Dominion Season 2 Finale: Lucifer’s Gunslinger Victorious

Dominion - Season 2

The season two finale of Dominion Sine Deo Nihil picks right up where Day of Wrath ended, Alex Lannon dropping his weapon and going to face the eight-ball horde bare handed. By the time the last episode ends, it looks like Lucifer and his gunslinger are standing victorious with  a last minute game changer that sees Alex once again bare handed but betrayed. It also sees Gabriel and Michael learning the truth of Mallory.

Before the end credits roll, Claire is dead (ironically, her body is laying on the very steps where she wound up bleeding after the plague of darkness), General Riesen/Duma proves that being shot out of a tower block window is not lethal, David Whele is brought before Duma (presumably to be shot), Gabriel has the darkness burned right out of him, Michael realizes that Noma has turned, Arika escapes Vega in a helicopter with the little girl she saved and is off to Helena, and Lucifer announces to the world that “It is time.”

Outside of Vega and Mallory, Julian/Lyrae has risen from its hiding place in New Delphi and the Dyad has an interwoven monologue worthy of Bill Shakespeare where the creature denounces the Father and his class system while bleeding profusely from his Gabriel inflicted wound.

This final episode of season two crammed a lot into its allotted time period. There  are , however, some moments that feel a bit forced, or even hokey. The mass “healing” of the tunnel eight-balls for instance. Alex, arms spread wide, mouths some incantation and a healing gold light explodes through the tunnel knocking the invading horde to the ground.

Dominion - Season 2

Fair enough, this  little bit of the Father’s power coming through The Chosen One is preordained and has been done before, just not on this scale. The next event, however, feels rushed and forced; Alex picks a former eight-ball, a fellow in a knit cap, and tells him to lead the now healed human’s to safety. With nary blink of an eye, the chap was an eight-ball literally a second before this command, the newly rescued human responds that he will take command of this new army.

After these reinforcements are sent out, Alex, Noma and Claire attempt to leave the city. They see Duma/General arriving in Vega, via motorcade, and heading to Riesen Tower. Alex goes to kill the Dyad leaving Claire and Nomes behind. Claire quickly moves to beat Lannon to her father.

The scene between Alan Dale’s Dyad and Roxanne McKee’s Claire in another one that feels a bit forced. Granted, the scene does still bring a lump to the throat but…After Duma so effortlessly took over Riesen back in New Delphi, would the general really have been able to fight to the surface? Really? Kudos to the two actors, however, for making this a tear inducing interaction for the viewer.

After a short standoff between Alex and Duma, Claire grabs Alex’s discarded pistol and hesitates slightly before shooting her “father.” Duma does not pause and shoots Claire, he takes aim at Lannon, but Noma breaks into the room and fires an entire clip into the Dyad knocking the creature out of the window.

Dominion - Season 2

While Vega is being overrun with Gabriel’s eight-ball army, thanks to David Whele’s opening the city gates, Michael is dragged to Mallory by Gabriel.  After some interaction, along with some flashbacks to the beginning of Alex’s path as The Chosen One 25 years previously, the two archangels meet with Lucifer’s gunslinger.

The darkness that Julian infected Gabriel with is killing him. After it is revealed that Michael did not destroy the “Son of Morning’s” remains as instructed, he demands that Lucifer heal Gabriel.  Big brother, he tells the prophet, owes him a debt.

During the flashbacks, it is pointed out that Noma is not quite the little soldier she seems. At least once before she played turncoat, betraying Gabriel to save Alex. She takes an oath afterward  to protect The Chosen One. However, just as she turned against Gabriel,  she apparently turns against Michael.

When Noma lost her wings,  she ripped the limbs from her body to save Alex, the angel could not live with the loss. Since Lucifer shares Father’s gift for creation and healing, she apparently agrees to sacrifice Alex for new wings. Tellingly, the new feathered appendages are not black like Michael’s and Gabriel’s but a majestic white.

Dominion - Season 2

By the end, where a submerged Lucifer pronounces that “it is time,” David may have to pay the piper as Duma readies his pistol to shoot Whele. Claire is dead;  another tear inducing scene, and Alex is stunned to see Noma’s new wings.

The fact that Nomes was going to get some new feather’s was pretty much a foregone conclusion. However, it does seem that there may just be a chance that these beautiful new wings may be a gift from Father. After all Noma did sacrifice her “angel badge of office” voluntarily to save Alex. Lucifer’s gunslinger, aka The Prophet, is looking victorious with his “boss” ready to rise, but the game could be far from over.

Anthony Head, Carl Beukes,  Roxanne McKee, Alan Dale, Kim Engelbecht, Christopher Egan and Shivani Ghai all knock it out of the park in terms of performance in this last episode of Dominion this season.

 There is no news about a season three as yet.  SyFy tend to leave these things till the last minute.  Show creator Vaun Wilmott is optimistic that there will be a renewal.  With any luck  Wilmott is right and this  small screen version of Legion will come back for another shot at finishing the tale of three cities.

Dominon - Season 2

 

 

Dominion: Bewilderment of Heart – What Color is Your Amphora? (Review)

Dominon - Season 2

Last week on Dominion we saw “dark” Gabriel drop off the amphora of darkness at Vega, although “darkness” is a bit misleading as, Michael points out later in the episode, the spreading inky black stuff drives everyone it contacts mad.  Before the episode ends all the inhabitants of Vega have been affected by this weapon of God. There are many changes, Alex turns out to be able to do much more as the Chosen One than ever previously suspected, the two Whele’s are forced to face their “inner reality” and the other main players learn their own truth. Claire, apparently,  is dying from loss of blood after a wrenching little perfect families scenario.

*Sidenote* There was an annoying moment, or two,  of the amphora changing color or,  more accurately, its overall appearance. Obviously, this mostly jet-black vase, with a pretty important lid, that Gabriel unleashed upon Vega was considered too plain by this now very dark archangel. He obviously stopped on the way to the city he wants to destroy and got the thing gold plated…Like you do. Later in the episode, after Nome’s finds it, the object is back to its “plain Jane” appearance. Nice one chaps…Not.

This episode was brilliant in its almost epic  focus on what each character feared or wanted. Tom Wisdom’s Michael says of the visions released by the amphora (or the vase of many colors):

“Some are nightmares, but some are dreams. Beautiful but fatal; all end in death.”

Each character had their own personal reflections and realizations:

David Whele faces the truth that despite his protestations that his actions were all for “Vega”  he has essentially sold his soul. His focus on becoming the “Lord of Vega” has turned him into a monster., with the “soul of an eight-ball.”

William Whele faces the realization that he really is not the “Chosen One.” His vision has an eight-ball Claire revealing what actually happened in the desert.  She tells him that, yes the  eight-balls tortured William and did unspeakable things  to him. Perverse things that the Whele sibling liked and that the flash of light was not God at all, but the thief’s gun exploding and William was talking to himself, not God at all.

Dominion - Season 2
William Whele coming to terms with a different reality

William is also visited by Alex, who forces him to admit that he is not the Chosen One at all. There is also a “punk” version of Gabriel who visits his former “protege.” Carl Beukes as Gabriel gets what must be the funniest line of the entire episode. He bellows at William that he was never the “Chosen One.” He follows this up with:

“You’re a re-ject.”

When Gabriel’s delivers this revelation he drags the “re” part out to brilliant effect. Priceless.

Claire “lives” a perfect idyllic happy family scenario where she has given birth to Alex’s baby, a girl. In the middle of the sunshine and loving atmosphere, Lady Riesen sees blood on her arm and her vision of Alex sees nothing.  By the end of the dream, Claire is lying on the floor, with two dead troopers for company, apparently bleeding out from a wound on her forearm.

*Sidenote* It has to be noted that when Claire goes into pick up her baby;  the infant is the spitting image of Nic Bishop, aka Gates Foley.  This physical resemblance of the child to the recently deceased Gates was funny and it took a couple of moments for the laughter to subside from this inadvertent comic bit to “get back into the mood.” 

Arika (Shivani Ghai) lives a nightmare where Rose, the eight-ball that she killed in another episode, has come back to exact revenge. The vision itself is revealing in that Arika also fears turning into her mad mother.

Dominon - Season 2
David Whele facing himself.

Michael has a vision, where Noma has murdered Alex and he seeks to kill the wingless angel. Noma does not have a dream, the amphora “speaks” directly to her telling Nomes that she has her wings back.

Alex, who may or may not have had a vision (this is a little unclear as so much is going on) closes the amphora. Michael states early on in the episode that only an angel can close this weapon of God, but those markings on Alex’s body march down his arms and allow the Chosen One to close the now black amphora.

Gabriel remarks that the plague of darkness was over “rather quickly” but he is already moving on to plan “b” for the destruction of Vega.

The episode moves all the pieces together for a climax that may not leave Vega, or the city’s inhabitants above ground. Kudos to writers Katie GruelRebecca Kirsch and Jerry Shandy for digging deep and coming up with a brilliant look at the inner fears and worries of the main characters.

Director Gregg Simon, sitting in the hot seat for the first time on Dominion, handles the episode with an impressive adeptness and does not allow the show’s “darkness” to be so dark that one felt the need to reach for the brightness controls.

Standout Moments:

The amphora suddenly appearing with what looks to be a solid gold plated exterior after being black from “day one.”

Roxanne McKee as an eight-ball Claire Riesen. (Nuff said.)

Arika being oddly vulnerable. (And if  Ghai did not use a body double..Let us just say. it is obvious that someone spends a lot of time at the gym.)

Luke Allen-Gale in that final scene as William is proper creepy and disturbing as they say in the trenches.

Anthony Head as the eight-ball David. Head has got massive acting chops and he took off in this episode.

Carl Beukes as Punk Gabriel, “You’re a reeeeeeeeeject!” Never has a line been so blackly and comically rendered as insult. So good it had to be mentioned twice.

The realization that the entire episode, in Vega time, took seconds in the lives of the main protagonists. David’s “awakening” with the noose choking him as he knelt on the trapdoor of the gallows showed that all the visions occurred in a very, very short (as Gabriel notes) time.

Dominon - Season 2
Michael reflecting.

Dominion airs Thursday on SyFy. This show features some of the best writing on television in the world of fantasy and science fiction/religion. Do not miss this.

 

Dominion: The Seed of Evil (recap and review)

Dominion - Season 2

Last week in Dominion, Claire Riesen shot Zoe right between the eyes. Blaming her for killing her unborn child the Vega leader granted the rebel leader a quick death and this week Lady Riesen learns that she got it wrong. Zoe was unaware of the sniper that David Whele set up and now Lady Riesen feels regret and guilt. In The Seed of Evil, the series finally moves things back to Vega, Julian finally overplays his hand and the town of Mallory takes on added significance.

Arika’s backstory is revealed, at least her beginnings, and Gabriel escapes. Michael is weakened by visions and Noma loses out.  David and William are reunited while Gates Foley proves that he is not just a techie. The rebellion moves forward, because Lady Riesen makes a difficult decision  and Arika has a wild card that has not yet been played.

In New Delphi, Julian gives Gabriel a drop of “darkness” from the amphora, it is placed in the archangel’s eye. The plan is to destroy Gabriel’s  mind allowing Lyrae/Julian to enter the archangel’s body.  Back in Vega, Claire and Gates speak with Arika; who tells her captor that David was responsible for the death of Lady Riesen’s baby and she gives up Whele. After their conversation,  Arika’s backstory is revealed after she tell’s Claire that, like her, she is nothing like her father.

Cue first part of  Arika’s backstory: 20 years previously, Arika is with her father Bobit (Deepak Verma) and they are in their plane. The aircraft is used to provide aid to those who need it and Bobit, her father, turns out to be  a “The ends never justifies the means,” type leader. Without any other information, till later in the episode, already it is apparent that Arika, at least, really is nothing like her father. 

Dominion - Season 2
Arika – Shivani Ghai in The Seed of Evil, proving that this acorn has fallen far from her familial tree.

Whele senior urges the V1’s to fight and they do. He reveals that when he was a V6 he feared that the general populace would rise up. The poor outnumber the rich greatly and even though they do not have the armory weapons at their disposal, David convinces them that just through their sheer numbers Claire Riesen can be defeated.

David heads for shelter at a local bar and Foley’s symptoms get worse. After coughing up more blood, he starts to take a drink and has an epiphany. He remembers Arika paid special attention to the water he drank in her presence.  Gates  knows she has had him poisoned. Michael, Alex and Noma attempt to get into Vega and find that Julian has placed his eight-ball army all around the city.

As the trio walk toward the city’s walls, Alex reaches down to shake one of the eight-balls. The creature does not react and they move on. The shaken eight-ball, like her colleagues, is in stasis, but she does slowly react to Alex’s touch. Roaring, she leaps up and her movement starts the other eight-balls moving as well. Michael, Alex and Noma are under attack.

In the heat of battle, Michael passes out and has a vision of Mallory. Julian continues to work on Gabriel and trying to drive a wedge between him and his brother archangel Michael.

He succeeds.

Dominion - Season 2
A tear of darkness falls…and Julian smears it as he gloats.

Gates challenges Arika about the poisoning. The traitorous leader of Helena bargains with Foley, telling him that  she will give him the antidote if he betrays Claire and Vega. In the bar, David sees William. He pushes forward to see his son and William takes time out from speaking to the masses to have a drink with his father.

As the two men drink, William tells his father that “William is dead” and confesses that he is grateful to his father. “Where,” he asks David, “would Jesus be without Judas?” The offspring that Whele senior left in the Arizona desert to die has slipped into madness after his journey of survival.

Dominion - Season 2
David and William, reunited.

Convinced that he has broken Gabriel’s mind, Julian gloats. He tells the archangel that he has lost Michael and that soon Gabriel will know what darkness really is. After imagining how great it will to have wings again. Lyrae/Julian enters Gabriel’s body.

In the Vega war room, Claire and Gates learn that Arika did indeed sell out her “partner in crime” David Whele. Foley begins coughing again and after telling Claire that he is alright, they share a moment. Lady Riesen tells Gates that one thing will not change and she tenderly kisses him. The alarms go off because of Michael, Alex and Noma fighting the eight-ball army to get over the wall.

Looking at the cameras Claire sees Alex is alive.

The trio make a stand and fight the eight-balls. Back in the war room, Claire orders that troops leave the reactor and help out Alex. Gates realizes that Alex is “her soldier.” Foley leaves the war room and continues coughing up blood. He is reading from a  small book, entering Arika’s room he approaches a plant with red and white flowers. Double-checking his book, Gates grabs a flower and eats it. He then falls over, twitches violently and lays still.

Back at New Delphi, Gabriel spits out Lyrae’s presence forcing it back into Julian. He then controls the Dyad, like a “meat puppet” and he has Julian cut his chains off.  Now free, Gabriel proves, through a little “I’ve been here forever type speech” that arrogance (Julian) is no match for hubris (the now “dark” Gabriel.) The archangel forces Julian to run himself through with his own sword.

Dominion - Season 2
Julian being forced to fall on his own sword by Gabriel.

Back at Vega, Michael, Alex and Noma are rescued by Claire’s troops. The three enter the war room to rapturous applause. Gate pays Arika a visit and tells her that he has cured himself, countering the monkshood with foxglove and that he has talked Claire into moving up Arika’s execution. Arika tells Foley if he thinks she is going to hang, he is mistaken.

Cue another flashback to a much younger Arika losing her father. He dies on the aircraft Helena…Not a bad backstory at all;  it explains where Arika got her coldblooded attitude from and where the name Helena originated.

In Vega, the reactor is taken by Whele’s revolutionary troops. David wants William to go with him to the reactor and sends his temporary sidekick outside. The man bumps into Kat (Lex King) who shoots him when he asks if she is looking for someone. “I’m looking for David Whele,” she tells the man’s corpse, “and you’re in my way.” 

Julian has survived having a sword shoved through his torso and he escapes from New Delhi. Gabriel searches half-heartedly for Julian and decides he needs to kill his “treacherous” brother Michael instead. Grabbing Pete, Alex’s friend that Julian turned into an eight-ball, Gabriel sets off for Vega after learning that the Dyad’s eight-ball army is now his to command.

Claire and Alex reconnect. Riesen admits it was she who bombed the Aerie. She also tells him about losing their baby. Noma is feeling a little hard done by. She lost her wings and Alex, “What do I have,” Nomes asks Michael. “Honor,” Michael tells her. “More than any other angel…” Suddenly the archangel has another vision of Mallory.

Michael collapses.

The final scene in Dominion shows the town of Mallory and the black angel who spoke to Noma earlier. As he walks into the town, people can be heard saying that “It’s the prophet, the prophet has returned.”

Kudos to Carl Beukes who chewed up the scenery as Gabriel, “The Dark.” The archangel has always been  “type ‘A’ personality, but with the added darkness of “God’s wrath” Gabriel is now twice as terrifying. Mad props to Simon Merrells as Julian and Shivani Ghai as Arika and Luke Allen-Gale as the “mad as a box of rocks” William Whele.

Honorable mention goes to Lex King as Kat. Keep your eye on this one, tall, statuesque and overwhelming, this actress is more than impressive. With mere seconds on screen, her character stays in the mind long after her short appearances.

Dominion airs Thursdays on SyFy. This is a great example of a small screen version of a so/so big screen film being made into gold with the right scripts and actors. Do not miss this show.

Dominion: Second Season Viva Vega

Dominion SyFy publicity poster
Anthony Head, with an American accent, has managed to survive what seemed to have been certain death in season one of Dominion as he is back for the second season in Vega. The series was developed as a sort of carry over from the 2010 feature film Legion, starring Dennis Quaid, Lucas Black, and Tyrese Gibson. While the film may have been somewhat forgettable, except for the scene in the roadside cafe with the little old lady “demon,” it has translated pretty well, albeit loosely, to television.

Filmed in South Africa, hence Head being able to used his English stage name and not his “Buffy” one of Anthony Stewart Head (a SAG American actor with the same name had precedence over Tony in the USA), the series is set in “Vega” the remnants of Las Vegas and features an ongoing war between survivors of humanity and archangels. Gabriel and Michael are opposing factions and the whole show features some oddities that stick out. Black eyed “Dog’s of Heaven” or “eight-balls” with their lack of pupil are pretty creepy looking.

These eight balls are lower angels who are aligned with Gabriel and sound a little like Golem when they speak. Regardless of who fights with who, Head’s character Senator David Whele is the Secretary of Commerce, which means he runs the city. In season one his goal and fixation was to take over as the head of Vega, taking control from General Edward Riesen.

Neighbors alumnus Alan Dale played Riesen who leaves Vega by the season one finale. *On a sidenote* Dale played family head Jim Robinson in the Australian soap Neighbors and like other stars from that show moved on to have a prolific career in other television shows and film. The Kiwi actor is well known for bringing his own brand of natural gravitas to any role he plays.

Things in Vega were pretty shaken up by the end of season one and season two now sees the General’s daughter in charge, Lady Claire (played by Roxanne McKee) and she will be tough act to follow. Michael, the angel who took sides against Gabriel (Carl Beukes), is played by Tom Wisdom who has moved up from English soap icon Coronation Street and the British airline dramedy Mile High to play an angel with first billing in Dominion.

The show is English heavy, although Beukes is actually a “local” being from Johannesburg, and while not all American accents are created equal, Dominion with its “God is not dead, He’s just left” plot mechanic, moves at a good pace and reveals are entertaining, shocking and bordering on Shakespearean.

Season Two may have lost Alan Dale’s character, but the remaining performers who have returned have lost nothing between seasons. The series is a splendid mix of supernatural and science fiction, horror and hokum, and (as mentioned above) features just a touch of William Shakespeare. It is interesting that despite that touch of science fiction, the show is not part of SyFy Fridays and airs Thursdays, like a sort of hors d’oeuvre before the Friday line up.