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Sep 05 2015

Dominion – “The Seed of Evil” Retrospective. Where Angels Tread.

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William has the right idea about needing a drink before talking to daddy dearest, David.

William has the right idea about needing a drink before talking to daddy dearest, David

Season 2, Episode 9

Airdate: Thursday, September 3, 2015, 10/9c on Syfy

Rating:

 In one form or another, it appears all roads lead to Vega in “The Seed of Evil,” where lives are once again in peril, and the mother of all showdowns between humans and angels is on the horizon.

Alex (Christopher Egan), Archangel Michael (Tom Wisdom), and Noma (Kim Engelbrecht) struggle to make their way back home as Claire (Roxanne McKee) strategizes her next move after learning of Arika’s (Shivani Ghai) betrayal. Meanwhile, the stakes are still high as Gabriel’s (Carl Beukes) spirit is put to the ultimate test that will have severe consequences for anyone who crosses his path.

After weeks of separation and personal sacrifices, “The Seed of Evil” marks the pivotal point for a few of the core characters to finally reunite. While watching some of the reunions unfold onscreen is riveting, others are a bit awkward. What I absolutely love about this season of Dominion is the attention to detail in the steady pacing of character building that feels natural and not heavy handed. The richly dynamic script written by Alyssa Clark and Sean Crouch provides excellent dialogue for the cast who all deliver stellar performances. Clark and Crouch also wrote the script for “A Bitter Truth,” a revealing episode illustrating the complex history Archangels Michael and Gabriel share. It’s also wonderful seeing how the continuity from “A Bitter Truth” connects almost effortlessly with plot points in “The Seed of Evil.”

Arika learns the hard way what it takes to survive in a world full of 8balls.

Arika learns the hard way what it takes to survive in a world full of 8balls

Although the civil war crisis in Vega remains at the forefront of all the episodes this season, as well as Julian’s (Simon Merrells) desire to literally possess Gabriel, the majority of “The Seed of Evil” revels in emotional overload. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s not what I expected to find after such a violent episode like “The Longest Mile Home.” I do enjoy the long overdue look into Arika’s past. It’s a small glimpse, but it’s enough to garner some empathy from me. Don’t get me wrong, I like Arika; she’s a fascinating and enigmatic character. That said, it doesn’t mean I always agree with her tactics—putting Gates’ (Nic Bishop) life in danger didn’t make me a happy camper. Ghai’s performance, however, is one of several poignant scene stealing moments in “The Seed of Evil.” With guidance from director Millicent Shelton, Ghai’s excellent portrayal of Arika seems effortless as she transforms from a vulnerable woman to someone who is a ruthless force of nature. Since the start of the series, Arika’s personal history has been shrouded in mystery. By delving into her past in “The Seed of Evil,” the subplot provides an opportunity for viewers to understand the circumstances behind Arika’s actions, as well as her mindset.

Welcome Back…or Not

William’s (Luke Allen-Gale) return to Vega is a shock to some, but none more than his father David Whele (Anthony Head). Initially, I thought William might be a bit crazy from his time in the desert; his self-proclaimed “savior” shtick is somewhat dubious. Yet, it’s not until David and William interact for the first time that I feel there’s more at work. For all we know, William could be a dyad (human possessed by an angel) just like Julian. Head doesn’t disappoint in his delivery of David’s response to finding William alive and well. Naturally, William is still upset about being left in the desert to die—something I still find suspicious because he was so ill equipped to survive for more than few days. At the point of his return, he would have had to survive the desert for months. I don’t believe William’s story about his visions of saving mankind. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that nothing is ever certain on Dominion.

Deconstructing Gabriel

Gabriel's limits are pushed to the breaking point. This cannot end well

Gabriel’s limits are pushed to the breaking point. This cannot end well

Hands down, the story line that gutted me from start to finish is Gabriel’s struggle to defy Julian. At a glance, the whole plot appears very basic. Julian wants to use one of the amphora jars containing what he calls “God’s Wrath.”  It’s a bit melodramatic but witnessing the effect it has on Gabriel broke my heart. The dialogue is spot on, but what sells the story, making it powerful and suspenseful, is the dynamic between actors Beukes and Merrells. Their commitment to their respective roles is so  strong, it’s painful watching as Gabriel’s spirit becomes broken by Julian’s tactic. Just when I thought I couldn’t bear staring at another blackish tear falling from Gabriel’s face, the tone changes immediately when Julian underestimates Gabriel’s strength. I didn’t expect a happy ending, but I knew at some point Gabriel’s evil side would resurface—I simply never imagined it would be Julian’s doing.

Still, I admire the way season two deviates from Gabriel’s hatred for humans to focus more on his back story, relying on exposition and the interaction with significant people in his life, like Michael. Gabriel maintains his selfish ways this season, but also reveals a side viewers need to know in order to feel the tragic circumstance of what may just be the end of Michael or Gabriel.

Overall

There are a lot of good moments in “The Seed of Evil,” but my only issue with the episode is the reunion between Alex and Claire. Noma’s reaction, mixed with the looks exchanged between Alex and Claire, hints too much to the love triangle from season one. So many events have transpired that have changed both Alex and Claire’s personalities; they are no longer the same people who parted ways in season one. I don’t see the point in the two of them rekindling an affair since they are doing so well with their new love interests this season. Yet, after so many plot twists and turns, I’m hoping they all end up in a united front for the upcoming war ahead.

“The Seed of Evil” is an intense and brilliant episode with all the components of great television programming: memorable performances from the cast, a well-rounded script, great continuity with character development, and the right pacing.

I remember a college professor who once told me all a good show or movie requires to be successful is audience satisfaction. It sounds easy enough, but it’s amazing how often I watch a movie in the theater or a program on tv that feels like a big letdown. In the case of “The Seed of Evil,” not only does the emotional ride of seeing characters I’ve grown to care about prove satisfying; it leaves me wanting to see more.

 

What did you think of “The Seed of Evil?” 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.

 

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© 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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About the author

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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