That’s the only word that I can use to start this review of A Discovery of Witches Season 2 Episode 6 because it exceeded expectations on a level rarely seen in television or any kind of book adaptation in entertainment.
From the first scene to the last, every note of the drama, romance, and production was exceptional.
After the events at the close of A Discovery of Witches Season 2 Episode 5, those who haven’t read the books had to be wondering what on earth led Philippe to allow a witch to access Diana’s memories like that.
Given Ysabeau’s acceptance of Diana in the future, it’s easy to forget who Ysabeau was in the past, especially regarding her relationship to Diana’s kind. Ysabeau was a witch hunter of the highest order, destroying covens from coast to coast.
No wonder it was impossible for mere words to convey that Ysabeau had changed so drastically in the future. Until that moment, Philippe also undoubtedly thought that his son and Diana’s relationship had been thwarted by him as well as his wife.
So when Diana wisely turned and put on Ysabeau’s cherished ring from Philippe, he was shocked beyond measure. For Diana to have that ring only meant one thing — he was dead.
Philippe’s entire world changed in an instant. The seemingly eternal life he lived was going to end. His beloved Ysabeau would be without him, and his son would turn into someone he no longer knew. It’s a fairly devastating pronouncement, even if he is a vampire who has lived eons.
But the enormity of that news also drove home in him that if Matthew left his mother behind without his protection to return to the past, then his relationship with Diana was as significant as they had said.
This newfound caution of yours has blunted your technique. Where is your might? Where is your thirst for blood? Where is my Mattieu!?!
Naturally, Philippe wanted a showdown with his son. With sword in hand, he railed against Matthew, angry that Ysabeau was alone, stunned that his son, once powerful and full of might, had softened.
With all of that came a deluge of information and reveals between father and son, Matthew and Diana, and Philippe and Diana.
The vigorous physical battle between Matthew and Philippe unraveled Matthew’s resolve, and by the end of it, he was firmly in the clutches of the blood rage he fought so valiantly to contain.
Matthew: I haven’t lost control of myself for a very, very long time. I trained myself to hold the blood rage back, and I used genetics to try to understand it, try to find a cure.
Matthew: It’s Ysabeau who carries the honors. Luckily, she’s spared of its effects. Luisa and I are not so fortunate. This is why we can never be truly mated.
Diana: Do you really think that I would ever walk away from you, my love, after all we’ve been through?
Matthew: This was but just a glimpse. You have no idea what I’m capable of. I’m a killer, Diana, and I’ve killed thousands. I was Philippe’s weapon. He used me to eradicate the disease.
Diana: He made you his assassin.
Diana was horrified that Philippe could so be so cruel to a son he claimed to love.
As worried as Matthew was initially that standing up to Phillipe wouldn’t work in Diana’s favor, her convictions proved her worth to Philippe. After taking Matthew to task for all of his fears and concerns about the future, Diana took Philippe to task for acting without provocation or knowledge.
Philippe saw his son as losing his way, soft beyond measure. Diana knows that Matthew lived in Philippe’s shadow and struggled to live up to his father’s expectations long after he lost him.
I stepped out of your shadow a long time ago. I will not be a pawn anymore!
Matthew has been sidestepping the issue of his blood rage with Diana, holding her at arm’s length, refusing to mate because he knew the depth of his feelings could erupt in ways he couldn’t control.
And once Philippe realized the significance of their union, he knew that Diana would never fully accept Matthew without knowing his deepest secrets.
And Philippe was right. Knowing about it and witnessing it are two different things. So Philippe set out to either flush out Diana from Matthew’s life or cement their future permanently.
Diana: You provoked and humiliated your own son! You exploited his pain! And for what? To drive me away!
Philippe: You needed to see the wolf behind the man. If you are to have a future together, you must accept every facet of him. And Matthew must be freed of the guilt that he carries.
Diana: You did this for us?
Philippe: Your union is forbidden in your time, too, or you would not be here. The two of you will face forces of great malevolence. You must be united, your faith in each other unwavering!
Diana: It already is.
Philippe: No. Your faith is worthless left untested. And Matthew. Matthew has less faith than anyone I have ever known.
Diana: He had faith in you, Philippe. All his life, he has tried to prove himself to you, and you used it against him. Your legacy is one of pain and recrimination.
Philippe: Who are you to lecture me?
Diana: I am worthy of your son.
Each scene during this episode was more powerful than the last.
As Philippe’s love for Matthew went to new lengths to ensure his happiness, so did Diana’s love for Matthew. By the time Diana confronted Philippe and discovered the method behind his madness, the only way forward for the two was to bond eternally.
Equally as charged as Matthew with his blood rage, Diana’s magic was emerging, dazzling Philippe, burying any lingering doubts he had for Matthew’s chosen mate.
His emotions practically exploded as he realized Diana’s significance to an old prophecy and what it meant for the future of creatures of all kinds.
Philippe: An ancient prophecy. It tells of a witch who will change the destiny of all creatures. Some believe that this fearsome witch will alter her understanding of life and the old world will die and the new will be born.
Diana: What do you believe?
Philippe: That you are power indeed.
Diana: Yes, I am. But I love your son, and that should be enough.
Philippe could have left it at that, allowing Matthew and Diana to move forward and hope for the best.
Traveling back in time for future assistance meant that their union faced as many doubts in the future as he had felt himself. But the people doing the doubting wouldn’t find it in their hearts to let the lovers forge their own path, not without protection.
By the time Philippe not only accepted Diana as Matthew’s mate but as his daughter in her own right, it was difficult holding back tears. Reading out this type of love and acceptance is one thing, but watching it unfold with actors so perfectly suited to each role is something else altogether.
There must be no doubt that Diana is a De Clermont. Our family is made through blood. With this mark, you are dead, a shade. Not clan or kin. With this mark, you are reborn and forever a member of our family.
Even if Matthew and Diana never mated, she would still be a de Clermont. It’s not easy to explain how a woman in the future becomes his daughter in the past to those in the past or future, but in a world filled with creatures, it made the utmost sense.
Philippe continued to impact Matthew and Diana’s future beyond that, though. Although he couldn’t sense his fate, he knew that whatever it was, it compounded the guilt that Matthew already felt for carrying out Philippe’s plans against Catholics and vampires with blood rage.
It’s hard to imagine the guilt that rocked Matthew for acting as an assassin for his father when he was also Catholic, but to kill all others who suffered from blood rage while continuing on himself had to be a crushing blow.
He’d be torn between knowing that his father was eradicating the disease to protect Ysabeau and Matthew to wondering why Philippe was hanging the enormity of that situation on his very shoulders.
That Matthew felt so close to Philippe long after those events to be the son who freed Philippe from the physical torture of the Nazis and from the mental anguish of Philippe’s own mind puts their bond in perspective from Matthew’s point of view.
Phillipe’s acceptance and the casual announcement that Matthew and Diana would be married before they parted ways showed the strength of their bond from Philippe’s perspective.
While reviewing A Discovery of Witches Season 2 Episode 4, I noted how much I missed the beautiful cinematography of the present.
Now I have to eat my words because scene after scene used soft lighting, stark shadows, and magically created shots that make this one of the most beautiful episodes of the series to date.
The wedding was short, but oh, so sweet. Diana looked like fae royalty, and Matthew’s face when he saw his bride was everything it should have been.
The day’s charm finally gave Philippe the words he needed to write one last message to Ysabeau, a missive that was creating itself in the present with faint vibrations felt by Emily and Sarah.
Knowing he was no longer with her, Phillipe reminded her of his love for her and spoke of the day that their son was, finally, blissfully happy with the woman he loved.
Of course, it would have been so much sweeter if they could have shared that day together, but Diana’s powers offered them one last chance to connect that they would have never had without her.
And if you’re like me, and I know that you are, you’re hoping Deborah Harkness comes through with a prequel featuring Philippe and Ysabeau.
Part of it is the visual appeal of Lindsay Duncan as Ysabeau and James Purefoy as Philippe. They’re doing phenomenal jobs with their characters.
And unless I don’t understand how vampires work, wouldn’t the same actors be used if time permitted her to write and finish a book that could continue the series longer?
Seeing the look of love on Ysabeau’s face as she read the letter was the last straw for me.
I rarely cry while enjoying entertainment, but the hour hit me like a ton of bricks. I was ugly crying, you guys! Not out of sadness, but the heaviness of the love between all of these characters.
Imagining Matthew and Diana as parents were also tossed into the mix as being close to home and closer in time to his humanity, he was recalling his time with Lucas.
Diana: I bet you were an amazing father.
Matthew: Lucas gave me purpose, and he ignited a love I had never known.
Diana: I’ve seen a glimpse of that with Jack. I’m sorry we won’t have children of our own. I’d like to leave you with family.
Matthew: You are all I need.
Diana: But in 60, 70 years, I’ll be gone, and you’ll live on for centuries, maybe millennia.
It’s hard to imagine Matthew without Diana, but that’s going to happen.
Of course, the door is open on this one-of-a-kind creature couple having children, so there’s always hope.
What did you think about the episode? If you’re here, please drop down below and drop me a comment. It gets too lonely around here!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.