Previously on Damien, ‘Seven Curses’
This is a strange episode to recap and review, because I spent pretty much the entire time tut-tutting to myself, annoyed at the apparent contrivances, coincidences, and out of left-field behavior of a couple of major supporting characters. I thought to myself: Myself, I thought, the only way this episode is going to make any kind of damn sense is if the whole thing is a figment of Damien’s tormented post-suicide-attempt addled psyche. And I’m going to be a touched pissed if this turns out to be the case.
It turned out to be exactly that. So I’m a touched pissed. However, the last scene kind of makes up for everything that happened before then. Kind of.
Following his rescue by a pair of Satan’s Best Friends, Damien is put on suicide watch by a concerned doctor who has no time for his or Ann’s “this was all just a silly accident” horse manure. And anyway, Det. Shay is coming around to ask one or two pertinent questions, so Damien’s got to stay put for 72 hours. Yeah, right. Next scene, he’s up, dressed, and following a lead that takes him and Amani to a tattoo bar, where the artist who saw him in an elevator at the V.A hospital has a confession to make: he was forced by a couple of Ann’s goons to tattoo the ‘666’ on Damien while he was unconscious.
This startling revelation reinforces Damien’s belief that he’s the victim of a long-running conspiracy – a theory John Lyons is all too happy to back up. He shows Damien a file that contains details of Ann’s past as some kind of religious nut, and how she used her ideologies to influence people in political power. Running back to the hospital, they learn that Damien has been poisoned with hallucinogens and Ann is the obvious culprit. Lyons will sort this out “in-house,” he says.
At this point I was saying to myself, Self, what’s the deal with Lyons? Exactly whose side is he on? Is Damien just a pawn in the great game of life and death? I didn’t have an answer to my own query. And what’s the story with all these old women turning up? It’s all very freaky.
Even a reluctant meeting with Ann shortly after reveals nothing in the way of conclusive evidence; but it does serve to maintain Damien’s stance that Ann is dangerous – a “crazy murderous bitch” – and she had better stay away from him or she might meet the same fate as his mother.
Speaking of which…
Damien has arranged to have Amani follow Ann, and the resulting photos paints a very different picture to what Damien is expecting. Ann is seen talking with John Lyons soon after their meeting. So Damien blags his way into Lyons’ office and steals a file with his name on it. He sees his mother’s picture and finds out that she’s still alive. The twists, they keep on comin’.
He visits this Mrs. Thorn (who looks nothing like Lee Remick, by the way), and immediately they strike up a bond over implausibly contrived plot holes, the size of which could drown a dozen Kellies. It was at this point that I began to smell a Dream Rat.
(The very weird behavior of Simone earlier in the episode pushed me in that direction, I must admit. Seemingly uncaring about her sister’s fate, she and Damien share a kiss in his apartment, right after she expressed her concern over his mental well-being. Next she’s cooking him steak, hoping for a night of Netflix and Chill. I wonder if the writers have an endgame in mind for Megalyn Echikunwoke’s character, because right now, she doesn’t have a lot to do.)
Back to Mom…
Mrs. T thought her son dead, and happily lived on for 25 years with that knowledge. Now she’s back in his life, only to die again, this time for real. When Ann comes barging in, the two women get into an argument, forcing Damien to step in, which results in his “mother” falling down three flights of stairs and doing herself an injury – a fatal one. Damien wraps his hands around Ann’s throat. He’s got one aim in mind, but he soon shows some serious fighting skills when Ann’s goons pop up to take him away. He escapes.
My head is beginning to hurt now.
The episode’s climactic act revolves around another series of coincidences. If escaping Ann wasn’t enough, Damien shrugs off Simone’s attempts at seduction, and roams the streets, where he sees – or thinks he sees – Ann and Amani sitting in a restaurant, discussing all kinds of things conspiratorial. Who happens to pass by? Only Detective Shay, who definitely wants to put a collar on our young Antichrist-in-Training. When it’s later revealed that the tattoo artist has been stabbed to death by daggers that look uncannily like the ones the Vatican want to use against him, Shay arrests Damien and takes him to…
…a meet-up with John Lyons.
(Are you keeping up at the back there? There’s a quiz later, and there’ll be prizes.)
Shay and Lyons are set upon by demons/witches/crones – delete where applicable – and are murdered. As they attack Damien in the back of the squad car, he wakes up. In an ambulance. On his way to hospital after the suicide attempt. (Did anyone think to thank the Hounds?) Ann is there at his bedside later, and it is this scene that nearly saves Temptress. Realizing that what went on before was a series of complex hallucinations, Damien finally breaks down. He’s vicious toward Ann. What do you remember? she asks him. My hands around your throat, he replies. I wish I had killed you. Get out! he says. Go away!
Which she does. And then she breaks down, too. Has she gone too far in trying to transform Damien from a millennial war photographer to The Light Bringer, the Son of the Morning? We’ll soon find out.
I said at the start that this was a difficult episode to review. The importance to the ongoing story line is only made clear in the last couple of minutes. All of what went before has no bearing on future episodes. Unless I’m proved to be wrong, both Shay and Lyons are very much alive; Mrs. Thorn remains as dead as she was in the original movie; and Simone doesn’t want to hook up with Damien any time soon.
I find episodes that are in effect one long dream sequence rather pointless. Filler episodes, for want of a better phrase. The writers could have made better use of their time by being more proactive. Again, Damien has things done to him. He’s not the author of his own fortune, and he’s too much of a plaything for Ann and Lyons. I really – really – want some hellfire and damnation before long. The show, and Damien himself, needs it.
PLOT: We’ve seen this sort of episode before. They’re two a penny. I had hoped for a better follow-up to last week’s installment.
ACTION: No grisly deaths this week, but we did have a deja-vu moment when the faux Mrs. Thorn fell once more to her death. The tattoo artist’s bloody end was graphically presented, though.
DIALOGUE: All very shady and secretive. With characters acting all weird and surreptitious, the best exchange was saved until last, when Damien summarily dismissed Ann from his life.
PERFORMANCES: I liked Bradley James a lot in this episode. He’s grown so confidently in his role that I can’t wait to see what he can do with some really demonic material. The lad’s got it in him.