Damnation Episode 9 Review: Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground

The new episode of Damnation brings everything we've seen in the first eight to a head.

This Damnation review contains spoilers.

Damnation Episode 9

Tonight’s episode was the culmination of the previous eight that featured two opposing factions on an inevitable collision course. Oppressed and tricked people remain so until they realize they’ve no choice but to take up arms and fight for their lives, even if they might not live to see the dawn. When a person’s beliefs are either mocked or ignored, it’s a personal attack at their core.

Seth and Creeley were on the wrong side of the law in blind allegiance to their father and his pursuit of wealth and legacy. The Turner family’s notoriety never extended beyond being local thugs, and the father, a victim of patricide, didn’t live to see old age. The brothers weren’t shown a good example of familial love, which opened the door for blackmail, being framed for a massacre, and serving a life sentence in prison.

As adults, the brothers had various opportunities to atone for their past betrayals and sins, but their wounded pride and egos complicated matters for seven episodes. No matter how much one says he hates his sibling, something familial kicks in when a hangman’s noose is involved. Seth took care of and covered for Creeley when they were kids and young adults, even when he didn’t earn it. They were a united front against their selfish father, and after their death, they traveled along different paths until their reunion in Holden County.

Creeley has never asked for an apology, only a confession which might not amount to much on a playing field with powerful individuals who can borrow a person from a life sentence as if he were a true crime library book. There are potential depths to this show that haven’t been mined and ought to be. In the minimalist world that’s Damnation, Creeley might say between spitting tobacco out of the corner of his mouth, “You know, Seth, I know I did you wrong, but you left me no choice.”

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It was under the cover of night that the father assassinated Seth’s first girlfriend and her preacher father, followed by seven corpses laying on the cold church ground. The brothers were on opposite ends of doing the right thing, loyalty, and family honor. Years later at Martha Riley’s farm, the brothers were on the same side because of bigger stakes and a centralized foe. The cowardly Black Legion thought they’d be able to cloak themselves in nightfall, but the farmers were ready.

Tonight’s episode was more cohesive because of the allied fighters on the farm. My opinion remains the same in that the show still needs to balance the flashbacks, red herrings, credible clues, and dramatic revelations as the music crescendos. I wish the writers would trust that viewers are savvy enough to assemble a puzzle without much handholding. Damnation is historical fiction that needn’t be dumbed down for the unwashed masses of primetime audiences. 


3 out of 5