Holy cow! Dominion just turned up the grittiness and took a step into a larger world.
While the first season felt a bit claustrophobic by design, Dominion Season 2 Episode 1 quickly set our characters free to explore their post-apocalyptic world. I loved watching Alex embrace his destiny and Michael interact with new people.
The 8-ball attacks were surprisingly intense and our heroes dispatched the nasty demons without mercy. I confess, I've been waiting for an 8-ball decapitation since last season. The series has evolved people and I'm lovin' it!
The introduction threw me for a minute. I was expecting the installment to pick up where we left off, with Alex entering Gabriel's aerie. As it turns out, there were several unpredictable twists which made the ride that much more fun.
When last we saw Michael, he had gone berserk upon learning Becca had been dissecting angels. It wasn't much of a stretch to believe he was still on a rampage and those kids were right to be afraid. Of course, we later realize he wasn't killing townsfolk but invading 8-balls.
I think Michael's journey is going to be very interesting this season.
After the killer action sequence, we caught up with Alex and learned that several months had passed.
Alex: As long as you honor our deal, I'm here.
Gabriel: Maybe the deal was premature. Maybe sparing Claire, Vega, your unborn baby was too much to offer.
Alex: If you ever threaten them again, you can find someone else to help you with your daddy issues.
Gabriel: Finally, some life in the boy yet.
I was so used to Alex being manipulated by Michael, Claire and even Gabriel that it felt great watching him stand up for himself. The smiley face was a nice touch too, I wasn't expecting that at all. The Chosen One has grown up, and he understands his importance in the grand scheme of things.
The shot of the bomb being dropped on Gabriel's aerie was brilliant. It was wonderfully cinematic and again, I wasn't expecting that attack to take place just six minutes or so into the episode. Claire proved herself much more assertive as well, though she and David Whele are clearly enemies now. As David mentioned, General Riesen knew the fiend was a necessary evil. Claire doesn't play those games, and she's going to find herself in big trouble soon.
Was that Furiad that Noma killed? I didn't notice him in the earlier scene, but it makes sense they would take him out of play in order to balance the odds a bit. Uriel was mentioned at one point as well, but was she killed in the explosion? They couldn't find her body. I'm curious as to why Noma prevented Alex from finishing Gabriel off. That seemed a little odd, don't you think?
Alex's confidence after the bombing was impressive. I like this new Alex!
Alex: That bomb changes everything.
Noma: We should head straight for Vega.
Alex: No, I'm not leading Gabriel back to Claire. New Delphi's half the distance, we'll go there.
Noma: New Delphi? Michael told me to stay away.
Alex: That's why we're going. If Michael's nervous about New Delphi there's a reason. They have an army, one I can help join Vega against Gabriel.
Michael bathing in the ocean was a definite fan service moment. You could almost hear the fanbase squee simultaneously haha... Nice job Mr. Wilmott! However, that scene and the one that followed also helped establish the scope of this season. As I mentioned at the top, the world of Dominion has truly opened up now.
While I'm not sure what to make of Mallory yet, it was interesting that when Michael arrived the 8-balls were lingering just outside the town. Right away, I thought God must be protecting the place. Did their bonfire really have something to do with why the demons did not attack? It did seem like once the downpour came the 8-balls made their move. However, wasn't the fire still burning once it was all over?
And how insane was the school 8-ball attack sequence? That scene was like something out of a zombie flick, and genuinely scary as hell. Noma proved herself a badass, but I kept wondering why she didn't just fly off. Either way, it was fun to see Alex trample those 8-balls with his jeep.
Pete is an interesting character. Alex had only performed one successful eviction, but of course Clementine later died. He told Noma that a new marking made the eviction stronger. As Alex accepts his destiny, do the tattoos grow stronger? Or is there something special about young Pete?
In Mallory, Laurel had her own explanation...
Michael: What do you know about that statue?
Laurel: That? That's the Chosen One. Story goes that before he disappeared our father planted a single seed of hope; a baby. In a world ravaged by war - a world where angels would attempt to exterminate man - that baby was the last pure heart. He would grow into a man and be tested. If he could overcome those tests, he would become the healer of angels and mankind. And if he couldn't, he would become their destroyer.
Is God protecting Mallory? Did he pass on the story of the Chosen One? At this point, I can't say for sure what's going on but this storyline has definitely peaked my interest. The quaint little town has affected Michael as well, because he seems to be sticking around. Will his father reach out to him there?
Whele is more ruthless than ever. Will he succeed in removing Claire, or will she and Arika manage to take him out using an 8-ball? The season has thirteen episodes, so that's not going to happen any time soon. The William reveal shocked me, but that doesn't mean he's dead. Does David simply think his son killed himself out in the desert? Is it possible he somehow survived?
The soldiers chasing Alex, Noma and Pete sounded like 8-balls, didn't they? Are they human or something else? In the promos we've seen what appears to be 8-ball warriors. Has the leader of New Delphi figured out a way to control these guys? Or are they less animalistic creatures, more along the lines of Clementine? Just another mystery in a long line of questions established in the premiere.
Overall, this was a very strong opener for Dominion Season 2. As I mentioned earlier, the world's bigger now, it's darker and there's more at stake. The characters evolved nicely from the first season and each story progressed organically. There were some nice twists and turns as well. Even if a viewer skipped the first season, there were several moments of exposition that brought one up to speed.
What did you think of "Heirs of Salvation"? Were you expecting Gabriel's aerie to be bombed? What's the deal with Pete? What do you make of Mallory? Will Gabriel attempt to skin Alex? You're up guys, please sound off in the comments below.
NOTE: Dominion Season 2 Episode 2 is titled “Mouth of the Damned” and airs on Thursday, July 16.