In the aftermath of David’s bombing there’s a lot of burning and screaming and despairing all done with lots of drama. Claire despairs
Zoe is pissed that David picked his own target but David points out he split the city in two and gave her the half with the food production. She’s outraged about the amount of destruction and death he caused. When she pulls a gun on him he again tempts her with his advice and expertise. He promises to make her a true leader and Jasper is already on side.
David’s plan is to make a broadcast to the city before Claire can (because his bomb took out Claire’s radio tower). He’s even written her a speech – and he is damn good at speeches.
While they hand out food to the desperate V1s, David reassures the constantly invisible and ignored Zoe. She begins her speech – but quickly goes off message, ignoring David’s words and speaking from the heart as a V1 to V1s.
Jasper is still bleeding to death though, very very very slowly. Eventually he loses consciousness and dies – and David tries to empathise by talking about how Claire killed his son (somewhat revisionist history) and how it continues to hurt – but also leaves both of them with nothing to lose.
Claire et al are doing what they can to fix things – the whole trench was actually part of Vega’s design, Gates put it there so they could detonate it if Vega was falling to angels. Arika wants Claire to strike now, especially with the food supplies on the other side – but Claire doesn’t want to turn this into an outright civil war – nor to be fighting her own people when Gabriel attacks.
Claire remarks that city is being torn apart. Gates archly points out the city was always torn apart thanks to the V system her dad created. She also considers whether she should be more ruthless as her father would have been though Gates is totally against her becoming a ruthless killer and how he’s totally inspired by her
Arika brings some reality to the “go Claire” party and opens the windows so they can hear Zoe’s speech. Gates sees only one solution – him sneaking to the other side to cut off Zoe’s broadcast and play Claire’s own. Claire decides this is far too risky and forbids him. Of course he does it anyway, forcing her to get on side.
A member of the rebellion approaches David with a radio – on the other side is Arika. Oh you’ve got to love how good she is at the crafty plotting. He’s affronted that she has her tentacles in “his” rebellion but she chuckles because she was in waaaaay before David, having read the writing on the wall long ago. She tells him about Gates and how he needs to stop him – but not kill him. Because the war helps them both, apparently
So Zoe sends out soldiers and Gates has to play cat and mouse guided by Claire. Alas, Zoe’s soldiers aren’t all that smart and outright shout about looking for Gates – which proves there’s a leak in Claire’s camp.
Gates ends up hacking in the middle of a firefight. You’ll be shocked to read he doesn’t die, interrupting Claire’s despair moment. He then dumps Claire into telling a speech off the cuff right now. It’s apparently so epic that everyone cheers and supports her. It’s a shame we don’t get to hear it but I guess the writers didn’t know how to write “we’re rich and powerful and your faces belong in the dirt you nasty little peons” or, rather, writers who do know how to write that speech have already been hired by right wing political parties
She is upset Gates nearly died and shows this by stripping and having sex. Well, not sex because he doesn’t take his jeans off, so it’s more denim grinding
Maybe it’s not that effective- because Zoe gets a huge influx of new recruits. Zoe isn’t a fool though – she confronts David with her soldiers; she knows David is manipulating her so he can claim the throne. She shoots him in the hand to make it clear how serious she is. She remembers his brutality as leader and she’s certainly not having him in control again.
Arika also calls to remind us that she’s awesome and really in control.
In New Delphi, Gabriel has been captured but Julian is far more interested in killing Michael – or brutally torturing both of them for ages and ages. Gabriel continues his complicated relationship with Michael, threatening to torture Claire if Julian tortures Michael (it’s a big confusing torturefest). To top it off, Julian wants his nuclear amphora back. Julian has people follow Alex & co in the hope of finding Michael.
Alex’s plan is to pretend to look for the Amphora while really looking to “rescue” Michael. Alex is back to being pro-Michael… I guess? Has he put his daddy issues behind him? And if so, can he teach the Archangels of Parental Angst to do the same?
Nora provides a distraction by trying to get through to the newly possessed Pete – but he’s not home any more and the locals would like to let her know Higher Angels aren’t welcome.
Alex finds the injured and cowering Michael (I guess this is the difference being hit by empyrean steel makes). He then starts doctoring him though both of them have doubts about the others’ loyalty; Alex makes a kind-of apology for selling out Michael to try and get Gabriel.
Alex tells Michael about Julian’s army while patching Michael’s wounds and watching them magically heal while Michael brings Alex up to speed on Lire’s history. Between them they realise that Julian’s twisted revenge is to give all the lower angels human bodies – which will mean they need more humans so will probably invade Vega. Alex has decided the answer is to use his exorcism hug on Julian. This will involve Riesen’s help to distract Julian – and since Riesen seems to be looking all kindly at Alex now, it’s also time to tell him about their attempt to de-angel Clementine. It’s a complete backstory revelation day!
After making some small talk over the good booze, Alex yells out “sanctify this vessel, come into the light.” That’s just rude when the guy’s trying to drink. It also sounds vaguely like Alex has joined the Temprance movement. Alex has also perfected the art of exorcism without hugs – driving out Lire from a distance (and with dramatic hand gestures – of course). Well, almost. Didn’t quite work because Julian doesn’t actually WANT to be de-possessed and you can’t exorcise a guy who wants to be possessed
This ends up with everyone being chained up with Gabriel. Nora’s already there being tortured to try and find the Amphora. Julian also now knows about the whole exorcism thing and recognises Peter as a human he’d had possessed and he still wants his amphora – so it’s time to torture Alex and risk obliterating the markings on his skin. Gabriel is horrified that he’ll destroy “father’s words” but Julian always knew he was hardly daddy’s favourite child. Julian brans the markings, one by one and Pete manages to manhandle Nora (what happened to him being a lower angel) so Julian can spike her wings
He goes back to do more branding but god’s markings object to being erased and Julian gets thrown across the room. In response to this Noma pulls herself from the wall – ripping off her own wings (even Gabriel objects to this, personally I’m a little surprised at how easy it is to do). She can then crawl towards Alex (the cuffs on Alex’s wrists are so comically huge he could just slip out of them). Alex and Noma flee with Gabriel telling them to run and save Michael.
Alex takes Noma to Michael to patch her up, while Alex despairs over her having lost her wings and Michael worries that one of the divine markings is gone (Noma’s right there!). Looking at them Michael realises one of Alex’s markings is actually a cryptic warning about Lire attacking Vega which totally makes sense AFTER THE FACT. Michael and Alex compete over who is most to blame for this.
They flee with Michael staying behind to cover their escape. They run - but Noma is concerned that they don’t have the Amphora which is terribad. Also she’s not healing which is worse, and she now considers herself dead weight (you just tore open metal cuffs that were holding Alex in place by sheer power of intimidation – because they were certainly not tight enough to hold him – that’s not dead weight). She is sure she is dying and he is sure that that’s not going to happen. She also sees ominous hatted figures in the darkness.
In an abandoned house they patch her up best they can
In New Delphi, Michael is thrown into the cell with Gabriel.
Y’know someone really should have forced Gates to train an apprentice. Really, the whole city and how it works seems to depend on him. This is a dystopia! He’s one bad case of flu away from kicking the bucket! Spread the knowledge guys!
The two storylines feel a bit jarring – they’re just so completely unrelated to each other. I don’t dislike either of them, I actually think they’re both good and interesting and full of lots of nifty cunning plots – but they’re so separate that jumping between them feels jarring
Nora deserves better than this episode – so she was captured, fair enough if the plot requires it go with that – but at least show this high angel, warrior and general dangerous person taking down a few people in the process. Show them having to bur her in numbers. And, again, when her wings are spiked don’t just have Peter lift her up while she ineffectually grabs his wrist - have her dog piled. Show us that it takes vast numbers to bring her down, not that any random 8 Ball can do it.
And then having her rip off her own rings? This whole episode has dragged her down and de-powered her.
I wonder what statement this show is trying to make about god? Because when you see potential evidence of divine intervention – like the marks glowing here or the town that’s protected by bonfires and sacrifice – I get the strong impression that god is an arsehole. Sure you can be tortured by one of my evil minions but he better not smudge my writing! I will protect you from hordes of monsters but I want a pretty pretty bonfire. Ha, now I make it rain! RUN LITTLE MORTALS! RUN! It’s quite sadistic, and reminds me of how one of my friends plays Sims.
The more I see of the Achangels being captured the more I question how the angels manages to bring down humanity in the first place. And now Alex is wandering around and there’s conveniently a town nearby. A town? What is this town? How has it survived? Does it have a magic sacrifice bonfire too?