Online, executive producer Glen Mazzara has talked about how this was the episode that frightened some of the executives because it went so dark. You can both understand why they were concerned – and why the creatives involved fought for it to be part of the show. If you stripped away the supernatural elements from it, you’d still have a stunning piece of drama, as a war photographer is asked to continue chronicling the effects of conflict on those who come home – even in their darkest hour. Add in a hallucinatory sequence that director Mikael Solomon pulls off brilliantly, plus a tiny bit of movement on the other plotlines (and they really weren’t the focus this week), and you’ve got the best hour of Damien yet, and one that – if you weren’t convinced already – shows why this is far, far more than simply an attempt to capitalise on The Omen.
There have been a number of series recently that have used veterans as part of their plot, but none that I’ve seen as effectively as K.C. Perry does here. Her script provides Bradley James and Jose Pablo Cantillo with a breadth of emotions to play, and both actors deliver excellent performances. I don’t want to spoil it for those who’ve yet to see the episode, but the final scene between the pair goes to the heart of Damien’s struggle with who and what he is – and his response is not necessarily what you’d expect.
Science fiction and fantasy often tries to hold up a mirror to the real world, using metaphor and analogy; sometimes, though, you don’t need the metaphor. This may be a show about the Anti-Christ, but this week, it was as stark and meaningful a drama as you’re likely to see for a long time.
Verdict: Not just a good Damien episode, but a powerful and intense hour of television. 9/10
Once again, thanks to Urmel for the illustration