Spoilers ahead for Dominion episode 8 – “The Longest Mile Home.”
William Whele lives! And not only does he live, he’s alive. The wayward son (and lest we forget, Claire’s husband) has learned much during his exile—not only about his physical limits, but also about his maker, whom he insists never left. Used to holding court as a religious leader of the shadowy Church of the Savior, William is a compelling speaker, winning over listeners with the power of his words and the strength of his zealous convictions. Not only has William Whele returned from the dead, as it were, he’s returned to absolve the guilty of their sins. But as we all know, there can be only (one Chosen) One. Right?
With only several episodes left in the second season, William’s reintroduction into the story is a welcome one—reinvigorating the show with angry purpose. Yes, a civil war is raging in Vega (more on that in a moment), and yes, Julian is pursuing his own agenda against Gabriel, but with William, there’s something far more personal, more exciting, about his sudden reappearance. It helps that Luke Allen-Gale brings charisma to spare (as well as a new physicality) to his role as Vega’s banished Principate; I believe Allen-Gale in this current incarnation of William Whele. One can only imagine what a possible father-son reunion will be like. Both men have so much to gain and so much to lose. That being said, unlike his father, I doubt that ruling Vega is what William wants. He’s aiming higher—much higher.
As for ruling Vega, I don’t know if that’s what Zoe really wants for herself, either. We know she’s railing against a class system that has kept the lowly V-1s disenfranchised and in poverty. But wanting those things doesn’t necessarily mean she has what it takes to rule the city. Overall, her rebellion isn’t much of one—it’s not enough of a presence, not enough of an immediate threat to the city or the elite V-6 class. Establishing shots of a trench do not a civil war make. We are told the city is divided, but we do not truly experience this division or the hardships faced by those the rebels are fighting for. So much of this war feels like it’s occurring off-screen, being told to us in terse updates punctuated by bouts of in-fighting and gunfire.
As for Zoe, the rebellion’s determined leader (she never really gets to spread her wings), to demonstrate what makes her a worthy adversary for David Whele or Claire. Yes, she shot off David’s trigger finger, but is that really enough to demonstrate her passion for a better Vega? Clearly, after tonight, we’ll never get the chance to see what Zoe’s character was truly capable of. The trade-off, of course, is that we do get to see what Claire is made of. Losing her baby was a real turning point. She understands now that to win this war, she can show no mercy. For that reason alone, I’d say this was really Claire’s episode. As I’ve said before, she’s become a force to be reckoned with in a way that her father never truly was. This point is driven home by the fact that she is coming into her own through experience, rather than deception.
Which brings us to an important flashback that reveals Edward Riesen to be a charlatan, a pencil-pushing bean-counting civilian who donned an identity as easily as he donned a dead general’s uniform. This subterfuge is presented as a means of survival in a world that is quickly going to hell (literally), which begs the question—should this revelation change our opinion of the Edward? He helped build Vega up into a powerful city within the post-apocalyptic Cradle, which is no small feat.
So now that we’re past season two’s midway point, we’ll soon be seeing armies clash in the desert. We may even return to the town of Mallory, which means we may learn more about the mysterious Prophet. With William Whele back in the picture and Edward Riesen a Dyad, all bets are off. And that’s a good thing.
Some closing thoughts:
Gabriel is a great character, and it’s interesting to see the archangel put through his paces. But at the end of the day, Julian’s vendetta against him is starting to flag a bit, at least for me. Gabriel deserves a stronger storyline than this. Julian does, too.
Seeing the military base overrun with lower angels possessing the living was quite horrific. It’s chilling to see how quickly mankind fell to this unholy onslaught.