From The Writers' Room Featuring The Witch Who Came In From the Cold

Ian Tregillis on writing The Witch Who Came In From The Cold S2E13: “We All Fall Down”

WITCH-S2_Ep-13_ebook_600x960_300dpiRing around the rosie / A pocket full of posies / Ashes, ashes…

Oof. This was a tough season, both for the characters and the writers. But we survived! Well, most some of us.

Informally, within the writing team (and tacked to one corner of the Big Board when we laid out the season on index cards), we referred to this as the Season of Flame. Thematically, that’s the target we were aiming for. But it was also a bit of an inside joke, because we envisioned a season bookended by literal flames: Lindsay’s crackerjack season opener begins in medias res with a major location from last season — the Ice barge — going up in flames…and the plan all along was for the curtain to drop on the sight of yet another major location reduced to ashes.

I won’t lie. There may have been some cackling in the writers’ room when the idea hit us.

When I wrote the first outline for the season finale, I kept Lindsay’s season opener close at hand. Idealistically, I’d hoped to write something that mirrored the beginning of the season through-and-through. We’d even talked about outlining episodes 1 and 13 in tandem, to make them mirror-images of each other. But by the time we reached the end of this complex season, episode 13 had to be its own thing. That didn’t stop us from blowing up the bar, though. That is the scene that each of us has been working toward all season.

So let’s raise a glass to the one and only Bar Vodnář. Personally, I think some of the best character interactions over the past two seasons unfolded at Jordan’s place. I think we managed to get all of our major players to Vodnář at least once before it was too late. It’s been such a crucial location for us that I’m eager, maybe even a bit apprehensive, to see what comes next. But change is good. It keeps us on our toes.

Where do the survivors stand, here at the end of Season 2?

Team Flame has taken some deep losses: Sasha’s dead, from a terminal case of letter-opener-poisoning. Terzian’s dead from a terminal case of Alestair. Zerena is alive but licking some pretty serious wounds: yet another ritual has failed for her, plus she’s lost Andula, who has become fully united with her elemental, and who now has Van to mentor her in the Subtle Art of Magical Badassery. Those two can’t kick the dust of Prague from their shoes quickly enough– but when you hang two loaded pistols over the mantel in a season finale, storytelling logic says they’ll be fired in a later season. It’d be downright irresponsible to do otherwise.

Meanwhile it’s not exactly champagne time or our heroes. Edith’s dead (let’s raise another glass), and I have a feeling the death of the Langley special investigator will rain all manner of hell on CIA Prague Station. First a double agent, and then this? With Gabe as the prime suspect broken out of custody by a KGB officer? Bad times a’comin. Josh and Frank know about the existence of magic and the secret conflict between Ice and Flame now, but that might not be much of a relief to Gabe in the days to come. On top of that, he and Tanya are in a weird place (that kiss was probably a really bad idea).  Tanya isn’t doing much better with her supposed partner Nadia these days.

As for Alestair… well, what is going on with Alestair? Maybe he’s not quite the guy we thought he was?

Finally, everybody’s favorite bartender is badly injured and — oh yeah — homeless, suddenly without the stash of charms that made her a major player. With the destruction of Bar Vodnář, Prague has lost a major piece of neutral ground.

Yet the ley line nexus still thrums beneath the city, waiting for somebody to use it…

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