“The Flood,” tonight’s episode of Syfy’s Dominion, did not offer up as much bloody action (and pudding) as last week’s episode. Instead, the show offered up more of a thinking man’s angel-fueled post-apocalypse. A new angel is introduced into the unstable mix. Two minor characters are unceremoniously snuffed out. Bullets are fired, lines drawn. Seemingly, a lot happened, but really, not much happened plot-wise. Instead, the usual action seen in previous episodes took a knee to better flesh out Alex Lannon.
Spoilers from this point on.
As far as the people of Vega are concerned, the chosen one has yet to return. Little do they know that he walks among them as a lowly V-2, one of the lowest ranks in Vega’s six-tiered caste system. But walk among them he does, his identity a secret. And this secrecy is fine with Alex. He is willing to endure abuse and slander to protect the ones he loves. His suffering is a true act of sacrifice. So, even if he would rather shirk his responsibilities as mankind’s would-be savior, he can’t help but act selflessly (making him an ideal messiah).
Alex has always been portrayed as conflicted yet just, a flawed, troubled hero. We got a better sense of this in last week’s episode, which (spoiler alert if you’re not totally caught up on Dominion) revealed Alex’s mother died protecting him from an eight-ball attack. This revelation devastated Alex. His very existence is a liability to those closest to him. Hence his reluctance to reveal his true identity.
Even if he were to own up to his destiny, Alex is still unable to decipher the cryptic markings covering half his body. If the tattoos are a roadmap to salvation, Alex is just as lost as everyone else. Which is where Claire comes in. She’s more than just Alex’s love interest or the daughter of the city’s most powerful man; she’s determined to save Alex from his own good intentions. Which is a good thing, at least from a storytelling standpoint. As a character, Claire needs to come into her own. That she is appointed Lady of the City pro tem is a start, but I’d like to see her continue to evolve beyond being a pawn on a political chessboard.
In any case, Claire does indeed step in protect the protector, and to save the savior from himself. It’s a strange balancing act for Alex and Claire. He wants to handle his own affairs, but Claire knows he can’t do it all alone. There’s a real soulfulness between these two that’s really starting to shine through. I like seeing them together—too bad it’s not under better circumstances (yet).
This notion of Alex keeping his true identity a secret goes out the window, though, if it means saving lives—namely Claire’s father and Senator Whele. Senator Frost demands to meet the chosen one, or people will die (and, as we know, this is the last thing Alex wants). And, as it turns out, the cryptic message SHE DIED FOR YOU, which was revealed to Alex in a vision, does not necessarily pertain to his mother. Instead it’s a heavenly communiqué that not only justifies Frost’s faith in the existence of a chosen one, but costs him his life, too. Which brings the notion full circle that those closest to Alex are at the greatest risk. In this case, though, Frost didn’t die for his sins; he died because of his faith.
Meanwhile, Michael’s wound, suffered in last week’s episode at the hands of Gabriel’s impulsive soldier, Furiad, is miraculously healed by what looks like a liquid secreted from what I can only assume is an angel’s feather. Who is this mystery faith healer—is it Michael’s older sister, Uriel?
Uriel’s introduction is one of the pleasures of tonight’s show. Yes, she sheds light on Michael and Gabriel’s tumultuous sibling rivalry, but she also allows us to understand that both brothers’ arguments have merit. In the absence of their Father, the higher angels only have each other. Blood may be thicker than water, but on Dominion, it’s faith that can (potentially) move proverbial mountains. Faith, love, loyalty—they’re all up for grabs. Uriel pledges her sword to Michael. Later, however, she promises her sword to Gabriel. So what’s her endgame? Does she intend to have the two archangels destroy each other in battle so she alone can reign over mankind?
That being said, Uriel clearly has her own issues. Like her holy brethren, she pines for an absentee Father who clearly cherished his mortal creations. In tonight’s episode it’s called into question whether angels are capable of love. Certainly angels are susceptible to foibles of the flesh and hamstrung by the basest of human desires. So why would they be above experiencing love, especially if they suffer the pangs of absent (Fatherly) affection.
This continued exploration of angel mythology is like manna from heaven. While Alex has definitely been more fleshed out, the angels are still the show’s most compelling characters, second only to Anthony Head’s treacherous Senator Whele.
Some closing thoughts:
The elder Whele has one of the episode’s best lines when he rationalizes that the people of Vega are the chosen one—only to be called out as a dime-store televangelist by Senator Frost. Old habits die hard, I suppose. Whele may no longer be a card-carrying believer, but he still retains the tricks of his former trade.
Arika is bad news. That she is intuitive and charming makes her all the more dangerous. Whether or not Noma is willing to drink the Kool-Aid Arika is peddling remains to be seen.
We lost Bixby tonight—at the hands of David Whele. Surely he would claim she posed a risk to Vega’s security, but even so, killing a child—and an orphan at that—is pretty cold. This scene is made all the more chilling by his quiet, tender assurances that poor Bixby won’t feel a thing.