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Damien – S1E4 – The Number of a Man

Previously on Damien, ‘The Deliverer’ 

Damien spends some quality time with Detective Shay, which means Ann must come to his rescue. But Damien doesn’t like or want to be rescued.

Now this is more like it. Episode four of Damien’s debut season ups the creep factor by more than a notch. It is for me the best episode so far, with each of the major characters getting some decent scenes and story lines – for a change.

Still reeling from her sister’s tragic death by sinkhole, Simone has a bath with the dead bird from hell, repeating the motif from the funeral in the second episode, when another bird crashed through the church window. All very unsettling. The dripping tap metaphor is continued in the very next scene, one where Damien tries – and for some reason can’t – shave. All very meaningful. Meanwhile, Amani wants Damien to get off his brooding arse and consider a new career opportunity. When he refuses to attend a meeting, Amani makes his pitch to the board, who are concerned about Damien’s notoriety and unwillingness to commit. Amana flips them the bird and then shares a drink with a beautiful young lady who’s great at calling cabs and kissing on the first date. Now there’s a devilish talent!

Images: A&E

Images: A&E

On the procedural side of things, Detective Shay has it in for our antihero, and when he decides to bring Damien in for questioning, the two men square up to each other in the same corridor that Shay last week fought off and killed a Hellhound. This is a good scene, well directed if not particularly original in its writing – a little clichéd to be honest – but it’s well played by Bradley James and David Meunier. We learn later that Shay has a habit of getting his nose in places where it’s not warranted, of pissing off the wrong people (something that is essential in police work, I would’ve thought), and paid the price in a previous assignment. Anyway, this altercation ends with the weekly Scene of Gratuitous Violence. About to leave the station, Damien is ‘recognized’ by a disturbed individual who apparently wants to attack him with scissors. But what he really wants to do is stab himself repeatedly in the crotch. Yes, the show went there. Thousands of men watching this scene suddenly covered their eyes and crossed their legs. I know I did. Damien is placed into custody just for trying to disarm the man.


Because Damien had put him wide to Ann Rutledge, Detective Shay visits her sees if there’s any truth to Damien’s story about her involvement in the spate of accidental deaths, especially Troy the Moron’s unfortunate clash with a rogue escalator from last week. Ann’s shrine to Damien is no longer there. Instead, she says, “It’s a panic room. I never use it. I never panic,” a line Barbara Hershey delivers with delicious panache. She and Meunier make this scene another highlight of the episode. I look forward to more sparring from these two pros. Ann comes to collect Damien from the police station, as there is nothing to charge him with. For her efforts, Damien rails at her, sick of her shit, sick of all the death, and wants it all to go away. It’s a bit late for that now, son. Plans are in motion and cannot be stopped.

In other news: John Ryan (Happy 74th birthday, Scott “Legend” Wilson) and Ann declare a truce and decide to pool their resources in order to bring about Damien’s destiny as The Destroyer/Deliverer. We all know this is going to work, right?

And then there’s Simone, who against her will and knowledge, has to experience first-hand a witch-doctor’s attempt to purify her apartment and bring peace to Kellie’s soul. A chicken dies. Kellie’s notebook remains. Shit happens. Running to Damien doesn’t help matters either. He’s got enough going on and he can’t deal with his own stuff, let alone Simone’s.


The last bit of action in The Number of a Man sees Shay’s son Jacob being persuaded by one of the remaining Hellhounds to take a swim in a swimming pool that’s well covered by tarp. He is rescued just in time. The Forces for Evil are out for revenge. These dogs won’t take losing one of their number lying down.

As I said at the start, there is more meat on the bone in this episode. There is the usual Sweet Lord Almighty moment (keep those legs crossed, gentlemen, as well as a couple of portentous scenes between actors who are now getting their teeth into their roles. What’s needed now is an endgame, apart from the obvious one of destiny. What I’d like to see soon is a more proactive Damien. I want him (and James) to get some control over what’s happening around him. From what I’ve seen in this episode, fans of Damien might get just that.

Damien S1E4 = 7.3/10
  • 7/10
    Plot: Things are finally motoring. - 7/10
  • 6/10
    Dialogue: Still clunky, but I’m getting used to it now. - 6/10
  • 8/10
    Action: Scissors and swimming pools. *shudders* - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Performances: Improved all round. - 8/10
User Review
5 (4 votes)
About James McShane (97 Articles)
James McShane is Irish, and damn proud of it. A recovering caffeine addict, he lives a full life, devoted to his books, friends, family, and Doctor Who calendar collection. His interests include reading three books at once, stalking his favourite people on Facebook, and going for long walks at four in the morning. Insomnia is a bitch. He hopes to be a published author one day, so he should really get around to finishing that damn novel of his.
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