From Bradley James

Damien – Season 1, Episode 4: “The Number of a Man”

A&E’s Damien
Season 1, Episode 4: “The Number of a Man”
Directed by Bronwen Hughes
Written by Nazrin Choudhury

* For a review of the previous episode, “The Deliverer” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Seven Curses” – click here
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What will Damien Thorn (Bradley James) encounter next? Last we left him, Ann Rutledge (Barbara Hershey) was working her wiles against his fragile mind. And it turns out she is more than just obsessed.
Simone Baptiste (Megalyn E.K.) is trying her hardest, too. In order to stay away from an evil approaching. Can she manage to keep free of it? She digs up some sort of chicken fetus-like creature from her bathtub, and it’s no doubt an ominous moment.
Damien’s busy fighting with whatever is inside him. Having a shave, he nearly feels like cutting his own throat. But the feeling passes. In his bathtub, he finds a tie clogging the drain – of course, the tie of the man from last episode. Which he then brings to John Lyons (Scott Wilson), whose council is no good. As we now know the older man, posing as a dear friend, is merely one of those watching along as Damien slouches towards his destiny as Antichrist.


Detective James Shay (David Meunier) gets some footage of Damien’s chase in the subway, which produces a strange, ghostly effect while being watched. More to be curious about. Meanwhile, Amani (Omid Abtahi) tries to convince Damien into taking a break from everything, taking it easy. Everyone’s worried. Even Shay arrives later to talk more with Damien about all the events surrounding him lately.
Damien and Shay head down to the cop shop for a longer chat. The cat and mouse thrill of the plot picks up, as the detective knows there’s something going on. But due to all the supernatural madness, he can’t exactly place everything correctly. Yet there’s Damien on CCTV, running after the man who died on the escalator. His proximity to the nastiness as of late, consuming those around him.
In the boardroom, Lyons addresses his staff. He even has Ann “say a few words“, in all the irony. She talks a good one about togetherness, compassion, and all sorts of similar things. Nice speech by a woman no doubt well versed in watching people die. “Nature of the beast,” she tells Lyons: “Pardon the pun.” Turns out afterwards that Ann didn’t leave the tie, but either way, she and John form a sort of partnership. For the time being, Ann goes along.
Shay is getting closer and closer to a theory of what’s going on. He knows Damien’s pulling “some freaky shit“, and that involves dogs. He shows Damien the hall where he was also attacked, right in the station. But the cop’s more concerned with trying to push the young man into a confrontation. Poor damn fella has no idea what he’s up against. Plenty of tension between these two. Something intense is certainly rearing its head, and soon there’ll be trouble. Lots.


Damien: “People who come after me dont fare so well


In the police station, a man confronts Damien, calling him a serpent, “The Destroyer“, and when he grabs some scissors Damien attempts to stop him from stabbing someone. Seems he only wanted to stab himself. In the groin. Whoa, what a vicious moment! Bloody, creepy, and foreboding.
With lighter things to worry about, Amani’s trying to get Damien a job. He is a true friend, one who knows his partner is a great photographer. So he kicks a little ass in an interview for him.
Ann receives Detective Shay at her place. He’s suspicious about the “special room” Damien told him about. The whole thing sounds like something from a mystery-thriller novel, a bad one, though, she leads the cop to her supposed panic room: “I never use it. I never panic,” Ann tells him. Well, she cleaned out the basement and there’s nothing to be found, which obviously paints Damien in a worse psychiatric light.
But now Amani is running into trouble. The protege of Ann Rutledge, Veronica Selvaggio (Melanie Scrofano), is circling around like a vulture. No doubt readying herself to clear Amani from the life of Damien. Convenient for Ann, too. Whom will escape any scrutiny for anything that may happen.
As for Simone, her mother is getting some voodoo-style witchery going on to help with her latest fetus in the bathtub troubles. She doesn’t feel too into it, but her mother and the witch doctor are awfully serious. And things get… pretty wild.


A little while later, Ann collects Damien from the station. Though he’s clearly not happy with that situation. Damien gets violently serious with Ann, threatening to kill her if that’s what’s required. Don’t forget – Ann has a serious BDSM thing happening, so who knows what she’d be into. “The day will come,” she tells Damien before walking off into the night. You creepy, sly bitch.
Damien gets a visit from Simone. More of the 666 prophecies. She brings up the visions since her sister died, the prevalence of the birds, and more. They’re both being torn apart, in different ways. He talks about the things he’s seen, in war photography, and that suffering happens; that’s it. There is no higher power with a purpose. Hard to hear, though, necessary. Only Damien will soon realize there is something else behind it all. a great, dark power.
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Damien: “Kelly died. And a bird is just a bird.”
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At home, Detective Shay and his husband have a nice little life together. Except up shows another hound of Hell, and it’s got an eye on their little boy. It lures the child out towards the swimming pool. Uh oh.
Then Shay finds the boy underneath the pool cover, dragged about by some mysterious force. The whole sequence is terrifying, as something evil tries to drown the boy. But Shay, he fights back. One of the most unnerving scenes out of the series so far, and certainly doesn’t help a kid is involved. However, Shay now knows there’s something bigger, something more horrific at play than simply Damien.


Next episode, “Seven Curses”, should be another exciting one. This was a fun episode and I’m enjoying with Glen Mazzara and Co. are doing, as the show gets better with time. Stay tuned for me with me.

Damien – Season 1, Episode 3: “The Deliverer”

A&E’s Damien
Season 1, Episode 3: “The Deliverer”
Directed by Guillermo Navarro
Written by Ryan C. Coleman

* For a review of the previous episode, “Second Death” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “The Number of a Man” – click here
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As Ann Rutledge (Barbara Hershey) leads Damien Thorn (Bradley James) back towards his past, the memories, and his seat on the throne as Antichrist, Glen Mazzara’s Damien moves to the next chapter, “The Deliverer”, and one can only hope things get more macabre, more wild from here on in.
After escaping a near stabbing, Damien is really on the radar. Detective James Shay (David Meunier) is also on the case of the dead professor, torn apart by the dogs. Well it’s no secret how it all comes together. Trouble’s around the corner for Shay now, too. The hounds of Hell are lurking around his office. Will he find himself at the wrong end of the Antichrist’s wrath? All the threads of Shay’s investigation lead back to Damien – the deaths, the attempted stabbing. Their paths will crash together soon.
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The flood of memories from Damien’s past aren’t coming easy. He recalls essentially killing his mother: “This is a murder weapon,” he says describing his childhood tricycle. He remembers the governess who killed herself, Ms. Baycroft, all of it. All the while, Ann tells him of a group which protects him, and has for quite some time. Damien seems to believe, as far as he was nearly killed because of some mad belief. But it’s all a shock to his system, like it would be for any rational human being. He doesn’t really want anything to do with it, particularly after Ann gets a little creepy on him.
Simone Baptiste (Megalyn E.K.) is seeking out help in regards to the notebook her sister left behind. All the talk of Satan, “the Book of Revelations” and more. A priest only shoos her away by saying there’s nothing to it. As she leaves, Simone sees a statue of the Virgin Mary start bleeding from a heart full of swords. Then, it’s gone again. Yikes. That can’t be any good.
Damien’s diving in deep trying to track down hospital records. Likely hoping to discover the origins of his birth. Then he’s also stuck on Ann, the relics of his childhood, the fact she bought up a ton of his work. Partner Amani Golkar (Omid Abtahi) thinks there’s a ton of weird shit happening, too, but can’t get on board with Ann being a stalker. Furthermore, Damien shows him the pictures of the old Syrian woman in the background of his other pictures. Yet Amani’s only concerned with their work, and Damien’s mental health. He is obviously a good friend. Though, will that thread wear thin?


Finally we’re introduced to John Lyons (Scott Wilson). He and Damien are “old pals” from when the latter was a part of the White House world. We also get bits to fill in story between The Omen and Damien: Omen II; Lyons mentions Damien left the White House simply because it wasn’t a conducive environment to raising a young boy. Makes sense. But that’s part of what’s making this series solid heading into each following episode. They use lots of clips, which started annoying me earlier. But now, with Lyons and his character, they’re adding bits and pieces to the background of this mythology, and that’s interesting. Aside from that, Damien gets clues as to what’s happening around him out of Lyons – particularly, that Ann Rutledge is a scary lady.
Simone is starting to slip. Well, not really. But outwardly, to Amani now, it’s looking like she’s “grasping at straws“, yet we know the truth. She is beginning to see the light; the dark light of the Antichrist.
Well now we’re also seeing Lyons and Rutledge together. Is Lyons a part of this super secret group? Seems that is the case. “I brought you in,” he tells Ann. John wants Damien under lock and key, unimpressed with her work thus far. “Do you know how much blood Ive spilled keeping him safe?” Ann questions. Apparently there’s no more room for Ann in Lyons’ plans. I enjoy this angle because it speaks to the nature of the Antichrist, how big corporations and secretive societies might try to use his presence as a way to influence world events, politics, economy, who knows what else. Plus, it gives us more to latch onto other than just Damien; even though he’s interesting enough.


Lyons: “This Damascus woman is the sign weve been waiting for
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I also love the investigative nature of Damien’s storyline so far. He’s digging deep and hard into his origins. So there’s a mystery angle to the whole series here in the first few episodes. But Ann is working her own games on the side, too. She sets up a situation where Damien ends up chasing her successor; right into the street, down to the subway. She plays both sides to create a situation where the Antichrist ends up saving a child, before inadvertently causing death as the man he chases ends up shredded to bits on an escalator. Savage. Nasty. Dig it. A bit of gruesomeness added to this A&E series, after a couple mild horror moments in the previous episodes (aside from the throat chomping at the jaws of dogs). Of course Ann hears of it back at the office, faking sympathy and gloating in her latest victory.
Note: the idea of fate and free will come in here plenty, as Damien fights off his destiny/legacy as the Antichrist while trying to be a good person, saving people, and all the while condemning himself for not saving everybody.


Damien: “It seems wherever I go, death follows.”


Quick enough, Detective Shay meets a hound from Hell. I expected it. Although, wasn’t sure if Shay would make it out alive.
On a lighter note, Ann brings Damien some food and now they’re all buddy-buddy again. She’s incredibly dedicated to him, wanting him to accept his position as Antichrist. She pushes him, lightly, towards it every chance possible. He talks about some of the terrible, hideous things he’s seen; the pictures he took, et cetera, in some of the vicious places of the world. “The fields were filled with the screams of the dying,” he recounts with obvious tears welling around his eyes. The story involves a pregnant woman and a disgusting act, a whopping revelation from his time in the fields as a war photographer. “The evil you felt that night, that you always feel, that you keep running away fromit comes from inside of you,” Ann tells him. An all around spooky scene, with plenty of meaty, unsettling dialogue between Ann and Damien. Crazier is the masochistic weirdness of Ann, sporting cuts in the form of 666 on her inner thigh. Wow, just… wow.
The finale is super unnerving, with Ann feeling Damien’s birthmark right after cutting a fresh 666 into her flesh over the last one. It’s all overwhelming for her, as she nearly orgasms from the thrill.


Damien: “Guess there is a God after all
Ann: “Not God; something else.”
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What an episode. Mazzara’s series is getting better by the episodes. Let’s hope this continues in the next one, “The Number of a Man” – stay with me, friends and fellow fans.

Damien – Season 1, Episode 2: “Second Death”

A&E’s Damien
Season 1, Episode 2: “Second Death”
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Written by Mark Kruger

* For a review of the first episode, “The Beast Rises” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “The Deliverer” – click here
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After an uneven pilot episode, A&E’s Glen Mazzarra-run Damien glides into its next chapter.
Damien Thorn (Bradley James) is still reeling from recent revelations, as well as the death of his close friend. In other corners of the world, an exorcism of sorts is being performed by Sister Greta Fraueva (Robin Weigert). She prays over the body of a young man lacerated from head to toe. The ceremony involves him being lowered into a grave, then later pulled out. By all accounts, she saves him, as the boy comes to asking for his mother. The forces of darkness are clearly heavy. Will Sister Greta come to play a larger part in Damien’s life? Is she a counterpart to the deviously eerie Ann Rutledge (Barbara Hershey)?


The hounds of Hell are kicking around everywhere. This time, in Greta’s apartment. Or at least she sees it, anyways. Exciting to see Weigert in this role. She is an amazing talent who often ends up with less than stellar supporting roles, aside from her excellent turn on Deadwood. Her nun character will slowly converge with the life of Damien.
Speaking of the Antichrist, he’s busy highlighting Bible quotes, searching out pictures that he’s taken and relating them to those passages describing his destiny, supposedly. In between all that his memories keep flashing: “Its all for you, Damien.” His photography partner Amani Golkar (Omid Abtahi) chastises him for not going to Kelly’s funeral; Damien blames himself for what happened, but Amani reassures him it isn’t, and there is a need for closure.


A clandestine meeting in a church vaguely discusses the Antichrist, confirming he’s there in the city of New York. The ceremonial dagger from the first episode, one of the “seven daggers of Megiddo” (more original The Omen references), and the task is set: “Strike where the heart should be,” says the priest to the mysterious man on the other side of the confessional. At the same time, the priest dies out of nowhere, sudden and violent. Evil lurks; everywhere.
At Kelly’s funeral, Damien spies the mysterious confessional booth man. More than that, he flashes back to memories of his childhood, the fit before going into a church. Everything is coming loose inside Damien now, he’ll soon begin to figure it all out. Inside the church walls his skin sweats profusely, the sight of the stained glass makes him short of breath. More and more, clips of the original film make their way in, showing us those old memories curling up around his brain, taking hold once more. A ways behind him, Ann sits watching in pleasure, as he struggles not to explode from the evil bursting inside. Fun to see a grown man going through this, as opposed to a child. He doesn’t understand it, but there’s more crisis as an adult, not understanding what’s happening. Very creepy.


Amani (re: Damien): “Its like weird stuff happens all the time, but never a scratch.”


Struggling in the city, Damien wants out. He asks Paula Sciarra (Sandrine Holt) if there are any jobs happening. She replies by handing over a massive cheque, made out by none other than Ann, who’s buying up all sorts of his photographs. Worst of all, though, Paula’s letting her two photographers go. Surely this won’t sit well with Damien, after all that’s been going on.
A conversation between Damien and a priest shows the former is already lacking faith. Being a war photographer, he’s seen some shit. Now, he’s discovering his fate as the Antichrist, and this undoubtedly shakes his faith further. He challenges the priest’s notion of faith in the face of atrocities such as “rape being used as a political weapon“, going off a bit hard in front of everyone at the reception: “Im sorry, father, thats not good enough. Its a cruel joke. And if Gods the one telling it then hes a sadistic prick.”
Again, I love that Damien is a war photographer who sees the worst of humanity. His faith is challenged as it is, let alone being the son of Satan. This character detail of traveling to war torn areas aids the overall story and his development.
Then, while taking some photos, and followed by the mysterious confessional assassin, Damien is confronted by an odd homeless man who prophecies: “The darkness is coming.” He continues to see strange figures in the streets, including a little girl with a sewn up eye who writes 666 on the fog in her window, as Damien stares up at her terrified. Such an unnerving moment. Then out of the shadows comes the assassin. He swipes at Damien, but misses. Luckily the hounds of Hell are there to help. A cabbie gets run from the road after one appears from nowhere. The car his the assassin, killing him, and saving Damien. And the dagger slips into the sewer of New York City.


In Kelly’s notebook, her sister Simone (Megalyn E.K.) and Amani discover notes on Damien, Megiddo, the Apocalypse, and more. Scary find for them, as it looks almost like the ramblings of a madwoman. But they’ll soon find out.
So now the cops are poking around Damien, his involvement with the dead confessional assassin. The police are slightly suspicious about the couple accidents he’s been near lately. If they only knew. For now, Ann to the rescue; she poses as his attorney to get him out of there. Damien is just as surprised as the cop. Ann wants to know more about the knife, which Damien calls an “artifact“, and she reveals: “Ive been watching you.” She further promises all the answers “in time“, if he can be that patient. And then she drops the bombshell of his adoption in Rome, plus his true identity, or at least part of it.


Ann: “You want answers? Come with me
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The cops discover a tattoo on the dead man. It signifies an old organization, a sort of cult. Ahhh, intrigue!
With Damien in tow, Ann divulges her worry for him. She also has a dagger of Megiddo, which she shows him to verify whether the assassin had one. Further, we get more flashbacks to the original film, as Gregory Peck tries to kill the Antichrist boy. Those memories seep into Damien, too. He remembers now. Everything slowly comes back with time. Leading him downstairs, Ann reveals the artifacts of his childhood – a red tricycle, the one used to send mommy on her fateful fall, among other items. A shrine to the Antichrist. “Welcome home, Damien,” says Ann in a final eerie line.


Excited for more. This episode brought things together better and built well off the first. Next up is “The Deliverer”, so stay tuned with me until next week, fellow fans!

Damien – Season 1, Episode 1: “The Beast Rises”

A&E’s Damien
Season 1, Episode 1: “The Beast Rises”
Directed by Shekhar Kapur
Written by Glen Mazzara

* For a review of the following episode, “Second Death” – click here
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A new series from former The Walking Dead showrunner Glen Mazzara begins! No doubt it was a long time coming, after all the revival series talk lately and films being turned into tv shows all around us. Mazzara does his best to transfer The Omen in all its horror glory onto the small screen, which is no easy task. Let’s see how he does.
The premiere starts out with Damien Thorn (Bradley James) heading inside an old church, moving towards the large crucifix on the altar. Candles blow out, either by wind or by him. “What do you want from me?” he asks Jesus on the cross – “Whatd I ever do to you?” A nice opener, with Damien tossing rosary beads at Christ.
Flash to three days earlier in Damascus. Damien is a photographer working in Syria currently, alongside his friend Amani Golkar (Omid Abtahi). Taking shots among the crowd, Damien witneses an armed patrol come rush out apparent illegals, who are really suspected of harbouring terrorists. He too is pushed out of the way. Then he runs into Kelly Baptiste (Tiffany Hines) also in the area. They end up having to get clear once things start to go haywire. When Damien tries to help a few people in the street, an old woman he saw earlier grabs him and recounts those oh-so-infamous words: “Damien, I love youits all for you.” We get actual flashes back to the Gregory Peck-starring classic, as the young caretaker hangs herself for little Damien. Now they’re like his flashbacks, running through his head.


This event is the catalyst for Mazzara’s series. It’s as if Damien is determined now after briefly viewing his own past, moments lost to him over the years.
Amani and Damien end up separated from Kelly, unfortunately they further end up in the hands of the authorities. Back in New York, they find themselves “banned from Syria”, which is wild. And Damien is now hooked on discovering those secrets of his past. He calls Kelly, who heard and saw what happened with the old woman. Problem is Kelly has a sore spot with Damien re: their past relationship. I like how the concept is that Damien’s forgotten or repressed his heritage, whatever the case may be, now those bits and pieces are starting to slip through the cracks. And he’s got a life, a whole existence aside from that. This being Antichrist thing sure will cramp those things. Crush them, maybe.
Damien goes to see an old buddy, likely from military academy (if that’s canon here), named Cray Marquand (Cody Ray Thompson) – he works for the International Monetary Fund, head in fact, so the old buddies Damien has kicking around certainly have high connections; or they’re at the top of the food chain.
Even further, up pops Ann Rutledge (eternally talented babe Barbara Hershey). She knows all about Damien. “The past is like a noose around our necks,” Ann says eerily: “Wouldnt you say?” She describes herself as in the “protection business“, whose job description is looking after “special interests” and such. Ominous, dare I say?


When Kelly meets up with Damien, she reveals the old woman in Syria spoke to him in Latin about a “beloved son” and a connection to John the Baptist/a voice from the sky. There’s a further connection to Christ, his supposed 30th birthday. Damien reveals “visions” that are essentially repressed memories, that they’re coming back to him; the party at his house where the nanny committed suicide, again. The words of the nanny echoed through time to set Damien on a course to discover his true self again.
Damien and Amani go about trying to find pictures of the old woman, though, the latter does not know the extent of why his boss/friend is so keen on finding her. Kelly comes to help later. She and Damien go see a professor in relation to Damien, his father, who sought out a “biblical scholar” and the professor tells him of Mr. Thorn’s obsession with finding out about Satan, and so on. Lots of “end of days” type stuff from the aging professor, which Damien doesn’t exactly buy it. “The devil has many names,” says the professor. The number 666 comes up and makes Damien look terribly uneasy. So what about the birthmark? Does he have it, or did it disappear like so many of ours?
Great atmosphere and mood so far. The tone of the show isn’t all the dark yet, but there’s a foreboding aspect, with shadowy cinematography, and a wonderfully creepy score so far. Watching the priest in his home attacked by the dogs is a brutal moment, which builds up perfectly with the score behind it. A little dose of blood, too. Dig it.


A call to Kelly informs her and Damien of what happened to the priest. Now Damien’s worries deepen. He casts her out, fairly emotionless. Their relationship is rocky as is, now he makes it worse. But perhaps it’s because of his lingering emotions, he may not want to bring anything worse on her. Especially if all this Antichrist business is true. Unfortunately, Damien doesn’t realize how damn true just yet.
When Kelly gets her car stuck, strange things begin happening. A river of mud starts to suck her into the earth, car and all. A pit of quicksand forms in the mud and the message is clear, as Damien tries to save her: she isn’t safe anywhere. The pit sucks her under, or something in it does, anyways. Cut to the daytime, as Kelly’s body is dragged from the mud. Her sister Simone (Megalyn E.K.) rushes to the scene where she at first gets mad with Damien, an already negative presence in her mind. Then they begin to bond a little. “She’s in a better place,” Simone says to Damien: “This cant be all we have. I really need to believe that right now. Death isnt the end.” All to the man who may have recently discovered his claim to the title Antichrist. Yikes.
In the meantime, in the world of the Holy Scripture there are forces gathering in preparing for the Antichrist. Word of Damien being in Damascus has spread, as well as the fact the priest who recently died had met with Damien. More callbacks to the original film here; daggers and such.


Cut to Damien stumbling into the church from our opening. He looks haggard, worn out, sickly even. He kneels before the altar and the statue of Christ crucified. And then, as if screaming out too much, the statue crumbles. The head of Christ lays at Damien’s feet. Too much, Mazzara? Plus, more flashbacks directly to the original film; edited in clips. Not digging that aspect, I must say.
Outside the church, Damien encounters the old Syrian woman. She grabs a handful of hair from his head. Will this reveal the birthmark? Yes?
Too much calling back to the original here, as Damien looks at old pictures of his – the old woman from Syria is glaringly obvious in many of them, looking sinister in windows and huts and street corners behind even old family photos of Mr. Thorn and the family.
I love that the birthmark is there and all. But how’d he not notice it for so long? Too many questions. How did he NEVER see that creepy old woman in the photo? Sure, it might just seem out of place before and now it’s relevant, but still – this entire finale reeks of being jammed in, as if they wanted Mazzara to give more connection with the first movie. Not digging that one bit.


I’ll give the series more than just its premiere before judging too heavily. There were bits I really liked, then others that were forced, contrived, and too conveniently placed in there to be organic. Hopefully it gets better with the second episode “Second Death” – show me what you’re made of Mazzara! Build on this one.