Siempre Bruja (Always A Witch): Season 1, Episode 5 “The Festival of Candela” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Carmen's face.
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We get to learn about Carmen’s parents this episode, Alicia’s brother, and get a vibe there might be a new sense of urgency.


Network
Netflix
Director(s)Liliana Bocanegra
Writer(s)Ana Maria Parra, Diego Vivanco
Air Date2/1/2019
Introduced This Episode
BraulioJhon Alex Castillo
PaulaAna Mosquera

About JuanJo: Daniel, Alicia

Remember Daniel and Alicia revealing they are siblings, but not biologically? One of the things which connects them is Alicia’s brother JuanJo. He is someone who just left, without notice, and Daniel has no idea why. However, Alicia does since she is aware of her brother’s drug addiction which has led him to leave.

Remember Who You Are: Braulio, Paula, Carmen, Mayte, Leon

While everyone is on a search for Carmen, someone approaches Leon who seemingly knew him in the past. This comes as a surprise, with some excitement, for Mayte since Leon is very cagey about his past. He pretty much sets his story up as he left home, went to school, met Mayte, and is studying to become a professor. As you can imagine, especially in cultures which are bigger into community and family, this seems rather suspicious.

But, from what it seems, Leon simply wants to hide members of his family being in prison, so he keeps quiet about his past. Maybe because he was involved with their crimes or, like how Alicia cares so deeply about her reputation, Leon doesn’t want his life limited by that of his family’s. Especially considering he is with Mayte now and between her and her father, he doesn’t want to ruin the opportunities they could provide him.

Switching to Carmen, we learn a handful of things about her this episode. First, her mother and father are Afro-Cuban, and she ended up in Cartagena when her uncle, Braulio, took her there. Second, Carmen’s parents are long dead. Her father, a powerful wizard, was buried alive and Paula, her mother? She died the same way it is assumed Carmen did. Memories of her history, invoked by the ghost of Braulio, and seeing her mother get burned, during a reenactment at a festival, allows Carmen to heal herself, get back her shadow, and recommit to fighting Lucien.

It’s Hard To Say Goodbye/ My Eyes & Ears: Johnny, Cristobal, Carmen, Aldemar

However, with recommitting to this fight, she decides to give up Cristobal. Part of the reason is that she feels he is a liability and she a detriment to his life. On top of that, when Braulio spoke to her, he pushed the idea that love isn’t something meant for a witch unless the lover was willing to die for them. Something that Carmen believes is a lot to ask and something she doesn’t want Cristobal to put himself through. So, alongside committing to fighting Lucien, she integrates further into the school. This is thanks to her friends, Mayte and her father Bruno specifically, enrolling her, getting her a work-study position, and making it easy for her to stay.

Aldemar casting a spell on Johnny to gain access to his senses.
Aldemar: Soon, all your dreams will belong to me.

But, while Carmen’s life is coming together, Johnny’s might be beginning to unravel. Though he promised the Virgin of Candelaria to not partake in magic, he finds himself talking to Aldemar and Aldemar puts a spell on him. Not one which pushes the idea Aldemar is evil, but certainly willing to exploit Johnny so he is more aware of what is going on and can get his freedom. For while it isn’t clear why and how Aldemar is in The Meantime Garden, possibly limbo, considering he is immortal, he doesn’t plan to stay there.

Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments

  • Correction: Esteban didn’t steal Carmen’s things, she gave it to him to keep it safe.
  • Correction: The image of episode 4 isn’t the Virgin Mary but the Virgin of Candelaria.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. How were Carmen’s parents caught?

Highlights

Carmen’s Background And A Renewed Purpose

Hearing Carmen comes from a lineage of notable witches, considering Paula is still talked about, in a country far from Cuba, helps boost the idea of her being “The Chosen One.” For while Johnny was able to take her powers, far too easily, it could be argued it was because she was suppressing her magic and thus her magic didn’t have a strong hold on her. Yet, with her embracing her past, and this new line of fate, maybe she won’t hide as much and will prep herself to fight. Giving this show the kick in the butt it so desperately needed.

(Fingers Crossed) Carmen Moving On From Cristobal

Carmen convincing herself to move on from Cristobal so he can live.
Carmen: If Cristobal is alive, I am the last thing he neeeds.

That is alongside Carmen trying to break up with Cristobal. Not to imply Cristobal isn’t a nice guy, or at least appears to be, but it is so hard to get past the power dynamic of their relationship. He is a landowner, essentially will inherit her as property, and yet they are supposed to have this notable love between them. It’s just hard to accept and swoon over.

Now, unfortunately, this could open the door for Esteban, who isn’t much of a prize, or even set up a love triangle which crosses time. But, with fingers crossed, I’m hoping Carmen is so wrapped up in fighting Lucien that she doesn’t have time for any man’s advances. Even if, as an 18-year-old, you know she’ll be quite tempted.

Leon’s Secret

It’s rather easy to write off most of the supporting characters since they are just attractive people without much to generally say, and they don’t do much. But, with Leon having family in jail, and Carmen sensing he is hiding something, it could make him the first one to be worth a second glance at. Especially if Carmen touches him and sees glimpses of the truth and, if she hasn’t fully returned to being good-natured and mousy, she may push learning the truth from Leon.

On The Fence

JuanJo

Alicia and Daniel’s relationship is already tapered enough, adding in a rarely spoken of brother, who Daniel was close with, and Alicia doesn’t want to talk about, doesn’t help these two. In comparison to Leon, JuanJo for them pushes them to seem like kids who don’t want to be forgotten and want attention too. Not because they have done something great but only because other people are getting attention and they feel left out. So one could only hope JuanJo is made to be someone of interest and defies the mixed reaction given thus far.

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