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MOTHERLAND: FORT SALEM - Say The Words - Preview

Motherland: Fort Salem is an innovative new Freeform series that takes its origins from the historical events behind the Salem Witch Trials. It shows an alternative history version of what could have happened had witches revealed themselves as real. The basis of the history behind the series centers around the character of General Adler (Lyne Renee), who was not only alive during the Salem Witch Trials, but thanks to witchy magic is still alive today. Adler essentially brokered a treaty that made witches the central defending force of the United States of America, but it is a very different America than exists. In this present-day America, every young woman of a witch bloodline at the age of eighteen must commit to joining the armed forces to defend the country and the world from a terrorist organization known as the Spree. 

The series begins with a Spree attack and the introduction to a group of new incoming recruits at a special military academy created to train young witches.  That group consists of Raelle Collar (Taylor Hickson), Abigail Bellweather (Ashley Nicole Williams), and Tally Craven (Jessica Sutton). Raelle does not want to go to war after losing her mom to the war, Abigail is a legacy recruit and is expected not only to join the fight but to be a leader, and Tally willingly joins despite not being obligated.  The three of them have very different motivations and very different expectations. They also have extremely different personalities that sometimes clash.  The group is guided in their training by Anacostia (Demetria McKinney) who must be tough with them but seems to genuinely care about the cadets in her care.

During the latter half of the episode, Raelle meets sophomore necromancy cadet Scylla (Amalia Holm) and the two immediately hit it off. From the first second Hickson and Holm share the screen the chemistry they bring to their characters is electric. That only grows throughout the rest of the episode as these two rapidly bond.  There is more to Scylla than meets the eye and this massive secret is sure to wreak havoc on their fledgling relationship throughout the season. For the sake of this episode, the birth of their romance is beautiful and tender.

This fresh new series might be the most ambitious that Freeform has ever attempted.  It has a strong narrative and well thought-out mythology. The actresses all have phenomenal chemistry and bring great energy to their characters. The first episode spends a necessary amount of time world building then seamlessly transitions into character building and revving up storylines.  Raelle and Scylla are the main romantic duo at the center of the series and the show pulls no punches in building their story and the actresses don't hold back. The show is committed to developing this couple, but there are sure to be great complications stemming from Scylla's secret. But with any big love story, things are never easy or smooth and that seems to be the troubled path these two will venture down as the series progresses.

The series sets up a formidable foe in the Spree, but be warned that the visuals behind the Spree attacks could be triggering. This first episode comes with a suicide prevention hotline placard and it is justified. The content should be great to help launch much-needed conversations, but it could also be triggering for others. So please go into this properly warned and aware of the content.

Motherland: Fort Salem is a spectacular new show that will premiere on Freeform March 18th.

MOTHERLAND: FORT SALEM - Say The Words - Preview Reviewed by Aimee H on March 11, 2020 Rating: 5

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