Aug 22 2015

Dominion – “Lay Thee Before Kings” Retrospective. The Chosen Few.

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Everyone has a past, a defining moment, and Gabriel is no exception.

Everyone has a past, a defining moment, and Gabriel is no exception.

Season 2, Episode 7

Airdate: Thursday, August 20, 2015, 10/9c on Syfy

Rating:

Hold on tight; it’s another memorable episode of Dominion. At this point, I don’t feel any character is safe, especially after the nail-biting events in “Reap the Whirlwind.” That said, the twists and turns in “Lay Thee Before Kings” are as satisfying as they are surprising. Tensions remain high in both New Delphi and Vega as the coming war becomes more imminent. Alex (Christopher Egan) and Noma’s (Kim Engelbrecht) escape from Julian’s (Simon Merrells) compound leaves Archangels Michael (Tom Wisdom) and Gabriel (Carl Beukes) in a precarious situation. Meanwhile, Claire (Roxanne McKee) struggles to make peace with the warring factions of her broken city of Vega, and seeks out Zoe (Christina Chong).

Eastward Bound

Poor Noma; she sacrifices a lot this season and after the loss of her wings, she just might be living on borrowed time. While her story line with Alex isn’t heavily in the forefront, it does serve to add a bit of mystery and humor that is lacking in all the other major plot points. The mysterious stranger from the end of “Reap the Whirlwind” still remains unknown, although he does aid Noma when she is in trouble. Then there’s the matter of Alex and Noma going eastward. Could they end up in Mallory? It’s the only place I can imagine Noma will find the chance to heal and for Alex to gain another ally.

Noma and Alex are not out of danger quite yet but I do enjoy their sweeter moments, especially when Noma begins to question her life’s mission. I hope the producers and writers of Dominion take the time to show us Noma’s life before Alex. It would give not only a perspective of those who aid the higher angels but the way the ranks really work.

It Takes a Village

The subject of war, peace, and hope permeate “Lay Thee Before Kings” in the core story lines with Michael, Gabriel, Claire, and Zoe. Gabriel’s backstory becomes the focal point with a lot of rich character development. The sight of a happier and content Gabriel is a jarring contrast to the violent character I have come to recognize these past two seasons. Beukes really shines when demonstrating a side of Gabriel that makes his character more relatable, notwithstanding a calm smile or playful demeanor.

Before Michael led Alex, Gabriel guided David.

Before Michael led Alex, Gabriel guided David.

When the episode reveals Michael’s and Gabriel’s first scenes, it is clear Julian has sinister ulterior motives. During their capture in Julian’s dank basement, while attached to a torture device, Gabriel’s past unravels. I love the moments in Dominion where I learn the reason for a character’s motivation. In this instance, it happens to be Gabriel’s time spent briefly as a father figure that is the prime reason for his disdain towards humans. Gabriel’s inability to accept or forgive man’s flaws is a big part of his willingness to annihilate them.

Gabriel is chosen to mentor a young boy with a grand destiny in a way similar to Michael’s relationship with Alex. When a series of events turns horribly wrong, the sorrow and pain Gabriel experiences is palatable and shows Beukes at his best. What I appreciate is the amazing onscreen chemistry Beukes and Wisdom share; their characters counterbalance each other in a way that brings about great performances. And although the pain Gabriel experiences in “Lay Thee Before Kings” doesn’t absolve him of his cruelty, I find it difficult to hate him.

Give Peace a Chance

Zoe and Claire face off with words of peace...for a couple of minutes

Zoe and Claire face off with words of peace…for a few minutes.

Some of the great elements of Dominion are the way the story lines of all the characters parallel one another. It wasn’t until after I saw “Lay Thee Before Kings” that I noticed the parallels between Julian’s resentment towards the higher angels that mimic the V1’s perspective of the privileged V6 caste. I can’t help wondering whether the parallels between Julian and Zoe’s crusade are foreshadowing events similar to those that led Michael and Gabriel to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.

Although Claire reaches out to Zoe for a resolution before more people end up starving to death, I see it ending badly, especially with David Whele (Anthony Head) still plotting Claire’s demise. Another highlight of “Lay Thee Before Kings” is when Claire and Zoe finally have a scene where they speak to one another as equals. Of course, I’m not surprised it doesn’t go well for everyone when an enigmatic third party interferes, setting off a chain of events I am sure will cause more bloodshed.

Overall

Make no mistake about it, “Lay Thee Before Kings” continues to raise the bar in the quality of the show’s storytelling while showcasing the strength of its cast’s abilities. Already at the halfway mark of the season, Dominion picks up the momentum, building a grand universe for its mythology.

 

What did you think of “Lay Thee Before Kings?” 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.

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