WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Marianne, streaming now on Netflix.
Witches have been experiencing a big revival in the horror genre over the last couple of years. And no, we're not talking about the quirky Charmed and Sabrina the Teenage Witch reboots, but something a bit scarier -- in the vein of films like The VVitch and Hereditary.
We've also gotten pretty sinister covens on TV shows like Salem, but when it comes to the most spine-tingling, chill-inducing of them all on the small screen, Netflix's Marianne takes the cake courtesy of Mireille Herbstmeyer's portrayal of Madame Daugeron.
Admittedly, Daugeron doesn't appear in all eight episodes but early on, as the avatar of the titular witch, she truly embodies the physical threat the show needs to scare the life out of us. Marianne's an 18th-century witch, whose life was initially plagued by bad luck. Her villages and even her own family were often found dying due to unnatural causes, and when her last hometown of Elden decided to take action, everything changed for her, especially in the afterlife.
They had suffered a lot, losing livestock, kids and such, and decided to burn Marianne (merely plagued by bad luck) as they felt she was a vessel for the devil. Before the town's priest could complete the cleansing ritual, however, Marianne made a pact with the demon, Beleth, in exchange for survival. The priest was scared off, and so, he lied and said he finished the procedure, allowing Marianne's spirit to be returned to the real world years later after her body withered. This allowed her to wait until she connected with a new human avatar, which turned out to be Emma, a young misfit in the 2000s in Elden.
Emma disturbed her grave as a kid and when Marianne began haunting her to break her psyche down, Father Xavier (Patrick d'Assumçao) convinced Emma to run away. She rebelled -- as part of their plan -- and was booted from the town by her family and law enforcement, believing her and her friends' invocation of Marianne was nothing more than a wasted seance and them being overly superstitious. Sadly, as Emma (Victoire Du Bois) evolved into a novelist, Marianne's hold on her grew stronger as she used Emma's books to commit grisly murders, so much so the show got Stephen King's nod of approval for its unique concept.
Emma wrote a series about Lizzie Larck, a demon hunter and exorcist who fought against Marianne, not knowing every killing there actually manifested in the real world. Marianne drew power from Emma's stories, and we'd soon discover how many kids killed themselves, not to mention across the world, as per Emma's books, there were many animals mauling people due to Marianne's influence. This was Marianne bringing Emma's words to life so the author could take note of the malevolent spirit. What makes it worse is when Emma decides to wrap up the books, not knowing she's been influencing thousands of deaths across several continents, Marianne goes into overdrive in Elden to lure her back and convince her to keep writing.
There, Marianne possesses kids to hang themselves, and, her first human host, Daugeron. The latter kills her husband, convinces her daughter to hang herself and even self-mutilates to shock Emma into writing... or else! Animal sacrifices, human sacrifices, etc. are all in Daugeron's playbook, and when she kills Emma's mom with a knife, the writer realizes she's facing an unstoppable force. It gets worse when the spirit leaves the Daugeron vessel, kidnaps the baby of Emma's close friend, Séby (Ralph Amoussou), and even kills her old crew. Emma begins tracing all these tragedies back to her youth, realizing Marianne was slaughtering kids back then for fun and games as she wanted revenge for how her family was mistreated.
More so, in the final episodes of the season, as the witch takes over the minds of everyone Emma considers close to in order to drive her mad, makes the cop who was helping Emma put a bullet through his head, and lastly, possesses Séby to reignite a relationship with Emma. This is when it becomes clear Marianne had a big endgame planned.
It was all part of a sick, twisted plot so Marianne could live in on Emma's baby, as she's got pregnant from the one night stand with Séby, leaving us horrified the lengths the witch went to become real again as the child has bits of her and Beleth ingrained in it.
Season 1 of Netflix's Marianne is now streaming. It stars Victoire Du Bois, Lucie Boujenah, Tiphaine Daviot and Ralph Amoussou.
KEEP READING: Netflix's Marianne Delivers a Sick, Twisted Finale