Check out our episode here! Spells Trouble by PC Cast and Kristin Cast
In 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts, a mother and her young daughter are in a jail cell listening to the sounds of the gallows. Sarah Goode chews rosemary while stroking young Dorothy's head as she sleeps. Just then, a cat meows outside the jail and the guard waves his bible at it, telling Satan's beast to leave. Apparently he doesn't know that you can't tell a cat what to do, because he enters the jail and squeezes through the bars of Sarah's cell. Dorothy is excited to see Odysseus, and so is Sarah, as she's about to have her familiar help them out of their prison. The guard comes waving his bible again, but Sarah spits her rosemary into his face and enchants him to trip, hit his head and drop his keys. Odysseus retrieves the keys and together, the three escape into the night. They run to an apple orchard and dig up a box of Sarah's possessions she'd hidden there previously. Sarah calls to the goddess Gaia, requesting her aid, and is shown a path in glowing green light, which she, her daughter and their cat follow into the darkness. Blessed be, Earth Mother!
In present day, Hunter is swimming in Goode Lake in Illinois, enjoying the quiet around her. Until, that is, a boat full of rowdy boys rumbles up. The boys ask if she goes to their school but instead of answering, Hunter ducks under the water and swims back to shore. She doesn't want to be seen crying because then she'll just become the butt of more jokes. She sits on a chaise and opens her journal, preparing to write a fantastic novel... if she could get past the title. Hunter has a lot on her mind and thinks if she can just get through tonight and the ceremony, she'll be more powerful and be able to do whatever she wants, including writing this book.
Hunter’s friend Emily comes by then. So much for writing! As the girls are sitting in their lounge chairs, a fluffy Maine coon named Xena strolls up, but Emily is allergic and tries to shoo Xena away. If only Hunter's mom had some sort of cat talking spell so she could ask Xena to leave... Hunter turns away before she has to lie to Emily who definitely realizes that Hunter's mom DOES have a cat talking spell. Emily pulls out red plastic cups and vodka preparing for Hunter and her twin sister Mercy's 16th birthday party that's due to start soon. Hunter doesn't like drinking and isn't at all like her colorful and vibrant sister or their beautiful friend who is currently ogling the boat of boys. And that's okay. Hunter is the balance to Mercy's wildness. Then, Mercy arrives and the party gets started.
Mercy sashays up in her pink fringe and embroidered jeans. She's followed by her football captain boyfriend Kirk who she's trying to teach to be less douchey and his football bros. Hunter's best friend Jax also arrives then. He is also a football player but less of a bro and gives Hunter a beautiful opal fountain pen for her birthday and a Ruth Bader Ginsburg pin to Mercy. Perfect presents for the sisters. Kirk gave Mercy his senior ring, which is less than perfect, but not so bad. Some of the bros start up a bonfire and get out the vegan hotdogs. Mercy tosses a bundle into the fire as a blessing to the oak tree that they used to start it, but then a snarling beast appears in the smoke. That can't be good.
Emily drives the sisters home and they exchange gifts along the way. When they arrive at their house, the Goode House that's been in their family for generations, the girls get dressed for their midnight ritual while their mom, Abigail, gathers supplies. The girls dress and prepare offerings to their chosen deities, the god Tyr for Hunter and the goddess Freya for Mercy. They talk about the beast in the smoke and then Hunter realizes why it appeared. Mercy only blessed the oak tree used, but there was also apple wood in the bonfire and apple trees are very important to the Goode family! Xena the cat arrives then and tells Abigail about the birthday party and how half the school was there. She also talks about Kirk giving Mercy his ring, which leads to a conversation about his penis, Mercy's clitoris and the gift she bestowed upon her daughters that has been passed through the generations, multiple orgasms. The girls beg their mom to stop talking about clitorises, and then they head out for their ritual.
As they walk through the field beyond Goode House, Abigail asks her daughters about the history of their town and the origin of their family. Sarah Goode and her daughter Dorothy left Salem, Massachusetts, following a ley line shown to them by Gaia. The line led them and a group of travelers to what would become Illinois where they founded the town of Goodeville where five ley lines intersect to form a pentagram. Sarah, a green witch, magically called forth trees at each point of the pentagram which symbolized five gates to the Underworld, an apple tree at the Norse gate, an olive tree at the Greek gate, a cherry tree at the Japanese gate, a doum palm tree at the Egyptian gate and a banyan tree at the Hindu gate. Tonight, the sisters will join their mother in her ritual to protect the north gate.
They begin the ceremony, Abigail lighting the white spirit candle at the foot of the Norse apple tree and calling to her goddess, Athena. She says she follows the path of the Kitchen Witch. Mercy lights the next candle, the green candle, and begins invoking her goddess, but as they're walking to the next point, Mercy twists her ankle on a rotten apple filled with worms. Abigail is startled, but directs Mercy to reset her intentions and they continue. Mercy lights the brown candle, calls to Freya and declares she is a Green Witch. Hunter lights the next candle, the yellow one, and calls to Tyr. When she places the blue candle, the final one, she declares herself a Cosmic Witch. The witches sit in the middle of their circle with quilts and incense and visualize strengthening the gate and recognizing their feelings. Mercy calls to Freya but only gets a small amount of assistance from her, then Hunter cries out to Tyr. They look to the apple tree gate and see a giant beast coming through it.
As the snarling wolf crawls from the Underworld, Abigail calls to Athena for protection, but she's attacked. Hunter and Mercy run, but Hunter turns back. The wolf bites into her arm as Xena arrives for the battle, jumping onto the wolf's snout. Athena's owl swoops down then on the wolf. Abigail is struck by bright orange lightning and, with the power of Athena, throws a spear into the beast, piercing it to the trunk of the tree. She tells Fenrir he is not meant for this world, but he attacks. Abigail lights the beast on fire with her hands. Hunter knows her mother doesn't have much time left in this world, so she goes to her. Abigail, with the voice of Athena, tells Hunter to not wait until the solstice to fix the other gates and to watch out for her sister, then the flames consume her and Fenrir.
Across town by the olive tree, Sheriff Dearborn is called to investigate a disturbance. He smells smoke and sometimes the waft of sea air. He and his dispatcher Trish are having a nice radioed conversation about the train line cutting its way through town five years ago and about poor old Earl who called in the trouble at the tree. It seems this time though, he might have found something, but what, we can't say. Earl is dead on the ground. The sheriff asks Trish to call an ambulance and the coroner, but then, he grabs this throat.
The next day Hunter and Mercy are visited by Sheriff Dearborn and Deputy Carter. Sheriff Dearborn is a little... off... but he did see an eyeballess corpse just a few hours ago, so maybe that explains it. The officers ask the twins to explain what happened at their midnight picnic that resulted in their mother's death. They have made up a story about their candles causing a fire that killed her. The sheriff makes a snide comment about insurance money and Hunter wishes she had dark magic to shut him up, but then he asks her for a drink, so she goes inside. Mercy can barely function, but stays outside with the police, who have now asked if they have any family nearby to be their guardian. Hunter talks to Xena while she's inside and cries into her fur about how they're going to have to leave their home, but then Xena sneezes in her face and turns into a beautiful woman.
Outside, Sheriff Dearborn is still being awkward and rude about being thirsty, so finally Mercy snaps about how they aren't the best hosts right now because THEIR MOM DIED, and then they walk inside. Deputy Carter asks again about family, but then is introduced to Aunt Xena. Mercy and Hunter lock eyes and Mercy immediately plays along with the ruse that Xena is their aunt, or really their mom's cousin, who has come to care for them. The officers leave, and shortly afterward, the girls' friends come over. They all offer support and Emily tells them her dad will help with plans for their mother. Xena dismisses them quickly though because the twins really need to visit the gates in the trees. She hisses at Kirk when he dawdles as he's leaving and then she stalks a moth, just like any normal, regular human aunt would.
Hunter and Mercy leave to check out the other Gate trees. Mercy can normally sense and hear the nature around her, but not today. Not since her mom died. The girls drive toward the olive tree first, but when they see the sheriff's car and police tape there, they decide to go to the banyan tree instead. Mercy still can't feel anything, but when her anger causes her to hit the tree, the bark sloughs away to reveal worms underneath. The tree also smells bad, like rotten eggs and sulfur, which is what Fenrir smelled like too. That can't be good. They gather some dead leaves from the tree and begin to head to the next tree when Emily texts that her dad is ready to help them. They decide to pause in their gate checking and take care of their mom. Emily's dad, Dominic, is Goodeville's funeral director, and is going to help bury Abigail at the Goode House. Mercy is still struggling with her grief, so Hunter has to take charge. She's always used to being the strong one since she's been bullied since middle school and she's still the strong one now. On the drive home, Mercy asks how Hunter is getting through this like it's nothing. If only Mercy could be like Hunter. Hunter really wants to help her sister but decides she can't do it on her own. She needs their friends.
At home while Mercy states into nothingness, Hunter gathers a cauldron, moonstones and moon water. She reminisces about her mother teaching her to organize all her supplies and holds her Tyr pendant, asking her god for help as she prepares the ritual to cleanse the grief from her sister. Their friends arrive and they sit around the cauldron, Mercy stirring when she realizes they are going to work a spell. Kirk is douchey about the witchcraft, but Emily, Jax and Hunter put him in his place. They set their intention and begin, Hunter asking the moon water to cleanse her sister. They each drop a moonstone into the water, then Hunter helps Mercy put her face in the cauldron. When she pulls her face out, an imprint of her is left in the water. Hunter is so pleased because her spellwork was successful! Her sister's grief has left! But then Mercy says it was all because of Kirk and his power and light, which makes Hunter angry enough to cut crescents of blood into her palm with her fingernails. She closes the ritual and plunges her hand into the cauldron, her blood drawing the stones into her hand.
At the police station, Frank Dearborn is looking at his reflection in the bathroom mirror. Except, that's not Frank Dearborn. There's something else inside his body. Something cursed. Frank rubs his eyes, one always clouding up, a sign of the curse. He begins to feel sick and hot and overwhelmed with the world these people live in. When Deputy Carter comes in, he leaves the bathroom and runs into Trish, who asks if he's feeling okay and tries to take care of him. He can remember that Frank and Trish had some sort of relationship, but that's over now. Now that he is Frank. He begins coughing thick, wet coughs and goes outside for air where he encounters Dominic Parrott coming to do his funeral director work, until Frank pops out his eyeballs and eats them, hoping they would be the ones to break the curse. They're not, unfortunately, and now he's got a body to deal with. He shouts for help and those in the police department come running.
Back at the Goode House, Mercy is beginning to feel like herself again as Jax and Kirk get ready to leave. Kirk is douchey again and Mercy doesn't really like it, but she does appreciate how he helped in the ritual. Emily decides to stay the night and they talk about the ritual and how cool Emily thought it was and how she wants to pretend to almost be a witch. They plan to order pizza and as Emily texts her dad to tell him she's staying with the twins, Deputy Carter pulls into the driveway. Hunter goes inside to get Xena as the detective tells Emily that her father has been killed. Mercy, Hunter and Xena hold Emily in strength and love and then Deputy Carter takes her home. The sisters decide they need to go check the Gate Trees and it turns out they're all sick. Mercy's Green Witch powers are back and she vomits as she checks on the Japanese Gate. The twins try to think of what could have happened to make all the trees sick and Mercy thinks that maybe because Hunter worships a god, Tyr, instead of a goddess, that is causing the Gates to weaken, but she can't say that to her sister. Hunter decides to go to a nursery the next day to ask for non-magical help while Mercy and Xena look through books to find a ritual or spell to heal the trees.
Mercy wakes late the next day as Hunter and Jax are leaving for the arborist. Xena is napping but pulled a lot of books for Mercy to look through and she looked through some herself the night before. Before getting to work today, she checks on Emily who reveals that her father was strangled to death and then his eyes were taken. All of this started happening the night Abigail died and Hunter chose to serve a god instead of a goddess. But then she realizes that their mother wouldn't have let anything bad happen and she would have known if worshipping a god would have caused this. She pushes that thought away and looks through the books again. This time she finds something that she thinks will work, an old ritual performed by another Goode witch long ago.
Kirk comes by and interrupts Mercy’s studying. Mercy just wants to feel normal again, so they start making out, but then the making out progresses into something more. The two go up to her bedroom and enjoy the time they have together exploring each other with their mouths and hands. Thanks, Mom, for that awesome family trait you passed down! Mercy isn't sure she's proud of herself for having done what they just did, not that she should be ashamed, but she's worried that Hunter will be upset with her, so they decide not to say anything for now. But Mercy is excited because Kirk said he loves her and he even called her his goddess! Aww!
Meanwhile, Hunter and Jax are at the nursery looking for something to kill tree worms. The girl behind the counter is pretty flirty with Hunter and Jax tries to get Hunter to go back and talk to her, but she has decided that ever since she was bullied for having a crush on a girl in middle school, she's not going to even try to date until she's out of Goodeville. They weave their way through the plants, laughing and joking together, until Jax sees his neighbor who he accidentally stared at topless for a little too long, and so he scrambles underneath a table and hides behind the plants. Hunter crawls under, too, and they hide as the sexy neighbor walks up, talking to her friend about what she overheard about Dominic Parrott. That sobers Hunter up and she decides that his death, and her mom's, and the gate trees are all connected and she's got to do something about it. They head home where they see Kirk coming outside. Hunter isn't quite up to dealing with him, but gets angry when she hears Kirk tell Jax that he just got some of Mercy's "goodies," and that Jax shouldn't hang out with Hunter because girls don't like it when you have female friends. Fucking gross. Hunter throws her bright blue slushie at Kirk and goes inside.
Mercy and Hunter talk about their plans for healing the trees, but they do not talk about the sexy times they just had and heard about, nor do they talk about how much of a douche Kirk is. Mercy found several healing rituals in the old family grimoires and Hunter got out the insecticide she bought. They decide to mix the old with the new, mix magic and science, then the pantry door opens, leading them to believe that their mother is there supporting them. Hunter gets down her tarot cards and does a reading to see which tree they should visit first: the Egyptian palm. Xena saunters in, gets some tuna and cream, and praises her kittens for doing such good work in preparing the ritual. The twins gather all their supplies, Mercy thinking again about how Hunter chose Tyr and wondering if that's causing all their trouble. When everything is gathered, Xena comes outside and tells the girls they need to make it rain so people will abandon the area around the tree.
Hunter and Mercy's ritual around the Egyptian palm seems to be going well. They called the rain and set their intention of protecting and healing the tree and sprayed their mixture of herbs and insecticide all around. Then, all of a sudden, a wavery form of a man appears with a spear and shield. Except, he's not a man. He's got a frightening dragon/crocodile face. This is Khenti Amenti, Guardian of the Egyptian Underworld. When he realizes the sisters are confused by his face, he changes his appearance and talks to them about being gatekeepers and how he's been standing guard because his gate is failing. He tells the girls that if creatures from the Underworld come through the gate, they have to kill a creature and take its form in order to survive in this realm, in essence, they'll be a monster walking around in a skin suit. Oh no. That's not good. That's what happened at the Greek Gate! But... Who is walking around in a skin suit?
The sisters thank the guardian who offers to help if they need it and then they head for the Greek Gate. Hunter and her tarot cards are drawn, not to the tree, but to the blood-darkened grass where Earl's body was found. She thinks about when she added her blood to the spell she did with Mercy and wonders if it wouldn't be so bad if she used blood magic in addition to her cosmic magic. The tarot cards tell her that a creature came through the gate, killed someone, and that the creature is a Cyclops who takes the eyeballs of his victims. So... How do they stop a Cyclops? They look closer at the cyclops and see that he has a star on his eye and a star in his chest hair. They decide it must mean that the cyclops wearing the skin suit must be a star, as in a local celebrity, but who? Hunter nervously bites her nails like she always does and spits one out as they walk back to the car. The fingernail coils into black smoke as it hits the ground.
Polyphemus, who is currently wearing the skin suit of Sheriff Dearborn, has driven to Goode Lake. He hates who he has become, hates to kill people and just wants to live his own life again away from Tartarus, the Greek Underworld. He longs to end the curse put on him by Nomia the nymph who has eyes just like his. But she doesn't truly love him, she hates him. Polyphemus longs to feel the sun and the water on his true skin, but he can't be himself again until he finds the right eyes to break the curse. He needs the help of an oracle so he can escape this torturous life, though this world doesn't have oracles. But it does have witches. And he needs to find one.
Hunter and Mercy go back home and talk to Xena about Polyphemus. Xena says his curse is that he must search the earth until he has found “that which could not be discovered,” meaning he has to find his second eye, which doesn't exist. She suggests not to pity the Cyclops even though his story is sad because he's also an eyeball-eating murderer. In addition to this, Xena talks about what she likes about being human: eating chocolate and cannabis truffles, wearing Abigail's robe because it feels like her friend is hugging her, taking baths and of course her magnificent hair. (This is not integral to the story, but Xena is fantastic and everyone needs to know this.) The girls ask how to kill the Cyclops and Xena suggests the best way would be to push him back through the gate into Tartarus, because even if they killed his skin suit, he might take over another body and we can't have that.
The girls decide to look in Sarah Goode's grimoire to see what she did when she closed the gates the first time, thinking if they did something similar while they strengthened them, it would work. Sarah used settlers from the original town to help, so Hunter and Mercy will also need people who are from the town to help them. They will work the spell together at each gate and, here's something interesting, seal the spell with their blood. They decide to ask Jax and Emily to assist in addition to themselves and Xena, but Emily is overwhelmed with her father's death, so they have to ask Kirk. Xena is adamant that the girls not tell their friends anything about the gates because they are not Goode witches. They should only know enough to set their intentions. The girls agree.
Mercy looks through Sarah's grimoire again to begin to gather materials and finds some pages have been stuck together. On the hidden page, there is a poem written by Sarah that foretells what is happening right now: "There shall come a day / when they will sicken / with sulfur and rot / fierce and deadly / the Goode witches sworn / cannot prevent it / cannot protect them / and so the gates shall fall open / until a chosen god is forsaken / then by parting they are mended / together again." Well, that settles it. It really is because Hunter chose Tyr as her god, and so Mercy tells her sister that, which causes a huge fight. Hunter says they're going to do the ritual and then never talk about her choosing Tyr again. Mercy begins to gather materials and plan for how the ritual will work since she'll probably be leading it and then she has an idea about how to help Hunter.
The girls go to meet Kirk and Jax after football practice the next day. The boys know they are going to help with a spell, but they don't know what they're going to do just yet and they find out that they have to, in the most generically-described way possible, buy a gift for the tree and say a few words. The boys ponder what exactly to buy a tree as a gift, but then Kirk gets called away by their coach. Jax has been obviously put off by Kirk this entire time, and now we know why. He reveals to Mercy that Kirk told everyone about her giving him a blow job and everything else that happened. She says if he told, he must have had a good reason because he loves her and wouldn't hurt her. Yeah, the reason was to brag about it because he's a shitbag. Hunter is not surprised because she always thought Kirk was disingenuous, but Mercy storms off, telling them they're both jealous because they've never been in a relationship before. Sure. That's it.
Mercy decides to prove to everyone how great Kirk is by using her magic to amplify their voices through the trees. She confronts him about his douchiness and how telling private things to his bros in the locker room is misogynistic, and he starts crying and pleading and begging for her not to leave him, which she definitely wasn't going to do. Then the bros make fun of him for crying like a bitch and then Kirk joins in with them and makes fun of Mercy for her orgasms and says that he had fun with her for a little while, but she's too much work. Then he realizes that their voices are amplified because she did some witchy shit and mocks her for that, too. Hunter approaches then, and Kirk starts in on her for being a lesbian. Oh Kirk... Hunter, as angry as she is, is the bigger person, and tells Kirk he's not worth it while quoting Yates and blessing her library card. The sisters walk off while Jax comes in swinging.
Mercy just wants to be left alone, so she goes off and cries under the bleachers. Hunter continues fuming, planning even to go back and fight with Kirk while also being angry at her sister for always choosing Kirk over her and making her feel less than because she's never been in a relationship, but then she hears a wet cough. It's Sheriff Dearborn. She goes to help him when he coughs so much his sunglasses come off. She sees one of his eyes is clouded and blind and realizes he is Polyphemus, and he makes it even more obvious by calling her "Bright Eyes." Hunter calls her sister and tells her what she knows.
They gather all their supplies and go to pick up Emily, who will be the person to complete their group now that we all realize Kirk is a wiener bag. Emily is afraid to leave her house because her drugged-out mom or her addled grandma or her drunken grandpa might need her. Mercy shouts that Emily's mother should be her mother and care for her and her grandparents should be her support and she should be able to leave the house without them falling apart. Emily's mother and grandmother appear at the door and agree with zero fuss, so Emily joins her friends and Xena, who makes her sneeze. On the car ride to the Gates, the sisters and Xena explain everything, that they're true witches and an actual cat and that they have to protect the gates and kill a Cyclops. Jax and Emily are not surprised at all and go along with everything as if it's all completely normal.
Mercy begins to explain what steps everyone will need to take and what they all need to do, but when she gets to Hunter, she's angry. Hunter shouts that she's the one who is going to kill the Cyclops and she's going to forsake her god, not because she believes what the poem says is true but because Mercy can't get over herself or understand that just because Hunter is a lesbian, it doesn't mean that she chose a boy god because she wants to be a boy and didn't choose Jax as her best friend for the same reason. She just loves people for who they are and she's sure that this gender bullshit didn't exist when the poem was written anyway. But she's going to do it because Mercy can't. So she goes to the sheriff's department.
It's freezing inside. Trish explains that Sheriff Dearborn is struggling with staying cool and having mood swings, almost like he's going through male menopause. If she only knew... Hunter explains awkwardly that she needs help at the olive tree, but that what she needs help with is too weird to explain, so they just need to go there. Sheriff Polyphemus comes out and they go. He commands Deputy Carter to stay there and keep the town safe while he and Hunter go to the tree. Hunter comments on how he made the right guess as to which twin she is, but oh, he'd never forget the light behind her blue eyes... Meanwhile, Mercy is leading Jax, Emily and Xena through the ritual, trusting that Hunter is in place and doing what she needs to do as well. She can't be on the phone call with them, obviously, because then Polyphemus would know the whole plan. As Mercy closes the ritual, she reaches out to Hunter with their witchy twin link... and feels nothing. She shouts for Emily to come get her because Hunter is gone!
Okay, so she's not gone, she's just busy. She has led Polyphemus to where she did her tarot reading before, leaving behind the scorched earth. She begins her ritual as Polyphemus strokes his meaty hand down her face. She bites into his thumb, drawing blood and mixes it with her own. She removes Tyr's pendant and apologizes to him for casting him aside, then calls to Amphitrite, Poseidon's wife and Goddess of the Sea. She offers Polyphemus to her as proof of Poseidon's infidelity and a request for help. Amphitrite appears and responds as her blue light engulfs Polyphemus and drags him back to Tartarus. "You are mine now, Hunter Goode," she says as she takes the cyclops away.
The next day, all seemingly back to normal, Hunter, Mercy, Jax and Emily are at the park near the Doum Palm. Mercy is trying to pretend everything is okay and starts a football game. She throws to Jax who doesn't catch the ball which hits the tree as he knocks into Hunter. He looks at the tree and sees that where the ball hit is shattered and broken. Hunter begins to scream as they all mutter that they thought they had fixed the trees. She is full of anger at her sister for forcing her to forsake her god FOR NOTHING. She asks Jax to take her away and bites down into her lip hard enough to draw blood. As it trickles down her throat, she realizes the true power she has and how she's going to use it to fix everything without her sister.