The Lost Cities
Set in 17th century Italy, Luna Nera’s story revolves around women being prosecuted for being witches. The first episode doesn’t waste any time throwing us straight into the heart of the action by introducing us to the characters and setting the scene for an intriguing and bewitching supernatural series to follow. The visuals and the acting are quite impressive and with just 6 episodes, the series should be quite easy to binge watch.
We start the episode in the woods in the middle of the night with four women finding a dead dear. One of them, Tebe, picks up its heart and sees that it’s still beating. After looking at the waning moon, she mentions that they must return to their ancient dwelling.
We then cut to a woman in labour in a castle with a midwife called Natalia helping her. She asks her granddaughter Ade to help who quickly notices that the baby is dying. This scares the pregnant woman who calls her a witch and sends them away. Returning home to her sick brother Valente, Ade relays her worries to her grandmother, Natalia, about what just happened. The latter tries to reassure her by explaining that some women possess the ancient wisdom which men unfortunately fear.
Meanwhile, in a Roman school a professor teaches his students the difference between science and religion. After one of the students examines the cause of death for a man, the professor explains that they will fight witchcraft with scientific knowledge. Later in the day, a group of witch hunters called the Benandanti, lead by Sante, prepare themselves to hunt Natalia as they believe she’s a witch and killed the woman’s baby. As they mount their horses armed with torches, we see Natalia using her magic to bury her grimoire in the ground, telling Ade that if she doesn’t come back she will need to go to the woods and find a viper’s nest. There, she’ll find the lost cities.
In the library, Pietro finds out from young Spirto that his mother is quite ill while in her village, everyone is avoiding Ade as they believe she’s a witch. She heads out to the river though and it’s here she meets Pietro on his way back home to his mother, who takes an instant liking to her. In his village, he surprises his sister Cesaria then heads to see his sick mother. After hugging her, he gives her some medicine but she tells him that his father believes a witch made her sicker.
Ade tries to sell her basket in the market in exchange for food. Unfortunately, the people quickly recognize her as the midwife’s granddaughter and start stoning her. Thankfully, Pietro happens to be there and stops them. She runs off to the church and reads a notice that her grandma has been found guilty of witchcraft and sentenced to death.
Pietro confronts his dad, Sante, about condemning someone to burn. He replies that she killed a baby and put a curse on their house. However, his son insists that there must be an explanation as there’s always one for obscure and painful events. Sante ignores his son though, believing that they need to fight the evil amongst them.
During the night, Pietro sneaks off to inspect the baby with the help of Spirto and is relieved to see that he died of suffocation from the umbilical cord. The next day, Ade rushes to the church and begs them one more time to let Natalia go. Pietro also arrives with proof that the baby died of natural causes. However, the priest denies his claim and insists that it was the witch doing the devil’s work.
As the crowd cheers for her death, we see the four women from the beginning watching and chanting a latin spell. Natalie repeats the same words as she starts burning and as she looks up at the sky, a storm appears with pouring rain, therefore extinguishing the fire. Determined to end things, Sante grabs his knife and finishes Natalia off.
After watching her grandma die, Ade leaves with her brother and thanks Pietro for his help. Before saying goodbye, he tells her to meet him in the woods by the fountain where he’ll wait for her.
Meanwhile, Sante reports to Giambattista what happened to the witch. However his wife tells him that it was the young girl and not the grandma. The episode closes as Ade and Valente manage to find the viper’s nest engraved in a big rock and, with the help of the necklace her grandma gave her, she manages to open the strange stone door. They then reach an abandoned mansion where we’re greeted by the four women again.
Netflix’s new Italian series offers us an interesting and intriguing first episode as we follow the story of Ade and her brother, stuck in a world where anyone suspected of witchcraft will be prosecuted and burned at the stake. It looks like the show will also tackle the difference between religion and science too and how both tackle the ideas surrounding magic.
The first chapter does a pretty good job building the world up, as we slowly find out about the situation the women are facing in the village. Our protagonist has had quite the difficult life and after losing her grandmother, is now left alone to look after her brother. The episode ends as she’s joining the four other witches who we can imagine will be helping her hone her new-found powers while trying to escape the witch-hunters. These combined ideas make for a pretty interesting watch so far and may just provide a good hit for those looking for a compelling supernatural series. It’s a little too early to tell if this one will keep it up though but so far so good.
|Luna Nera is available to watch on Netflix. Feel free to click here and sign up now to check this show out!|