Saturday, July 12, 2014

Dominion, Season 1, Episode 4: The Flood

Michael is taken into hospital while doctors flock to treat him (what training do you need to operate on angels, anyway?) And Alex is arrested for desertion

The prison system is brutal with guards who are arseholes which is not very surprising. Alex makes things worse by headbutting one of them because he’s Alex and of course he does. They beat him and shove him into solitary confinement (his own personal angst room) but, alas, do not kill him.

Tell me again why Gabriel is wrong? I keep forgetting

In hospital, Senator Becca falls asleep by Michael’s bedside and a shadowy figure who-is-almost-definitely-Gabriel sneaks in and uses a feather to heal Michael. When Michael wakes up he’s a little surprised because “empyrean steel” should have killed him (also because he’s always kind of angsty and upset).He also wants the blade that broke off and to see Alex but all of that is distracted while he tells Becca how bad he is for her (nope, stop, Alex has used up every last drop of the angst quota for this show. You are not allowed to be angsty Michael).

After they have sex and fall asleep another Angel arrives, in full Xena cosplay. She nearly kills Becca but Michael stops her, there’s a brief fight before they hit the ground outside and talk. She was only playing and she taunts him for liking her. She’s also Uriel – one of the other Archangels. She’s there because of the Chosen One (of course she is). She tells her “little brother” to meet her to talk.

Claire goes to the hospital to see Starving Waif Bixby (there after the angel attack) and she tells Claire about Alex being arrested (and, despite having known him for some time and being sworn to secrecy, she insists on calling him The Chosen One). Their conversation may have been overheard by one of the other Senators, Senator Frost.

At the senate, Frost makes some passive aggressive comments about how the Chosen One needs to reveal himself, and Evil Whele mocks him for silly superstition. They try to make him sit down but he claims a rumour that says “the child” is in Vega. Whele continues to mock and Frost sits down while giving Riesen the evil eye.

Michael meets with Uriel and Gabriel – Uriel stopping the other two fighting. She also lays down the law with Gabriel. She doesn’t really care if he slaughters humans but Michael is off limits. She’s also pissed at Michael for hiding the Chosen One and “father’s markings”. She demands they end the war which interests both of them because she could end it – by choosing a side. But she loves them both (though finds what Gabriel does with the 8 Balls revolting). Gabriel also talks about Michael forcing the Chosen One with more hints that his “true nature” will turn him to Gabriel

Because he has such a good pitch with the whole killing humanity thing

Uriel grieves for missing god and that’s clearly her sole concern – she promises Michael that if he unlocks the Chosen One’s writing she will side with him against Gabriel.

Alex is still in prison dreaming of ominous water when Claire visits. Blah blah angst, everyone around me is hurt woe is me blah angst woe blah angst woe. Claire is not patient with his self-pitying bullshit and has him released anyway. He goes to see Bixby because she is much more patient with his self-pitying manpain woe is me than Claire.

Time for Whele and Riesen to talk to Frost more privately about the Chosen one and Frost is… rather extreme. He threatens to drown them and destroy all of Vega’s crops if they don’t reveal the Chosen One

Arika reminds us all that she’s creepy and scary and has no personal boundaries and talks about Noma (her guard) hiding something. And throws in a recruitment pitch before she leaves.

Noma tells Ethan about her offer and Ethan point out the city that delivers dead women in boxes may not be a great career move. For a brief second these two almost, almost had a conversation about one of them – so Alex drops in and reveals his relationship with Claire to Ethan. Ethan doesn’t think that’s a great idea but the hostage situation now has to be dealt with, relationship angst later

The consul is absolutely unable to make a decision without Whele or Riesen holding the reigns so Becca decides to name Claire temporary leader of the city. Because that’s apparently something she can do completely unilaterally. The political system of this city needs some work.

Inside the agri-tower, Whele and Riesen continue to try and convince Frost how wrong he is while Frost accuses them of being secretive to hold onto their own power. He also shoots Whele in the leg. I approve.

Claire, rather than sending in the military and destroying their food, thinks that actually giving in to Frost is not a bad thing – not just because of Frost but because people deserve to know. She gives Becca her vote and goes looking, presumably for Alex.

Noma, Ethan and Alex learn about Frost’s demands. Alex puts on his angst face. Alex demands to go in, backed by a newly arrived Claire and she outranks the Senate. Alex goes in, ostensibly as a hostage negotiator.

He takes off his shirt and shows his tattoos – but Frost doesn’t believe him because Alex is just a V2 (and tattoos are easily faked) as the water rises, Frost wants proof. Alex says “she died for you” repeating the words he saw in the watery dream. Apparently Frost’s daughter died for him. Frost turns off the water when Alex says he’ll go outside and show the people. Frost surrenders and Riesen shoots him. Just to remind us that he’s not a good guy, he also demands Alex put his shirt back on. The Chosen One will not be revealed today.

Crisis over and Whele drags his son over the coals for sending in the troops rather than doing what Claire did – because William was unwilling to risk the Chosen One so was willing to risk his own father. William actually finds a spine and hits back that Alex will save the city, not two old men. He leaves Whele in Arika’s hands

And Alex is moping (he always mopes) around the shrine to the Chosen One (which is kind of narcissistic). Claire joins him while he angsts about how Frost will be remembered, but it’s ok, Riesen is very good at lying and will boost the man’s legacy. While he’s angsting about what to do next, Claire leaves and Michael joins him. Alex pouts that he needed Michael’s help, Michael sensibly points out that if he needs help he needs to be willing to accept it – so Alex agrees to learn.

Meanwhile, Becca examines the blade that stabbed Michael

And Uriel visits Gabriel in his lair and offers Gabriel the same deal – he deciphers the Chosen One’s markings, she will side with him. And more fool both of them for buying that “I need comforting hugs” act.

Evil Whele, who is evil, kills Bixby in her hospital bed.

I still want to know where the whole “chosen one” prophecy came from? God, apparently – but when and why and can we have a little exposition? And why are people so wrapped up in it – yes desperate people look for a saviour, but building a religion around it in the circumstances seems odd. In fact, any religious trapping in Vega seems odd. When you have the Archangel Michael around confirming that a) there is a god and b) he’s scarpered, what does that do to faith? In one instant he has both established the one true faith (well, the one of three true faiths) and then discounted it as something worthy of your time and attention. I think this is something Dominion has missed a lot – the faith and theological implications of the whole show; so we have odd things like Senator Frost having faith in prophecy, and Whele scoffing at superstition – neither of which makes sense!

One thing that does make sense is Whele and Riesen doubting the Chosen One – the prophecy is so damn vague, why would they put their faith and humanity’s survival in the hands of some guy who happens to have tattoos? And it’s not like Alex inspires confidence.

Did I mention that Alex gets on my last nerve? Because Alex gets on my last nerve. Claire stepping up a little is encouraging. As is a female Uriel.

Bixby the Starving Waif is dead. To be honest, I can’t even be sad because the whole damn thing is contrived. Bixby herself, the starving waif, is one of the most blatantly unsubtle attempts to pluck audience’s heart strings I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t work, every time I see her I expect them to smudge some dirt on her face or maybe have her ask Whele if she can have some more gruel. She was a grossly unsubtle display of Vega’s class system (in case you missed it with Alex’s rant) probably needed because Alex himself is so unsympathetic. And she died to grossly unsubtly convince us Whele is evil – in case there was any doubt. Her whole death was ridiculous – Bixby has called Alex, Alex all her life but now she drops into Chosen One? Her reason for even learning the truth was dubious in the first place.

Starving Waif, I am not impressed by your tragic death of tragedy.