Damnation: God’s Body

Damnation: God’s Body | Season 1, Episode 10 | Rating: 11/11 |

Are you ready? Here we go.

Creeley & Seth (Photo by: Chris Large/USA Network)

It’s the day after the shootout at the Riley farm and Sheriff Berryman and Bessie show up to join the weary troops. The information Bessie has for Creeley is that the Duvalls were the ones behind the takeover in Colton Creek years ago. She has a newspaper article about them buying up the land in Colton Creek after Cynthia was killed and Creeley was put in jail, and this final piece of the puzzle that cements Creeley’s allegiance to his brother. He wants Seth to help him take down Eggers and Duvall, but Seth wants to turn himself over to save Amelia.

Since Seth is determined to martyr himself, Creeley teams up with Berryman (a.k.a. his future father-in-law) to take back the town. They head into town to get medical help for Preston Riley and Creeley, Berryman and Connie Nunn take out about fifteen Black Legion thugs. IT. WAS. GLORIOUS! Also, Berryman is totally in love with Connie now and, oddly, it’s a perfect match.

In order to get Sam Riley Jr. out of the Black Legion and Stubbs’ crosshairs, Creeley tells the sheriff that Sam Jr. isn’t responsible for Pete Collingsworth’s death (conveniently leaving out the fact that he is responsible). These scenes showcased Christopher Heyerdahl and Logan Marshall-Green’s easy chemistry and even threw in some great comedic beats. It’s great to see them building a rapport between the two men in Bessie’s life.

Creeley & Bessie (Photo by: Chris Large/USA Network)

After turning himself over to the Black Legion, Seth is taken to the local radio station where Stubbs has been playing politician and encouraging everyone to vote while holding Amelia hostage. Eggers, who has gone full mustache-twirling villain, wants Seth to read a statement on air convincing the farmers to stand down and stop fighting. Despite Amelia’s protests, Seth reads the statement which espouses the wonder of progress over religion and farming, but he’s not able to finish before Creeley shows up with the cavalry. But either way, Amelia is done. This is clearly a cause she was willing to die for (and one that she watched D.L. die for) and Seth’s past, as well as him folding, doesn’t sit right with her. Amelia is seething with anger and sadness right now, so much so that she inadvertently admits to Connie that she killed Connie’s husband.

Amelia & Connie (Photo by: Chris Large/USA Network)

Berryman takes Stubbs and the remaining Black Legion to jail and they get the farmers through the Legion’s blockade to vote in the election but it’s not enough: he still loses by a few votes. I’m going to slow down a minute and talk about Christopher Heyerdahl. I primarily know him from sci-fi/fantasy roles. He’s usually just the creepy scientist or scary vampire, but on Damnation he has run the gamut from cocksure sheriff to corrupt bootlegger to insecure father. And in this scene, you can see him run through all of those in just seconds. As he releases Stubbs and his brethren from their cell, he is a man defeated but at the realization of what Stubbs being sheriff means for Bessie, he finally lives up to the memory of Pearl and takes every single one of them out. At the risk of sounding redundant, IT. WAS. GLORIOUS.

Now for the Creeley and Bessie of it all. The two of them have a beautiful moment when she arrives at the Riley farm. He’s truly softened for her and it’s quite lovely. When Stubbs is declared sheriff, the two of them are about to run away together, but Duvall and Eggers show up at the brothel to take Creeley with them. Creeley shoves Bessie away pretending she doesn’t mean anything to him and hardens himself to face whatever comes next. Luckily for him, Duvall is more upset with Eggers’ mistakes and arrogance than he is with Creeley and Duvall wants to cut a deal with him to continue working with him to break the strike.

By episode’s end, our merry band of rebels is scattered once again. Amelia has created an enemy in Connie and reignited her vendetta. Bessie is terrified because she may possibly lose Creeley and her father. Berryman expects to be arrested for the slaughter of Stubbs. And now Creeley and Seth are on opposite sides of this strike again. While Seth gives an impassioned speech to rally the farmers and other workers to strike, he’s also just placed a target on his back and more than likely, Creeley is going to have to be the one to pull the trigger.

Sheriff Berryman (Photo by: Chris Large/USA Network)

This was a phenomenal and tightly written season of television. Damnation had a clear vision and saw it through with well-crafted characters and thoughtfully weaved in the historical elements to show its audience a new perspective on a well-mined time period. Everything from music selection to highlighting the technological advances of the time period deepened and pushed the story forward. It’s rare that a show manages to do so much and not drop the ball at some point. I look forward to season 2.