Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Damien, Season 1, Episode 4: The Number of the Man

Time for more ominousness! Including weird stuff in demonic bathtubs and Damian contemplating suicide with his ominous razor.

John hasn’t completely given up his battle against Ann for control over Damien – playing the happy, kind paternal father figure to Damien, reassuring him that all this antichrist nonsense is totally silly and Ann is a scary weird lady he should stay well away from. At the same time he tries to aim for a truce with Ann with them both playing nice and united in front of their fellow corporate types/possible devil worshippers, saying nice things about unity and working together while clearly sharpening those knives for when the backs are turned.

Suspicious Detective Shay continues to be suspicious – really he would be completely bored and move on if the supernatural didn’t keep flashing up around him. Honestly it’s like the various infernal forces are taunting the man and encouraging to persecute Damien

Which he tries to do, it’s almost laughable. I mean there’s a whole scene where Shay says how suspicious it is that a man died in a freak accident while Damien was busy saving a child’s life – he’s literally just described Damien’s perfect alibi! Far less funny is his rather ridiculous threat to persecute Damien, stalk him and even outright murder him

No. Bullshit. Ok, yes this kind of police abuse bullshit happens. It does NOT happen to extremely wealthy well connected White guys who spent part of their childhood in the White House. John Lyons, his father figure, is a former White House chief of staff for crying out loud! Ye gods, with Damien’s connections he could have been found with blood up to the elbows cackling confessions in 8 languages and he could still walk!

Damien instead tries to cast suspicion on Ann which really doesn’t work because Ann is Ann and is good at this game, happily casting suspicion back at Damien along with aspersions regarding his mental illness.

Proving my point, Shay’s boss also tells him to back off, accusing him of being obsessed and making a homophobic crack about Damien being Shay’s type

And this does seem to be a direct crack – because Shay is living with another man and their son: we have a gay couple and their son. I think this is actually the very first gay family I’ve seen on any of the shows we’ve reviewed at Fangs. I don’t know whether to be really happy to finally see this or really depressed that this is the first one… c’mon it can’t be the first one?  And they seem to be happy!

Of course their son Jacob is nearly drown by a demon dog and possessed tarpaulin so theuy may not stay happy and there’s a reasonable chance one or both of them are going to die, but I’m going to cling to this, let me have it for a little while!

Now we have some other issues: Amani. Amani happily brings out his backstory to an attractive blonde lady who is Most Certainly Not Evil Honest – his backstory is that he was a translator in Libya who Damien saved. No, I’m not amused – this isn’t a backstory, this is a belated justification for Amani playing eternal nursemaid to Damien. This isn’t about developing his character at all, it’s all about creating a reason for him being in service – which is exactly what he’s doing again in this episode.

While we have Selene who is continuing to be scared of the religious notes Kelley left and her mother had happily hired a Yoruba priest to sacrifice a chicken all over her dead sister’s things. And there’s enough to unpack in this scene – here we have a West African religion being introduced and presented in a way that is expected to freak out the audience; this isn’t an attempt to include a non-Christian faith, this is meant to make us cringe at the “exotic” (and possibly even “savage” other). Then we have Selene’s reaction – how can her mother follow such old world superstition? Um, Selene has shown herself to be a devout Christian – don’t throw rocks at other people’s “superstitions” if you’re saying your own prayers. It’s only societal power that makes one a religion and the other a “superstition”.

If they’re going to include Yoruba, I would want it to be in more depth and more respect than a brief let’s kill a chicken – devil sign!” scene. This is a problem we see so often in portrayals of Yoruba and Yoruba derived religions (like Santeria or Voudou), they’re always there to be “exotic”, strange, dark and a little sinister with huge amounts of othering with very little attempt to treat them with respect due devoutly held religion.

Of course Damian dismisses all this and the dramatic “666” formed at the end of the ritual.