Siempre Bruja (Always A Witch): Season 1, Episode 4 “Stolen Shadow, Witch Forgotten” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

A crying Black Virgin Mary.
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Siempre Bruja (Always A Witch) may finally be building up steam after Johnny does something stupid and Esteban begins seeming rather suspicious.


Network
Netflix
Director(s) Liliana Bocanegra
Writer(s) Ana Maria Parra, Diego Vivanco
Air Date 2/1/2019
Introduced This Episode
Esteban Sebastian Eslava
Mayte Valeria Emiliani
Leon Carlos Quintero
Bruno Victor Gomez

Speaking To A Ghost: Aldemar, Johnny, Carmen

With Johnny worried about Carmen trying to take on Lucien alone, he uses an online spell advisor to steal her shadow. In doing so, he effectively takes Carmen’s powers, and with seeing her change, for the worse, he seeks out Aldemar. Yes, the shadowy figure from the last episode wasn’t Lucien but Aldemar who, somehow, can speak to Johnny. Now, whether or not the Aldemar in the 1600s is being spoken to or the Aldemar alive in the present day? That’s hard to say.

A Weight Off My Shoulders: Johnny, Carmen, Mayte, Leon, Alicia, Esteban, Bruno

With Johnny taking Carmen’s shadow doesn’t just come her losing access to her powers, but the memories of her past life are gone as well. There is some benefit to this as it gives Carmen a taste of modern life – especially after Alicia gifts her a cell phone. However, no sooner does she get a phone, gain vanity, and becomes quite uninhibited, things go wrong for her and her new friends.

Well, at least their relationship to one another. For example, Carmen decides to be judgemental towards Alicia over what happened with Angel. Then, when it comes to Mayte and Leon’s relationship, she gives her unsolicited advice and, strangely, Mayte lets it go. Even though she to Mayte’s face, Leon’s, even Mayte’s father Bruno, makes it seem Mayte and Leon are doomed. Not just because they are of different social classes either, Carmen also notes that Leon is likely hiding something.

Carmen looking at her good and bad side.

One last thing worth noting is that, with no inhibitions, and no filter, it seems Carmen finds herself flirting and developing feelings for Esteban. Someone who seems perhaps willing to entertain Carmen’s advances – even though Johnny makes it seem socially frowned upon.

Early Onset Dementia: Esteban, Johnny, Aldemar, Carmen, Daniel

There comes the point where drinking, maybe scuba diving for the first time, or being overwhelmed by new things can’t excuse Carmen’s behavior. So, a few different things come up. First, Daniel reveals how he found Carmen and that maybe she is having a mental breakdown because of what she went through. Johnny tries to cover for stealing Carmen’s shadow by saying she was drugged, and as all these excuses are shared, Carmen is wandering about having forgotten her own name.

But, what might be the thing to put a magnifying glass to is Esteban having one of Carmen’s witch materials and acting like he has no idea how it got there. Something Johnny, who realizes the item is in Esteban’s office, doesn’t dig into heavily but leaves you to raise an eyebrow.

Carmen after forgetting her name.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Where exactly is Johnny speaking to Aldemar? Is that some sort of limbo? With Aldemar being immortal, it means he should be alive in the presentday, but it is never said where he is. Which may be a separate question within itself.
  2. When did Carmen get Johnny’s number or vice versa? Considering she knew nothing about cell phones, why would she even know what a phone number is?
  3. Though I know slavery is one of the answers to this question, also Johnny taking her shadow, I must admit I’m curious as to why Carmen seems to know nothing about her uncle or the rest of her family?

 

Highlights

Carmen Without a Filter

When it came to Carmen, the main thing she offered the show was being a Black witch. Her being in love with Cristobal and willing to do all this for his life seemed a bit much, and with him being her master it made things awkward. Then, personality-wise, it wasn’t until she started to be rude to everyone that you realized that she didn’t have a noteworthy personality. Yes, she was nice, but she wasn’t nice with somea oomph to her. She pretty much was a young girl stuck on some guy, who foolishly agreed to help Aldemar and has been going through the motions ever since.

However, with losing her shadow, Carmen gained some edge, and it leads me to hope, when this arc is over, she doesn’t snap back to her old self. Hopefully, she retains a bit of this new persona and doesn’t stick to being one extreme or the other.

Multi-Episode Story

While the show has focused on its core story of Carmen trying to save the already alive Cristobal and the complication of Ninibe disappearing, it hasn’t given us anything else. Alicia’s issue with Angel, like Lucho’s story, didn’t drum up much in the way of interest. With the Lucho story, things felt rushed and the Angel x Alicia story? Being that Alicia isn’t a witch and we barely know her, you recognize what was happening to her was unfortunate but not the best way to get you invested.

So, Johnny stealing Carmen’s magic may be the first thing to bring some intrigue to the show. Not just because of how he has altered Carmen’s personality, but it also shows how vulnerable she is. Someone who isn’t even a practicing wizard could easily take her powers, so it makes Lucien seem ever the more dangerous. Though, I must note, with Johnny taking her powers so easily it does make you wonder how can the “Chosen One” be taken out like that?

Who Is Esteban?

Esteban (Sebastian Eslava) relaxing in Bruno's backyard.
Esteban (Sebastian Eslava)

Thus far, when it comes to the Fire Killer and Lucien, whether they are the same or not, the closest thing to some kind of evil we’ve seen is a dark cloud. But, with Esteban coming off a bit suspicious, it gives us a flesh and blood villain, or someone to point a finger at, and begin to keep an eye on. For, as noted previously, the lack of a physically seen villain on this show has made its pacing terrible. Each episode, including this one to a point, seemed like the focus would be Carmen being out of touch and so episodic story that damn near felt like filler.

But, now with Carmen losing her memories, Esteban either being a puppet, mastermind, or something in between, there is something solid to look forward to in the next episode. Rather than, as I’ve felt for the last few, you just hoping something would happen.

Afro-Columbian People In Full Force

For a good portion of the show, everyone is rather pale like Esteban, Johnny, and very much unlike Carmen. However, towards the end, we see nothing but dark skinned or medium toned people like her and makes her less of an outlier. Also, it gives you an idea of what happened to the people she’d know as her family and community in modern times. Now, if only she wasn’t the only person of her complexion with a major speaking part.

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