Tweetable Takeaway: #Damien starts to believe everyone in his life is conspiring against him
This week’s episode of DAMIEN, titled “Abattoir,” in a sharp contrast to last week’s inconsequential chore of an episode, moved the plot forward by providing much-needed concrete truths about why a shadowy group is trying to bring about the rise of the Antichrist, who is marshaling an offensive against him, and how he can be killed. After far too many weeks of tiresome intimations of Damien’s true nature and what the obsession with the Antichrist is all about, this episode finally filled in some details about the mythology that made it worthwhile.
When this week’s episode began with Damien waking up in the psychiatric unit of a hospital, I immediately flashed back to last week’s horrible fever dream of an episode and feared we were in for another dreadful hour of Damien’s subconscious run rampant. Mercifully, this week’s storyline was not a dream in Damien’s head, and after his quick release from the hospital, Damien once again set out to learn the truth about the Satanic cabal that has been trying to convince him that he’s the Antichrist.
While the events of last week didn’t actually occur, it appears that the truths Damien learned with him in that episode have stayed with him. He’s convinced that Amani and Simone are working with Armitage Global, and he realizes that Ann Rutledge and John Lyons are in cahoots, playing a good cop/bad cop routine to befuddle and disarm him. After weeks of Damien being about several steps behind the audience, it was a relief for him to experience this moment of clarity, even if he seems to be mistaken about Amani and Simone’s loyalties. When Damien meets with Ann and tells her that he knows, she admits she and John are working together but stresses the difference between them in how they value Damien relative to how much they value the Antichrist he’s destined to become. For John, Damien as a person is irrelevant, it’s the Antichrist that is specifically important, because John believes that he’s going to be one of the Antichrist’s ten disciples when he returns. Ann also tells Damien that if he does succeed in killing himself, like he tried to two weeks ago, it won’t stop the Antichrist’s return, rather it will only place that burden on some other poor soul. Unlike John, Ann claims that she truly cares about Damien, and it’s he who she has been devoted to for several decades. She shows Damien the Dagger of Megiddo that John had been looking for, telling him that it’s one of seven, and that the dagger is the only object that can kill him. She gives Damien the opportunity to kill himself, if that is what he really wants to do, and succeeds in calling out his bluff.
On the other side of the battle over Damien’s soul, Simone finally becomes a worthwhile chess piece in the plot. After several episodes away, Sister Greta arrives in New York City to investigate claims Simone made about witnessing a bleeding statue in an earlier episode. Greta tells Simone that the visions she’s been seeing are real, whether anyone else is willing to believe her or not, but that they’re not a sign from her dead sister Kelly as she had believed, rather they are the sign of something much larger. Greta tells Simone that Damien is the Antichrist, and seems to imply that he can avoid the destructive consequences of his fate if he is a good man at heart, but she’s not ready to believe that’s the case because of all the death that has occurred around him. It’s not clear yet what exactly Greta and Simone will do together, whether Greta will look to secure a dagger and assassinate Damien immediately, or whether they’ll attempt to reason with Damien, but having Simone working with a character who actually moves the plot forward and has a clear role to play in the events to come goes a long way toward making me actually care about Simone whatsoever, which is a first.
There’s another storyline in this episode that’s not as successful as those and continues to feel inconsequential and unnecessary on the show, Detective Shay’s continued investigations into the strange happenings that always occur around Damien. This week he continues to be perplexed by the demonic face he saw in his pool tarp after he saved his son from drowning. Refusing to accept his husband’s pleas to forget his obsession with Damien, Shay instead digs into Damien’s college years and starts interrogating his old classmates. His investigation leads him to Cray, a former classmate of Damien’s who we briefly met in an earlier episode, who confirms all of Shay’s suspicions but is quick to insist that Shay not mention his meeting to Damien, lest he be another of the many people who end up damaged or dead after being around Damien. This leads Shay to Charles Powell, one of those damaged people, a former classmate whose obsession with Damien ended with Damien watching him suffer horrible burns all over his body. Despite this, Charles doesn’t speak ill of Damien at all, which arouses Shay’s suspicion. And that suspicion bears out, as in the final scene of the episode we see Charles viciously stab Chay to death for speaking to the police about Damien.
Overall, this was a weak episode of television but a decent episode of Damien. The plot moved forward and we were provided some clarification about why John Lyons and company are so obsessed with the Antichrist, how Sister Greta could combat Damien, and who will be on each side of the conflict. The battle lines are starting to be drawn more clearly, with John Lyons and his goat-butchering comrades on one side, Sister Greta and Simone on the other, and Damien squarely in the middle, unsure of which side to embrace in order to spare the most lives. There are only three episodes left in Damien and it’s about time for the shit to begin hitting the fan. Now that Damien is past the stage where he’s learning about what happened to him as a child, and finally ready to face whatever may lie in his uncertain future, I’ll be interested in seeing how well the writers stick this landing in the weeks to come.
Eric enjoys watching and making movies.
Eric Colasante | Contributor