So I'm done.
It's hard to put into words why I was annoyed with this season, but I was.
My biggest problem I think was that I felt a shift from a more female perspective to a more male perspective. While before it felt like the women carried the show, I'm not sure they did this season, and it annoyed me.
Mary was mortal and couldn't kick ass like she used to, and was reduced to using her body to try to get stuff done, or to being tortured or terrorized by various people during longer than I would have liked.
Anne spent the season pathetically and frantically trying to win Cotton over (the most pathetic character on the show for me, by the way).
The Countess was basically gone.
Tituba came and went just to mess with people and stuff, but didn't feel like she had a lot of point of view.
Mercy was there... but just sort of there. She didn't feel like a driving force of any kind.
I felt like the show was mostly about the men, who were more driven and more active and got more of a point of view, and it annoyed me. Even Billy just existed for John (though she was pretty pointless).
The Devil, the Sentinel, John, Cotton, Isaac, etc, etc, I felt like the show was mostly theirs. It bothered me because the female centric nature of the show was the thing I liked the most, even though they were all evil.
I also really disliked Mary and Anne's story arcs.
In Mary's case it felt very... flat. Like too by the numbers. They were clearly "redeeming" her and setting her free (which is why they even made her mortal), and just felt hollow, it didn't grab me. Her remorse, her redemption or whatever, I just didn't buy it. Not because I thought she was incapable of it or anything, but because I found the writing flat. I liked Mary as a villain with layers in previous seasons, I thought she was amongst the best I've seen, but this season they took that away. Maybe that's why, maybe it's because they tried to fully take away the villain part and it didn't work for me. Mary was a victim who became a villain, that was part of her appeal, and in the end they tried to pass her off mostly as a victim. I guess the way they tried to dramatize her remorse and whatever didn't work for me? Maybe that was the problem? I don't know, but I didn't find it compelling. Still love Janet Montgomery, though. She was a joy to watch. Her love story with John was also annoying as always. In previous seasons I liked her love for John because it humanized her, but I liked it as a love she carried with her, yet that couldn't be. I never liked John too much. This season they went full force with them and... blah. Again, I felt it hollow and flat.
Anne's arc was even worse. They decided to make her into the biggest, most evil witch/person on the show... because Cotton Mather rejected her. COTTON MATHER. He was the most pathetic character of the show for me, absolutely pathetic. I thought it was laughable that they said he was a greaaaat soul and therefore his sacrifice would save Salem if the walked into hell voluntarily. Are. you. kidding. me. Then Evil Anne was just absolutely cartoonish, and it bothered me quite a bit how she took over the finale. After the entire show of Mary and everyone else fighting and fighting for the stuff they wanted, everything was resolved with one sweep the her hand, by Anne. It felt like the show/characters were robbed of a proper ending that fit the story they had been telling. But I guess they got a kick out of the implied open ending. It felt like the idea was that people would keep trying and trying to make Armageddon happen, but something would stop it and then rinse and repeat.
Things I did like:
Surprisingly, the thing I liked the most this season was.... Mercy's plot. Yes, I cannot believe it either. I couldn't stand her in previous seasons, but I felt her kinda, sorta, semi redemption was done better and more believably than Mary's. While I think a brothel is horrible, I did like that she created a place where the women felt safe, to the point where they even gave her their blood freely. I also liked that when she was at the brink of death she said that she didn't have the heart to ask the women for their blood and then they came and did it willingly. I also liked her twisted love story with the magistrate, and I liked that in the end all she wanted, rather than power, was to be loved. Adding humanity to evil characters makes them more compelling, for me. It's part of the reason why I also semi-liked Sebastian's plot, too. I believed he did love Mary (as well as someone like him could, anyway) and that made him more interesting/human. Also, I thought Mercy's actress was better this year.
Well, damn, I can't think of anything else. Ummm, maybe the Sentinel getting a taste of humanity and wishing for more oranges at the end? I kind of did like that. Again, injecting some humanity into monsters.
Another thing to point out: they spent so much time going on and on and on about how terrible it was that they were going to destroy Salem and OH NO, WE MUST STOP IT... yet here I was hoping they would destroy it because it was such an ugly place full of terrible people, lol.