Things get interesting in tonight’s new episode of Dominion as we continue to burrow further down the rabbit hole of angel mythology. We’re introduced to new terms and new concepts related to eight-balls—humans possessed by lower angels. We also learn a bit more about Gabriel’s so-called Under-Church. And we get to see Alex flex his spiritual muscles as the Chosen One. And that’s just in the first ten minutes. Spoilers ahead.
First, let’s talk about the concept of “evictions”—what Dominion calls exorcisms. As one might expect, evictions are a risky, dangerous business, both to the host and to the lower angel. Together, host and lower angel comprise an eight-ball. And, as we find out via Claire’s possessed mother, Clementine, lower angels don’t necessarily completely take over their host vessels. Instead, they have the ability to coexist with their human host’s psyche—that is, if the lower angel deigns to allow their human host to exist. In the case of Claire’s mother, she and her lower angel have developed a symbiotic relationship over the years. It’s for this reason that General Riesen has been able to maintain a romantic relationship with this particular eight-ball. She looks like Clementine, and she remembers everything that happened to Clementine. But at the end of the day, she’s not his wife. Clementine is merely a passenger, a passive spectator in the now-crowded vessel of her former life. Bear in mind this existential horror show is brought to you by the network that brought you Sharknado. But it’s also the network that brought you Ronald D. Moore’s brilliant but sometimes flawed reimagining of Battlestar Galactica. Those are two extremes, to be sure, and a show like Dominion is smack dab in the middle of the best and worst (and I use the term “worst” lovingly here) that SyFy has to offer its viewers. Dominion is a show that takes itself very seriously, as BSG once did. But it also understands that bloodthirsty, pudding-eating archangels deserve their place in the spotlight, too. So where does that leave us, vis-a-vis tonight’s episode? Because Alex’s well-intentioned eviction of the lower angel inhabiting Claire’s mother goes very well, until it goes horribly wrong. Yes, for a few moments Claire is reunited with her mother, who is no longer possessed.
Roxanne McKee was excellent tonight, especially in these tearful, heart-wrenching scenes with a mother she thought was long dead. And in many ways this is true—Clementine’s loss of free will was in itself a spiritual death. And now, an eight-ball no more, Clementine can only survive in a sort of comatose state. Now, she’s worse than dead.
Alex is not to blame, though. This was his first eviction, and he knew no one before him had ever performed one successfully. Yet, armed with an ancient prayer contained within the faded pages of a relic know as the Apocrypha, the Chosen One came closer to a successful eviction than the prophets before him. But this is damning Alex with faint praise. He not only wanted Claire to be reunited with her mother, he wanted to prove to Michael that he’s finally ready to assume the mantle of mankind’s savior.
But let’s quickly move on to tonight’s second storyline, mainly the fall of the House of Whele. Claire’s discovery last week of Brother Paul’s blindfold left by William in Senator Whele’s study set off a chain of events that essentially pits father against son and leaves many of Gabriel’s followers, known as Black Acolytes, riddled with bullets. But more importantly, it leads William to finally confront his monster of a father in a character-defining moment. This moment should be William’s time to shine, but the senator is tough to beat as he goads his son from the wrong end of a gun. Instead of groveling for his life, Head and the writers take the senator in a completely different direction, imbuing David Whele with a truly wild-eyed malevolence that’s nothing short of chilling.
In the end, William isn’t determined to end his father’s life so much as he intends to save it. William and his acolytes have deemed the senator worthy of redemption, but for the elder Whele, being forcefully indoctrinated into Gabriel’s church is indeed the greater of two evils.
Some closing thoughts:
Out with the old, in with the new, as the saying goes—especially when it comes down to who will be Vega’s most powerful citizen. It won’t be David Whele, despite his political maneuvering. And it won’t be General Riesen, who still has some fight left in him, despite a weak heart. No, when all is said and done, Vega’s future ruler will be Claire. No longer a pawn, she is quickly ascending to the role of Queen on Vega’s complicated chessboard. How she’ll deal with William remains to be seen, but I wouldn’t turn my back on her anytime soon.
The eviction prayer Alex utters is in English, which I found odd. Why not in Latin—especially if the Apocrypha is centuries old. Having the prayer in English robbed the eviction scene of some of its mysticism. Heaven and Earth are older than any language, including Latin. But movies like The Exorcist have trained us to believe that Latin is tough to beat when evicting deadbeats.
In case it wasn’t obvious, tonight was my favorite episode of the season so far. This is also my first four-star review. Here’s hoping the rest of the reason takes advantage of the good will engendered by the events set forth tonight.