Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Damien, Season 1, Episode 2: Second Death

Damien is all sad and tortured doing lots of research and freaking about Revelations because of his 666 tattoo on his scalp, his dead friend Kelly and lots of memory flashbacks. I think they need to lean on the flashbacks to the film to convince us why Damien has so rapidly gone back into the deep end.

Amani is there to help drag him out of his pit and to Kelly’s funeral (this is actually lampooned with Simone, Kelly’s sister, commenting about Amani is there to clear up Damien’s mess. Does the show get points for realising what it’s doing to its POC? Nope nope it does not) which he was going to skip because Manpain. Amani points out that would be epic arseholery so it’s off to the church with lots of ominous music, flashbacks, Damien struggling and in pain and windows breaking before he’s driven out – because churches and the antichrist don’t mix

He is dragged to the wake where all the reporters talk about their various war wounds and we find Damien got through all the terrible things he’s seen (despite always being in the middle of the worst situations) completely unscathed because OBVIOUS REASON CAN WE NOT WITH THE FORESHADOWING ALREADY?!

Anne Rutlidge is also at the church and, well, everywhere. She just follows him around and says vaguely cryptic ominous things. Over and over and over. OMINOUS GUYS! Listen to the music! Ominous

He also has a loud, tasteless argument with a priest at the wake that has him run into the night because yelling about there being no god while everyone’s grieving is kind of tacky. Though, to be fair, the priest approached him and continues talking god talk to him when it was clear Damien wasn’t buying his bullshit. Take a hint padre and back off.

Instead Damien goes into the night-time streets, finds some poor areas and homeless people to take photos of without their consent because treating people like zoo animals is totally ok, right? Yeah, I know he’s a journalist, but he’s not writing a story here and it’s equally clear part of his career is taking photos of Big Dramatic Tragic Moments and selling them without commentary like some kind of vulture feeding off people’s pain. Rich people then buy his art and comment on the Big Special Feelings that poor-people pain makes them feel probably saying how powerful or moving it is without actually adding any kind of commentary, awareness or productive help being given to the actual victims depicted.

Sorry, side rant.

Anyway, he takes photos and we have a ranting homeless person say ominous things because Ominous Ominous Ominous and a creepy one eyed girl draws “666” in a window because nothing says horror like creepy children.

While he has been doing all that, a priest has recruited a guy (apparently a war victim) with a magical dagger of Meggido to give Damien a good stabbing. Murderer guy questions whether stabbing is all that godly and prays for a sign – at which point the priest dies and all the candles go out. He then leaves and plans to stab Damien

Wait, what? You prayed desperately for a sign and then the priest advocating murder dropped dead and all the candles went out. I call that a sign – and not a sign of approval. Seriously, does god have to break out the burning foliage or something?

So guy tries to stab Damien and gets hit by a car instead (car swerved off the road to avoid a demon dog. Can I also say that I find this breed of dog to be rather unmenacing? I’m not sure why). That’ll learn him. The police show up and decide This Is Suspicious because the plot says so – I mean guy was hit by a car that swerved off the road, what did they think Damien did?

Anne Rutlidge swoops in to make him look REAL suspicious by declaring herself to be his lawyer (which he doesn’t object to, because ominous stalkers pretending to be your legal counsel is totally fine) and after more cryptic ominous hints about his childhood (and being adopted) she invites him back to her place for some answers

There he sees that she’s an obsessive collector of his photos (see my above rant) which he finds kind of creepy and stalkerish. So she takes him to her basement full of photos and childhood toys to confirm that she’s way way way worse a stalker than he ever imagined. The objects prompt a whole lot more childhood flashbacks – including his dad trying to stab him with another Dagger of Meggido

While Damien is being hosted by his stalker, Amani and Simone look through Kelly’s notes and find lots of apocalyptic religious stuff in relation to Damien – and the video clip of the woman in Syria saying Ominous Things to him

I think this show is so concerned with pushing atmosphere, it misses actually advancing plot, developing characters or doing anything else. Like Ann Rutlidge who just appears literally to say cryptic and ominous things so the show can be a bit more cryptic and ominous. Or we spend a LONG TIME on scenes for them to be ominous – like Damien being uncomfortable in a church seemed to go on for a very long time. Again, I actually admire the acting that they can manage to work with this – that they can spend these long scenes really pushing the emotion and feel even though nothing is happening. They (well, he) literally has to stare at the camera and EMOTE. That’s like all he has to go all the time and he’s given nothing to work with except an over-active music department