The debut season of A&E’s ‘Damien’ has come to a close after 10 episodes that ranged from solid and intriguing to pointless and frustrating. That being said, here’s my overall grade and breakdown of the new series.
It’s not always easy for new TV shows in the beginning stages. Often times, it takes a couple of episodes for the show runners to find their identity and establish what type of show it’s going to be. What’s our own style? Which tone should we aim for? Sometimes these are questions that a series will pick up and answer along the way.
Bradly James as Damien in ‘Damien’-Courtesy of A&E
I may not have been in love with the first season of Damien, but I have to give them credit, they were pretty consistent throughout the 10-episode stretch. It helps when you have source material to base your show off of. The Omen laid down a solid foundation for them to build off of so things such as the theme and characters stayed true all along.
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Let’s break down our protagonist. Unfortunately, Damien was pretty frustrating during most of the season. In the beginning, it seemed like anyone could so easily make him a pawn. He wanted to get some answers about his past but refused to get his hands dirty. Damien wanted to be the knight in shining armor but didn’t want to slay the dragon. Incidents such as Ann manipulating him to get Troy killed in episode 3 (check out the brutal death below) or not wanting to go to Kelly’s funeral in episode 2 really bothered me.
The big turning point for Damien came at exactly the midway point of the season: episode 5. Titled Seven Curses, this was one of the better episodes in the entire season. It concluded with Damien attempting to commit suicide but he was saved by his pack of watchdogs. This was a huge, important episode for him because he was never the same after the events.
In addition, the attempted suicide was the biggest decision Damien had made up to that point and he did it not for himself, but to spare others. However, when it backfired mixed with the reappearance of Charles, Damien took a turn for the worse.
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Whether you like her or not, Ann is probably the most important character behind Damien. She’s the true, clear-cut antagonist and was the driving force for most, if not all, of the first season. The show, Damien, needs Ann so in that regard I love her because without her the series would struggle mightily.
The way the writers approached Ann is interesting because in a lot of scenes you sympathize with her. She lost her daughter, her “son” Damien threatened to kill her and you almost forgot what her master plan was. She doesn’t do a whole lot in the middle of the season to make you dislike her so as a result you get the “hate to love her” feeling. That is until you reach the final scene of the season and in one swift move she gets John killed and finally turns Damien evil.
‘Damien’-Courtesy of A&E
Detective Shay is one character that I have no idea what they’re going to do with. At times in the first season, he squared off with Damien and took the antagonist role. He refused to believe the truth about Damien but after witnessing what happened in the graveyard at the end of the finale, his view must have changed. If that’s the case, he won’t continue to investigate Damien will he? What’s the point? Clearly he’s in over his head and messing with forces he can’t get a grip on. Here’s an example of why Shay should drop the case.
They still have one big story line though to wrap up and that involves Shay’s son. Since nearly drowning in episode 4, his son seems to be haunted by something. Surely they’ll focus a good amount of Shay’s scenes in a second season on his family but if and when that happens, it may feel like too big of a disconnect from the rest of the show.
Two VERY big questions loom looking ahead to a possible sophomore season: A) Who’s hand came out of the grave towards the end of the finale: Amani’s or Greta’s? B) What’s going to happen now that the Vatican brought out the “big guns” and ordered a group of assassins to go to New York?
To address the first question, I have a hard time seeing either one of those characters dying. Both had sustained wounds to the gut, Amani was shot by John while Greta was stabbed by Damien. I have a better feeling about Greta being the one who rises from the grave. I just don’t think her story is over yet. She represents a critical role in the show in being the bridge to a safe haven for Damien.
Amani on the other hand, I have no reason to believe he’ll survive other than trusting that the writers wouldn’t kill off Damien’s bestie. That doesn’t hold much water, I know, so maybe I’ll be wrong on this one. Here’s how the two ended up under the ground.
The second question is a more exciting one. Creator of the show, Glen Mazzara, is calling this team a “Vatican Death Squad.” How can you not be looking forward to seeing these guys in action after watching them pack up weapon after weapon, dagger after dagger. They may not play a huge role in a second season until 3/4 of the way through but when they do go to war, it’ll be thrilling for sure.
I’m going to give this freshman season of Damien a C+. The majority of the episodes ranged from average to slightly above average but then a week of derailment would come along and lose my interest. However, I felt like the season ended very strongly with the last two episodes which were both written or co-written by Mazzara. You could argue that Damien’s conversion happened too soon and maybe they could have waited until the end of season 2. I think this happening now opens a door to a wide spread of possibilities. The point of a finale is to leave us wanting more and didn’t that final scene do just that?
A&E is still discussing the possibility of bringing back Damien for a second season. We’ll keep you updated on the latest news and in the meantime, you can go back and read my recaps for every single episode of season 1.