Damien Season 1 Episode 10: “Ave Satani”
Directed by Nick Copus
Written by 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 9th, 2016, 10pm
“Ave Satani” was the name of the Oscar nominated original song (sang in Latin) from the 1976 film, The Omen, upon which the Damien series is based. It is a fitting title for the season’s final episode, as it seems Damien Thorn has embraced his inner Antichrist. Sister Greta’s attempted exorcism last week was met with limited success, as he pulled himself out of a shallow grave and turned the Megiddo dagger on her. Damien (Bradley James) has the mark of the devil, and is constantly surrounded by mysterious deaths. Despite Detective Shay (David Meunier) being convinced of his involvement, and apparent high ranking acolytes in his stead, Damien has maintained an almost childlike innocence, unwilling to be a part of the evil that shrouds him. He has watched his ex be swallowed in a construction site accident, and long time friends like John Lyons (Scott Wilson) are in cahoots with the obsessed Ann Rutledge (Barbara Hershey). Even his closest friends don’t know where to stand. Tonight, Damien will make his final choice and perhaps make the ultimate sacrifice.
Damien runs from the churchyard with Simone (Megalyn Echikunwoke), and encounter Lyons and a small army of heavily armed soldiers on the road. John tries to coax Damien by revealing that the Armitage Corporation has banks and buildings ready at Damien’s disposal, with leagues of followers waiting to hear his words. Damien wants nothing to do with it though, and after John gives the orders to kill Simone, the soldiers turn on each other in a glorious massacre. Evil or not, Damien is coming into his powers. That’s even more evident when they attempt to steal a car from a woman who upon seeing him tries to throw herself off a bridge while uttering “It’s all for you.”
Rutledge is mourning the violent tree-assisted death of her daughter Veronica (Melanie Scrofano), and this brings her into a face to face with Greta (Robin Weigert). Greta promises of others, and we see an army of Vatican priests packing a legitimate arsenal of weapons including more Megiddo daggers. The verbal standoff between Greta and Rutledge is incredibly well written and acted by the two women. Both are totally devoted to their causes and faiths. In the hands of lesser actresses, it would’ve simply been two characters yelling “GOD”, and “SATAN” but these ladies are pros. While they converse, Lyons interrogates Amani (Omid Abtahi) about Damien’s whereabouts. This includes threatening the lives of every member of his family. Wilson, who portrayed Lyons as a calm, sympathetic father figure to Damien is chillingly evil now. He channels the psychopath he played in the horror mockumentary “Beyond the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon”.
Damien, meanwhile, escapes with Simone to Charles Powell’s abandoned trailer. He advises Simone to run but she refuses, and ends up helping him clean his wounds. Damien is beginning to understand his role and powers. He knows the church won’t stop and neither will Armitage. When Simone tries to convince him he’s not a killer, he lifts an arm and she starts coughing up biblical bugs. Outside the trailer, waiting, is the old woman (Viv Moore) whose ancient ramblings in Damascus started Damien’s descent.
Detective Shay is on the hunt for Damien, his family having left him behind. His visions are getting more intense as he imagines running over his son while driving a back road. Back at the attempted burial site, Amani is forced by Lyons to put Greta in the grave which is now a mass grave filled with the women who were helping her. Lyons then shoots Amani, and Greta and him lay together as the Armitage henchmen bury them alive… though not for long.
Damien has a plan. He tells Simone he is going to Megiddo, the place his father visited, and the place where the daggers are from. Shay is tracking them as they leave the trailer. Lyons and Rutledge also find him and the chase is on. The final 5 minutes are CRAZY! There was an audible “HOLY SH*T!” moment for me, and Damien makes a fateful decision in front of legions of followers.
Whoa! Damien ended its first season with a bang. The show captured the eerie tension of the film, and managed to pull off some terrific surprises. The music and use of the religious imagery always had a menace to them, and I found myself once again looking nervously around the empty room during the commercial breaks, and hearing strange noises. We can expect the Vatican Priest Army to go gung ho after the Antichrist in season 2, plus the ending leaves so much unknown about this season’s survivors. Where will Simone’s loyalty lie? Has Shay completely lost it? Are Amani and Greta alive? Ah, the look of pure evil joy on Barbara Hershey’s face at the end will haunt me until the start of season 2.
Damien: A Shared Grave (S1, E10) | A&E
Greta and Amani face a burial in this scene from Episode 10, “Ave Satani.”
Damien: Inside the Episode: Ave Satani (S1, E10) | A&E
Glen Mazzara takes a look at the motivations and consequences of Damien’s Faustian bargain in this web exclusive from Episode 10, “Ave Satani.”