"In Vain" is the third episode of Season One of Salem, and the third episode of the series overall. It premiered on May 4th, 2014 on WGN America.
THE FORNICATOR — When Magistrate Hale discovers that it was Isaac who broke the witches circle, it's up to John to save him. A power struggle arises within the hive, forcing Mary to assert her authority with potentially deadly consequences.
The episode begins with Anne Hale as she lies in bed with John Alden as he seductively strokes her thigh, he continues to tell her she is beautiful and kisses her passionately but they are interrupted by Cotton Mather and Mary Sibley who appear in the room. They pair torment her while she begs them to leave her alone and finally she wakes up revealing it all to be a dream. Clearly shaken by her dream Anne bathes her face but is horrified by her own reflection when she looks into the mirror as she see's her eyes have turned black an illusion caused by the spelled doll created by Mary but her eyes quickly return to normal. After she hears noises outside she goes to her bedroom window and the doll ominously follows her movements when it turns its head.
That morning Isaac Walton is taking the body of Bridget Bishop to the crag as the residents of Salem surround them and a remorseful Isaac tells her more weep her death than rejoicing it. Meanwhile, he is being watched by Mary who is warned by Tituba to pay Isaac extra to ensure he takes a safer route to the crag as some still doubt her crime. While in the commons Cotton stands idly by as the chaos continues around them Mary implores him to offer council to the people of Salem or the very least pray and he is soon approached by John who mocks his success on killing two innocents.
Suddenly they hear shouts coming from the orphanage and find the place being robbed by thieves with Anne alone trying to protect the children. John scares the thieves away accompanied by Cotton and Magistrate Hale who Anne vents her fury at as she believes this is their fault due to Bridget's death and asks the captain to escort her home. She asks the captain if the crag is a terrible place and he tells her, yes leaving her heartbroken with the news that is where her friends final resting place will be.
Following his own daughters abhorrence to his part in her friend's death Magistrate Hale confronts Mary Sibley who reprimands him for not discovering yet who had broke their circle so he pays a visit to The Seer and is shocked to discover it was Isaac but he was not alone leaving him clueless to who was his unknown accomplice but the pair are interrupted as they have been followed by John Alden as John suspects the Magistrate. After John sneaks into the seer' s home he notices an assortment of stuffed animals and one lone dog comes alive and attacks him but he saved by the Magistrate as he drags him out back into the woods. The Magistrate tells John that Petrus is simply a harmless hermit that he was visiting leaving John dubious.
Back in Salem Mary scolds her husband George Sibley as he tries to remove the familiar from within by trying to make himself sick and she reveals to him that the familiar will only come out at her command. She is later visited by Isaac and they talk of Isaac's former lover Abigail where it is revealed that he never saw her again after they were punished for fornication; it is clear that Isaac still holds onto his love for the girl and often wonders what became of her.
That evening Isaac is traveling through town and is captured by the witches, he wakes up in the crag but is unable to recognise who is with him as the witch appears to have the head of a pig they try to coerce him into revealing who else had seen them on the night of the Sabbat by casting some spell and covering him with mud but Isaac tells them he was alone he is soon tormented by talking corpses but still refrains from betraying John. Finally satisfied with the answers they seek Magistrate Hale sends a bewildered Isaac back to Salem with nefarious plans as they have planted objects on him that will see him hang for witchcraft.
Following his ordeal Isaac returns to Salem while Cotton is in the company of Gloriana Embry at The Divining Rod she speaks of her fear of what might become of a woman like her if they could hang a woman like Bridget but Cotton tries to reassure her that she is safe and he will protect her until they hear a commotion coming from downstairs. Gloriana tells Cotton that it is Isaac and he seems quite mad not wanting to be discovered Cotton quickly gets dressed and tries to leave unnoticed while Isaac proceeds to attack the women but Cotton intervenes and tries to calm the man down who to them seems like he has lost his mind but he soon flees into the streets where he is stumbled upon by John Alden where he is arrested by the Magistrate.
After Isaac's arrested Mary is angry with Magistrate Hale for acting without her consent and demands he returns home and tells Tituba to get her Rose Browning while Isaac is dragged off to the jailhouse. He seen is by a doctor and given a physic to sleep while Cotton is unsure if Isaac is simply under a witches spell or a witch himself due to the objects found in his possession. John tries to convince him of his innocence but they are interrupted by Magistrate Hale who wishes to speak with him but he is told that will be impossible until the morning. Back in the woods, Mary speaks with Rose who warns her of the divide between the old and the new witches. Upon returning to Salem she is approached by the captain and is shocked to learn despite her orders the magistrate tried to question Isaac and offers her allegiance to John.
That night while Cotton watches over Isaac as he sleeps in the jailhouse Mary decides to discover once and for all who else had broken their circle leading her to create an illusion of his former lover Abigail Cooke in his cell. At first, he doesn't reveal who was with him but eventually divulges it was John Alden while a bewildered Cotton watches on leaving Mary shell shocked.
The next morning Mary calls upon Magistrate Hale to protect John she neglects to inform the Magistrate who really was with Isaac the night of the Sabbat insisting he was alone but the Magistrate Hale still insists that Isaac must hang as they need another innocent before hunters full moon and the clock is ticking. Mary is adamant that Isaac will live and that she can control him they have an angry outburst revealing Mary's sentiment to Isaac but to no avail. She goes to John and tells him that the Magistrate plans to hang Isaac and he must do whatever it takes to save him. While Isaac himself is shocked to learn of his antics by Cotton as he questions him revealing he has no memory of the previous night.
Following Mary's outburst Anne and her mother return from church and she reveals she had ears dropped on their conversation resulting in an angry outburst from his own daughter for his part on what is too befall Isaac and all those who are next to come while her mother warns her to find another avenue for her voice or spend the rest of her life shouting at her father or future husband. She returns to her room and as she is brushing her hair, she notices the doll is sitting on her bed before she starts to struggle to breathe, collapsing on the floor. Meanwhile, Isaac is in furthermore danger when the Magistrate arrives to take him to the gallows leading John to attack the militiamen to try and save him. Isaac is released from his cell by Cotton so he can help John who is outnumbered before a servant rushes to tell the Magistrate that his daughter has taken sick. Upon his arrival home the magistrate notices the doll and realises what has happened he flees to Mary's home and begs for his daughter's life telling Mary Isaac can live as long as she spares his daughter.
After Isaac is released from the jailhouse he thanks John for trying to save him revealing no one had ever stood up for him before and John enquires why Cotton released Isaac from his cell he tells him that it should of at least been a fair fight. John is approached by Mary who warns him that they may have won this battle but they might not win the next meaning she might not be able to protect him next time. That night a guilt-ridden Isaac takes a bunch of flowers to the whores at the divining rod as a way of an apology.