Damien: Review: Series 1 Episode 10: Ave Satani

DAmien 1.10It’s all for Him…

This review is going to be spoiler-filled so if you’ve not yet caught the final episode of this first season of the Omen sequel, then head off and watch it now…

It became abundantly clear as the series headed towards its climax that it was going to take something extraordinary for Damien to fully assume his birthright, and that’s what Glen Mazzara gave us in this intense and powerful concluding episode. The phrase “it’s all for you” has been a key part of the Omen mythos right back to the early portion of the 1976 movie, but it’s a phrase that could potentially have a number of meanings, and you suddenly realise how it’s being used, and how that affects the way you look at the series up to now. (That’s something Mazzara promised when we first spoke – watch out for the second interview coming soon!) For me, it was when the girl got out of her hijacked car and started to say it was all for Damien that the penny dropped…

Everyone’s souls are laid bare in this episode – from Sister Greta to Ann Rutledge, Amani to Simone… and of course Damien himself, who understands how to use his power (as the opening massacre demonstrates) but only finally accepts it when he needs to save Simone. Detective Shay plays a very different role from that I expected, becoming the series’ version of St. Thomas, the apostle who doubted the resurrection, but who believes when he sees what Damien does. The fate of Scott Wilson’s John Lyons was sealed, I suspect, the moment he shot Amani (and just who was it who did the Carrie bit out of the grave…?), and it all became about him rather than Him!

Bradley James is at his best throughout the episode, as Damien doubts, assesses, queries, and argues about what is happening to him. It’s been important to emphasize the humanity of Thorn throughout the series, but it’s equally important in this finale that he show the other side of his personality, and James is horrifyingly cold when his heritage kicks in. I find it slightly ironic that the series has effectively provided an alternate journey to where we last saw Damien Thorn in The Final Conflict – an adult Anti-Christ, who has an army from all walks of life who follow Him, and when the series returns I’d love to see an equivalent of the Sermon on the Mount scene from the third movie… and who says they all would have to be in the same place at the same time? Armitage Global is now at Damien’s disposal…

It’s one of those episodes where you could analyse virtually every scene for its allusions and hidden meanings – the parallels between the treatment of Greta and the nuns with the Jews during the Second World War as well as the martyrdom of various saints; the return of the old woman and the white-dressed girl, just for starters – and it’s one that will reward rewatching. And just who are the hit squad from the Vatican? Hopefully the opener of season 2 will show us…

The whole cast turn up their performances a notch for this episode, and director Nick Copus keeps the tension rising throughout, aided by Bear McCreary’s score, which has been one of the keystones of the whole series (and hopefully will be released on CD). It’s one of those episodes you can’t take your eyes off for a moment, and a fitting capstone to the season.

Verdict: Hopefully just the end of the beginning… as the first season goes out on a high. 10/10

Paul Simpson

Our earlier reviews:

Episode 1   /   2   /   3    /   4   /   5

Glen Mazzara interview (up to episode 5)

6   /   7    8   /   9

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