Series: Witches Of East End
Witches Of East End
is a 2013 supernatural drama series
on the Lifetime Network
based on the book
of the same name by Melissa De La Cruz.
Joanna Beauchamp is your average middle-aged art teacher, a single mother with two grown daughters, Ingrid and Freya. Except that she is immortal, her estranged sister Wendy can turn into a cat and has nine lives, and Ingrid and Freya have died and been reborn multiple times over the past few centuries – and all four of them are secretly witches.
After growing tired of constantly seeing her daughters be killed by their own magic, Joanna has decided to raise Ingrid and Freya without knowledge of their witchcraft to hopefully see them live past 30 this time. But when a shapeshifter who looks exactly like Joanna targets their whole family, Wendy convinces her that they can't hide Ingrid and Freya's heritage from them anymore.
This series provides examples of:
- Absolute Cleavage: Archibald's courtesan wears a dress cut to the navel, cementing his status as a satanist/occultist in the 19th century. The big ol' orgy he's throwing when we meet him helps, too.
- All Witches Have Cats: Subverted with Wendy.
- Amoral Attorney: Harrison is implied to be one.
- As You Know: In the very first episode, Ingrid informs Freya that she's engaged to Dash, and Joanna gives Wendy a detailed explanation of how her curse and the girls' Born-Again Immortality works.
- Burn the Witch!: In some of Joanna's flashbacks, it's shown that her daughters were burned as witches in earlier eras.
- Cats Are Magic: The black cat in the first episode has a neat trick...
- Clear My Name: The shapeshifter manages to frame Joanna for the murder of a man by killing him in front of his wife while looking like Joanna. It's up to Joanna and Harrison to try to prove that Joanna didn't do it.
- Coffin Contraband: As an immortal witch who needs to switch identities every few decades so people don't notice that she doesn't age, Joanna fakes the death of her old identity and then moves to a new city to start fresh. When she moves back to a town where she used to live a century earlier, she digs up the empty grave and stores an emergency stash of money in the coffin. Later on she also uses the grave to store a cursed painting.
- Disappeared Dad: Ingrid and Freya's father isn't mentioned until S01E08, when it's stated he's been gone for over a century, making this an extreme case. Due to their born again immortality Ingrid and Freya have never seen him before in their present lives, nor in most of their past ones going back centuries. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Ingrid is bitter with him over this, although Freya warms up more quickly. It's somewhat different because Joanna asked him to leave, and thus he's upset that she told his daughters he'd abandoned them.
- Double Standard: Rape, Sci-Fi: Eva uses a Love Potion on Killian so she can have sex with him as much as possible in order to have a baby, yet when everything is out in the open her death scene is rendered as a poignant moment where the audience is meant to sympathize with her - both Freya and Killian himself are visibly moved, and he shows no emotional trauma from the abuse. The indignation of the other characters seems to stem from Eva coercing Killian's love and taking him from Freya, with no mention of forced sex.
- Ingrid's trance state with the mandragora. This results in horror and a mini-breakdown for Ingrid, but the rest of the cast utter 'oh noes' more akin to 'what a shame' than as if she had suffered a terrible ordeal.
- Equivalent Exchange: Magic isn't "free", it has to come from somewhere. When Ingrid casts a spell to bring a loved one back to life, she learns that at some point in the future she will lose someone she loves.
- Geometric Magic: Pentagrams and other forms and symbols are part of successfully practicing witchcraft.
- Hot Witch: Within the boundaries of beauty being in the eye of the beholder, most of the main cast.
- Identical Grandson: In the first episode, Ingrid is seriously weirded out on finding a photo of one of her earlier, much earlier, incarnations. This is before we the audience know the truth, so we don't know what the hell's going on before the photo is destroyed.
- Immortality: It's unclear whether or not all witches are immortal or if Wendy and Joanna have been specifically cursed to be immortal. Their immortality certainly works differently. Joanna is near-impossible to kill. Wendy dies like anyone else, but comes to life a few hours after she dies. Ingrid and Freya die like anyone would, but almost as soon as they do Joanna gets pregnant with Ingrid and the cycle starts over.
- Masquerade: The very first thing Ingrid and Freya learn about being a witch is that they must never tell anyone about it.
- Mind Rape: Wendy essentially destroys Maura's mind as a side effect of the memory spell cast on her, resulting in her being institutionalized for terrifying delusions.
- Noodle Incident: There are several mentions or brief flashes to past experiences of Joanna and her family which have as of yet only vaguely been explained.
- There's a sequence in S01E03 where Joanna pulls a flask, a gun, and a hammer out of a box, and then flashes back to the enemies she defeated using each of them without context as to who those people are.
- Wendy mentions in passing how she once died by being eaten by an alligator. And once from syphilis.
- Norse Mythology: Joanna and Wendy apparently come from Asgard, and Freya's name is a blatant Shout-Out. Also, Mike's previous book's title is "The Aesir of Midgard," so something is definitely going on.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Julia Ormond's native English accent comes out frequently.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: They can touch people who can see them (aka witches), they can affect electricity, and if they stick around on Earth for too long they'll remain stuck there.
- Phantom Zone Picture: One of Freya's ex-boyfriends from a past life is trapped in a painting. He escapes in S01E01 and tries to do the same to Freya, but is eventually trapped in another painting. And apparently he's not the only person the witches got rid of that way.
- Reincarnation Romance: Killian and Freya.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The guy trapped in the painting in the first episode goes on one against Freya when he gets out.
- Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: The reason why Wendy ends up naked a couple of times when she turns into a cat and back into her human form again.
- Shirtless Scene: Freddie Prinze Jr. gets one in the fourth episode. Wendy spends a moment Eating the Eye Candy before deciding that, no, she's not going to leave so soon.
- Skepticism Failure: Ingrid spends the first episode declaring herself a "rational skeptic" who doesn't believe in witchcraft, until of course she's then proven completely wrong.
- Spooky Painting. A guy in a painting suddenly starts to move. See Phantom Zone Picture above.
- Stalker Shrine: As shown is S01E03, the shapeshifter has one filled with pictures of Joanna.
- Tarot Troubles: The witches lay the cards a couple of times. It's how they find out that a shapeshifter is out to kill Joanna and her daughters. Even shuffling the deck and trying it over dozens of times doesn't change the message of the cards.
- Unwanted Revival: In S01E02 Ingrid doesn't know yet that Wendy will come back to life a few hours after being stabbed to death by the shapeshifter, and uses a spell to resurrect her. Wendy is less than pleased about it and informs Ingrid that sooner or later she'll have to pay the price by losing someone she loves.
- Witch Species: Witchcraft is genetic. A passing comment by Joanna reveals for the first time that she and Wendy are from Asgard.