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Shayla K. Heavner

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Dominion -- Angel vs. Man

Syfy's Dominion
Written by Shayla K. Heavner -- Published July 8, 2014 at 03:57 MST

Here goes it: my first attempt at a microblog! If you’ve read my work before, than you know that I like to delve into a series and dissect every minutia. However, I want to be able to provide more content with a wider subject base which means some long articles and on the other hand some short spurts. I’ve chosen to start with an update on Syfy’s new drama Dominion. While I included it on my What to Watch: Summer 2014 Guide, I had only seen the movie prequel Legion along with the preview trailers, thus I couldn’t officially give it my stamp of approval sight unseen. Now we’re two weeks in and I have seen enough to add my insight, cover the basics and check-in if you will. So here we go!

At first glance I’ll admit the series was a bit tough to swallow. Angels and post-apocalyptic mayhem, struggle of power, caste system, biblical references and a new savior is a lot different than the majority of television out there so there was an adjustment phase. However, I have become a diehard fan of Supernatural which shares a similar storyline in which God deserts Earth and the angels divide into (1) those who stay devoted to God’s instructions that humans, who are made in His image, are to be regarded as more than angels and (2) those who believe that their power and strength make them better than humans desiring to no longer be second but rather take charge. On the flip side Supernatural has a much more lighthearted, comedic nature, with two lovable main characters who share a dysfunctional brotherly relationship that we’ve followed for nine years. Other points of contention are that Dominion is aimed at a more mature audience and is set in a whole new world, whereas Supernatural takes place behind the scenes of our world today. This is not a downfall, just a difference that needs to be pointed out as while they have similar genres and motifs, they cannot be directly compared as one’s an apple and the other an orange; yet older audiences of Supernatural should give Dominion a stab, not to replace the Winchesters but rather in the hiatus of one enjoy the other.

With Dominion, I had a hard time with the first hour as it requires audiences to become acclimated to this strange new world. However when the shit hits the fan, the basis of the show began to become clear and I found myself intrigued with the path laid before us. It begins by basically setting the scene of the Dominion universe, its hierarchy, our main characters (who’s bad and who’s good) and the new order of society to prepare viewers for what’s to come. Let’s dive in with a little recap:

The setting is “Vega”, the post-apocalyptic Las Vegas where the majority of the events will take place. It is one of the few footholds, or safe areas, that are now in existence; protected by an army as well as a gate and the resting place of both the archangel Michael (who allied himself with the humans) as well as the chosen one, Alex, whom prophecy dictates will help save the human race from the angelic takeover. Here citizens are identified by a number that works as a feudal system in which the lower your number the less food, shelter and power you have. Alex’s mother has died and he was abandoned by his father, Jeep, as a gesture to camouflage the chosen one leaving Gabriel and his army unable to find, kidnap, or attack him. Gabriel is another archangel who leads the attack on mankind in coalition with a slew of lower level angels who were without earthly form so they possessed human bodies; the population of Vega calls these angels “eight-balls”. Gabriel and his minions reside outside of Vega in a castle atop a mountain and until the beginning of the series they had not been able to attack the various city footholds. However, while Michael respected the remaining two archangels as well as the midlevel angels’ neutrality in the war, Gabriel continued recruiting and was able to sway some of the midlevel angels to his side. The problem with this is that like Michael and Gabriel these middle angels are able to look like humans and disguise themselves within the walls of the cities. We see their first attack on Vega as a midlevel angel disguises himself as a child savant from a neighboring foothold and it is during this attack when Dominion transforms into a powerful new series I was unable to tear my eyes away from.

Aside from the angelic war, Vega has other problems brewing within its walls. There is a small senate of about five leaders who make decisions for the people and the city, but two of its members clearly have the majority of power; the lord and founder of Vega, General Riesen, and David Whele. While it is clear Whele is an antagonist, hungry with power and constantly striving for more, Riesen is no angel although he appears to have good intentions. Riesen created the number system leaving many impoverished, but formulated it with the intention of giving every citizen a purpose in rebuilding the city. However once completed, the system just stood as a divider of men. In addition he is having a secret relationship with an eight-ball and is dying, attempting to set things right before his death. Whele doubts the legend of the savior and questions Michael’s loyalty while he is secretly scheming with another city who made its foothold within an air force base meaning they possess helicopters and other means of aerial transportation as well as weaponry that Whele wants for himself.

Vega’s top two men made the decision to wed their children, in order to create an even more powerful family, but their children have their own drama going on. Riesen’s daughter, Claire, is in love with Alex and planned on telling her father they were going to wed, but was too late as he had already committed her to the Whele family. She is a good-hearted “princess” of Vega who helps the underprivileged and wants one day to abolish the number system making everyone equal. She was about to run away with Alex to a nearby city but when angels attacked Vega she couldn’t leave the people, her people, in their time of need. When Alex left on his own, she agreed to marry William Whele hoping her new found position would give her the ability to better the city. Whele’s son William seemed like a kind boy, nothing like his father, but we quickly learned that he has in fact aligned himself with Gabriel and has been recruiting followers within the walls of Vega to help Gabriel takeover.

Alex, the baby born at the end of the movie-prequel Legion (see What to Watch: Summer 2014 Guide for synopsis) is the chosen one who both Michael and Gabriel want on their side. After being orphaned, he was the lowest class of citizen designated V-0 and joined the archangel army in order to obtain a higher number thus giving him food and a roof over his head. When his father Jeep returns, Alex holds resentment towards him for leaving, not fully understanding the danger Jeep’s presence had on him. Though in love with Claire, a woman of the highest class whom he only knows from being one of her personal guards, when it is announced she is to marry William and she refuses to flee Vega with Alex, he sets off on his own. Michael catches up and explains why Jeep left and that he has kept an eye on Alex since, from a distance, so he could grow on his own, fail and build himself back up again to become a self-made disciplined man; a quality he would need for the job ahead of him: saving the human race. Jeep had inherited a set of godly tattoos, though never able to translate them, and with his death they were transferred to Alex who at certain times is able to see the messages held within which will help guide him on his quest. Although Alex is still rebelling and has no interest in being the chosen one, when Michael is gravely injured, Alex is forced to return to Vega to seek help in saving his angelic father figure.

To add more of a twist, though Gabriel and Michael disagree on the fate of the earth, they are still brothers and care for each other. Gabriel punishes a lesser angel for attacking Michael and attempting to kill him. In addition, they have secret meetings that if the humans or Gabriel’s minions were to find out about, loyalties would be dissolved and the possibility of Vega turning on Michael or a splinter cell breaking away from Gabriel would make things even more complex. This would turn one army against another into a feeding frenzy with enemies around every corner.

So as you can see there are a lot of moving parts in Dominion, but once you get acclimated to this strange new world there are a plethora of possibilities as to what path the series will travel. I think I gave you a short but thorough recap on the first two episodes and the need-to-know characters, so if you’ve missed it thus far you can jump right in, or if you are more the type to savor every minute Syfy is one of the channels that plays reruns all week plus has episodes OnDemand. If you are looking for even more Dominion, Syfy has also created an in-depth website with additional backstories and details at enterdominion.com. While I don’t usually do the “second screen experience”, I’m impressed with this site as it lacks the lame trivia games, behind the scene pictures and such and really engulfs you into this world they have created, showing that a lot of thought went into not just the series but the characters, setting and relationships that we may not see on screen, inventing this beautiful capsulated universe viewers can escape into.

As far as my opinion of this interesting new show; I love it! The visuals are amazing; when you see the angels’ wings spread open, or catch fire, or reflect bullets, it becomes like a normal occurrence. The acting is top notch; I find myself believing this post-apocalyptic world could exist somewhere unlike other new shows such as Taxi Brooklyn where there is no supernatural aspect but it feels completely fake. I honestly have no complaints, which is odd for me, and not much more to say than a string of positive adjectives. Dominion is a captivating hour of television in which you are transported to a new place, plunged into a complex smart and interesting storyline that will have you glued to the screen, quickly forgetting the world around you. Another aspect that is new for me is that the permutations of possible outcomes run so far and wide that at this point there’s no way to predict what’s coming next, meaning at any time we can be awestruck at a shocking twist. I will say that I find it highly probable that we will see some division among the ranks on both sides; when Whele gets his aerial power he will turn on Michael and Riesen, Gabriel’s middle angels may decide to take their own path after realizing he is too close to Michael to make objective decisions and we will likely see a lot of strife between William and Alex as Claire has promised to marry William thinking Alex was long gone and hoping the power associated with the marriage would give her the ability to help the citizens of Vega. Now that Alex has returned with the injured Michael their feelings for each other will shine through causing jealousy from William. Not to mention William’s secret Gabriel-worshiping cult. It’s possible we will see William split from Gabriel wanting to kill the chosen one and get Alex out of the way, while Gabriel insists they need Alex on their side to prevail. These are only a fraction of the possibilities and once one event happens the new paths that present themselves will be even more numerous.

Whatever does transpire you can count on an intense ride, mysterious tattooed warnings, action packed battle scenes, stunning visuals, traitors, power hungry moguls, corruption, a tale of true love and an epic quest of the ages as the future of mankind hangs between the balance of the heavens and one stubborn young man. Yeah, you better tune in! (and sorry, this is as close as I could get for my first attempt at “micro”)

Dominion Character Flowchart

     


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