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TV Review: Damien 1.9 “The Devil You Know”
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Damien 109-06

Damien
Season 1 Episode 9: “The Devil You Know”
Directed by Jennifer Lynch
Written by K.C. Perry & Glen Mazzara
Created by Glen Mazzara
Starring Bradley James, Barbara Hershey, Megalyn EK, Omid Abtahi, Scott Wilson, David Meunier
A&E
Air Date: Monday, May 2nd, 2016, 10pm

Last week’s Damien was maybe my favorite episode of the season. Charles Powell (Joe Doyle) was killing in Damien’s name. Damien (Bradley James) made it clear he wanted nothing to do with the potential of being the Antichrist, and beat Powell nearly to death. It was another acolyte, his psychiatrist, who finished Powell off in a rather bloody finale. More bodies on the pile surrounding Damien Thorn, and Detective Shay (David Meunier) is feeling the heat… literally. Almost burned alive in his car while following Damien, he has been attacked by dogs, and had his son threatened at home. How far is Shay willing to go to find answers? Speaking of questions and answers, Amani (Omid Abtahi) figured out that his new hookup Veronica (Melanie Scrofano) is actually Ann Rutledge’s daughter, and was scoping out Damien’s place on her behalf. Veronica might be dead after messing with the wrong nun. With only 2 episodes left in their first season, let’s see how unholy Damien can get!

Spoilers below.

Shay’s killing of Dr. Andrews, no matter how justifiable, mixed with his insistent ramblings about Thorn being evil, lead to him being stripped of badge and gun. The Lieutenant who takes over goes to Damien to inform him about a possible restraining order against Shay. This cop seems way too excited to get Shay off the case… another acolyte perhaps. David Meunier is fantastic by the way, his paranoia and nervousness seem totally authentic and genuine. Veronica, meanwhile, is not dead, but bleeding out while Sister Greta (Robin Weigert) and Simone (Megalyn E.K.) argue over what to do with her. Greta needs answers, but bleeding and likely dying, we see Veronica is a true believer in her cause. Not knowing Veronica is bleeding out, Damien convinces Amani to try to get back in her good graces to gain an advantage against Rutledge and Lyons. As soon as Amani tries to make contact though, he is kidnapped by some masked goons.

Damien meets with Sister Greta claiming he has nowhere else to go. She assaults him with… love and kindness. “You are God’s child,” she says to him after a warm hug. He relays his encounters with strangeness, like the 7 wounded army vets chanting in the VA. She tells him they were the 7-headed dragon from Revelations. She seems so sorry for him, and eager to help, which of course leads to believe she’s gonna surprise him with a Megiddo dagger right to the back. Nope… side – a dagger to the side. After all, her whole purpose there is to stop Damien, it’s just a nod to Weigert for being a believable actor.

The last 15 minutes of this episode were the best of the series thus far… pure goosebump-inducing creeps and legit scares. Shay’s demon-fueled adventure in Damien’s loft was terrifying. Veronica’s amazing Evil Dead tree scene… Sam Raimi would be proud. And Damien’s embracing of the evil to stop his own exorcism… whoa!

Damien started off well, but I admit, my love of the source material carried me through some weaker early episodes. But oh man, these last few have been riveting television. The acting is fantastic. The show is about the Antichrist, its followers, and those trying to stop it… it’s very easy to chew the scenery. While great, check out Al Pacino in The Devil’s Advocate, for how these types of roles lead to over the top performances. But on Damien, everyone is grounded in reality and shockingly human. Shay is paranoia personified, Greta and Rutledge are two sides of the same coin, bound by their faith to the extremes. Simone and Amani, and even Damien to an extent, are struggling with unknowns and not sure which way to go. It’s a fascinating show, and I hope people are watching. It’s a perfect back to back with Bates Motel, two shows in the horror genre based on classic films, that flesh their characters out and give the audience genuine empathy towards the characters.

Damien 1.9 “The Devil You Know” is on A&E at 10:00pm ET tonight. The season finale of Damien, appropriately titled “Ave Satani” (the name of the terrifying Oscar winning song from the 1976 film) is on Monday night, May 9th.

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