 3 of A Discovery of Witches Season 2 starts in Oxford, England in the present. Domenico walks through a crime scene as he uncovers a dead body sporting multiple bite marks across the neck. As he walks away, we cut back to 1590’s London.
Hubbard speaks to Matthew about Tom’s death. Matthew tries to explain his actions, telling Hubbard he killed the man to spare him any future pain. Matthew asks him for forgiveness as Hubbard notices with astonishment that he’s genuinely affected by this death. He even promises his Father’s blessing if he drops the case, which seems to do the trick.
Meanwhile, Diana heads off to meet Mary again, conducting experiments with her. Afterward, Matthew accompanies Diana up to visit Dr Dee and his associate, Robert Ainsley. There, she goes searching for the book but unfortunately it’s missing from the library here too. Apparently Dee’s old assistant Edward could understand the scripture within the book and claimed it held the key to immortality.
The only clues they have to go on though is Emperor Rudolph and Bohemia. Beyond that, everything else is pretty much up in the air. For now, it’s time to rest given Diana’s training begins the following day.
Matthew escorts Diana to Goody Alsop who gathers the other witches together to try and help Diana discover what her element is. With Diana in the middle of the witches’ circle, surrounded by thin wisps of thread, she’s told to reach out and touch the one that calls to her the strongest. Only, she starts to lose control and panics, rendering the experiment a failure.
As Diana thinks back over her past, she realizes that she’s used fire, wind, earth and water at different moments of heightened emotional stress. This explains her sporadic magic and why it’s never been the same. This revelation is a great nod toward the past, as Goody asks Diana to open up and talk about her family, specifically her Aunt.
Matthew meanwhile, visits Kit and asks about Bohemia. However, Kit warns him to keep his attention focused on matters closer to home, especially given Cecil is starting to grow suspicious of him. In order to nip this in the bud, Matthew invites Cecil over and tries to explain his marriage while Diana sits at the table with them. Instead, he tells them the Queen has summoned them both to head over to Whitehall.
After donning new “armour”, courtesy of Mary Sidney, Diana prepares to meet Queen Elizabeth with Matthew. Together, they arrive in court and kneel before her.
She calls Matthew a shadow and listens as he apologizes for not seeing her sooner. Elizabeth is wise though and calls him out for this, eventually forcing Cecil and the others out the room so they can speak alone.
As Diana succumbs to the Queen, Elizabeth calls her clever…too clever in fact. Matthew pounces on this and truthfully talks about the book as Queen Elizabeth mentions the Philosopher’s stone (no it’s not a Harry Potter crossover, don’t worry guys!), which she wants Edward Kelley to create for her. In order to satisfy the Queen, she tasks Matthew with finding Kelley and bringing him to her.
Given the journey will be hard and take many months, Matthew worries that this will interfere with Diana’s magic training. Speaking of which, Diana heads back and speaks to the witches again, eventually tying the threads together and seeing a beautiful rowan tree. This proves that she’s a Weaver as the tree seems to foreshadow her being able to conjure up different portals to worlds. Goody tells her her Familiar will reveal itself soon.
That night, Matthew is reacquainted with his nephew Gallowglass, who heads down from Scotland. He introduces Gallowglass to a returning Diana and he immediately draws concerns.
The real reason for him being there though is a note from his Father in France. This obviously isn’t great news, as Diana follows after Matthew into the study. It turns out Philippe wants him back in France. If he doesn’t, then Philippe will land on the shores of England himself.
Diana promises she can handle the journey and eventually leaves Goody and the other witches, telling her she needs to go as her magic is tied to Matthew. Goody’s clearly disappointed, especially with her unfinished training. The old lady holds her hands though and tells Diana that she’s forging her own path ahead, one no longer connected to her. Goody can’t see her future.
While Matthew and Diana leave for France, we cut back to Venice in the present as Domenico returns with big news for Gerbert. This news could bring the whole Clermont dynasty crashing to its knees, as Domenico so eloquently puts it himself.
He mentions the dead body he found at the start of the episode and the uncontrolled feeding, which is just the leverage they could use to their advantage. Domenico wants to rule Venice again and in exchange, promises to hand over the means to destroy the Clermont family for good.
The Episode Review
As Diana starts to learn more about her magic and controlling its essence, this episode adds a lot more answers to some of the questions plaguing the first season. Diana’s magic and why it has been so sporadic in the past is finally unveiled and it makes a lot more sense now too.
The modern timeline is still here as well, albeit in short bursts, while the 1590 timeline is what’s predictably dominating proceedings. In fact, Matthew now has a new mission in the case of finding Kelley and bringing him to the Queen. That’s obviously not going to be very pleasant, although the prospect of seeing 1590’s England is incredibly exciting and it’ll be interesting to see how the show tackles that in the next episode.
The ending is certainly intriguing too, what with Domenico wanting to take back control of Venice. It seems like he’ll be the wildcard in the season going ahead. On a personal note, I hope he’s not killed off as easily as Juliette was, especially after her build-up last season. One can’t help but feel he and Satu are both going to play a much bigger role in this season to come. Still, we’ll have to wait and see what happens next!