Sep 12 2015

Dominion – “House of Sacrifice” Retrospective. A Time for Goodbyes.

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Michael finds he owes The Prophet a lot more than he bargained for since he left Mallory.

Michael finds he owes The Prophet a lot more than he bargained for since he left Mallory

Season 2, Episode 10

Airdate: Thursday, September 10, 2015, 10/9c on Syfy

Rating:

As we inch closer toward the season two finale of Dominion, the level of suspense and tragedy are two-fold in “House of Sacrifice.” Despite the multitude of killings and shocking revelations thus far this season, I still have yet to become desensitized by them. Although the death toll is small in number, each one of those losses—figuratively and literally—has a major impact. The story lines continue to move forward, maintaining the continuity so the plot points connect, thereby allowing the dangers at hand to remain in the forefront of the viewer’s mind. Meanwhile, the moral and personal dilemmas all the core characters encounter are the heart of the episode.

It’s hard to choose the precise words to describe my feelings about “House of Sacrifice;” I do know apprehension doesn’t even come close to it. What Dominion has managed to do each week is create a false sense of security by developing such strong characters that no matter what role they play in the series, their departure leaves an impression. So, if I had a major problem with the show, it would be that the writers and producers are too good at their respective jobs. Characters I thought would be dead by now are alive, and those who sadly have passed on left much too soon. No character seems safe for long, which leaves me uneasy week after week. The only thing I know for certain is with every new episode, some aspects throw me off guard; it’s like an emotional landmine. As much as I like “House of Sacrifices,” I’m not a fan of the ongoing suffering characters like Noma (Kim Engelbrecht) and Claire (Roxanne McKee) experience. It’s a bit excessive, especially in Noma’s case.

The supporting cast and a majority of the guest stars on Dominion this season are amazing. Christina Chong as the V1 rebel Zoe not only demonstrates another side in the world of Dominion, she is a complex warrior who exudes brutality in one instance, then complete vulnerability the next. And while Pete (Luke Tyler) isn’t technically dead, he might as well be now that he’s been possessed again. There’s also the situation with Noma, who is a great dynamic character, and represents more than a sidekick. Noma’s evolution since the first season has proven to be significant in that she isn’t just a love interest either. She’s proven herself to be a trusted and wise advisor for Alex (Christopher Egan). She is one of the strongest female leads in the series and goes beyond the bounds of love and loyalty. In the words of Archangel Michael (Tom Wisdom), Noma has “honor.”  Yet the constant state of distress she has undergone these past consecutive episodes is a bit wearisome. I just want to see Noma have a small moment of happiness, whether it is regaining her wings or being held in Alex’s arms.

Edward Riesen switches off his humanity

Edward Riesen switches off his humanity

Tipping the Scales

Julian (Simon Merrells) remains missing, but that doesn’t stop Archangel Gabriel (Carl Beukes) from furthering his plans to wreak havoc and destruction in Vega with the surprising aid of General Edward Riesen (Alan Dale). Although Gabriel’s story has been prominent, Riesen’s decision to become a dyad (a human possessed by an angel) plays a pivotal role, one I didn’t anticipate when he surprisingly returned earlier this season. I thought he would end up being back up for Alex, and escape to New Delphi. The decision to have Riesen’s role ultimately be determined by maintaining his humanity is a great twist in its simplicity, and Millicent Shelton, who directs the episode, has a very strong eye for setting up the scene with her choice of angles and shots.

In different ways, the theme of love has as much a major part to play in the final half of the episode as sacrifice. For Riesen, a very personal loss allows the angel possessing him to take full control of his body. Then there’s Claire, Riesen’s daughter, who is rocked by another shocking turn of events that leaves her heartbroken. And it’s love that humbles the nefarious David Whele (Anthony Head) to seek forgiveness from his son, William Whele (Luke Allen-Gale).

I really enjoyed watching how the connections among the Whele and Riesen families have interesting parallels. Whereas William and David have a bittersweet reunion, Edward and Claire will be far from joyous. The frequent descriptions of Claire being a lot like her father foreshadow tragedy. I am not looking forward to when all hell breaks loose and she must experience another painful loss.

 Eye of the Storm

How many times will Claire's heart break before she becomes the next David Whele?

How many times will Claire’s heart break before she becomes the next David Whele?

There’s usually calm before the storm; the electricity in the air sparks feelings of something big rumbling on the horizon. The recent loss of some key characters and another shift in political tactics signify the end of one phase and the beginning of a whole new world of troubles for those in Vega. In the case of Gates (Nic Bishop), I thought this man experienced enough near deaths to earn him at least a chance to live through to the season finale. But alas, it is not to be. In one of the saddest death scenes of the season, Gates pays the ultimate price to keep the city of Vega, Alex (The Chosen One), and Claire safe.

Bishop, charismatic as ever, fills his final scenes with wit, charm, and enough anguish to warrant a few tears from me. The scene between Gates and Claire on the two-way radios gutted me. McKee does an excellent job of showing the full spectrum of Claire’s personality from being cruel to helpless in the face of grave danger. McKee’s performance shows Claire being more broken up by Gates’ loss than her own miscarriage. I was initially confused by it, but upon thinking more on it, the reaction makes sense. Losing Gates is the last straw, next to her reunion with her farther that will push her to being an anti-hero. I foresee this happening due to the flashback sequence revealing Arika’s (Shivani Ghai) story. Why show Arika’s backstory and reveal Riesen’s fate now if there isn’t some sort of connection?

I’m starting to believe, that unlike the threat of Gabriel’s forces descending upon Vega, it’s going to be the wrath of Claire that will have the biggest influence. Yes, even more so than the revelation of The Prophet’s (Hakeem Kae-Kazim) true identity.

 

Overall

Although I am enjoying the major story lines this season on Dominion, I am not ready to say goodbye to some of the characters whose lives may not last until the finale. That said, the performances in “House of Sacrifice” are wonderful. I love the dialogue written by Marc Halsey, showcasing all the reasons I will miss seeing Gates onscreen.

I can only theorize about the fate of Vega, but by Gabriel’s actions, the debt Michael owes for making an unsavory deal with his life, and Noma’s constant pain from the loss of her wings—which suggests something bigger in the works—I know I will surely be in for another thrill ride.

 

What did you think of “House of Sacrifice?” Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @conallen.

Tune in to Dominion on Thursdays at 10/9c, only on Syfy.

Follow the series on its official site at www.syfy.com/dominion, where you can also watch videos and clips of the episodes. Also, like Dominion on its Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DominionSyfy.

Follow Dominion on its official Tumblr: http://dominionsyfy.tumblr.com/, and on Twitter @DominionSyfy.

All photos © 2015 Syfy Network, a division of NBC Universal, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

© 2015, Connie Allen. All rights reserved.

Connie Allen

I'm a writer, cinephile, avid reader, and pop culture enthusiast. I love historical dramas, and fantasy/sci-fi series. Currently living in SoCal.

1 comment

    • nancy on September 12, 2015 at 3:21 am
    • Reply

    so much emotions,anger and vengeance and I love it!!!!!. It gets better and better , . I am never really ready to see the end of the season. This show needs renewal for season 3. Brilliant writers, incredible musical composer and very talented actors. The flow of the story mesmerize ,hypnotized, make u edgy and beg you to make Thursday comes in quickly. Please, I plead to everyone to support #Dominion,#Renew Dominion at syfy because this is an awesome show.

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