CBS’s Strange Angel
Season 2, Episode 7: “Aeon”
Directed by Brooke Kennedy
Written by Mark Heyman
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Tower” – click here
* Will we get a Season 3? Fingers crossed!
In older Tarot decks, The Aeon is called ‘Judgement,’ dealing with resurrection and redemption. The limitation of this view is the involuntary association to a ‘court of law’, to the Christian concept of a ‘Resurrection’ where the pious may rise and the rest must burn. This episode’s specific contrast between Christian ritual and Thelema ritual may have something to do with this reading.
Jack Parsons (Jack Reynor) is in the lab while Richard Onsted (Peter Mark Kendall) and Gui Chiang (Keye Chen), along with Prof. Filip Mešulam (Rade Šerbedžija), are proposing a new Jet Propulsion Lab— a bigger, better one. Although Jack’s not working on rockets, with a syringe to pump drugs into his veins. He sees Ernest, telling him he’s “a beast.”
In jail, Alfred Miller (Greg Wise) discovers there’s no turning back from his signed confession. The wheels of the justice system are turning. The Agape Lodge is left further scattered than they were after the Parsonage exploded, in spite of the place being renovated back to living conditions. Ruth (Hope Davis) has been ran out of her home to boot, living with Jack, Susan (Bella Heathcote), and Patty (Laine Neil). Big sis doesn’t yet know what the little one’s been doing with her husband. Not that she doesn’t have a baby with the Magus, either.
Point is, it’s all fucked up.
Jack’s out in the yard, fencing with a vision of Aleister Crowley (Angus Macfadyen), the “greatest magician of the last three hundred years” supposedly capable of “astral travel.” More than likely it’s Jack’s increasingly delusional state of mind. The drugs aren’t helping. Let’s face it— the guy’s been on a steady mental decline for a long time. Jack and Richard talk about the conditions for the new JPL: a “psychiatric evaluation.” Rocket man hears the voice of Crowley echo in his mind. It’s clear Richard wants to help his friend, but there’s only so much he’s able to do before Parsons is cut out of what he helped create.
A compelling scene has Jack responding to questions from the military, some of which are not being honestly marked down by his examiner. There’s a perfect montage as he responds, then Crowley shows up, hanging over his shoulder. Jack keeps his cool long enough to give the appropriate answers.
But the guy’s head is in a bad place.
Susan finds out about her sister and her husband. Yes, it’s close to home, but she’s bearing a child that’s not Jack’s, and it belongs to the Magus, a supposed close friend, who was living under their roof with the rest of the lodge. She’s IN LOVE with Alfred. How can she be this upset about what Jack did? No matter how she feels it’s obvious the younger sister would like to have Jack to herself. Patty suggests they talk with Virgil (Michael Gaston). Their father comes over that afternoon. Patty wants him to swear he’ll “never touch” her again before she’ll go back home.
What’s she really doing? She tapes him for the cops. Patty’s got game! Susan’s going to use all this to pressure for Alfred’s release, so the righteous attorney who was in league with Virgil will do whatever it takes not to be blackmailed.
Jack’s delusional behaviour is chalked up to exhaustion and a bit too much to drink. Except he’s only being employed as a “fuel technician.” The military don’t want him to have any authority. The whole program will be under Richard. Parsons tells Richard it’s a “devil‘s bargain” working with the U.S. military. His old friend tries buying off his shares of JPL, to get him out of the way for good.
“You should ask yourself:
who do you truly serve?”
Back at the Parsonage, Alfred returns. Not everyone’s thrilled. The Magus talks about “rising from the ashes” and looks forward to the new child. Jack and Susan have a frank chat about how things will be, and she keeps acting like she’s never done anything wrong. In the middle of the night, she goes to Alfred’s room, passing her sister as Patty goes to Jack’s bed. A twisted vision of people living together. Patty’s also pushing Jack towards action. Unsettling to think how dangerous things could become.
In jail, Virgil gets attacked while showering, stabbed brutally to death with a long dagger.
The Nazis have surrendered to the Allies. The world’s starting to change. That’ll have an impact on JPL’s work with the military. In the meantime, Richard and Marisol (Veronica Osorio) are set to marry. He’s waiting at the church for her to arrive, surprised to see his mother show up in support with the family ring, regardless of her previous attitude. Eventually she arrives and they’re wed.
Alfred’s performing a ritual for Susan’s pregnancy, predicting the “coming age of Horus.” They’re interrupted by Jack announcing he’ll be taking over the title of Magus. He has a “special ingredient” included in their Cake of Light tonight. Gonna get trippy. It’s become a war between Jack and the Magus+Susan.
Awesome juxtaposed montage of the Catholic ritual of Communion at the wedding of Richard and Marisol v. the Thelema ritual leading into a Cake of Light orgy. During the sex magick ritual, Jack sees a vision of a rocket. He sees everybody lusting after him, some with strange masks on, even himself.
The next morning, a knock comes at the door.
Jack answers to see it’s a new hopeful tenant. Yes, it’s none other than Lafayette Ronald Hubbard (Daniel Abeles) a.k.a L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology. [If you’ve never heard of Hubbard’s connection to Parsons and Crowley, read here.]
“Knowledge of me
is knowledge of death.”
Season 2 was even better than the wild first season. It’d be a shame not to see a Season 3, where we could get more of Hubbard and Parsons, as well as the strained relationship between Jack and Susan, along with Alfred in between. So many threads that could make for another great run of episodes. Also, for those who know Jack’s full story well, it’d also be a shame not to see it through to the end.
Cross those fingers! If you’re a fan, make sure to tweet / post (etc) about the series to make CBS aware how much love there is for this weird, wonderful show.