‘Sanctuary: A Witch’s Tale’ Episode 1 Recap & Ending Explained: What Was Sarah Penn Famous For?


Directed by Justin Molotnikov and Lisa Mulcahy, Sanctuary: A Witch’s Tale takes us to a town where witchcraft was practiced in the open, witches were not persecuted, the law allowed them to have proper clinics, and they lived together with the people who didn’t have any magical powers. The series is based on a novel written by V.V. James, and it brings forth an intriguing narrative where the people of this peculiar place find themselves stuck in a grave situation after a local boy died under mysterious circumstances. So, let’s find out what is happening in episode one and if the law enforcement officers are able to make any sort of breakthrough.

Spoiler Alert

What happened six years ago?

At the beginning of Sanctuary: A Witch’s Tale Episode 1, we were shown that Sarah Penn, Abigail, Bridget, and others were telling Julia and her husband Albie about how safe their town was and how people had wrong perceptions about it. Sanctuary was a place where witches didn’t have to hide to practice their witchcraft. They lived together with the non-magical people, if one can call them that, and everybody was used to having them around. In fact, proper certification was provided to witches, and only the registered ones could practice their craft. Sanctuary was indeed a beautiful place, but for Julia at that point in time, it was all very new. Albie was very open about the kinds of perceptions people had about Sanctuary outside. He said that people thought that witches had these weird beliefs and that they were sort of evil beings who could curse a person if anyone went against them. Sarah laughed, and she didn’t mind it because she was already well aware of all those things. Sarah came from a family of witches, and her family had been there for more than 300 years. She assured the couple that once they moved into the neighborhood, they would understand how wrong each of those perceptions was and how the witches were nothing like that. Just then, something untoward happened. Though we were not clearly shown, it felt like a body had fallen from the roof. Sarah immediately cut her hand and probably dropped her blood on the body. In the next scene, the narrative took us six years ahead of time, but we got a sense that some miracle had happened that day.

What was Sarah Penn famous for?

Abigail held Sarah in really high regard, and we saw that she recommended people to go and consult Sarah in case they were having any sort of emotional or physical problem. One time, a girl named Emily came to Sarah, and we got to know how her powers worked and what ethical limitations she put on the craft. Emily probably had a miscarriage, and she was pregnant for the second time, which was why she was very scared. She wanted to have a baby, and she asked Sarah if she had some spell or potion that could help her give birth to a healthy baby without any complications. Sarah told Emily that though she couldn’t interfere in matters of birth and death and other biological aspects, she could definitely give her a potion that could give her the fortitude to bear the pain. Sarah Penn had a really soothing impact on the people, and it was evident how relieved Emily felt after talking to her. It felt like Sarah was really good at what she did, and people really respected her because of that.

What happened to Dan during the party?

It was a known fact that Harper, Sarah’s daughter, was obsessed with Dan, but he didn’t respect her emotions at all. He made fun of her behind her back, and every student knew about that. Dan was Abigail’s son, and he had an extremely bright future ahead of him. He was a brilliant sportsman and an extremely popular guy at his school. During the charity event that Abigail had organized, we saw how much pride she took in her son’s achievement. The teenagers had organized a party, and everybody was very excited to be there. We got to know that even Beatrice, Julia’s daughter, liked Dan, and considering that she too was quite popular in her school, Dan reciprocated her feelings. In Sanctuary: A Witch’s Tale Episode 1, we saw that Harper approached Dan at the party, but he very rudely asked her to not ruin the night for him. He went from there, and the next thing we knew was that the entire building where the party was being held caught fire, and Dan fell from the building and died on the spot. Abigail was distraught, and she knew that she would never be able to move on from that loss. Her son had a bright future; everything was going in his favor, and just like that, everything got destroyed. There were rumors that a sex tape had been played during the party, after which the accident had happened. There were also rumors that it was not an accident and that Dan committed suicide. The parents, the people living in the neighborhood—everybody wanted some sort of closure, and that was when DCI Maggie Knight was called to take charge of matters.

What did DCI Knight find out about Dan?

Harper was not exactly on the best of terms with her mother. Sarah wanted Harper to practice witchcraft like her and help the community, but she didn’t inherit the powers. It happened all the time in magic families that all kids born to witches didn’t have magical powers in them. Harper had grown to despise the entire business, and she didn’t hesitate to refer to witches as abominations. Harper was in the hospital after the accident, and she told her mother that she wanted some alone time to process whatever had happened. We got to know that the sex tape that was played during the party was of Dan and Harper. They had a fight after that, and soon Dan jumped from the upper floor. DCI Knight went to interrogate Beatrice, and though she said that she didn’t know anything about the incident since she didn’t see it happening, it felt like she was hiding something, and moreover, her parents were trying to save her. Beatrice told DCI Knight that she should go and interrogate Jack, as he probably knew something since he was always with Dan.

Towards the end of Sanctuary: A Witch’s Tale episode 1, DC Ryan Henshall came and told Maggie Knight that a witness had come forward and claimed that Dan’s death was not an accident, not a suicide, but a pre-planned murder. The episode left us on this cliffhanger, not revealing who could be behind it. As of now, anybody could have a motive to kill Dan, and DCI Knight, with time, would surely unravel the mystery and bring the truth to light.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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