Joanna looks terrible, she's pale and sickly, and the cures that Victor is trying on her only seem to make everything worse. (Think medieval magical leeches. Or the billboards for The Strain that FX had to remove after they grossed out too many Los Angeles, California, residents. There were a whole lot of creepy-crawlies squirming under a bloody knife wound in Joanna's arm.) She's pretending for her daughters' sake that she'll get through this, but she, Victor and Wendy (Mädchen Amick) know that time is running out. While Joanna is resigned to her fate, Wendy can't bear the thought of a life without her sister, and their tearful talk about preparing for her death is hands down the best scene of the episode.
Ingrid's decided the best way to cope with her mother's illness and her newfound abilities is to start indulging in her own desires instead of repressing them. The Ingrid of Season 1 wouldn't have considered lying on a job application, not even just to secure an interview. But this year, she's seen something she wants and wasn't above using trickery to swing it her way. And once she tanked the interview? Last season's Ingrid never would have let Freya (Jenna Dewan-Tatum) mix up a potion to change the boss' mind and win herself the job, but now after the barest token protest, she'll go along for the ride and happily dance on the bar when her sister's spell has the desired effect. She's tired of being the family good girl. (And that's not even touching the episode-ending tentacle sex.)
The look of the show has changed dramatically this season, too. Fair Haven is now a darker, creepier town rather than the warm, cozy New England refuge of Season 1. There's much less light, and there are much longer shadows, and it fits the mood of our characters. Dash (Eric Winter) is darker than we've ever seen him, uneasy at the discovery of his own new powers and desperately struggling for a reasonable scientific explanation. At the same time, he's struggling with the question of what, exactly, happened to Killian (Daniel DiTomasso) in the wake of their fight after Dash's canceled wedding. He's no longer the sweet-natured, kind fiancé who worshipped the ground Freya walked on. There's a rage in him that seems like it may be bigger than his goodness.
The return of Frederick Beauchamp (Christian Cooke), however, gives Joanna the extra boost she needs to hang onto life. It's the first time she's seen her son in centuries. Wendy might not be buying his sob story about how terrible things have gotten in Asgard and his own memory loss from escaping through the portal, but Joanna's joy at seeing her long lost son again overrides any natural suspicions that should be arising.... especially when he cures her by pulling the poison into his own system, claiming he's built up a tolerance to it over the past years. It's all the proof Joanna needs that her son is on the right side, but Wendy's not so quick to forgive the betrayal.
The premiere leaves us with more questions than answers, and like any good season opener, we're excited to see how they unfold. (Though we do wish we could give Killian a talking to — come on, Killian, the first cute girl you meet and that undying love for Freya goes out the window? Get it together, buddy.)
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