CBS’s Strange Angel
Season 2, Episode 6: “The Tower”
Directed by Sylvain White
Written by Dagny Looper
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Hanged Man” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 finale, “Aeon” – click here
In the Tarot, if upright, the Tower card can mean the collapse of an idea or a lifestyle, that destiny’s at work in the world, undoing what one holds dear. If reversed, it can mean that disaster could’ve been avoided, yet now you must look to the future and cope with misfortune.
Another “form of terror raiding” has been unleashed by the Nazis, and the Allies have got hold of a V-2. Speaking of, the destruction left in the aftermath of Ernest blowing up the Parsonage is irreparable. Police look into everybody from Thelema. They can’t even find a body, only a charred goat. Grand Magus Alfred (Greg Wise) is seeing the divide between himself and Jack Parsons (Jack Reynor) widen. The husband knows what the Magus has been doing with Susan (Bella Heathcote), and Alfred is well aware what Jack was doing with Ernest. In the streets, Virgil (Michael Gaston) and his Catholic friends protest the cult and rage about “human sacrifice.”
On top of everything, there are seriously incriminating things on the tapes from Alfred’s study. The police are combing them over. Jack’s let go afterwards while six other Thelemites are arrested for various reasons. Big trouble now that the Magus’s recording practices are revealed for all to hear.
While Jack and Susan are dealing with their crumbling faith they’re also navigating the choppy waters of their damaged marriage. Jack feels betrayed, even if they’ve been dabbling in a wild “fringe religion” that practices sex magick. He faces whispers at the office once headlines about Satanic rituals have hit the newsstands.
Worse, Jack’s clearance is revoked. He isn’t allowed into the authorised personnel area with Richard (Peter Mark Kendall) and the JPL rocket team, after Agent Wallace (Matthew Barnes) discovered a former Nazi living in the midst of the Parsonage, Ms. Brigitte (Joslyn DeFreece). General Braxton (Karl Makinen) lets the team know about an opportunity to examine an actual V-2 in London.
And they have to keep it a secret from Jack.
Regardless, Richard recognises his old friend’s strange ways have led to their most significant breakthroughs. He doesn’t jive with Thelema, despite his relationship with Marisol (Veronica Osorio), from whom he starts to learn about the Great Beast, Aleister Crowley (Angus Macfadyen). Seems Marisol got a letter from Crowley once threatening her about what would happen should she go against Thelema. Seems the way Alfred operates is par for the course.
In court, members of Thelema are charged with ridiculous crimes like “illegal abortions” and “miscegenation“— not to say America’s evolved TOO much in the many decades since, as women continue to fight for their bodily autonomy, and the country’s being led by a racist man-child. Jack’s fairly well off. He’s still not capable of covering the outrageous bail set for his fellow worshippers.
“No big deal—
do what thou wilt, right?”
In England, Richard and the JPL team get an up close look at a V-2. This puts them much closer to the war than they’re used to, but it provides a necessary look at Hitler’s “vengeance weapons,” and, hopefully, will allow them to fight the Nazis. An engineer shows them around a warehouse where they’ve got an un-detonated rocket. Yet Richard knows they’re missing their savant. Back at home, Jack’s wondering what he’ll have to give up in order to live the life he wants: the Agape Lodge or his rocket dreams.
Susan has a horrific nightmare of being in the tub. She feels hands reaching from her stomach. A cloud of blood explodes from between her legs. What a terrifying vision of pregnant fears! This has her looking for ways to tell if she’s with child or not, involving voodoo-like magick with a frog.
Her husband’s off meeting in a shadowy place with Crowley. He wants to know what Aleister is hiding from him, unwilling to lose everything he’s worked for all this time. Jack isn’t so convinced by the “great work” his master speaks of cryptically. And he’s definitely not into treason. He’s left with a card for the Soviet Travel Bureau. Is Aleister trying to sell Mr. Parsons off to the communists?
Well, the rocket man’s decided he’ll give up the Beast instead.
Richard goes into the city while off in London— obviously during the Great Blitz, so the place is rubble. An iconic image shows a woman sitting on a pile of rubble, her wet hair up in a towel and a cup of tea in hand. Treacherous terrain for Richard to be out in, so where’s he headed? He’s seeking out the source of Marisol’s letter. He discovers an apartment where there are many strange paintings, cocaine, Thelema recordings, and occult writings scattered everywhere.
In America, the military can’t catch Crowley. He slips right through their fingers.
Richard meets a much more dishevelled Aleister than the British gentleman Jack encounters in the U.S. This Aleister is a decaying old addict, shooting poison into his veins while wasting away with syphilis in a fancy but dilapidated flat. Interesting to see behind the veil. Before, Crowley appeared as sophisticated, complex man with a vast amount of knowledge. Here, he’s a decrepit, ugly, nasty creature.
“The man of will
breaks all boundaries”
Big question: who’s Jack been meeting if Crowley’s back in London?
Is Mr. Parsons having psychological issues? Are bigger stakes at play?
Alfred’s martyring himself for Thelema, allowing the other members to go free by lying to police. Susan goes to the station and reveals her pregnancy. This changes his tune a little, not wanting to leave her alone to deal with a child by herself. This will further complicate everything with Jack, who’s decided to do what he wilt like everyone else. He goes to Patty (Laine Neil), confiding in her about his visions. They’re finally tumbling into bed together after all the sexual tension. Again, more sexual complications!
One last episode left in Season 2.
Are things going to be completely destroyed? Will the Agape rise again?
“Aeon” is next time— the finale!