Wildwitch-in-training Clara Ash faces both familial and life-threatening challenges on her 13th birthday, plus leeches—lots of leeches.
Blood magic works in both literal and figurative ways in this Danish series’ fourth episode. Clara at last reaches détente with her harshly anti-magic mother after learning of a gruesome tragedy—but a weird leech’s bite leaves her father comatose and leads her into a confrontation with Bravita Bloodling, a powerful undead witch on the verge of escaping four centuries of imprisonment. Kaaberbøl trots in a large cast of witches (including the only evident nonwhite character, who has “cinnamon skin”) and animal wildfriends introduced in previous episodes, shovels in more squirming leeches to raise the “ick” factor, and cranks up the climax with storm, fire, and flood as well as fierce magic clashes. But along with gathering an army of wild animals that forces Clara to promise something, she knows not what, on her Tridecimal Night, the author hints at challenges to come by leaving Bravita Bloodling’s fate ambiguous and strewing the aftermath with mysteriously comatose wildwitches. Eason’s sparse pen-and-ink drawings put faces on select characters.
There’s plenty of action, but it’s hard to tell where this episode fits into the main storyline (if there is one). (Fantasy. 11-13)