Things begin in 1646 Cartagena, Colombia and Carmen, accused of putting a spell on the upper-class Cristobal is accused of being a witch and burned at the stake. However, she avoids death thanks to making a deal with an immortal wizard named Aldemar. A man who asks of Carmen to travel to the future to give a stone to someone named Ninibe which, in exchange, he will help her travel to the past to save Cristobal. For, you see, during Carmen’s trial, he spoke out against the church and, with it being 1646, and it being assumed he was bewitched by evil, he was killed – by his own father.
So, to undo that tragedy, as Carmen burns, she speaks a spell and ends up in 2019. There she finds Ninibe in time but finds herself dragged into a war. One which a being named Lucien seems to be on the opposing end of, but who is to say whether Carmen is on the side of good or evil. Especially considering how suspicious everyone seems.
Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments
Carmen is only 18 while going through all this.
A Black Witch
While The Vampire Diaries and American Horror Story have featured Black witches, they were in supporting roles. In Siempre Bruja, Carmen is an Afro-Latina witch, unfortunately of slave status, but with noting her formerly being a slave comes recognition of many things. The first being the existence of Afro-Latinas on a major platform, but also the history of Black people in the Latin world. Also, while we do see magic done, there is also the use of herbs, and we could see bits of how west African culture influenced Colombia. Be it in dance, music, or other aspects.
But, that is just speaking to what can be shown in the past. When it comes to present day, there can be the topic of colorism and so many other things gone into. For while magic and a love affair might be one of the primary focuses, once we saw a man who was whipped to the point of welts and blood, Siempre Bruja brought in the idea this isn’t going to be some basic time traveling story. It may hit on my topical topics.
On The Fence
The Cristobal Romance
I don’t know if it is because Cristobal is light skinned, that he gives Thomas Jefferson vibes, or what, but I’m finding it hard to get into the idea of him and Carmen together. If he too were a slave, there would be no obstacle. However, with him purchasing her and him falling in love, there is a slight uneasiness to all this. Even if he did get himself killed to prove his love wasn’t due to a spell but authentic.
The Battle Between Lucien and Aldemar
While we see Aldemar lift Carmen with magic, also see Carmen manipulate animals, and short circuit electrical systems, neither of these things make her being part of a war that interesting. Especially when we see some cloud-like shadow attack Nininbe. It gave the show an almost 90s, early Buffy: The Vampire Slayer vibe – but not in a good way. Making the idea of Carmen getting sucked into their battle certainly not a selling point.
I’m kind of disappointed but not fully turned off. Though, I must admit, if Gaviria was light skinned or passing for white, I’d probably stop watching. For the saving grace of this is having a Black – Afro-Latina witch and the curiosity of how they will address her past in the present. Also, taking note of the trailer, what kind of hijinks and silliness will she get into? For while it was established there would be some kind of villain, they’ve been presented in an unflattering fashion which seems straight from the CW. Then, with the Cristobal romance, being that he was a master and all the complications which come with that, it makes it difficult to see her love for him, or him for her, cute.
Hence the mixed label. While Gaviria presents us with a character you could fall for, what drives her and what trouble she finds herself in will challenge her as lead and leave you to wonder if she will be enough. That is, unless first impressions can’t be trusted when it comes to this battle between Lucien and Aldemar, as well as Vanderaa figuring a way to make the whole slavery thing not taint his character’s love for Carmen.