The Backstory: Legion vs Dominion
Dominion is based on Legion, the 2010 film starring Paul Bettany. In Legion, God lost faith in man and commanded the angels, led by Archangel Gabriel, to wipe out humanity. Archangel Michael refused and was banished to earth sans wings, where he defended a handful of humans including a waitress pregnant with “The Chosen One” against the hordes of humans possessed by vengeful angels. Michael regains his wings for his love of humanity, while Jeep, surrogate father of The Chosen One, receives instructions in the form of tattoos in a mysterious language.
Dominion, on the other hand, monologues that God “disappeared” and the lower angels, led by Gabriel, blamed mankind, leading to a 25-year war. Pockets of survivors await the return of The Chosen One, whose hidden identity will be known by cryptic tattoos that only he can read and, with them, lead humanity to redemption. Michael guides the stronghold remains of Las Vegas, renamed Vega because… who knows. It wasn’t futuristic enough. Thanks to the battlements, what happens there still stays there.
A soldier sneaks through an abandoned casino outside the city gates, finding three of the possessed “8 Balls” playing Texas Hold ‘Em. He shoots one and hightails it back to the city when another sprouts dark wings, breaking the car windows and lashing him with a snakelike tongue. As the control tower sits on their hands, Alex speeds up to the walls and slams on the brakes, massive guns taking down the dislodged angel in a ball of flames. His excursion earns him a possession scan and a trip to the principal’s office through the streets full of angry, starving homeless.
Overhead cam reveals a Raphaelic scene of five nude sleeping women in a round bed, including Senator Becca Thorn. She glides across the room to tell a brooding Michael he was a naughty boy, while he grumps back that she shouldn’t indulge him and risk hybrid children. “This has to stop,” he shames. “Then stop,” she tosses back. He responds by leaping out of the open windows, deploying his wings after a dramatic drop. He must be super fun to argue with.
Vega’s government runs out of Caesar’s Palace, where a V3-level soldier is reading Alex, a V2, the riot act, telling him that leaving the city is a “realigning offense” and threatening that he’ll be “purged down to V0, untouchable.” Alex is not taking his crap. Michael takes over, reminding him that the gates are there for a reason. Alex’s discovery that one of the angels is an upgrade isn’t enough to spare him from a whipping. General Edward Riesen (Alan Dale) interrupts after three lashes to silence the news and send him to his post.
Creepy Sunday School
We pan down to see Claire looking very Maenad Maryann in a white dress and flower crown, surrounded by candles and an ivory sculpture of a tiny baby lifted in female hands, as she instructs young acolytes in the Gospel of the Chosen One. It seems unlikely that they wouldn’t know the story by this age. As they file out, Alex reports for bodyguard duty, asking if she needs anything else, ma’am, like the kiss he plants on her. She promises to speak to her father soon about them being married, but he is dubious, pushing for escape to a free city, Delphi. She knows the General will consent, especially since Alex took a knife for her, but agrees to the backup plan if he doesn’t.
William Whele, son of the city’s chief administrator David Whele (Anthony Head), misses the obvious UST but offers Alex a friendly scolding that lawfully he can’t be alone with Claire. In all black, he sweetly, but fanatically, expounds to Claire that their faith must be nurtured and “kept like a promise,” implication hanging awkwardly between the two childhood Just Friends, before they kneel at the altar. Something is up with this dude.
Alex strips his shirt off in the bunkroom where the token SyFy orphan hacker, Bixby, pops in to treat his whipping stripes from “the Peacock” and urges him not to tangle with “the tops.” He lets her in on their backup escape plan and tells her to be ready to leave. I’m not sure how old she’s supposed to be, but I’m guessing a lot younger than she looks, which is at least 12.
General Riesen and Consul Whele meet for dinner on the pool-topped roof, not starving like the orphans below. Typical. We’re introduced to their conflict: Riesen wants to keep news of the angels quiet, but Whele wants to inspire a little panic and increase support. Dale and Head bring the gravitas, despite Head’s restrained American accent, but whatever. It’s Giles, man.
A delegation arrives from Helena, a stronghold full of female spies and assassins. There’s a child with them, an unusual sight since they keep their kids hidden by law.
Whele leads Arika, wife of Queen Evelyn of Helena, through their factory while she lays out their reluctance to ally completely with him against New Delphi. She offers him a token of appreciation, a Derringer pistol, which he half-playfully points at her head before unveiling their new reactor. She immediately puts their cards on the table: food, medicine, and 500 wives of childbearing age in exchange for the technology. He defers discussion until after The Jubilee and sends the delegation to bed. He monologues to William that they have the only air force, necessary to solidify his upcoming rule as Lord of the city. Again, it seems unlikely that only 25 years would lead to women being traded as chattel, and Vega isn’t hard up for people.
Jeep, long presumed dead, sneaks into the city and Michael’s chambers, where he’s meditating amidst his usual fire hazards of candles and billowing sheers. Michael and Jeep enjoy some wine and friendly chatter until Jeep explains that he’s pretty much wasted the last 15 years chasing down leads on the tattoos that never panned out. He requests to see Alex and announces War is Coming. Again.
Riesen Chamber of Interruptions
Claire steps in to get her father’s blessing when the General interrupts with his plan to step down in favor of rule by the people. She disagrees that they’re ready, saying Whele will only turn it into a dictatorship. He knows, but alludes to a vague upcoming role in the process for her. At this mysterious revelation, she decides to shelve the question of marrying Alex.
The Cleanest Arm Ever
Arika is wasting candles in a romantic bath, taking ridiculous care with her arm, because that is totally how people bathe. Whele invites himself in, hoping to Barry White some information out of her about the child. Roan, she says, isn’t one of their children; he’s the Queen’s savant pet with an “astonishing knowledge of history.” Somehow this doesn’t alarm anyone. She takes 10 more minutes to wash that arm while he takes off his robe, snarking that “everyone has a price.” Uther, you cad.
House of Interruptions
Alex shows up for duty at Claire’s place where she loudly hands him a list of things she “needs” for the Jubilee, covering a whisper that she couldn’t talk to her dad so they’ll have to go with plan B. We see them through a crack in the door like they’re being super sneaky, even though the other guard is, literally, right there. Worst secret lovers ever. Because it’s the Riesen house where nobody can finish a thought, they’re interrupted by Michael.
Back in Michael’s perch, sunset glares through the sheers as Jeep ambushes Alex with a sword until the older man is cornered and reveals his identity. Alex gruffly pushes him off, saying that his departure left Alex in the lowest caste without food or a home until Michael intervened. Michael looks on in restrained affection until Alex tosses off a “He isn’t even human!” and huffs away. Something about this room inspires grumpiness. I can only imagine the emo parties.
Men in Black
The Wheles discuss the problem of angel fanatics as they wind their way to a secret cell where the Consul has stashed the final 8 Ball from Alex’s foray, planning to use it as a spectacle during the Jubilee and remind people who has protected them. William is understandably freaked.
The two Wheles, General Riesen, and Senator Thorn are seated in the Caesar’s Palace meeting room when Michael strolls in with Jeep. “Yep, I’m alive.” Nobody seems happy. On the upside, he’s located Gabriel in a mountain stronghold where he’s now recruited some of The Powers, soldier angels who were previously neutral. They’re trained, have wings and armor, and can appear perfectly human, a considerable threat compared to the bodiless lower angels. Jeep says soon it will be time to reveal the Chosen One. Thorn wants to cancel the Jubilee and alert the city, but Whele launches into a disbeliever’s tirade, refusing to cancel or believe in “some child god” while William looks on uncomfortably.
What is it about post-apocalyptic parties that make people act like brainless hyenas? Entertainers caper in a mock angel battle while the crowd mindlessly howls with laughter. It’s really not that funny.
Riesen and the Pink Bedsheets take one box, while the Wheles and Michael take another. From a third box of dignitaries, Thorn has a staring contest with Michael. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be smoldering or what, but, hey, I just realized: she’s the Thorn in his flesh. Haha. Ha. Yeah. Anyway, Jeep hands Alex the only photo of his mother, passing him his “good luck charm.” In case you missed the telegraph everyone else just got, Jeep’s gonna die.
Whele takes the stage, pontificating about upcoming unifying changes, namely Claire and William’s secret engagement. So secret, Claire didn’t even know about it. See, Alex, some people know how to keep secrets. The Riesen party is annoyed, except the General who sets his jaw. He knows of course.
Thomas Ford, killer of 22 angels in battle, appears in the Roman arena. When that happened, I’m not sure, considering the whole “not allowed to leave the city” edict. We flash to Gabriel, sitting on his dark throne, as he slowly takes control of the 8 Ball now in the arena, waving through her to an appalled Michael. Thomas is not too bright, because he keeps his back to the whole incident and is promptly clobbered by the chains she easily rips from the floor before leaping into the horrified crowd. The dignitaries rush out in a panic while Whele is paralyzed. Fortunately Michael glides down and handily dispatches the beast.
8 Balls Attack
Speaking of people slow on the draw, the control room moves like molasses towards the fire button as three angels careen through the defenses, including the red warrior Furiad from Jeep’s video. Furiad is suitably awesome in all red, but the angelic language he taunts Michael with is stilted and uncomfortable. FIGHT.
Alex swoops Bixby out of the stampeding crowd and rushes her and Claire to safety, stopping before they enter the control room to offer escape one final time. She can’t leave her father at a crucial time, so instead he puts the room on notice with a lingering face caress. “Ohhhhh…,” the assembled faces say. William later tries to retake his territory with the same move and it’s creepy as hell.
When the third 8 Ball hits the reactor and shuts down the city’s power, Alex heads out to help when Jeep stops him… and is promptly stopped himself by a knife to the gut, courtesy of the little “savant,” a soldier angel that crawls up the wall and out of the grate. Before dying, Jeep tells Alex he believes in him because he is the Chosen One. Whele scoffs at the words of a dying man until the tattoos slowly disappear from Jeep’s skin and onto Alex’s. Claire drops to her knees, but he barks at her to stand while Whele has the Pink Bedsheet entourage arrested even as they claim ignorance.
Whele and Riesen hiss at each other until Michael, returning after Furiad’s escape, confirms it and kneels briefly to Alex, announcing that he is under his personal protection. It’s an echo of Claire who just placed Bixby under her protection moments ago. Because this is Lost Girl apparently.
Whele House of Fanatics
The Consul drinks his atheism away while William protests with fanatical faith. “I’m not bowing to anyone and neither are you,” the Consul says, and then lowers the boom: Alex is their biggest problem right now, and Claire is obviously in love with him. William, dense as ever, isn’t trying to hear that and keeps the focus on his father’s missteps with Arika. The Consul brushes him off as William seethes.
Back at the statue of Jesus 2, we find Claire lighting a thousand candles in homage to the revealed Chosen One, which is more than a little strange since she’s been Not Secretly Dating him for ages. Look out for the crazy, Alex!
In Michael’s nest, Alex is struggling with the news. Michael tries to put his life in a positive light: “You were never alone. I watched over you. I made sure you joined the Army. I formed the Archangel Corps so I could stay close to you…” “Am I supposed to thank you?” he spits. “No. It just is.” Michael reminds him of his duty to decipher the Tattoos of Redemption, saying that as their former hosts, neither he nor Jeep could read them. “A language long since forgotten,” he repeats incorrectly since Jeep told him it wasn’t a language at all. Michael asks to see the tattoos and urges him again to try reading them.
Alex holds up his arm and, this time, the markings move like a codex, visible only to him, revealing the words, “Beware of those closest to you.”
Like Crazy Girlfriend? No joke. A suitably shaken Alex lies that he can’t read it. Michael stares at him. “Oh, it’s gonna be like that” his face says. Please tell me Michael calls him on this later.
Fortress of Evil
A black-cloaked figure pulls up in a 4×4 to Gabriel’s temple and climbs the stairs. Who could it be? Someone who enjoys wearing black, perhaps? “My son,” Gabriel says to the hood, flanked by Roan and Furiad. It’s William! “We’ve found him,” he reports. Told you something was up with that kid.