I was attempting to do a recap of this episode Cleolinda-style, but ended up traumatized and exhausted after writing for the first 10 minutes of the episode. Literally, I went: TOO MUCH STRESS. I DON’T HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR. I'M GOING TO PASS OUT. HOW THE HELL DO PEOPLE DO THIS.
So I'm going to post my small partial attempt of a recap and then I'm going to stop there and devolve into random bullet points of thoughts. I'm sorry that I cannot be the recapper I wanted to be. 8(
Romans 8:17, Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (x)
Last time on Dominion, we saw these characters at an uncertain fate:
Alex climbing up Gabriel’s fortress, due to Gabe threatening his loved ones
A pregnant Claire being left to be Lady of Vega since General Riesen flees off to New Delphi, while Uriel and Arika seem to be scheming around her
William being abandoned in the desert by his father David
Michael flying away in a wing flap of angst and pain, and poor Becca lying dead on the ground because of him
The episode opens with Claire narrating the opening in the place of General Riesen. It’s a very fitting voiceover choice, in line with the episode title: Claire is Riesen’s ‘heir,’ as the new leader of Vega.
Interestingly enough, the episode recap included a part from the S1 finale that got deleted:
Of course I noticed. It’s Gabriel face-touching Alex, asking Alex to join him. How could I not.
2x1 begins in media res. A woman is hurrying to shepherd panicked children to a shelter while thunder dramatically crackles in the background.
“Mommy, I’m scared,” a little girl says, in an oddly-sounded voice that I assume is either 1) dubbed over or 2) maybe just a South African accent of the extra at work.
I’m reminded of Bixby - blonde, quavery. Hope this poor kid doesn’t share her fate.
The woman kneels down to reassure her, but then stands up, interrupted by the hissing of a strange language. Lishepus, Dominion’s conlang. The woman goes over to the door and peers out of a slit - and it’s raining outside, our very own archangel Michael drenched from the storm with his two swords out at his side and fighting raging on behind him.
“So am I,” the woman says to the girl, while Michael strides forward. The music of this scene ratchets up in the background - kudos to the new composer Bill Brown - and Michael starts to slash at the eight-balls around him. Blood sluices through the rain, and a head literally flies through the air from a neat cut of Michael’s sword. Visible head decapitation count: 1. Another one - visible head decapitation count: 2.
From the shelter: “Are we all gonna die?”
Michael keeps slashin’. The woman is still watching, and then suddenly, an eight-ball roars against the door. She slams the sliding door of the slit shut, and the screen goes black.
The camera now pans over snow-covered mountains, the caption announcing: TWO DAYS EARLIER. Now we’re at Gabriel’s fortress. The first sounds we hear is the click, click, click of a Newton’s Cradle. Alex is lying on his back, shirtless.
This is the second time that an archangel has made Alex strip off his shirt and then surrounded him with candles.
“Again,” Gabriel demands. Alex: “[The tattoos] haven’t moved since I left Vega. No words, no symbols. Nothing. They stopped communicating.” Gabriel sighs; he says: “My father had a name for me. One you couldn’t comprehend. I think the closest example would be the Latin equus. It meant his calm one.”
I was confused while watching this initially, because my immediate association with ‘equus’ is the play by Peter Shaffer - I took it to mean ‘horse’ or ‘steed.’ But I searched and this came up: aequus (equus appears to be a variant spelling of the word - it’s the spelling used in the closed captioning)--equal, level, even, calm, fair/impartial, just. It’s the root of the word equinox.
Gabe continues: “And of my brothers and sisters, it was true. I was the reasonable one, the patient one. Michael, we all know about him, don’t we? Tempest in a bottle. Uriel, well, truthfully, she’s crazy.”
Gabriel is talking about his archangel siblings, specifically. And the sisters is plural, which in retrospect, is reference to Raphael, Uriel’s twin, who we haven’t seen onscreen yet. Dominion: Revelations (extra material on SyFy’s website) confirmed that Raphael is a woman. I’m thinking about making a separate post going over the material in more depth - hang onto Raphael speculation and All of the Archangel Musings for a couple of days.
Going back to Gabriel, he’s described as ‘the Heart’ in D:R. His father saw him as the calm one who had been driven by the strength of his passions; but now, of course, he’s directed that drive into angrily waging war. Vaun Wilmott has compared Gabriel to heat because of his emotions, while Michael is cold - he’s ‘The Sword,’ the ‘Flood’ and a cool metal weapon that had delivered God’s judgment. In addition, Gabriel just described Michael as a ‘tempest’ - it brings into mind a violent rain and windstorm, and that’s basically what Michael was during the opening scene.
There’s always that imagery--Gabriel and Michael are opposites when it comes down to everything: yin and yang, cold and heat, fire and ice. This first episode is very, very heavy on fire as a recurring element, and it looks like it will be an overarching theme for this season. D:R also keeps talking about fire in relation to Michael and Gabriel.
Returning to the episode, Gabe goes on: “But these last few months with you, Alex, have tested that patience, because I know you’re lying. And how many times do I have to tell you--these markings are mine. A message from my father. With those, I’ll bring him back.” Alex: “As long as you honor our deal, I’m here.” “Maybe the deal was premature. Maybe sparing Claire, Vega, your unborn baby, was too much to offer.”
In the background, Noma, held back by two of Gabriel’s minions, makes a surprised face, because romance drama in the midst of angel/chosen one drama, why not. But it seriously seems very awkward that despite the fact that Alex and Noma had been held captive in Gabriel’s fortress for months, Alex never brought up his and Claire’s kid…
“If you even threaten them again,” Alex says, “you can find someone else to help you with daddy issues.”
I had a knee jerk reaction of hey, it’s the title drop! Daddy Issues: The Show, before remembering that is a jokey nickname for Dominion and not, in fact, the show’s real name.
Gabe: “Finally, some life in the boy yet.”
Suddenly, the music in the background builds ominously. The tattoos on Alex’s arm start to whisper and shift, and everyone in the room turns to Alex, expectant. Noma: “Alex, don’t tell him,” while struggling against the angels holding her. Alex strides forwards, grabs a candle, blows it out.
Gabe to minions: “Find Uriel. She should see this.”
Alex tests the wax to a surface, and then starts to draw. The music keeps at its tone, building, and we’re expecting a revelation, and….
Alex, that little shit, draws a smiley face.
The music falls, abruptly - another wave to BIll Brown, that is A+ timing! - and Alex gives Gabriel as goofy-ass grin. He laughs and says: “Maybe it means your dad is happy where he is. I can’t read them.” Thump goes the candle as Alex drops it. “But if you so much as look at Vega, you’ll never get a thing from me.” “Well, that’s a shame. Pin her wings.” Noma: “No! Let go of me!”
Alex, honey, don’t try to threaten the guy who has a hostage right in front of you. Recalling the extended version of the S1 finale really shows that...Alex is really someone who would task risks when it comes to Noma, especially with him going stabbity then. Honestly, I think he really trusts Noma, on the core of things in dangerous situations - he doesn’t treat her fragilely. He doesn’t want her to get hurt, but they were fellow soldiers together and there’s a part of him that knows that she’s able to handle herself.
“Hey, come on! Noma!” Alex yells, while Gabe’s minions hold Noma down, and one drives a stake through her shoulders with a hammer. She’s screaming. This is almost crucifixion-like, which, I suppose, probably isn’t a coincidence considering this show.
Gabe: “I’m done waiting, Alex.” However, there’s a rumbling noise from above them. The fortress starts to shake, and a missile is dropped down, exploding the whole place to bits. The scene then turns greenish--it’s on a monitor.
Claire’s watching the cloud of dust with Arika beside her. They’re in a room full of computer screens in Vega; the room is crowded with other people, who all burst into applause. Arika: “You did it, Claire.” Claire doesn’t respond, just looks apprehensively at the monitor.
TV.com says: “This episode tossed in a subplot about DRONE ATTACKS and the cost of war. (Come to Syfy to get your up-to-the-minute sociopolitical commentary!)”
Next scene: David Whele angrily enters a room, growling to Claire, “You bombed Gabriel’s aerie.” “Yes,” Claire says, coolly; then, because manners are important: “Morning, David. It was my call.”
“And?” “We’re waiting on a visual confirmation from Arika’s plane, but we believe it was a direct hit.” Sharply: “As a Consul, I should have been notified.” Claire: “With Michael gone, we’re a city without an archangel. That leaves us vulnerable to attack. So when the intel said that Gabriel was in the aerie, I took that shot. It was that simple.”
Roxanne McKee said in an interview: “I feel that Claire is intrinsically good and pure of heart and spirit. She was trying to do what’s best for the masses, but when she got power she started to change and think about eliminating the opposition (bold mine).”
There was a vulnerability, Claire saw it, and she took her opportunity to show strength. I am not going to try and bullshit any knowledge about political theory/mindset--unlike Roxanne McKee, I don’t have a degree in politics--but I just really love this evolution of Claire as a character. She’s not simply a princess or a teacher. She’s a leader. She wants to achieve something, and she knows she can’t do that by doing nothing.
“It’s never that simple,” David scoffs. “Something your father understood. Let me explain. If, for any reason, Gabriel was not killed, you just hit the hornet’s nest, honey. We’ll all pay for it.” Wow. Much condescension. Such patronization. He’s essentially telling her--’Stop playing at war.’
Claire stands up in response, confidently approaching him. “Let me explain something to you. My father isn’t here. I am. So back to running commerce, David. It’s what you’re good at when you’re not interfering with my plans for the city.”
David: “Oh, like your plans to give away three floors of the Wynn to the V-1s? Genius.” I love that in this post-apocalyptic future, hotels are a class status symbol. Claire: “We need to take care of all the people within this city. Not just the upper Vs like you and your cronies.” David: “Your father hated me, too, but he knew I was a necessary evil.”
It is wonderful how David Whele is so self-aware enough to call himself evil. But on the other hand, his scenery-chewing levels are very much lower than S1! Even Gabriel didn’t get as OTT as he was back then. It’s pretty cool to see this change, even though I definitely found myself entertained.
David: “[General Riesen] had the military. I run the city. Two halves of a whole. You need me, too, Claire. You just don’t know it yet.” “Yeah? Enlighten me.” “Well, if you’d enlightened me about the bombing, I would have told you I had men watching the aerie. I would have told you that Alex Lannon was in there with Gabriel. When you bombed Gabriel, you killed Alex.” David whips out something from a manilla folder, on cue, and sets down a picture of Alex.
“Sorry to be the one to tell you, Claire,” David says. He turns his back, begins to walk away, and seems to be waiting for the waterworks.
“I know,” Claire says shortly. David halts in his steps. She pours herself a drink, almost casually. “You said it yourself, David. I have the military. All intel comes to me. I’m the daughter of General Riesen. The army is still loyal to me. Not you.”
She waves her drink toward David, smirks at him through her hair. It is amazingly attractive, ngl.
But once David leaves, she puts down her glass. Her glance falls on the photo of Alex. She takes out a letter from between the pages of a book--Alex’s voice reading it plays again, talking about wanting the child to have a normal life, a family, happiness--and Claire clutches her stomach and breathes.
@knucklewhite called Claire a pragmatic idealist, but she has very much taken on a utilitarian frame of mind now. The death of Gabriel is the greater good, not Alex’s survival. And honestly, you know exactly where she’s coming from.
-- //END RECAP ATTEMPT HERE; BULLET POINTS BELOW. I LIVE THE WALL OF TEXT LIFE:
Fight scene in the aerie: did Noma really kill Furiad? D: I hope he isn't dead, because aghhh, not Furiad. It makes me sad, considering they did have A History in the past, and because Furiad even did kinda cooperate with Noma, Alex, and Michael and with their flimsy 'yeah let's try and trick Gabriel' plan. :(
But, seriously, Furiad/Gabriel loyalty feelings. The fortress was hit by a goddamned bomb and of course one of the first things that Furiad does is basically jump in front of Gabriel to protect him. (Just like how Noma’s was--she just got a stake through her wing, and there’s a bomb, and she immediately throws her wings over Alex.)
"I don't give a damn about Michael." "Alex, he watched over you your whole life. Why are you acting like this?" Aww, Alex. 8(
Wings are used for communication! Which means I got jossed because I thought Michael used his and Gabriel's defunct mindbond to call Gabriel in 1x2; he actually used his wings.
Alex/Noma is amazingly cute. this adorable ship of bantering and slapping. <3
Michael is sleeping by the sea while he has dream flashbacks of S1. What's the singing that he wakes up to? Sounds like a hymn or liturgical chant something along that lines?
Alex planning on fixing up the car - I wonder if he learned how to do that from Jeep (who was fixing cars at Paradise Falls back in Legion). It /could/ be an army skill thing, but I doubt it because he's the one telling Noma about it; plus, later she sends him to go ahead to fix the truck while she hangs back to kill eight-balls. If it was soldier-standard training, she would have known how to fix the truck herself.
The eight-ball school attack flashback is so creepy and reiterates again that, eight-balls are basically zombies.
I'm trying to google that song that those Mallory people were singing and can't find it? (Then again, my google-fu is weak and I'm having a hard time figuring out what they're singing.) Anyone know?
So, Michael's in Mallory now. Wes Fuller's introductory moment is 'SHOOT THAT BASTARD' and Laurel's is 'NO HANG ON' Callay said that this scene is basically Michael going 'hey attractive person I am attractive person trust me' and lmao, it is, and it's working very well for him.
You are stopping in the middle of a possible eight-ball infested area to talk out relationship drama; this is not the place for that, you two. Luckily, Dominion doesn't work like horror movie tropes - Noma says GO WITHOUT ME, ALEX, I'LL CATCH UP and she survives just fine (pointed out by io9), and also stopping to talk about romance doesn't get anyone killed. Thank god.
Back to Vega's control room: Was Gabriel the one who dived right at the helicopter? It's hard to make it out on the monitor, but I'm like 50% sure I recognize Carl's facial hair.
And aghhhh, the camera cuts to Arika's reaction, because that is her plane sent to make confirmation; that's her people! :(
Noma is a goddamned badass.
I don't understand S2's fascination with decapitation or in general, bullets/swords aimed at heads/necks. I'm pretty sure this isn't somethingI missed from S1? Are headshots the most effective way to deal with eight-balls? If it is, this makes me happy because this keeps with the whole zombie inspiration thing. With, y'know, zombies being said that they would only die if you chopped off their heads.
lol, that random shot of Noma's ass. I ain't even mad. 8)
"Shut it!" David snarls at Arika, and...man, he really sounds unhinged and undiplomatic. It's such a contrast to how he was with her last season.
To Claire: "We are here because of your psychosis." Says the guy who's hallucinating his son right now, okay. David Whele is...not very stable at the moment, lbr. Anthony Head has been saying similar stuff about David's state of mind: “David has an underlying mattress of insanity – he’s not playing with a full deck necessarily. He’s just as dedicated to his plan but it’s become a little bit more unhinged and a little bit more dangerous. But he still justifies it. It’s interesting to play a leader who is a little unhinged. Ultimately David doesn’t think he’s bad, he has to deal with the repercussions of what he does. He does what he feels is expedient and it’s not right and it’s not just in any way, but in his head it is, which is fun to play.”
David is being very, very patronizing toward Claire ("you silly little girl") and if she ends up on top from the conflict, I do not predict bright things for his future.
Michael & Laurel: "Where are you from?" "Up north." 'Well, he didn't lie,' is the general reaction to that.'
Interesting how the first thing Michael says to Laurel is a breakdown of how terrible their security is. This is 'the Sword,' God's weapon. He's the one with his corps in Vega, and he fought in the war. He has a very military-focused mind.
There's something up with that fire in Mallory. I am pretty much with the consensus that that's not God. Raphael, maybe. Anyone else. Also, whoo, more things for the fire theme.
Michael walks into the church, because he hasn't been in one awhile...Vega has its own religion, as well as the other cities. If there are any churches left, I expect they're in a bad condition because of the eight ball attacks.
Laurel's motivation for trusting him seems to be...curiousity and religion-based? She wants to know more about someone from the outside world (...that sounds kinda cliched, but I'll hold my judgment for now) and sees him as a sign.
Okay, whoops, Alex can't fix the car? Maybe discard my rambling above, but hey, seemed like he did know some stuff about it.
Like Callay pointed out, yesss, the markings can transfer temporarily (not just when it's changing hosts like Michael --> Jeep or Jeep --> Michael). :D
This is the first time that Alex is able to successfully evict an eight-ball. He was able to get Gabriel out of Louis (a higher angel) but failed to do so for the eight ball that inhibited Clementine, plus those other eight balls he practiced on with Michael.
Alex says there's a specific marking that made it stronger - somehow, maybe he was able to access that? But how was he able to access that?
Hmm. I can get aboard Alex/Pete, too. Look at him holding onto Pete's hand for a couple of seconds before letting go!
Mallory's religion is made up of: 'Singing, service, and sacrifice.' Was there anything supernatural up with that song they sang earlier, or is this just a way to say they worship through song? And sacrifice sounds so ominous. I feel like there's an Omelas-like catch going on in the background. They're being protected, but they're losing something big.
Alex has the capability to be either a healer or destroyer. Which...clarifies a lot, because we didn't hear any of this from S1. I'm now reminded of Adam of Gaiman and PTerry’s Good Omens.
This puts an interesting context to the prophecy of the chosen one. Did Michael know this double side of it? Did he feel the responsibility to 'raise' Alex right - but he did so in a way that was very alienating to Alex, leaving him in the streets and then in the army where Michael wasn't exactly the most caring authority figure to him (even though Michael was well-intentioned and thought that would make Alex strong)?
Michael does say: "I've never heard it told quite like that before." Either it's how Laurel frames it, about being tested/judged, not being the hopeful fairy tale as it kept on being repeated in Vega, or he doesn't know the double nature of the Chosen One prediction.
If he doesn't know the double nature of the prophecy and this double side is real, then this really points to Raphael being behind Mallory, IMO. She's the one with the ability of the Prophecy.
Now--Arika consoling Claire about the call to bomb the aerie. I'm seriously so curious how their relationship developed to the past few months, with Arika stepping in as Claire's advisor. If things had happened differently, would Becca have been Claire's mentor figure in this case? I wonder how that would have gone. /AU thoughts
Arika: "None of us will ever be safe until all the angels are dead." Hmm. All? She's lying wrt Uriel, right...?
By the way, I've had a lot of Uriel feelings due to Dominion: Revelations, and got to say, I feel the urge to read up everything I can about Cleopatra so I can get a sense of Uriel’s backstory more. Oh, Uriel, with her possessive thing for queens.
Now--to David talking to a bunch of his political allies about how terrible Claire & Arika are and how they must keep the poor people down. "She must be removed," he says, which sadly proves Claire wrong who was essentially telling Arika 'nah, he's not going to do anything too drastic.' This is David Whele. He burns down a bunch of Black Acolytes. He makes his lions EAT PEOPLE. He does the drastic-ist.
Then he has an ally-slash-spy of Claire's killed in front of everyone to set an example. It's done by choking, actually - pls chalk this death up with the others for 'death by head/neck-related trauma.'
Hmm, there's a blond woman with a shaky voice who a) noticeably looks horrified by Colonel Drewson's Death and b) questions David about the bombing. Is she going to side with Claire in a later episode or am I jumping ahead weirdly with this?
Such a Macbethian moment there. David wipes away spots of Drewson's blood, while he's hallucinating someone who he believes he killed. He's, of course, scheming to be Lord of the City. I'm not being ridiculous seeing Shakespeare in my trashy angel show, I hope? (I mean, I know they're common tropes BUT HEY I'm very much here to take this canon seriously)
Hallucination!William is the sassiest, and I'm just going to point to daisy4day's post which echoes my David & William feelings.
PETE. Pete is like an eager puppy; iirc Callay was talking about how he smiles and goes 'HEY PEOPLE' while big-ass guns are pointed at him, and that is adorable. He looks so frail and dirt-streaked and frantic. here 4 this dude.
"I'm human, like you." So Pete can't immediately recognize Noma as an angel?
Ohhh, Noma trying to call Michael. Still wondering how that works - can messages be sent out that way; I think someone was wondering if it's a morse code thing?Or is it just a general signal - like,maybe broadcasting your location and it's a way to get other angels to come your way?Can angels tell who's calling them? SO MANY QUESTIONS.
To Gabriel's ruined aerie: Uriel is apparently missing, and I highly doubt she's dead. I don't see Furiad here, either, and I REFUSE to believe he's dead as well. I mean, c'mon, stabbed? Maybe he was healed with a feather? I hope Noma didn't impale him fatally with Empyrean steel, because, well. DDD:
Gabriel's making plans to attack Vega. 'Burn this city to the ground,' again with the fire theme, of course, and very fitting with Gabriel being the one to say that.
Gabriel about Alex: "All I need is his skin." I...I don't think it works that way, Gabe. Please do not flay the Chosen One.
Wes (not calling him Fuller because that will result in awkward canon confusion on my part lmao) approaches Michael about his swords. The swords were gifts from Gabriel. Twin swords from his twin. They’re swords that he’s wielded against his brother many times.
Wes: "There is a storm coming" This is works on the literal level and the figurative level. Because yes, it will rain. But also, 'the Flood' is in town, Michael being the one that Gabriel called a 'tempest in a bottle.'
Michael then proceeds to scare the shit out of Wes, with his two swords crossed at his throat but doesn't actually hurt him. Should this be included in the new 'head/throat trauma' drinking game, or no, it's not close enough?
So: the rain puts out the fire, and the eight balls now run amok through Mallory. This is the scene that was in the beginning. There's really something up with that fire--
--And now, the scene cuts to Vega, where there's a fire burning in the Wynn, courtesy of David Whele. Claire is now reassessing her view on David to Arika, and together, they make a plan that involves an eight ball. /can't wait to see the fallout of this
Also hey, we have a timestamp on S2. Claire says 'three months' about David now taking action like this, so I'd say that 2x1 is three months after S1.
Back to Mallory: the residents are scrambling to relight the fire while the eight balls attack.
The mother in the shelter says to her child: "God's going to protect us," and the scene cuts to Michael about to fight, and oh, that's not God. That's just one of His angels.
i am not crazy enough to keep count of all the head/neck trauma going on here but what is with this show
Laurel's watching on as Michael does his thing, it's v dramatic. The fire blazes back and it burns the eight balls, sending them screaming and rushing outside Mallory. AND THIS IS INTRIGUING. Because, somehow, the fire or force that's in Mallory can go after eight balls like this. Michael is unaffected. If Raphael's behind the fire, is it because she made it so that she (as an archangel) can't get harmed? Or is it just something that somehow is able to acknowledge active threats, and Michael doesn't exactly register as one?
Michael walks back into the church: "Father? Are you here?" :(
Meanwhile, Alex, Noma, and Pete are getting closer to New Delphi. They come across the body of a higher angel: "We're hard to kill." And this doesn't seem to bode well for them, especially Nomes...suddenly, they're being chased by eight balls.
Scene switch to David & William; William: "I guess 'uninhabitable' means 'burn them alive' in Whele world." OH. Imaginary!William talks about Wheles as if he wasn't one himself. Like he considers himself different from his father. jfc, David.
"'Weak men wait for opportunities. Strong men make them.' You know who said that?" Orison Swett Marden said that according to google. Wikipedia says: He "was an American inspirational author who wrote about achieving success in life...His writings discuss common-sense principles and virtues that make for a well-rounded, successful life." I guess for David, being a televangelist, then becoming a Senator of an Ancient Rome-esque city while engaging in activities like feeding people to lions, setting people on fire, and child murder, counts as a 'well-rounded life.'
William: "Weak men leave their son in the desert, lacking the guts to pull their trigger themselves." So this here is David thinking William is dead, but I highly doubt that. This scene basically has a lottt of callbacks to that conversation where Gabriel calls William 'one of the strong' and also that at least one William & David confrontation (can't remember, but know it’s there). These two both have strength/cowardice as recurring topics.
Anthony Head has said in an interview: “I said at the end of last season, when William broke David and then David, as a broken man, had to take his son out into the desert and leave him with six bullets, I said if we get a second season and I come back, this man is not whole. He is definitely broken and whatever he presents, there is an underlying — not ‘madness,’ but we don’t quite know how he’s going to react to anything.”
So, back to Alex, Noma, and Pete, who are captured in nets. It seems like New Delphi found a way to control/tame eight balls, hmm.
Last note: I thought Harper would be in 2x1 more based on that one promo, but apparently not. /o\ That seriously was a lure to get WWE watchers to stay for Dominion, wasn’t it?