Previously on Damien: “The Devil You Know”
Where to start? So much happens in Damien’s season one (hopefully) finale, that a recap is never going to do it justice. But I shall endeavour.
Following on immediately from last week, Damien and Simone are on the run from Sister Greta and her acolytes, but John Lyons and his private army quickly catch up with them. Lyons tried to sweet talk Damien into taking his side and gives him a big speech, but when Damien steadfastly refuses his offer, Lyons orders his army to shoot Simone and grab Damien. In an extraordinary scene, Damien uses his nascent power to command the army to kill each other, with the last man standing committing suicide. There is no turning back for Damien now. John Lyons knows this.
Meanwhile, Ann Rutledge mourns over her daughter’s dead body, and doesn’t take kindly to Amani blaming her for Veronica’s death. He’s strapped to a chair for his troubles. Lyons storms in and promises to make Sister Greta pay dearly. When he captures her, he practically congratulates her for “turning the Beast loose.” He has the rest of the nuns shot dead and thrown into the grave Greta had marked out for Damien. Then he brings Greta back to Ann, who promises her a death as horrible as the one Veronica faced. Ann Rutledge gloats: “Satan is God. Long may He reign.” It’s curtains for our favourite German exorcist!
Lyons quizzes Amani as to Damien’s whereabouts, and threatens his family in Beirut if he doesn’t give up the information. Amani genuinely doesn’t know, so both he and Greta are brought back to the scene of Greta’s attempted exorcism, where Amani is shot after he puts Greta in with her dead colleagues. Greta and Amani are then buried alive. Greta cries out to God to say the word and she will be healed. Her pleas go unanswered. Or do they? Because some time later, the ground rumbles and a hand appears, Carrie-like, from the grave. Whose hand it is, we don’t get to see,
Damien and Simone continue their escape by stopping a car on a bridge. The carjacked driver proclaims her love for Damien and proceeds to jump off the bridge. In a satisfying moment for Simone, she slaps the shit out of the woman before she goes through with her suicide attempt.
They end up at Powell’s caravan, where Damien cleans himself up and Simone examines one of the Megiddo daggers. Damien warns her to run while she still has a chance, saying he’ll kill her as he killed her sister Kellie. Simone elects to stay, thinking that she can rein him in if he goes too far. But the old lady from Damien’s visions is nearby, as is the freaky little girl from episode two, who Detective Shay sees as he speeds to Damien’s location. Shay is plagued by visions and voices of his own, thinking he’s run over his son Jacob as he’s distracted by a call to his husband.
Meanwhile, the Vatican send a group of Holy Hitmen, each armed with one of the remaining daggers, to finish the job that Greta started.
The season’s endgame begins when Damien realizes he must go to Megiddo itself, where the Last Battle – Armageddon – will take place. It’s where his father went, so he thinks – he knows – it’s where he should be. But as they leave the caravan, Detective Shay arrives and opens fire. Lyons and Ann arrive at the same time, too. There’s an almighty firefight, with Shay caught in the crossfire. He goes down, wounded, but not fatally so.
Lyons calls upon Damien to “Deliver us now!” but Ann has her own agenda. She betrays Lyons, telling Damien that he had Amani killed. Damien loses what control he has and sets the Hounds (yes, they’re back – all three of them) on Lyons. He’s a goner, a victim of his own success. Shay takes another shot at Damien but hits Simone instead, apparently killing her.
Damien is distraught and shouts at the heavens, to his “Father”, imploring Him to save Simone, saying he’ll do what is asked of him. The mark on his scalp, the 666, bleeds, and the blood falls on Simone, reviving her immediately. This is exactly what Ann wants to happen and it is precisely at this time that a host of acolytes appear from the forest. Everyone kneels before Damien: the acolytes, Ann, even – surprisingly – Detective Shay, who has seen enough shit for the day. Ann crosses her two daggers in front of the newly crowned Antichrist. Damien takes it all in and in a moment that reminded me straightaway of the final scene from The Omen, Damien turns and looks at the camera. He looks at me, at you.
Everything about Ave Satani is superb. It’s the perfect payoff for a season that moved slowly at first, then roller-coasted to that final moment. The music, the performances, the violence, death, and twists – each of these things worked. Glen Mazzara, the show’s creator and this episode’s writer, has delivered on his promise. I mentioned way back in the premiere that Damien had big shoes to fill. Audiences were used to the high production values and chills from Hannibal and Bates Motel, and the onus was on Damien to take its seat proudly at their table. I think it has done so admirably. Okay, it hasn’t been all perfect. Omid Abtahi’s character Amani Golkar struggled to find a decent arc in this season and I would be surprised if he returns in season two. Please, let there be a second season. But by and large, all the major players had satisfying arcs, and I couldn’t find much fault with how the show carried itself in terms of atmosphere and suspense.
Some questions remain:
- Who’s hand is it we see coming out of the grave?
- Now that Damien has ascended to Beasthood, is that it for him, or will he continue to struggle with his humanity?
- The seven daggers are now in play. The Vatican Hit Squad has four, Ann has two, and Simone is seen with the final one. Will they be used against the Antichrist next season? Please, let there be a second season.
- Is it the end of the world as we know it, or will good (love) conquer all?
We hope to find out soon. I’ll leave you with this classic shot.
Damien S1E10 = 9.5/10