Tagged Robin Weigert

American Horror Story – My Roanoke Nightmare: “Chapter 8”

FX’s American Horror Story
Season 6, Episode 8: “Chapter 8”
Directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton
Written by Todd Kubrak

* For a review of Chapter 7, click here.
* For a review of Chapter 9, click here.
screen-shot-2016-11-03-at-2-37-09-amAgnes (Kathy Bates) is being slaughtered by The Butcher (Susan Berger) outside, as Shelby (Lily Rabe) and Dominic (Cuba Gooding Jr.) sit inside, wondering how they’re going to get out alive. They decide to head down for the tunnel. Of course they have to pass Matt’s smashed head, but they manage. Until coming across the Asian family that died in the house years ago. Fucking creepy.
screen-shot-2016-11-03-at-2-39-12-amBack to Mama Polk (Robin Weigert) and her kin, still with Lee (Adina Porter) in their grasp. She’s making her boy Cain (Finn Wittrock) do a bit of slicing to get the good meat. Mama tells a tale about the Depression when there wasn’t much to eat. That’s when the cannibalism started, with a few hobos and such. Now, it’s time to get a few “prime cuts” out of Lee. As suspected the Polks are a bunch of inbreds, as well. Cain talks about being caught “in the middle” of not being able to have sex with mom and not able to cuddle either. Also, Cain wasn’t happy not being able to get into the TV story, so Lee tries making a deal. He goes on to tell her about Kincaid Polk, who wore a pig’s head and killed people before being burned alive. Knowing she’ll die Lee takes a snort of oxy to take the edge off, before Mama takes another cut off her.
At the house Shelby and Dominic run from the terrifying creature at their heels. He tries to keep Shelby from giving up, worried that they’re up against some “Paranormal Activity shit.” Then Pig Man shows up, brandishing knives. Those nurses drag themselves slowly. The house’s spirits come alive, all trying to corner Dominic and Shelby. Even the chandelier drops from the ceiling crushing Shelby’s ankle. The pair make it upstairs and she starts falling apart. She is clearly in shock after beating Matt’s head in downstairs. Soon she cuts her throat wide open.
Lee gets Cain to let her leave a message to her daughter Flora via camera. She continually tries to ingratiate herself to the young man. He even admits not wanting to kill her. She does whatever possible in order to stay alive, to the point of playing to his sexual fantasies. That is just long enough to get the upper hand. Fuck yeah, Lee! She chokes Cain out and manages to get away, stabbing him a good one in the skull for good measure.screen-shot-2016-11-03-at-2-56-17-amPoor Audrey (Sarah Paulson) and Monet (Angela Bassett) are still being taunted by the Polk family. The two women try convincing them that the real Matt and Shelby are to blame. But that matters nothing to these inbred cannibals. They’re more concerned with the Blood Moon coming up. The Polk brothers can’t comprehend the difference between reality and the reenactments on television. And they need teeth, of which the ladies have mouths full. They start with Monet, but the chair and the pliers break. Again, the woman gets the upper hand on the Polks, as Monet gets free. Although she leaves Audrey, weeping, alone. Mama ain’t happy with her boys, all the same. Now she has to get some teeth out of the British girl on her own. A brutal moment to watch. Luckily, Lee comes to her aid with a ball peen hammer. She lets Audrey use it to bash Mama’s brains to slop. Over at the house she and Lee come across the similar brains of Matt, sending his sister into hysterics. At least Shelby’s dead, too. I guess. They find her upstairs with Dominic lurking depressed in the dark. Nobody’s sure what to do next, although Lee and Audrey don’t believe what he tells them about Shelby. They lock him out in the hallway where Pig Man mutilates his body wickedly, blood flicking over the walls everywhere. Shiiiit.
When morning comes Lee says they have to go back to the Polk place. She wants to get the videotape, so nobody can use it against them. She knows that if the “wrong people” get their hands on the tape then it won’t be good, for either of them. True. Especially considering Lee has dealt with this already because of My Roanoke Nightmare.
When the two women make it the front door, there is Pig Man – only he takes off his mask, it’s Dylan (Wes Bentley) who played Ambrose White in the original show. Ah, he’s back again. However, I don’t think he’s the Pig Man that’s been slaughtering.screen-shot-2016-11-03-at-3-12-31-amA nice, bloody, creepy episode! Lots of nastiness going on and unexpected deaths.
Very excited for the next chapter. I can’t wait to see who’ll survive and who’ll be murdered in grisly fashion coming up. Will we see more of The Butcher? And what about the actor who played Dr. Cunningham (Denis O’Hare)? Also, Taissa Farmiga is supposed to show up, and we’ve already seen Finn Wittrock as one of the nasty Polks. So much to look forward to in these last couple episodes. Already primed for Season 7!

 

 

Damien – Season 1 Finale: “Ave Satani”

A&E’s Damien
Season 1, Episode 10: “Ave Satani”
Directed by Nick Copus
Written by Glen Mazzara

* For a review of the penultimate Season 1 episode, “The Devil You Know”click here

Disclaimer: I was invited to the Damien Season 1 finale screening in L.A. tonight, which includes a lunch, plus Q&A with Executive Producer Glen Mazzara and star Bradley James. Unfortunately travel/time constraints would not permit me being there. However, the people at FOX were kind enough to send me a personal screener. Something for which I was very grateful.
SO… if you’ve not yet seen this finale, DO NOT KEEP READING! You will be spoiled. Otherwise, if you want to be spoiled, dive on in.
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Here we are – the finale of Damien‘s first season. It’s been a great ride, getting better with each chapter. “Ave Satani” is upon us, and with the end of last episode, Damien Thorn (Bradley James) may finally have slipped into full-on Antichrist mode!
We start as Damien leads Simone (Megalyn E.K.) out from the woods. They run up on some big military-style vehicles, men with red dotted sights freeze them in their tracks. Ah, it’s Lyons (Scott Wilson). Of course. Now he’s revealing more of Armitage’s involvement with his supposed future. “Youll rule for a long, long time,” he tells Damien. But the young Antichrist is not happy with any of the explanations and the bullshit.
When Lyons orders Simone shot, then Damien taken in, the power of the Antichrist emerges, as he turns the men and their guns on themselves. While Damien and Simone make off, you can see Lyons is very pleased with how things are going. God damn psychotic. This opener assures us, though – Mazzara and the crew have readied us a properly horrific finale.


Ann (Barbara Hershey) and Amani (Omid Abtahi) take the now dead Veronica back. But Amani makes it clear, mother is to blame. While that’s obvious she clearly doesn’t want to hear that. And downstairs, Amani gets ziptied to a chair. Things are definitely breaking down. Lyons arrives and starts to convince Ann they need to begin action. For her part, she seems ready. Because Ann is one hell of a bad ass lady, no matter if she’s a bit evil and freaky.
Poor Sister Greta (Robin Weigert) finds herself in the hands of Lyons and Armitage. No telling what her fate will be. They’ll keep her around, a while. Then, who knows. The rest of her crew meet a terrible end on their knees in the forest.


Ann (to Lyons): “Blood will spill. Hers, yours, mine.”
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Meanwhile we’re privy to the terrible creepiness of Damien’s Antichrist presence and how it affects others. When Simone and Damien track down a car, the woman inside confesses her love for him – “Its all for you, Damien!” – then tries to kill herself before Simone intervenes. This was honestly one of the most unsettling scenes for me in the whole first season. Just how quickly the sentiment overcame her. Chilling.
Ann comes face to face with Sister Greta, after the awful death of her daughter. She promises the nun a similar end.
Cut to Vatican City – the remaining daggers of Megiddo are packed up and carried off. All sorts of blades and weaponry are likewise packed, and a gang of holy men are off on a mission. Yowzahs! Love this brief moment, really had dark energy. Then there’s Bear McCreary’s eerie score, which only serves to consistently make the atmosphere of this series creepier and creepier.
Out in the woods again at the old trailer where he and Powell used to meet, Damien brings Simone to lay low. Plus, he washes off all that nasty earth and blood from his resurrection the night previous. He even sees a little flash of the old woman from Damascus. All the evil of his life is crowding around him. And that adds more weight to the woman in the car who tried committing suicide, immediately pledging her life to him: it’s as if all those old evils he’d previously experienced, unknowingly the coming of his place as the Antichrist, are coming back around again, now that his eyes are wide open.


The debate about who’s worse rages between Sister Greta and Ann. They’re each hard, tough women. Although, I can’t help but believe they’re equally as stubborn. If in their world both God and the Devil/Antichrist exist, then the label of “cruel Lord” that Ann gives the former is perhaps most relevant. God has been responsible for quite a bit of pain and suffering, under the guise of his supposed plan. At least the Devil revels in what he does. Even after Greta pleads her case passionately, there’s no selling that old chestnut to Ms. Rutledge: “Satan is God,” proclaims Ann, “Long may he reign.”
Now Lyons is interrogating Amani about Damien’s whereabouts. This doesn’t end the best after Amani gets violent, but as Lyons puts things for him there’s no loyalty left that can save Damien. He is becoming something else now.
Doing her best, Simone sticks around with Damien, who insists she go. But she stays, readily admitting she is part of what’s happening. Then Damien says that he killed her sister Kelly, and that the same will only happen to her, as well. Likely true. Still doesn’t make her love, though. She is one tough character. At first I wasn’t a fan of Simone, but over the course of this first season she has truly grown on me. Now she’s really getting good in this finale.


Sister Greta is shown the rest of her people, shot in the head, thrown in a mass grave. Nasty. She and Amani are given the real, brutal view. Lyons tells Amani he must put Greta in the grave, or else – in a roundabout way – he says they’ll kill his mother. HOLY FUCK. That is some hardcore madness right there.
What does the nun have to say? “Gods will be done,” she sweetly, calmly tells Amani. What follows is a dark, emotionally disturbing moment. That includes Lyons putting Amani down there, too. We finally see how deceptive Lyons is, having completely fooled Amani to the end. Watching the two of them start getting dirt rained down on them is so sad, so brief, it stings.
The Antichrist side of Damien is really breaking through. He is gradually accepting his darkness and his vicious power. Further than that the danger to Simone is getting greater almost by the second. And not far outside lurks the woman from Damascus, coming closer to Damien all the time.


There’s a possible rift between Ann and Lyons now, after he effectively executed Amani. She didn’t want him to die. Most of all Lyons wants to get Damien under his control. He saw a fraction of what could be, and can’t wait to use that terrible power inside the Antichrist to bend the world to the will of Armitage.
AND YES, YES, YES! A hand emerges from the mass grave after it’s all covered up. Not all hope is lost.
Poor Detective Shay (David Meunier) is having a worse time of it, too. He thinks he see his boy on the road, then believes he runs him down. Only to discover it’s the powers of the Antichrist out in the world, the evil, sucking him into the downward spiral. On a side note, Meunier is killing it in this role. Very happy with his performance over this season and I keep wondering what will happen next in his story.
Back to the Vatican City assassins. They’re now in the same city as the Antichrist himself. What will come of this? A wild showdown is coming. Especially considering most everybody is heading for Damien, including Shay, Rutledge, Lyons, all of them, and they’re all converging on that old trailer in the woods.
Then Damien reveals he is headed to Megiddo. He figures all the answers are there, the apparent location of Armageddon. But before he can do anything, all forces rain down on the nearby field, just as Dt. Shay creeps up.


An intense little sequence here before Damien and Simone ends up confronted with Ann and Lyons. “I will kill all of you,” the Antichrist rages at them. He then finds out what Lyons did to his best friend, as Ann lays bare the truth. And of course Lyons finds himself being chased down by a pack of Rotties. Nom nom. All the while, Simone pleads him to stop, and Ann gets aroused.
Then a shocker: trying to shoot Damien, the detective puts a bullet right through Simone’s head. Wow. And just as was saying her character got more interesting to me. MAZZARA, WHY DON’T YOU LET ME HAVE NICE THINGS?
Well this is really setting Damien off. You can feel his heart breaking more. Then the woman from Damascus arrives, Damien pleads to be taken. He speaks in a language we’ve never heard of him, to his ‘father’ and then the forces of evil really start to take hold. Blood from the 666 in his head starts seeping out. It drops onto Simone and breathes life into her again. Whoa. Not only can the Antichrist take life, he can give it, too. Shay watches on and sees the power.
And from the darkness come Damien’s legions, the Antichrist’s followers, his fan club. They’re all there. For him. Kneeling, along with Ann. Even Shay. Towards us, the audience, Damien turns with a knowing, devilish smile subtly across his face.
The Antichrist has risen!Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 4.10.57 PMThis was an exceptional finale. I’m hoping A&E realizes the potential for it to grow, as there are already a dedicated base of fans, particularly online that always seem to be watching, tweeting along with Glen Mazzara and the others live. Personally, I wasn’t sold immediately. The pilot was decent, but I didn’t like the large amount of clips from the original Omen. Then after the second and third episode, I was sold. The whole thing progressed magically, so dark and exciting throughout its first season. And the finale spoke volumes to how wonderfully devious this show can get.

Give Mazzara and Damien another season, A&E! The ratings will get better alongside the quality. Hopefully the finale will pump some decent numbers up. Stick with me and we’ll try to make sure the network knows how much we, the fans, enjoyed this show in its initial season. Here’s to hoping for more Antichrist badness!

Damien – Season 1, Episode 9: “The Devil You Know”

A&E’s Damien
Season 1, Episode 9: “The Devil You Know”
Directed by Jennifer Chambers Lynch
Written by Glen Mazzara & K.C. Perry

* For a review of the previous episode, “Here Is Wisdom” – click here
* For a review of the Season 1 finale, “Ave Satani” – click here
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After the shocking events of last episode, the penultimate Season 1 episode is here! I desperately hope this gets a second season. Damien Thorn (Bradley James), Ann Rutledge (Barbara Hershey) – they all need more time.
We start here as Ann meets with someone trying to track down her daughter. Little does she know. Of course this will cause some major mayhem when Ann figures out what’s happened. No telling what kind of reaction a woman like that might have in the face of personal tragedy. Although, she is sort of like the devil’s lover, or well… she wants to be his lover. Or something weird.
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Sister Greta (Robin Weigert) and Simone (Megalyn E.K.) are busy with the aftermath of what’s happened with Veronica. She isn’t dead, surprisingly, but on her way. Greta decides on holding her. Possibly for her own good. Meanwhile, Damien and Amani (Omid Abtahi) are talking about the possibility of the Antichrist, the idea that Damien is the heir to that throne. Certainly it’s nonsense to Amani, intent on rationality. At least their way forward is together despite whatever else is going on, reality or otherwise. Damien needs all the friendship he can get. He wants Amani to get close with Veronica more now in order to get information.Damien wants to get to the bottom of the whole corporation with Lyons (Scott Wilson) and Ann at the forefront, knowing there is absolutely more than meets the eye. The good friend agrees to do his best.
And then there’s Detective Shay (David Meunier). He looks like a madman when bringing up the strange things that happen around Mr. Thorn. Nobody believes him, but Shay knows there’s something sinister going on behind the scenes. He doesn’t know the extent, though suspects a great deal. His bosses have him turn over his gun and badge citing mental health as the problem. Sadly, we’re aware of the truth. I see danger in Shay’s future especially now with a suspension. He might choose to go after Damien, investigating more on his own, which will only throw him right under the bus.


Finally, Veronica reveals Ann knows about the church’s involvement, Simone getting them into the whole mix. Greta talks a good game to try convincing Veronica of her mother’s evil. “Is that a mothers love?” asks Greta. “You dont know shit about me,” replies Veronica. Not much more information is coming out of this one. She is fiesty.
Another detective comes knocking at Damien’s place. He brings the news about Charles Powell, the therapist. Suspicion is growing around the Antichrist, more and more, even without Shay on the case officially now. Because all the little bits add up. And that’s why I dig this series and why Glen Mazzara has done a great job, along with all the various writers, because you wonder – in a real type setting, a real world, how would these events so obviously linked together somehow be explained? Well having these cops involved is one way of tackling that issue.
Back to Damien. He wants to meet with Sister Greta: “I have nowhere else to go,” he quietly pleads with Simone. Amazing to see the nun meet with the Antichrist. She asks to see the Mark of the Beast. He obliges. But she does not recoil, Greta understands his struggle. “You are Gods child,” she assures him and recognizes his suffering. He lets her know about the incidences at the VA hospital, his visions and so on. Turns out those seven people at the hospital he came across represented the Seven-Headed Beast of Revelation. On top of that, Simone now finds out her sister was taken by something… otherworldly, something evil. An intense few moments and a great instance of solid writing. Earlier aspects get explained in a way that isn’t forced, very organic to the plot. Dig it.
Poor Amani gets taken by some masked men while everything else is going on. Now I’m quite worried for him.
Greta later takes Damien by herself, sending Simone upstairs – and she gets locked in with Veronica. Uh oh. Is the renegade nun planning something? In the meantime, Ann’s got Amani in her custody. They’re having a little chat. Or more like she calls him down to the dirt with an eloquent almost Shakespearean jab. She further wants information about the nun, though Amani plays it cool. Until she convinces him Greta will kill Damien, which finally breaks his stand. There may be a big showdown coming. Yet things feel strange, uneasy. Highly unpredictable.


Damien: “What if I really am the Antichrist?”
Greta: “Then that is Gods will


Alone together, Greta and Damien talk more about his being the actual Antichrist. Resulting in her using one of the daggers of Megiddo to stab him. Cut to her wrapping him in thorns on an altar-like slab. SHIT. Greta, you bad motherfucker. That is some raw biblical vengeance, for sure.
Detective Shay is literally sweating the case out. I knew it – he’s at home, studying pictures, looking over crime scenes, and trying to figure out what is going on with Damien. He knows the murders, the events around him – the dogs, the burning car, the therapist killing Powell – are all being heavily influenced by Thorn. Somehow. “There are monsters,” Shay tells his little boy. And his boy creepily whispers in his ear: “The devil did it.” From the god damn mouths of babes. No sooner does Shay’s husband whisk their kid away do more visions plague the crumbling detective.
Over at the rectory, Simone mounts an escape from the room with Veronica. But down at the altar, Damien’s held in thorns, his 666 being cut into by Greta as some dark figures in black watch on behind her. Wicked little bit of gore here! Also, we see that 666 is literally carved right into the poor guy’s skull. Gnarly as all hell. The group then proceeds to lower Damien into a hole in the ground, so he can be “reborn” apparently. His screams echoing through the woods are viciously chilling. Once he’s in the hole it is just more ghostly, haunting hallucinations for Damien, as he envisions demons poking through the ground trying to get at him, themselves wailing and gnashing away. A truly terrifying little sequence. Simultaneously, Veronica ends up getting an Evil Dead-style death via tree, except without any penetration – well, sexual penetration. So this is one fucked up, awesome episode. Horrifically pleasing.

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Shay winds up sneaking himself into Damien’s place. Then he hears his son out of nowhere, voices whispering. A small figure appears behind him. From the sink in Damien’s photo lab he hears the boy’s voice before being startled by a creepy image. This sends him rightfully running back out the door.
But Damien doesn’t get to do that. He’s trapped in that hole, the visions of those seven people from the hospital attacking him, nowhere else to go except stay put. Up above the hole, Simone shows up, but the damage is done. Down there Damien goes absolutely mental. A bloodcurdling noise emanates from the hole, as does Damien. He rises up while everybody watches on. Ominous music makes the scene even more heavy. Is he reborn now? Greta tries stabbing him again, only he stabs her. Without any feeling, any remorse.
The Antichrist has risen. Or has he? Safe to say the evil is flowing in him, and he’s starting to give in to the pulsing hell inside him.


Excited for the Season 1 finale, “Ave Satani”, and can’t wait to see how the team ends things. My hope is that Season 2 will get a greenlight. Mazzara and Co. deserve the chance to flesh this out for at least another season, possibly with another couple episodes – 13 would be a perfect little fitting number. Regardless, they got better and better every episode here and made this into a good one. Let’s have a devilish finale together, fellow fans!

Damien – Season 1, Episode 7: “Abattoir”

A&E’s Damien
Season 1, Episode 7: “Abattoir”
Directed by T.J. Scott
Written by Mark H. Kruger & Glen Mazzara

* For a review of the previous episode, “Temptress” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Here Is Wisdom”  – click here
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This latest episode starts off with Damien Thorn (Bradley James) waking in his hospital bed to a raving lunatic above him. Perks of being in psychiatric care. In the halls, things are no better. Everything is dark, scary, unknown. Damien wanders aimlessly hearing the sounds, seeing the sights, of madness.

 

 


Damien goes through the motions. He heads to the cafeteria and gets something to eat, again joined by the psychotic who hovered over him as he woke. Amazingly, the Antichrist is stuck between two people who believe they’re Jesus Christ. He’s sort of going a little crazy himself.
At home, Detective James Shay (David Meunier) remembers the supernatural attack he experienced recently. He tries making sense of what it was that actually happened; surely an explanation can be found. In the bushes of his yard something stays low, growling, watching. Shay may not find anything in the pool, but that’s the least of his worries. All around him the forces of evil are gathering. No telling how long he’ll manage to survive being anywhere near Damien.
Finally released from the psychiatric ward, Damien is off into the world once more. The resident Jesus pleads “Kill yourself” in order to spare them all ruination after the Antichrist fully comes into being. That’s some spooky shit right there.
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Shay’s partner worries for his sanity. And that’s the worst part of all this supernatural terror, nobody will believe the person whose claims speak to otherworldly presence. At least Shay does get confirmation from his son about a dog lurking nearby. The hounds of Hell are never far. At the same time, Simone (Megalyn E.K.) is worried about the men that recently tossed Damien’s place. Both she and Amani (Omid Abtahi) are concerned for their friend. Except Damien saw Amani with Ann Rutledge (Barbara Hershey). His paranoia has set in. He trust nobody, neither Amani, nor Simone who broke into his apartment. So with everything whirling around him Damien is caught up in the conspiracy, the paranoid delusions. Exactly what people like Ann, and more importantly John Lyons (Scott Wilson), truly want.
Speaking of Lyons, he’s having lunch with his creepy friends. And then Damien arrives, too. He seems to be thinking clearly at least. Because now he knows about John and Ann, their business relationship, and so on. Then a woman in a wheelchair nearby starts exclaiming things to Damien, her love for him: “I serve you, my master,” she shouts as Lyons wheels her off. Damn, that’s a chiller.
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Tracking down people related to Damien, Dt. Shay comes across Charles Powell (Joe Doyle) who roomed with Thorn at Preston Hall. The vigilant detective is trying everything and anything to root out Damien, what he’s all about. And even though Charles gives over nothing, he looks as if a dark cloud crowds over his head when the cop leaves his little flower shop. Hmm, more to come?
And more investigations come at the hand of Simone. She finds footage of the old woman in Damascus with Damien, she compares it to the pictures from Damien’s place, and finds the same old woman staring back at her. The closer she gets, the worse things could look for her.
Shay finds other people related to Damien, such as Cray Marquand (Cody Ray Thompson). He informs Shay of Powell’s idea that Thorn is the “second coming” – a strange, suspicious term to be used. There’s a story about Powell who was convinced, by the Antichrist, to essentially burn himself. An eerie moment.

 

 


So Ann and Lyons meet to discuss the new developments. She sees his survival of a suicide attempt as being proof of his strength, of their efforts. Although, Lyons and Rutledge do differ on their approach – he doesn’t see the need to isolate Damien, but rather to bring him, keep him close. They also discuss the daggers of Megiddo.
But more importantly, Damien sneaks in to see that old woman in the wheelchair. Seems that lady is Margot Lyons (Nicky Guadagni). She reveals more to the chosen one, about John, his intentions. “He slithers before the beast,” she tells Damien. On she goes about the ten crowns for “ten horns“, and more biblical madness. Extremely unsettling scene that makes things all the more frightening. That Margot knows quite a deal.
Her words set Damien off to look for a supposed black church. In the nearby woods he finds a dingy dungeon-like cavity in the earth filled with tools, the stains of blood, so many strange things. A sacrificial chamber, maybe? Nevertheless, he finds a useful tool and then heads back up to see Margot.

 

 


Sister Greta Fraueva (Robin Weigert) has arrived in town. She follows Simone in the street, not unnoticed. At the very same time Simone thinks she sees the woman from Damascus. This prompts Greta to introduce herself, already knowing Ms. Baptiste by name. And they’re also being watched by someone in the distance. Greta wants to know more about anything Simone’s seen, the visions passed off as nonsense by others. More are on the case! Is this good? Likely bad. For them.
Back to the flower shop goes Shay. He questions Powell further on his relationship with Damien. On the outside it seems like love. On the inside, Powell was sucked in by the lure of the Antichrist and his persuasion. Damien burned Powell’s hands all those years ago, an awful act, which the latter hoped would keep him away from the eye of the Antichrist. Well, I’d bet money that evil is about find Charles again after all these years.
And when Lyons comes home he finds Margot, the bloody tool in her hands. A veritable omen. Later on down in that chamber, Lyons and his terrifying friends sacrifice a goat on their altar. To appease the beast. They cut its throat, drain the blood. Their ritual continues.

 

 


At Damien’s place, Ann shows up. She has one of the daggers of Megiddo, revealing John came looking for it earlier. She tells him about how the daggers, used together all seven, will destroy the Antichrist. Only one would just take his life; all seven rid the world of that evil altogether. But if Damien dies, another simply takes his place, next in line. Ann bares her soul to him. Her commitment is staunch, unwavering. With the option of death now, once and for all right in front of him, Damien chooses not to die, or Ann decides not to help him. One or the other.

 

 


In a bathroom, Powell comes face to face with Marquand. The scars all over Charles are savage. The two men have a brief chat. Before Powell heads into the shower behind Marquand and stabs him with a large pair of scissors, over and over. A brutal, bloody death. Has the Antichrist still got a hold on Charlie?

 

 


This was a wild and at times devastating episode. Great writing, great direction. Lots to build on heading into the next episode, titled “Here Is Wisdom”, so stay tuned with me.

Damien – Season 1, Episode 5: “Seven Curses”

A&E’s Damien
Season 1, Episode 5: “Seven Curses”
Directed by Mikael Salomon
Written by K.C. Perry

* For a review of the previous episode, “The Number of a Man” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Temptress” – click here
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On we spin into the abyss, right alongside Damien Thorn (Bradley James).
This episode begins in the darkened halls of a basement; a hospital, in fact. A little girl shows up to proclaim that the “beast” is on its way. Foreboding, definitely.
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Speaking of Damien, he’s off to the hospital meeting with a doctor who specializes in PTSD amongst veterans. He sits and waits for seems like forever. Then it’s as if he’d never even walked in, completely ignored by the woman at the front desk. Damien runs into the mother of the boy he saved on the subway platform. He’s brought up to see her husband, Alex (Jose Pablo Cantillo), who’s happy to meet the man who saved his son. Damien even offers to take pictures of his struggle, what he’s dealing with post-service in the military, and the couple agrees. It’s amazing to see the humanity of Damien, as well as is atheism. Amazing lead character.
Afterwards, as he takes pictures of Alex in water therapy, Damien almost sees the poor guy drown. As an entity lurks just below the surface. It’d be tough if the darkness in Damien were to claim someone such as Alex, whose life has already been covered in darkness. When Alex reveals he’s “ending” his life, that it’s the best option for everyone in his family, it really shocks Damien to his core. Even more than that Alex wants his suicide photographed, he wants the truth of the veterans like him told, in raw, graphic nature. But how can someone agree to photograph that? It would be devastating. Yet Alex asks: “Isnt that what you do? Bear witness?”

 


Simone Baptiste (Megalyn E.K.) is busy trying to connect Damien to the death of her sister. All the while, Amani (Omid Abtahi) is convincing her otherwise. He lets slip the fact the old woman was in a ton of pictures, apparently “photoshopped” by Damien. Not the case, though, and Simone knows it. She’s sly. Perhaps her intuition may land her in a bad place, instead of in one of power. Especially if she gets too close to the truth.
Then there’s Ann Rutledge (Barbara Hershey). She’s looking concerned, asking questions about her motherhood, wondering if she “kept all the wolves at bay” and so on. This whole thing with Damien is tearing her up inside.
At the hospital, Damien’s trying to find Alex, who evades him at almost every turn. He even sees the vision of a little girl in the hallway, the one with a messed up. In the dark halls of the lower levels, Damien searches for Alex. Like something out of Jacob’s Ladder we’re plunged into the very heart of madness. Hanging prosthetic limbs, hospital attendants dealing drugs, creepy whispered voices in the background. Slowly, Damien follows Alex father down the rabbit hole.
Everywhere he goes things are strange, otherworldly. He cannot find solid footing. Each room is another strange nightmare. What an amazing sequence, both in writing and in execution, from editing to makeup effects to overall direction. Perfect, and terrifyingly upsetting, unnerving, all of it. Certainly gets to Damien, as well.

 


Ann makes a call: “I need two men, now. I have someone who needs a bit of housekeeping. No, no, not that. Yes, its him. Dont hurt him; too much.” An extremely ominous conversation indeed, and the fact Ann has tears in her eyes is also creepy.
Cut to Sister Greta Fraueva (Robin Weigert). She’s trying to make off with one of the Seven Daggers of Megiddo, to leave for New York and take care of the beast. Although, the patriarchy wouldn’t want that now, would they? A woman running off and taking care of church business. The mystery surrounding her character is hugely interesting. She has no time for the male-run church, either. Only as far as she needs to pretend. Which is fucking awesome.

 


Getting closer to some kind of truth, Simone finds the pictures at Damien’s place. At the same time he’s trying to work his way out of the hospital. He calls her right as she’s standing in his place, looking through the pictures. Worst time for her to be there – the two men Ann called for show up. They trash the place and toss everything, wrecking lights and furniture, everything. Luckily, they don’t find Simone.
But poor Amani, he’s still hanging around Ann’s protege, Veronica (Melanie Scrofano). When is his number due to be punched?
Damien goes back to see Alex. The injured vet is ready to take the drugs, to fade away. And Damien is ready to take the photographs of his suicide. An emotional, devastating moment here. What a scene. Both men struggle to do what it is they need to do; Alex with the needle, Damien shaking behind his camera.

 


Later on, Damien heads to the house where he lived years ago as a boy. The picture of his family still hangs looming large. He has a look around the old estate. Sits in the old red convertible in the garage. And he has his own plans for suicide. He prepares the garage, taping up the cracks in the door. He readies himself to inject drugs into his veins. The carbon monoxide is flowing.
Except something will not allow it. The hounds of Hell arrive, an entity peels away the duct tape from the door’s cracks. The Beast cannot die. He will not. Eventually, the dogs drag him free of the smoke, and he ends up waking to the night air. Not yet, Damien. Satan hasn’t gotten all he needs out of you.
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Next episode promises to be more demonic fun. This was a great one, very powerful, full of weight, and trippy, too. Next up is “Temptress” – stay with me, 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!