Damnation: Which Side Are You On?

Damnation: Which Side Are You On? | Season 1, Episode 2 | Rating: 9/11

Seth (Killian Scott)

Last episode, Sam Riley’s body was found nailed to the door of the bank with a challenge to the town: “Which side are you on?” And surprisingly, it wasn’t Creeley who did it; it was Seth.

Everyone has an agenda and Seth’s is to start a revolution in this town. He and Amelia have been traveling to these towns stirring up the strikes and now they have a place that is ripe for a change, but they are going to get a lot of people hurt in the process. Amelia feels a bit better when Sam Riley’s widow confesses that she knows it was Seth who nailed up her husband but she’s ok with it because the bank has foreclosed on their farm and the sheriff arrested her son. But despite their noble cause, Amelia is starting to see the dark side of Seth. He’s returning home with blood on him, Black Legion is coming into their home, and Creeley stops by to warn her about his brother’s past and the last girl he got involved with (spoiler alert: she’s dead).

Creeley doesn’t seem to be on anyone’s side, but he is determined to tear down whatever Seth has going on. He and Bessie are perfect co-conspirators because she has a family secret of her own …Sheriff Berryman is her father! Of course, this puts last episode’s faux sex scene in a completely new context. Bessie works at a whore house because she’s the Black bastard daughter of the sheriff and his wife wouldn’t let him claim her. Clearly, she has some resources since she can read and she’s also highly intelligent, but it’s got to sting that her father’s only interested in her because she’s linked up with Creeley. At least she’s putting together her own pieces of the puzzle. She’s clipping out news stories about strikes from the newspaper and figuring out how to work this situation to her advantage.



Sheriff Berryman (Christopher Heyerdahl)

Finally, Seth is being shadowed by DL Sullivan (Joe Adler), a local newspaper writer. One of the reasons the strike has been so ineffectual is because the banks have been colluding to keep news of it out of the paper, but with the death of Sam Riley and the public display of his body, there’s no way to keep this under wraps. Sullivan is trying to make a name for himself and write the next great American novel, but Seth is going to use this as his chance to bring more people to their cause. Seth is also, unwittingly, calling Connie Nunn (the woman whose husband he killed) closer.

This show is barreling right along and all the reveals are intriguing and creating a well-layered story and the Bessie-Berryman connection was completely shocking in the best possible way. Also, the music is a great backdrop to the story. This week’s featured song, “Which Side Are You On?” by Natalie Merchant, kept a steady pulse throughout the final scenes of the episode and ramped up the tension. I’m hoping we’ll get some Rhiannon Giddens in there at some point.