Monday, July 28, 2014

Dominion Season One, Episode Six: Black Eyes Blue

Michael arrives at an old casino vault to find Alex waiting for him. When Michael enters the vault, he finds Clementine tied up in chains begging to be let go.  And let the bickering begin!  Michael is upset that Alex radioed in to say that the eight ball had been killed and Alex defends this actions by saying that he was only trying to buy time. Alex explains that Clementine is no ordinary eight ball because she is Claire's mother. This of course is no surprise to Michael and he tells Alex that he was ordered by Edward to take care of this personally and now because of Alex's false report, Edward believes that Clementine is dead. In Clementine's defense, Alex argue's that she is different and knows things about Claire only a mother could know, leading him to believe that Claire's mother is still somehow hidden inside. Clementine stands and promises to leave Vega but Michael is adamant that Clementine is not going anywhere.  Alex brings up the text which apparently says that the possessed shall find relief in the hands of the chosen one and Michael calls it the words of scared men and orders Alex to get back into the vault and end this or he will. More bickering and finally, Alex decides that he is going to perform and eviction on Clementine despite the great risk to himself.

Edward is sitting in his office when Claire walks in with a big smile on her face.  It seems that the music box which Clementine had placed on her bed had fallen off  and landed on the floor so she didn't see it. Of course, Claire assumes this a gift from her father because it plays a song her mother used to sing her as a child. Claire thanks her father and talks about how much she misses her mother. Edward admits to missing his wife and Claire kisses her father calling it a perfect gift. As Claire moves to leave the room, Edward asks Clarie to wait so that he can request her help with David's attempt to initiate the call for a vote of no confidence. Claire is surprised that this is still going on given that she threatened David last night with absolutely no proof. How dare he not capitulate to the Lady of the city's command. Edward asks Claire to attend a meeting with him which will hopefully put a stop to Edward's plans.

William is outside at his gathering area for his fake religion in his ministerial robes. William calls David's visit a pleasant surprise but David quickly informs William that this is not a pleasure visit and pulls out the cloth which represents collusion with Gabriel.  David informs William that the cloth was found in their home and adds that he is impressed by William's work looking into Gabriel's under-church and the black acolytes. At this point, David is clearly no different than a cat playing with a mouse before going in for the slaughter. David promises to end the black acolytes the moment he finds them and tells William to have a good day.

Michael drops in on Uriel, who is dancing like ballerina and unimpressed by the intrusion.  Around the room are famous works of art. Michael hands Uriel another painting for her collection saying that he would like to make a trade for the apocrypher. Uriel is shocked and points out that the apocrypher is only used for one thing, then questions if a human soul is more important to Michael that one of his own kind. Michael tells Uriel that the chosen one is demanding it and since Uriel told him to train Alex, that is exactly what Michael intends to do. Uriel points out that even with the apocrypher, trying to save the possessed is a fools mission but the ever so arrogant Michael intends this as a lesson in failure for Alex. Uriel then points out that this would greatly upset Gabriel but Michael claims that this has nothing to do with Gabriel.  Uriel questions if Michael thinks she is a fool, given that if even one eight ball is released, it would change the balance. Uriel then hands the painting back to Michael with a smile and says that there is something else she wants.

Later, Alex sits on Michael's bed, while Uriel examines his tattoos saying that she now understands why Michael has been keeping Alex all to himself. When Alex complains that Uriel is making him uncomfortable, Michael replies, "welcome to my world." Alex points out that he is the only one who can translate them and is having difficulty doing so but Uriel says that she is not interested in the translation at the moment. Alex questions Uriel's desire to see them and Uriel respond that the markings are divine creativity handed down by her father. Finally, at the max of his creep out level, Alex declares that Uriel has seen enough and demands the book. Uriel hands it over and Alex removes the cover and asks what they are to do now. Uriel snarks about Michael not telling Alex about the book's history and Michael snarks that it was premature given that he was not sure if they would ever actually possess the book. Michael tells Alex that the book belonged to the only prophet to ever evict an angel and though many have held that book, all have failed. Alex realises that there have been angel possessions for hundreds of years and Michael explains that this is the only kind of possessions there ever have been. it's just that humans have always failed to see them for what they were. When Alex opens the book, he finds that the pages are faded away and are not readable. Michael of course stalks over to Uriel and says that the only way to save Claire's mother is to find that prayer. Alex closes his eyes and begins to concentrate causing his tattoo to start moving across his body. The words begin to appear on the page and Michael realises that Alex can read the prayer.

William heads to a restaurant where he is seated by Paul, one of Gabriel's acolytes. William tells Paul  that Edward found the scarf which he forced into his hand. William orders the other acolytes to gather and then disband for the time being. William says that if the acolytes are exposed, they will all be dragged outside the city walls and shot and demands that his orders be fulfilled.

Michael goes to see Clementine and she falls to her knees in prostration once again promising to disappear if Michael will release her. Michael asks where Clementine will go and and points out the obvious - Clementine is an eight ball. Clementine rejects the label but Michael argues that this is what she is and she has already murdered two people in Vega. Clementine says that she had no choice because the humans were going to hurt her but Michael says that Clementine made her choice long ago with the other lower angels. Clementine argues that she panicked and that as soon as she had completed the possession she regretted it and therefore tried to reduce the damage as much as she could. Clementine questions if Michael had expected her to wait in the nothingness because she didn't have the luxury of a body like the higher angels. Clementine argues that she has respected the body and lived an honest life - a life of love and redemption. When Clementine questions if Michael believes in redemption, he quickly draws his sword and puts it to her throat and then promptly walks out in a fit.

Aryka enters Edward's office and walks right by him and heads to see Claire. Edward points out that Claire will be a part of running the city soon and Aryka clearly approves, given that she is from a matriarchy (which btw does not make any sense) The topic quickly shifts to David, whom Claire calls a threat to their plans and Aryka says that she does not fear David's influences but values the promises which David has made. Edward questions Aryka's confidence in David keeping his promises. The little conference is interrupted when a message is delivered to Claire. Claire stands and excuses herself for a moment. Claire meets with Alex in the hallway and he asks her to come with him but Claire says that she cannot just leave. Alex replies that he is on a "top secret" mission and that Claire should just come with him and not ask any questions.  Claire tells Alex that whatever it is will have to wait and moves to leave but Alex grabs her hand and says that it cannot wait.

Alex takes Claire to the vault which holds Clementine. When Clementine sees Claire, she thrusts out her arms and calls Claire her little girl, causing Claire to take a few startled steps backwards. Alex explains that he was protecting Vega from another eight ball attack and didn't know who Clementine was until he had her trapped. Alex adds that he couldn't take her down, as Clementine calls out for Claire.  Claire questions how much Edward knows and Alex explains that Edward has been keeping Clementine for years, outside the walls in the The Luxor.  Alex goes on to add that Clementine told him that she has been having a relationship with Edward and she knows too many details for this to be a lie. Claire is absolutely horrified by this news and questions how her father could do this. Alex explains that Edward still sees his wife and that he does as well. Claire calls this assertion crazy and starts to leave. Alex grabs Claire and tells her that the eight ball in the vault is not like the others, leading him to believe that her mother is still trapped inside.  Claire cries that it doesn't work like that and screams that what is in the vault, is the creature who stole her mother. Claire tells Alex to follow his orders and execute Clementine but Alex begs her to stay and at least talk to her because he would never put Claire through this if he didn't think that there was reason to hope. Alex shows Claire his tattoo, claiming that it will help and promises that after talking to Clementine, if Claire is not convinced, he will carry out his order and kill her.

The acolytes meet with Paul, who assures the acolytes that though they need to disband, it will only be temporary. Paul is asked when they can gather together again but before he can respond, armed men enter the room and start shooting the acolytes.

Edward sits with Aryka and talks about the men he served with.  Edward says that during the war, he worked with Col. Russel Moore, who ran the air force base that Helena now sits on.  Edward adds that in Moore's last fight with the angels, he lost all of the aircraft except for two and this is what actually constitutes Helena's air force capabilities. Edward sits back with a smug smile and Aryka says that a legend is more powerful than the truth. Edward points out that they have a common enemy and though today Gabriel is focused on Vega, tomorrow Gabriel could attack Helena. Edward points out that Vega has a massive bomb and Aryka counters by saying that Helena has the B-52 to drop it on Gabriel's compound. Aryka then says that Evelyn is queen in Helena and does not share her concerns about Gabriel, therefore; until the threat comes to Helena, Evelyn will not enter the war.

Claire enters the vault and Clementine tells her that she has waited so long to see her. Claire is still extremely cynical and calls this her turn to be tricked. Clementine reveals that she just wanted to see Claire and took it too far.  Claire questions what Clementine is talking about and Clementine calls her actions selfish. Claire then realises that it was Clementine who gave her the music box and not Edward. Clementine asks if Claire remembers that they used to hum "beautiful dreamer" together when Claire was little but Claire points out that this did not happen because Clementine is not her mother. Clare argues that Clementine does not actually remember anything and she knows about the song because Edward told her about it. Clementine says that she thought that all of the years of love which she spent with Edward would count for something. Clementine tells Claire that she had a relationship based in love and honesty with Edward and that she can love and protect Claire just like her mother could. Clementine begs for a relationship with Claire adding that her mother is here. Clementine calls Claire "Issy" which apparently is the pet name Claire's mother had for her and says that this is something which Edward didn't tell her. This is what causes Claire to question her beliefs and she moves towards Clementine who quickly grabs her arm.

Outside of the vault, Claire tells Alex that she doesn't know if he is right but after meeting Clementine, she knows why Alex couldn't kill her. Michael arrives with the book and Alex explains that the prayers in the book could be the key to saving Claire's mother.

William arrives in the acolyte room to find it scattered with bodies.  Paul explains that David's guards must have followed one of the acolytes and that they opened fire and started killing acolytes, until they were over powered. Paul says that if the men don't return, David will have them all killed and then adds that Gabriel needs to know what is going on. William replies that Gabriel doesn't need to hear about this and since David is his father, William vows to take care of this.

Michael, Claire and Alex re-enter the vault and Clementine immediately thrusts her arms out in greeting for Claire. Alex opens the book and Claire explains that they are there to help her. Alex starts to read the prayer and Clementine begs for him to stop and promises to do anything. In desperation, Clementine points out that this will kill both of them. Michael grabs Clementine's chain when she breaks it in an attempt to escape and Alex continues to read the prayer.  Clementine begs Claire and Claire begins to cry but Alex keeps reading. Clementine begins to writhe violently on the ground as Alex continues to read. Suddenly, Clementine sits up and asks for forgiveness and the spirit leaves the body and Clementine's eyes become blue again and all traces of possession leave. The two women embrace crying and suddenly, Clementine starts to choke and she falls to the ground.  Claire and Alex both beg Michael for help but he says he can do nothing that that Clementine's spirit is gone.  A horrified Claire backs away and Alex says that he is sorry and that he tried.

David arrives in the senate chambers to find only Edward waiting for him.  Edward explains that he led the session of the council an hour ago. Edward brings up his conversation with Aryka and his knowledge that Helena does not have much of an air force and that David made overblown claims based on this.  Edward explains that the members of the senate were pleased that he found out in time, which meant that they didn't give away all of their technology for one B-52 bomber. Edward informs David that it's over and that Aryka will be going back to Helena because they need her and Aryka needs them. David says that Aryka will jump right back into bed with Evelyn but Edward counters by saying that there will be a coup in Helena. Edward explains that once Aryka has gotten rid of Evelyn, the council will help govern Helena. David tells Edward that he hopes his sick heart beats long enough to enjoy his triumph before starting to stalk out. Edward informs David that they held the no confidence vote in Edward's absence and offers him a chance to vote now, forcing David to say that he votes for confidence.

Later, an excited Edward sits to enjoy his meal when a very upset Claire arrives holding the music box in her had.  Edward asks what is going on and Claire simply replies that she knows. Claire explains that she spoke with Clementine and held her in her arms. Edward asks where Clementine is and Claire simply says that Clementine is safe and that she understands what her father did. Claire says that though she understands, the people of Vega would not. When Edward points out that the people of Vega don't need to know, Claire snarks that the people of Vega won't learn anything but if they were aware of what Edward had done, they wouldn't want him as their leader.   Claire then demands that as soon as the wedding is over that Edward steps down and when Edward balks, Claire makes it clear that they are not negotiating. Edward sits back down and Claire tosses the music box on the table before walking out.

David is alone in his room when William stalks in. David tells William that he wants to be alone. William stands there with his death stare on and tells David that the guards he sent to slaughter the acolytes will not be returning. William declares that his acolytes must be protected at all costs and David says that from the day William was born, he knew that William was destined to be nothing but a curse. David tells William that there is nothing he can do which will save him from this betrayal. When David turns his back, William pulls out a gun. David tells William that when one comes across a wounded animal that you have got to put it down and suggests that if William wants a job done that he has to do it himself. David throws his arms wide open and tells William to take his best shot but advises that if William does have the balls to do this, he better not miss. Ooooooh daddy/son tension. William puts the gun to David's forehead with a shaking hand and David tells him to show how strong he really is. Instead of shooting David, William cold cocks him, knocking him unconscious.

Uriel sits on the ground frantically drawing the tattoos she can remember on Alex's body when Michael walks in holding the book. Michael explains that as soon as you see the tattoo, it changes making the former tattoo no longer relevant. Uriel says that the chosen one cannot be the only one who can read the tattoos because father has never been that predictable. Michael asks for secrecy and asks Uriel to keep the images only in her memory. Uriel promises not to reproduce the images in exchange for the vaneer.  Uriel promises that Gabriel will not see the markings.

David awakes to find himself tied up with a burlap sack over his head. William tells David that his time in the darkness is over and that William will bring him back into the light. William then removes the sack revealing to David that he is in a candlelit room surrounded by acolytes, wearing the cloth of Gabriel over their eyes. William tells David that he wants to save him.   William releases Davids hands and then David is spread eagle as David tells William that he has been saving his son for his entire life. The tightening cloth is placed around David's chest as begins to beg William.  William begins to tighten the cloth as the acolytes chant. David screams in pain as the acolytes chant, "in Gabriel's name." repeatedly. David's bones begin to crack and in pain he falls to his knees. William embraces David and tells him that he is going to be okay now.

Claire returns to vault and walks by Alex as he says how sorry he is. Claire picks up what remains of her mother and starts to hum beautiful dreamer. Claire continues to hum as she cuts off her mother's airway and Clementine struggles. Finally Clementine dies and Claire places her gently on the ground.

Okay, so we had issues with Claire and her parents and William with his.  We are clearly meant to compare the two situations and how each handled them.  Clearly the idea is for us to understand that as ruthless as the older generation thinks they are, their children now have them beaten and it's time to pass the baton to Vega's future. The problem is that, once again, I find myself struggling to care. They have yet to explain what tying the magic rope around people does other than torture them by cracking their bones, so I don't understand how this converts David. Claire may be pissed now after what she has experienced and feeling powerful enough to make demands of her father but the scene with Arika reveals that Claire has a lot to learn before she is ready.

Speaking of Claire, I am getting rather sick of the chosen one grabbing her whenever he feels like it.  I wonder if the writers and director see how problematic the gender dynamic is between the two of them. Not only does Alex order Claire to simply drop what she is doing because he needs her attention, she complies after being grabbed.  Claire being a princess of the city does not make the interaction between her and Alex less problematic.

Okay, with the prayer not completely working, it is clear that there are limits to Alex's "chosen one" powers. I for one am glad to see this but largely because I am tired of seeing a straight cis white male as the "chosen one" and in a position of power. Enough already.

I am also tired of Michael's inscrutable routine when ever he decides to do the whole miyagi routine?  Is this supposed to make Michael an interesting character?  If so, it's failing badly as a device.