Okay, so this was a pretty intense episode. Intense and satisfying. So much so that it retroactively improved my opinion of last week’s episode, “Bewilderment of Heart,” which I considered to be a bit gimmicky at the time. But last week’s dreams and hallucinations were not ephemeral. The visions brought on by the Amphora of Darkness carried real weight that, for the most part, made a lasting impact on both character and plot.
To wit: Claire’s vision of domestic, familial bliss rekindled her affection for Alex in a way that didn’t make light of losing Gates just a few episodes ago. Even as they both walk through the valley of the shadow of death, love was upon their lips—much to Noma’s chagrin (more on her in a moment). Claire tells David that losing her baby made her lose the will to fight. But now, with Alex at her side, she seems to have a newfound desire to fight for her city’s survival. As much as I liked seeing Claire with a man as accomplished and confident and intelligent as Gates, it’s good to see the show return to its roots by pairing her with Alex again. Their romance in the first season was both genuine and rather sweet. Now, faced by an incoming army of ravenous eight-balls, whatever time they have left together is now bittersweet at best.
As I’ve mentioned before, I admire Claire’s sense of purpose. She is rarely portrayed as someone in need of rescuing. The same goes for Noma, who I steadfastly continue to like despite discovering that she was once very much Team Gabriel. This revelation was neither shocking nor disappointing. Instead, learning the truth about Noma demonstrated how far she has come since her fall from grace. She went from betraying the Chosen One to becoming one of his most outspoken champions. She also fell in love with Alex along the way, and it was good to hear her confess as much to him. For whatever it’s worth, I’m rooting for you, Nomes—and I sincerely hope you don’t go the way of Gates.
One person who will likely survive this season is David Whele. He’s more tenacious than a cockroach and he has as many lives as a cat, both admirable traits in a survivor in a post-apocalyptic world. Last week’s Darkness-inspired hallucinations didn’t paint a favorable picture of David, portraying him as a bloodthirsty monster unworthy of redemption. That he survived a hanging wasn’t so much a result of divine intervention as it was one of random happenstance. What’s interesting, though, is that while he walked away from his own execution, when faced with an impending eight-ball invasion, he was content to sit back and wait for death’s cold embrace to claim him. This is a dark turn for him, indeed.
All in all, this has been a rough season for David Whele. He lost his station, his power, his privilege, his dignity—all of it was stripped away as he was captured, jailed, tortured, shot, and nearly hanged. Like I said, he’s tenacious, but just because he’s survived these hardships doesn’t mean he’s alive. And now that William is dead by his father’s grace (or lack thereof), one can only imagine that David Whele has finally hit rock bottom. Kudos as always to Anthony Head for bringing so much humanity to such an unforgiving role. It’s obvious how much Head relishes such a complex character, no matter how ugly his deeds may be.
Finally, the archangel battle royale must be addressed. I was hoping for more from this showdown, which had so much potential. This isn’t to say seeing Michael and Gabriel duke it out wasn’t exciting or fun, because it was both those things. Never once, though, did I think either angel’s life was ever in jeopardy. The real takeaway from this brawl is how deep Michael’s betrayal runs for Gabriel—a sentiment that’s been echoed throughout both seasons. But tonight, we learn about the events that led led to the rift between the two, namely, Gabriel’s breaking of the seventh seal. But this extinction-level event becomes a war the moment Michael sided with humanity. By searching out the Chosen One, he has chosen mankind over God—an unforgivable sin in Gabriel’s eyes. And the two have more or less been at odds — and each other’s throats — ever since.
Overall, tonight was a great build-up to next week’s finale. Vega is overrun by an eight-ball army, William has died by his father’s hand, and Gabriel and Michael are headed off to Mallory for what one hopes will be an epic showdown with Lucifer himself. While the probability of character deaths tend to spike at the end of a season, I’d hate to lose anyone else at this point. But if we do lose someone next week, I hope their deaths are not in vain.
Some closing thoughts:
Whither Julian? We know the wily Dyad is alive, but where is he? Surely we haven’t seen the last of him this season — have we?
When David and Comms Officer Jerry were using the wall guns to off the eight-ball hordes outside Vega, was anyone else reminded of the game Zombie Gunship?
Maybe it’s just me, but when Alex stepped forward into the oncoming eight-ball horde, did anyone else think he was about to perform a mass eviction?