Welcome to Pod Club, Teen Vogue’s review on Kingdomthe latest podcast of “If I’m lost, witches did it”.
Gabourey Sidibe is an actress who can’t go wrong in my eyes. I love every character he has played in film and on television, so when he brought his talents to a podcast, I was obviously intrigued. Gabourey is the voice of Jenna Clayton on Realm’s “If I Go Missing the Witches Did It,” a literally perfect podcast for the spooky season.
The show follows Jenna, a black writer and the show’s main character. But when he disappears after spending a summer among the rich and famous in Westchester County, New York, a white podcast host (meta!) With a complex savior named Elise Edgerton takes responsibility for solving the case. This is not a simple story in which the white savior meets the real crime: while investigating, Elise begins to suspect that a local “coven” may be involved in Jenna’s disappearance.
Given the magical element, I was skeptical to enter. Realm is behind other popular fiction podcasts like “Orphan Black: The Next Chapter”, so I knew the story was going to be good, but what about the details? Often, the magic portrayed in fictional series is, well, far from ideal. However, an hour after listening to the first episode and mulling over the plot, I realized how brilliant writer Pia Wilson is in creating this series. The show masks digestible magic for the novice witch under a story that discusses all the wrongs in society, which is really what witchcraft is all about: Witches have historically rebelled against the status quo through political activism.
The show opens with Jenna frantically saying, “All I could think was, ‘These witches want me dead.'” She is surrounded by witches who are casting a spell on her, but just as her panic reaches its peak. , the witches disappear. Jenna knows she has to leave Westchester, where she lives with her boyfriend Victor, and she’s wasting no time. “These tapes might be the only thing people remember about me,” Jenna says. “They prove I’m not crazy.”
But before we hear of her escape, the show takes us back in time and Jenna stands in a pile of dog poop in front of “four of the most powerful women in all of Westchester”. (Presumably, it is the women we will later find out are in the coven.) By comparing them to the goddesses, we begin to see the themes of race and class unfold. Jenna tells her boyfriend that she feels out of place among Westchester’s predominantly white population. He doesn’t want to go to a barbecue where Victor fears it will embarrass his wealthy family.
It is exactly the kind of social norms and disparities that witches have long worked to fight against.
We don’t quite know in the first episode what Jenna’s involvement with the coven is, other than their eventual attack. But we know that Jenna is a person who is interested, if not very experienced, in spirituality and astrology. After all, she sates the house of her boyfriend’s dead uncle to get rid of the “bad vibes”. But let’s get to the point: accuracy in magic is what really impressed me. Here are some magical themes that are highlighted in the first episode:
The rule of three
All witches know that what happens comes, one way or another. The Law of the Triple is the belief that spells should not be cast on people who do not deserve it, unless they regret having done it to them many times. Cursing others will only bring you bad luck, which is why practitioners should simply focus on protecting and reversing magic to deflect what is done to them in the magical realm. Conversely, if you are doing wonderful things like supporting others and not being a hater, then you will receive plenty of generosity in return. And, yes, that includes giving people the evil eye. It’s nice to hear the message being thrown loud and clear on this podcast, because a lot of witches need to hear it. Power serves only those who know how to use it well and wisely.
Every magical person knows it’s important to have a clean space that isn’t filled with “bad vibes,” as Jenna says. During the first episode, Jenna talks about how she burns sage and lavender to get rid of any negative energy that is in her realm. While it’s okay to burn lavender, healers like to steer clear of white sage because it is over-harvested due to the mass appropriation of native lore. Personally, I took the use of sage as a reference to the main theme of the podcast which focuses on capitalism and plays on the themes of class, society and racism in the affluent city of Westchester.
Magic of color
Elise, who is investigating Jenna’s disappearance, uses some color magic in the first episode. When she chooses to approach Jenna’s boyfriend to find out the details about her, Elise chooses to use a more soothing color to get his attention. Wearing coral rather than red lipstick, he chooses a warm, inviting color to make him spill the tea, rather than a fierce and powerful red. This is a form of intention that establishes and manifests itself through charm magic, a form of spell that uses trick to bend someone’s will, showing that there is a little bit of witchcraft in everyone.
Ghosts are apparitions that appear when they want to be seen, even spirits. During the first episode, Jenna continues to feel like there’s another presence in the house she shares with Victor. It’s the home of late great-uncle Felix, and Jenna thinks it’s just creepy. While we don’t know who the ghost is, what they want or whether it’s a good or bad spirit, the most important thing is that Jenna trusts her gut feelings and wants to escape the vibes that scare her. Not all ghosts are evil, but if their energy makes you uncomfortable in some way, it’s a sign that you shouldn’t be around them … or at least burn more lavender to clean the room (which Jenna does).
The most powerful tool any witch has is intuition. Naive journalist and podcast host Elise follows her intuition and acts on intuition to find out why Jenna went missing. Similarly Jenna listens to the inner voice and wants to escape from the people who are cornering her and staring at her to gauge her abilities.
In conclusion, the first episode of “If I Go Missing the Witches Did It” is fantastic. Having moved on to the next two episodes, I can attest to the superb knowledge of introductory magic and astrology that awaits us. Jenna is a truly recognizable and real character who lives in an upper-class world that isn’t real, mostly all magical. And the acting is amazing. Of course it is, Gabourey Sidibe never disappoints.
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