Spoilers ahead for tonight’s excellent “The Seed of Evil.”
There’s so much that worked about tonight’s episode. Not only did we see David reunited with his son, we saw Alex and Claire reunited, too. It’s safe to say that neither reunion was happy for anyone involved. With David and William, it was interesting to see the shift in the power dynamic, with the younger Whele having a clear advantage over his once formidable father. Both men fell from grace, but it’s William who has ascended to greater heights, demonstrating that one is capable of great things, if they believe they themselves are great — and William appears to fit the bill. David, on the other hand, is conniving, underhanded and not at all to be trusted. His being part of the rebellion is a necessary evil, and not something he has chosen to do out of a sudden sense of honor. I’ll admit I expected fireworks (and maybe some fisticuffs) once the two Wheles were put together, but this outcome was equally satisfying.
As for Claire and Alex, there was no joy in their finally being reunited — only confusion and heartbreak, and a lot of it. It does seem odd, seeing them together, after seeing Claire with Gates (a pairing I liked) and Alex with Noma (another great pairing). While Gates and Noma were suddenly relegated to the background, I was glad to see that Claire and Alex did not automatically fall into each other’s arms. That’s not how love works, even though Hollywood would like us to think it does. Love is a complicated, messy business, often fraught with doubts and insecurities that are so easily magnified when lovers are apart. One could argue that Claire and Alex had long since moved on to other people and other orders of business, and this is true, but now that they are together again, are they really together? Certainly, Claire telling Alex about her miscarriage was incredibly emotional. But what tragedy has rent asunder may once again be put back together by faith, and hope, and selfless acts of compassion.
That being said, it would have been more than a little convenient to kill off Gates just as Alex returned to Vega. I for one am very glad the writers didn’t take the easy way out here. As one of Vega’s founding fathers, Gates’s continued presence brings a lot to the city, and to the show. Plus it was great to see him outsmart Arika at her own game. And because he’s nobody’s fool, he understands what Alex means to Claire. Noma, too, is no fool. She may have accomplished her mission by returning Alex to Vega, but now she is without her wings, and worse, without the man she loves. If this turn of events serves any sort of purpose, it’s that we get to see even more of Noma’s human side. Again, it’s a credit to writers Alyssa Clark and Sean Crouch that the show cares to delve deeper into these seemingly unassailable angels.
Which brings us to the mighty Gabriel. Tonight we got to see the archangel brought low by a fallen angel, only to rise up even stronger. Carl Beukes gave his best performance of the entire series, bringing his righteous anger to bear on Julian, overpowering his would-be captor with a seething, almighty wrath (fitting, since it was his Father’s wrath flowing through his veins). Yes, Gabriel would have walked through the grass of Eden. Yes, he would have seen the rise and fall of many a civilization. This wasn’t so much a rousing monologue as it was a recitation of a divine curriculum vitae. It’s easy how perfection personified would come to view Julian as nothing more than a worm. Credit again to the writers here for putting such words in Gabriel’s mouth, and to Beukes for portraying the archangel as something to be feared, rather than revered.
Tonight’s episode was directed by Millicent Shelton, her first of the series. She also directed next week’s “House of Sacrifice”; I’m curious to see what she’ll bring to that episode, as she definitely wrangled a lot of moving parts into one of the season’s strongest hours this week.
Some closing thoughts:
- In season one, 8-balls were truly dangerous, even in smaller numbers. But now that they comprise an actual invading force, they seem more like cannon fodder than an actual, credible threat to Alex and company, much less Vega.
- Not to harp too much on tonight’s writing, but there were some great lines in tonight’s episode, including William’s comment to David, “Where would Jesus be without Judas?” Another great line went to the bartender who tells William, “Savior’s good for business.” Indeed he is.
- I never realized until tonight how much Michael reminds me of The Matrix’s Neo. Fitting, when you consider that Neo was his world’s savior. Michael didn’t get to do a lot tonight, but I liked his trick of using his wings to shield Alex and Noma from an explosive fireball.
- Lastly, it looks like we’ll be returning to Mallory before the end of the season. I’m curious to see what happens next with this mysterious Prophet. I’m also interested to see what may become of Laurel, considering she shirked her responsibilities as the town’s sacrificial lamb.