Motherland: Fort Salem 3×05 Review: “Cession in Session”

Cession in Session
Tally (Jessica Sutton) in “Cession in Session”

The unit pleads their case to the Cession’s council as Anacostia discovers more about the Camarilla’s plans in “Cession in Session” (Motherland: Fort Salem Season 3 Episode 5).

After celebrating the Yule holiday in “Happy Yule!,” the unit must appear before the Cession’s council to plead their innocence in “Cession in Session”. Meanwhile, Alder (Lyne Renee) continues her mission to find the remaining stewards of the first song, and Anacostia (Demetria McKinney) discovers more about the Camarilla’s plans.

Still haunted by her yule log vision, Tally (Jessica Sutton) tries to warn Abigail (Ashley Nicole Williams). Abigail is skeptical due to Nicte’s (Kandyse McClure) involvement in Tally’s training, insisting that her vision is only caused by her missing Raelle (Taylor Hickson). Though Abigail is still understandably skeptical of Nicte, it feels unwise to completely dismiss Tally’s vision given how accurate she has been previously.

The Cession’s council arrives and eventually calls in the unit, sans an escaping Nicte. The council is made up of representatives of different Native American tribes, a nice touch that provides more historical depth to the already rich world of Motherland: Fort Salem. Adil’s (Tony Giroux) effort to greet each member in their native language is sweet, and it’s hard not to compare the Camarilla’s attempt to prevent the teaching of mother tongue back at Fort Salem to the real-world history of the attempts to stamp out Native American culture in the United States.

The unit stops the council from announcing their pre-made decision, telling their side of the story, and warning them of the Camarilla threat. Unfortunately, the council refuses to believe that the Camarilla has returned. Scylla (Amalia Holm) makes a rousing speech about how she grew up in the Cession, and eventually found her home with Raelle, in a plea to let them stay in the Cession. The council ultimately decides to not hand them over to the authorities but forbids them from returning to the Cession.

After the council makes the unit wear work neutralizing collars prior to their release, Alban (Bob Frazer) launches an attack on the house. He reveals the full extent of his recent surgery, an implant that allows him to use witches’ work against them. He pushes the unit back on their heels, and the attack proves to the on-guard council members that the Camarilla threat is indeed real. The sequence is creepy as the group is lured downstairs using Anacostia’s voice and horror-like as Alban advances on them.

Alban (Bob Frazer) and the Camarilla in “Cession in Session.”

Worst of all, the Camarilla have Raelle’s father Edwin (Hrothgar Mathews) hostage. Alban tells Edwin that Raelle is dead and nearly kills him before Alder arrives to save the unit. After Adil calls out to Khalida (Kylee Brown) using her parting gift, Alder shows up with an impressive effort, creating multiple copies of herself, that drive the Camarilla away for the time being. In the aftermath, Scylla and Edwin share a nice moment as they discuss Raelle. Unfortunately, Alder ends up collapsing soon after and the severity of her condition is unknown.

Before the attack on the unit, Alder brings Khalida and the other stewards of the first song to an old cabin. She reveals to Khalida that this is where she grew up and the two bond over the tragedies in their childhoods. It’s interesting to learn more about Alder’s backstory and the two of them finding comfort in each other is one of the episode’s more emotional moments.

Elsewhere in the episode, Anacostia and Sterling (Luc Roderique) are able to escape Camarilla experimentation by Anacostia’s use of spree work that she picked up from Scylla. Anacostia gets several moments to shine as she fights off the Camarilla in the lab and takes another one hostage, though it is still unclear why nobody back at Fort Salem seems to be aware of or concerned about Anacostia’s whereabouts. Using the hostage to open a restricted door, Anacostia and Sterling discover that the Camarilla is training a massive army.

Though the last couple of episodes have mostly remained rather static in overall action, “Cession in Session” paves the way for the remaining half of the season that promises an action-packed conclusion with plenty of moments for its cast to continue to shine.

This weekend’s Motherland: Fort Salem San Diego Comic-Con panel will likely provide a glimpse into what fans can expect in the series’ remaining episodes.

Author: Jessica Wolff

Jessica Wolff is a graduate of Drexel University with a BS in Film/Video. She has a passion for entertainment and representation in entertainment. She currently resides outside of Washington, DC.

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