Alexandra Daddario stars in the series as Rowan, a neurosurgeon in San Francisco unaware of her connection to the Wayfair clan in New Orleans. One day, when hitting a boiling point with a condescending male boss at her workplace, she gains the ability to burst people’s brains. Freaked out by this, she brings it up to her adoptive mother Ellie (Erica Gimpel)—who is on her deathbed—and who tells her to think nothing of it. When it happens again, and after Ellie passes, it begins a grieving self-discovery for Rowan, which takes her to New Orleans, where she learns about her birth mother, Deirdre (Annabeth Gish).
For years, Dierdre has been in a silent, catatonic state, spending her days on the porch of her sister Carlotta’s (Beth Grant) home and being taken care of mostly by family maid Delphine (Deneen Tyler). As we see in flashy flashbacks, Dierdre has been tormented by—after being seduced by—the same figure who also haunted her mother, a man named Lasher (Jack Huston). Appearing in these hazy sequences with a sleazy grin primed for a grimy dive bar, Lasher is meant to be a symbol of all that has controlled and manipulated the Mayfair women for centuries. Instead, he becomes a cheesy symbol—in part thanks to Huston’s scant charisma—for how this story can’t conjure a claustrophobic danger. The possible thrills of getting some creepy, sensual, and/or dramatic horror from “Mayfair Witches” suffer for it.
The fun of “Mayfair Witches” can be so iffy that it struggles to make much intrigue out of its aforementioned secret society of witch-protectors, named the Talamasca. Rowan receives some assistance and camaraderie from a Talamasca employee named Ciprien (Tongayi Chirisa), offering her a stronger grasp of this new world. His heroism comes with his own gift—Ciprien can touch something and be able to see its past, like when he touches the gates to the Mayfair house. When he touches Rowan for the first time, it nearly knocks him out, a testimony to how she has a special degree of power, even though she doesn’t know it.