Season 1, Episode 6: “Temptress”
Directed by Nick Copus
Written by Richard Hatem
* For a review of the previous episode, “Seven Curses” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Abattoir” – click here
After the emotionally devastating “Seven Curses”, Damien Thorn (Bradley James) is being transported to the hospital following his suicide attempt. He wakes to Simone (Megalyn E.K.). She genuinely cares and wants to help. Also kicking around is Ann Rutledge (Barbara Hershey) trying to make things go smoother for the Antichrist.
Except for now he’s under observation. Detective Shay (David Meunier) is on his way. So Damien slips out, nice and quiet. He heads off to meet Amani (Omid Abtahi) in some sketchy alley, heading down into a below ground club. Someone wants to meet Damien. Very secretive. They meet with a tattoo artist who says two men came and roughed him up, asking for a tattoo to be done on someone who’s passed out. Turns out it was Damien. He apparently tattooed the 666 on his scalp. Or so he claims. Is this true? I don’t think it is. Could it really be the case?
This is one of the best openers of any episode yet. Dig it, hard. Makes it all quite exciting.
Love the whole aesthetic of this show. Dark, dreary, though vibrant.
Amani is shown the tattoo. He explains the artist came looking for him, after seeing Damien at the VA hospital. Too convenient. Everything around Damien’s becoming more and more slippery, in terms of reality. He sees people in the distance, a hooded figure. Now all this about his supposed birthmark being faked. He has no way to latch onto anything real, so the world only becomes further confused.
Doesn’t help that John Lyons (Scott Wilson) muddies the waters. He’s in league with Ann, yet there he is telling Damien all about her, the danger he’s in because of her presence. John gives over a big file filled with countless bits of information.
Damien discovers, from a doctor at the hospital, he was given a dose of some incredibly powerful psychedelics. Wild shit. But Lyons is quick to keep things silent. The doctor wants to let police know. Lyons would rather handle it himself. “We don‘t bring in outsiders to clean up our messes,” he tells Damien.
As the unknowing Antichrist walks the streets, a hooded figure hovers not far away. He ends up meeting with Ann who says she wants to chat. With all the belief instilled by Lyons about Ann waging “psychological warfare” on him, Damien has got his back up. If only he knew. He’s being played on all sides. It really is a setup for complete mental breakdown, as well as the possible emergence of a vicious evil. For now, he rips Ann a new one, even going so far as to verbally threaten her. Yikes.
So Damien goes ahead and tosses out all his food. Until Amani arrives. He captured the meeting with Ann as planned. Then he followed her to a meeting with Lyons. Now Damien’s world, his reality, all those truths are slipping even faster. He manages to sneak his way into Lyons’ office under the pretense of a forgotten phone. He locates a file with his name on it and gets it out undiscovered. Inside is everything from pictures to documents and tons of other things. Including pictures of a woman, which intrigue him.
And then he meets her: his mother, Mrs. Thorn (Bess Armstrong). She’d been in hospital when her husband tried to kill Damien, then under the impression they’d both died.
Although, is this all too convenient? Would Lyons really keep a file on Damien with such important, damning evidence right in his desk? All of a sudden, his mother pops up and claims there was nothing ever wrong with him, that she was sucked into thinking all those Antichrist-like things about him by Mrs. Baylock and the like. This feels like an elaborate scheme. Because nothing good can ever come to the Antichrist, can it?
Of course Ann arrives. Then she and Mrs. Thorn have a pretty tense argument. An accident, on Damien’s part, causes his mother to fly down a staircase, cracking her skull along the way. Too good to be true. Ann says she’ll keep his actions a secret, pissing him off enough to strangle her. He ends up having to wrestle her henchmen. We get to see Damien kick some ass here, too. He’s pretty tough when he wants to be, taking them down and getting the hell out of Dodge.
But what did Ann mean when she asked if Damien’s mother would tell him who she really is? Who is she truly? Another ruse on Lyons’ part?
When Damien goes to see Simone, something is not right. Everything feels wrong. He heads back out to the streets, and sees smoething even stranger: Amani meeting with Ann. They sit together at a fancy restaurant outdoors. Or at least that’s what Damien thinks he sees. Detective Shay comes out of nowhere and picks him up, wondering exactly what happened with Damien’s mother, wondering what the hell is going on at all; especially after the events he experienced at home a couple episodes. Pleading to be taken seriously, Damien brings Shay to meet the tattoo artist. Problem being the man is dead, murdered, driven through with a bunch of daggers. The plot thickens.
Things are very complicated for Damien. Everything he says is like a dead end because there are too many questions about his mental health involved. He seems absolutely crazy. Right down to a bit of blood Simone smeared on his shirt, actually from a steak, which does him no favours. At all.
And life only gets stranger. Shay drives Damien in a cop car, they stop in the dark and then Lyons gets in. He doesn’t seem too happy with Damien and what’s been going on. But what is it that’s happening here? Is this reality? Outside, something attacks both Lyons and Shay. A bunch of somethings. They climb inside the car, terrorizing Damien.
Then he wakes up in an ambulance right after his suicide attempt. The EMTs look like the two henchmen from earlier. Was it all a dream?
He’s awake again, for real this time. In the hospital, Ann waits by his side, comforting him. The whole dream crushes him. He’d hoped none of the Antichrist business was real. And he really hoped Ann was actually dead. Too bad, so sad. He drives her away for now. The emerging Antichrist in him is causing everything to crumble. How can he ever be sure what’s real and what isn’t? His waking life is filled with nightmares, so is his sleep.
Solid, creepy episode. Very excited for the next episode to see what’s about to happen, as more revelations, more nightmares, more truths come out of the woodwork. Next up is “Abattoir”, so stay tuned with me!