The witches of Motherland: Fort Salem have seen better days.

Freeform’s supernatural drama returned for its final season on Tuesday with its motley crew of magical fugitives still on the run from Vice President Silver, Alban Hearst and a host of other nefarious characters. When we reunited with the runaways, they were posing as midwest paper distributors, some more convincingly than others. Raelle and Scylla, for example, were content to lay low and daydream of a simple life somewhere, while Tally and Nicte insisted on partaking in rooftop training sessions, which ultimately exposed the group and forced everyone to relocate.

Meanwhile, Abigail has found herself in a most unexpected pickle. Shortly after Adil brought up the idea of starting a family with her (out of… nowhere?), Abigail learned that their enemy is trying to prevent a union between earth and sky. No one seems to know exactly what that means just yet, but all signs point to Abigail and Adil.

And things weren’t much cheerier back at Fort Salem. Sure, the witches were relieved to be getting inoculated against the plague, but black rain is never a good sign. Fortunately, just when things seemed their bleakest, a familiar face suddenly rose from beneath the ground — none other than (former) General Sarah Alder, looking more radiant than ever.

So, what are we supposed to take away from this premiere? And what awaits the witches in their show’s final season? Series creator Eliot Laurence gives TVLine the scoop in the Q&A below:

TVLINE | We’re sad to see the show end, but it must have been helpful to know that this was the final season.
It was one of the classiest moves I’ve experienced in this business. Freeform said, “We love you and we’re so proud of the show, but this is probably the last one.”

TVLINE | Did you have ideas mapped out for multiple additional seasons?
I had pictured it going a bit longer, and I knew where I wanted it to end. So when we got the news, I was like, “Can I move that up and have it not seem too crazy?” And it actually kind of worked. There was a nebulous ending that did work for Season 3.

TVLINE | This season starts with a casual 300,000-year flashback, so it’s already out of control.
And it doesn’t stop. We were relentless in making sure that every episode amps it up more. This season we really get into what is a witch. We know they have these vocal abilities, we know they have this sense of hearing that is beyond what we can hear, and we know that there are some pagan holidays and there’s cultural witchcraft, but it doesn’t seem like they get their power from the pagan gods. We’re going to get into this really ancient lineage and learn about how essential it was to humanity’s development. The nerd in me loves to explore that stuff. This lineage that I’m talking about takes the form of a song, because we’re a song show, and it’s a song that could end or change the world depending on how it’s sung. That’s kind of the central quest of this season.

TVLINE | Well, it was good to see our witches again, even if Raelle didn’t love seeing Vera. Will we see her again?
We will see Vera again, but in a very upsetting and horrific way… because we’re that kind of show, too. It was fun to see a blast from the past, and to see Raelle and Scylla encountering some relationship stuff that they just haven’t had time to do. They’re finally together, so they’re going to deal with some of that stuff — complicated histories, vibes and bad moods.

TVLINE | They seem happy, especially under these circumstances. Any chance we can just let that stick?
[Laughs] We were so happy to give America what they want. I can tell you that it’s pretty nice. There will be some scary stuff, for sure, but we’re not trying to break anyone’s hearts that way. It’s so nice to see them together.

TVLINE | As for Abigail and Adil, am I crazy or did all that talk of starting a family feel a little sudden?
They’re looking for a place to put their tension and anxiety. They’re getting closer, and now Abigail’s trying to figure out this earth-sky thing. Is it that he’s earth and he’s sky, so their baby would be earth-and-sky? She’s thinking about that. It just seemed like a away to make the relationship take on a new dimension.

TVLINE | It was a nice moment when Scylla helped Abigail see her mom. Have the girls come around to her?
They are getting very close, but there is another source of tension in the group, which is Nicte. There are a lot of feelings about Nicte, and she’s on the run with them. That is by no means a finished subject. There’s some stuff there.

TVLINE | Most importantly, I was thrilled to see Alder again in all her Mother Earth glory. We barely saw her, but I get the sense that she’s going to feel like a totally different character.
Oh, yeah. At the end of last season, we saw her getting her underground spa moment where she was rebuilt. She’s back, but it’s not quite the same Alder. It’s similar to how we’ve seen Willa. After she died, we still saw her. The Mycelium can bring people back. Alder is back. And what she’s looking for are the lost pieces of that song I talked about earlier before it’s all too late.

TVLINE | Hopefully it isn’t already too late. That black rain seemed foreboding.
There’s some good stuff in that rain, and we’re going to see who’s in that rain very soon. Somebody from last year!

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