“I mean it’s somewhere between utopia and dystopia, right?” Laurence says. “I always want to make things kind of gray and complicated. I don’t ever want (the show) to be monolithically good or evil.”
As a result, when the show picks up with Fort Salem and its military witch training exercises, there’s a sense that one of the most powerful institutions in the United States has begun to decay.
“It’s an institution that has an illness within it,” Laurence says. “We haven’t really unpacked that yet, but there’s a bit of a genetic crisis in terms of witch birth rates, particularly with the guys. There are male witches, but there are so few of them that they’re not even allowed to be in combat. In general, fewer and fewer witches are born every year and later in the series we’ll find out why. There’s a reason.”
“You think the show is going to reverent towards the witch-military complex. And that’s not true,” producer Kevin Messick adds.
While the slow crumbling of our society’s most important institutions is certainly heady stuff, Motherland is able to make social statements in subtler, more personal ways as well. The concept of female sexuality is important to the show. As matrilineal lines of succession matter most for witch status, women’s sexuality is embraced more easily in Motherland.