Spoiler warning! This article contains plot details.
Men think of themselves as rock, hard as stone. So they are. Hard, brittle, easily broken. Women know that we are mostly water. Sea around us, sea inside us. When I hurt, I remember that. I remember what water is, what it does. It flows. It changes. It endures far longer than the rock.
THE BLOODY ROSE — After successfully capturing Rose, John and Cotton plan to extract information on the Grand Rite from her during the planetary alignment with Saturn. Mary assists Mercy in becoming a witch, and initiates her into the hive.
The episode begins with John Alden and Cotton Mather as Rose shouts insults at them from below and Cotton informs him they must take her to the woods to interrogate her as its Saturn's planetary aliment which happens only every seventeen years which will allow them to get the truth from her. John is dubious but agree's and the pair go downstairs so that they can inject her with a powerful paralytic but John at first fails to subdue the woman as he sees his mother lying there instead an illusion cast by Rose angered by what she has done John attacks her by violently injecting her in her chest leaving her lying their comatose.
The next day following Mercy's confession she wanted to be just like Mary she brings her to her home while a cautious Tituba watches as she greedily eats the food that is given to her. She enquires when Mary is going to kill her but she asks her to clean the girl up and burn her clothes. While John and Cotton transport the comatose body of Rose through Salem under the guise of taking one of the unwanted's to the crag.
Back at the Mary's home, Mercy assists her with caring for her husband George Sibley, Mary dismisses Tituba away who seems hurt by her dismissal but leaves the room never the less, while Mary notices Mercy admiring her jewellery she talks alone with the girl, who admits she is unable to read stating her father believes women have no need to read. Mary tells her she will tell her a story pleasing the girl who has had not had a story told to her since her mother died. Encouraged by Mary she lays down as she begins her the tale of the ash maiden.
The voice of Mary as she tells a story of how she became a witch:
"Once Upon a Time, there lived a maiden, hair as black as night skin as white as snow and the maiden, she loved a handsome prince and the prince loved her, but there was an evil king, and he sent the prince to his death and the poor maiden, her heart turned gray as ash. One night, in her despair, a fairy came to her and promised her that all the world would be hers if she would but give up the last of her love for her dead prince and though she wept to lose the only part of him that still lived deep inside her, she did as she was told In the hopes that all her dreams might still come true and so it came to pass that the ash maiden was brought to the king's castle. There, she met a servant who hurried her inside and through the scullery door, she watched the lords and ladies of the land enjoy a sumptuous feast with the evil king and his Queen and at this feast, a dark prince slew the old Queen with an invisible wave of his hand clearing the way for the ash maiden herself to become Queen, but you know the worst part about becoming Queen? It often requires marrying a king and so the ash maiden married the evil king and became Queen, her wedding night a consummation of joy and pleasure, but none of it hers. That night, she felt one monster on top of her and another inside. and she glimpsed what her soul was becoming and learned her first lesson as Queen be careful what you wish for. She served as the Queen to the evil king for two years that felt like 2,000, but when she could take no more, she begged the fairy to turn her back into the ash maiden, but the fairy refused and showed her all the kingdom that lay before her and said all this might still be hers. The ash maiden understood there was no turning back. She would embrace her role as Queen and all the power that came with it. That night, for the first time, she would use that power and that night, the whole world began to turn upside-down. For it was not by a kiss she might make a frog into a prince, but by a kiss, she might make a king into a toad and so the Queen came to rule the king and all his kingdom, and thus became the Queen of the night and so she lived happily ever after."
While Mercy lies there listening to the tale, Mary holds a knife in her hand but is unable to do the deed so she transports herself and Mercy to the woods. Mercy opens her eyes and is shocked to find where she is, believing Mary intends her harm she tries to plead for her life stating that she would never tell anyone what she is but flees with Mary soon following her, while The Seer spies upon them.
Elsewhere in the woods, John and Cotton hear a scream but Cotton mistakes it for the call of a white owl and explains to John they only have a moment to ask the right questions during the planetary alignment before they have to kill Rose and gives him a sword for the deed.
Back in Salem, Magistrate Hale summons Tituba to his home and hurries her inside while a curious Anne watches as she helps her mother spin wool. She questions her mother and is soon left more curious as she watches Tituba rushing back out, while back in the woods a terrified Mercy is finally captured by Mary who cuts her dress from her body leaving her naked in the woods. She clings to a tree and is plagued by visions of monstrous creatures while Mary tells her to let him in and to tell him this is what she wants, the same thing Tituba had told her the night she became a witch. A terrified Mercy finally screams out yes.
That night Cotton and John finally reach the spot where Cotton wants to interrogate the witch and tells John they must suspend her in the tree's directly beneath Saturn but the paralytic is wearing off and she soon struggles against her restraints, she lashes out at John but they manage to take control over her and soon she is suspended in the tree's only moments before the alignment is at its apex. She soon provokes an attack from John after she goads him in that he ran away from George Sibley leaving poor Mary alone and defenseless but he is stopped by Cotton moments before she is compelled by Saturn, who then demands she tell him everything.
Meanwhile, Tituba visits The Seer and demands to know where Rose is as she is missing but he lies and tells her that the only witch he has seen in his woods is Mary Sibley and is shocked to learn from him that she has brought Mercy to the woods with the intent on turning her into a witch.
Back in the woods Cotton continues to question Rose who tells him that the Grand Rite requires Cruor innocentia- innocent blood, sacrifices and that it has already begun but the apex of Saturn wanes and she soon frees herself from her restraints, ripping open her veins and raising the crags dead by chanting the words "neopheyn, barbas, aligon, anaboth, madicon, Furcas". They proceed to attack him and the captain while she flees, stumbling through the woods until she is found by Mary Sibley. Mary demands to know why she brought the Malum to Salem without her knowledge and is shocked to learn that it was Rose that had sent John off to die in the war by planting the idea in George Sibley's head, planning everything from Mary becoming a witch to the Grand Rite itself. When she reveals what she has done that night, Mary welcomes their new sister who rushes out from behind the trees and kills Rose with the same knife Mary had intended to use to kill her stopping the spell she had cast saving both John and Cotton.
After their ordeal Cotton and John return to Salem. John questions Cotton in what they learned from the witch that night while Cotton says he must return home and give the riddle much thought. They stumble across Mary who informs them that she often takes walk in the night as the night air calms her and John offers to escort her home. While back at the house of the seven gables Tituba bathes Mercy and warns her that Mary is her mistress. She questions Mary once she returns home but she insists on bathing the girl herself and a traumatized Mercy is reassured by Mary that she will never face hell alone again. Also, a curious Anne decides to discover her father's secrets by sneaking into his study only to see him disappear before her very eyes leaving behind a strange mask in his place.