It's not that this issue was one the show could ignore. Not with whole Ingrid plotline as it happened. But, man, they really wanted points for addressing it while also getting to move right along as if nothing happened.
I don't want that to sound like I didn't enjoy this episode. I did. Mostly. But it marred by its shitty attempt to deal with the emotional fall out of Ingrid being magically raped by a monster. If you're not actually going to explore this properly, Witches of East End, you shouldn't have done this plotline at all.
Spoilers start now...
The main plot of "When a Mandragora Loves a Woman" was the battle against the Mandragora. Duh. At the beginning, they find Ingrid's work friend with the same mark as the other Mandragora victims, and he's totally going to die. And they find and cure Ingrid of her trance. By stabbing her in the brain. Because that's how that works.
We see everyone split into teams: Team Fierce Hunting Women (Joanna and Alex, who are hunting the actual beast), Team Simmering Resentment (Frederick and Wendy, the latter still not trusting the former. They are back at home tending the wounded and working on figuring out how to save Ingrid), and Team I Stupidly Went Alone (Freya, of course). Wendy offers to go with her, and Freya says no, because she's an idiot.
Freya's at Dash's because his crazy ancestor was apparently a Mandragora hunter. Dash, of course, got dosed with the Mandragora venom and has gone completely round the twist. I'm confused by the Mandragora venom, because it apparently does all sorts of things. Alex and Joanna end up getting trapped in the library? Because the venom... created a version of the library in their mind and trapped them there? ... Or was it a different thing he did to them? I am confused.
Dash on the other hand, has got a bad case of the no filters from the venom. His rage issues are all over the place. He accuses Freya of cheating on him with Killian, and she admits to kissing him at their engagement party. Way to remind us all that Dash has some justification for being angry with her. So Dash just spends some time hunting Freya down. Once again, I'm confused by the venom. Dash says things like "I want all Beauchamp women dead!" and "You wouldn't believe what I've done!" The latter probably references the two people he's killed this season. So, are we supposed to believe that the former is a real ambition of his and this is foreshadowing for him taking over his mom's job as the one trying to kill the family? Or is it really just the venom making him spew out these things?
But the best part of the episode BY FAR, was that when Dash catches a magical decoy of Freya and it shatters in his hands, he says, "Clever girl." JUST LIKE JURASSIC PARK. JUST LIKE IT. I really love Dash this season. He's the best.
Meanwhile, Ingrid and her friend are in the care of Team Simmering Resentment. And here's where that attempt-to-deal thing I mentioned earlier comes in. Ingrid has a well-earned breakdown about what's been happening to her. She wails and screams and says she wants to forget it all. Which: Congratulations, Witches of East End. I thought you were going to totally ignore the violation of Ingrid that's been going on all season.
But then she feels guilty that her friend is dying. Because she kept the Mandragora alive by having sex with it and she "enjoyed it." Okay, I guess I can understand some misplaced guilt...
But then she jokes about the Mandragora with Dash, when he and Freya arrive. And I kind of liked it? I mean, I think those two actors have some great chemistry and they've been a fun pairing this season. (One of the many reasons I hope Dash doesn't actually become a mustache-twirling villain.) But it struck me as a little too soon for her to be so lighthearted:
Freya: It's alright I managed to break the spell.
Dash: She stabbed me in the brain.
Ingrid: They got me, too. Right in through the ear.
Dash: It hurts, right?
Ingrid: Like a mother!
And then there's some cute hugging. And I guess they're talking about the cure and not the abuse itself, but it felt weird. Actually, no. The part where Ingrid flipped out about what happened seemed weird because it didn't fit the tone this show often goes for: Inappropriate humor matched with horrible situations. The ear joke actually fits better than the arguably more appropriate response. For example, earlier in the episode, we had Wendy and the guy slated to die have this exchange:
"C'mon Hudson, we're going for a little ride."
"On a magic carpet?"
"Close, it's a station wagon."
Funny, but this is a guy they treat as a goner throughout the rest of the episode, not a mildly injured person. This is a standard feature of the show, and usually the mood whiplash is pretty funny. I'm struggling with this show's treatment of what is a rape of Ingrid. Like, I almost could have handled all light-hearted, as if it wasn't actually what it looked like. Or I could have handled them treating it seriously. But both so close together sat poorly with me.
Needless to say, they sever the Mandragora's tether to Ingrid and Frederick kills it as it attacks Wendy, causing her to finally trust him. Which is great, because minutes later, Frederick is lying on the ground, writhing, saying that he's sorry for messing up and that he'll "find another way." He says it to "Grandfather," which is pretty much what Wendy thought about his allegiances to begin with.
Boo. Too predictable. Too soon. No subtle clues that Wendy was right, just, boom, instant answers. I 100% believe that we'll see him redeemed: either he was always sabotaging Grandpa Asgard's plans OR he'll be conflicted and turn out good in the end. Probably dying in the process.
Oh, and the other plot this week was that Killian's power allows him to read minds, but he can't read Eva's, and she's still dosing him with some kind of potion. And sex. And sex magic, judging by the candles and the pseudo-BDSM painplay of pouring wax on his chest just for it to coalesce into some sort of symbol. Also, Eva whispers, "You're going to give me a baby" into his sleeping ear. Which is not the worst thing I've seen this week, but it's pretty bad.