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Dominion series premiere: Soldier Alex battles bad angels

'Dominion' premiere recap: Call us 'Legion,' for we're based on that movie

Season 1 | Episode 1 | “Pilot” | Aired June 19, 2014

Did you see the movie Legion? It starred Paul Bettany as an angel trying to stop the end of the world and protect a hash-house waitress’s unborn baby, who was supposed to become some sort of savior or [insert apocalyptic prophecy cliché here]. Spoiler alert — dude saved the baby, but the-end-of-the-world war still happened. Dominion is a continuation of the movie.

Dominion series premiere: Gabriel (Syfy)“Lower” angels led by archangel Gabriel (Carl Beukes) have since wiped out most of humanity in a bid to get the absent God to come home. Opposing him is his brother, the angel Michael (Tom Wisdom), who has sided with the humans.

Dominion series premiere: Welcome (Syfy)It’s 25 years later and the humans have taken refuge in fortress-like cities. Dominion takes place in one called Vega, which has been built atop the ruins of Las Vegas. I hope Britney made it out OK. *worried*

These fortified cities are governed by ruling “houses.” And much to your assured repulsion, caste systems have been initiated, with all of the citizens being assigned a number — V6 being the ruling class and V0 being “unpersons.” That’s sweet. More news you can use: Everyone worships a future “chosen one” (represented by a statue of a baby being held aloft to the sky; picture Rafiki holding Simba, but human and in porcelain), who is the unborn baby from Legion who will supposedly grow up to defeat Gabriel and his evil angels. No one knows if this kid is even real or where he is, and many Vegans think the whole story is on par with Santa Claus.

Our hero, Alex Lannon (Christopher Egan), is a V1 who avoided homelessness and starvation by joining the Archangel Corps., soldiers who defend Vega under Michael’s command. Alex, however, is chafing at the fact that Vega is basically a big shiny prison for the less fortunate. In an attempt to keep the citizens from being murdered by rampaging lower angels (called “eight-balls” due to their black eyes), breaching Vega’s walls is punishable by death (“purging”). We first meet Alex scavenging for what appear to be canned goods outside of Vega in a dilapidated casino, where he runs into three eight-balls. He kills one; one rotund yet agile one jumps around like a chubby flying squirrel; and and the third gives chase. Alex manages to make it back to the city, and the eight-ball is taken care of  by Vega’s defenses. Alex avoids the purge, but is whipped by Michael as punishment for getting caught outside. This is overseen by General Reisen (Alan Dale), who has been a fan of Alex ever since he took a knife for his daughter, Claire (Roxanne McKee), foiling an attempt on her life.

And wouldn’t you know it? Alex (who for some reason always looks like he’s about to burst into manly tears) and Claire have fallen in love. He was scavenging supplies for their secret honeymoon getaway. They plan to get married and flee Vega for a city that’s not as penal colony–like in structure. There are a few flies in their love ointment (sorry for that one): Alex is in a much lower caste than Claire, and the richies are trying to bring Claire and reverend-type William Whele (Luke Allen-Gale) of the House of Whele together in marriage, which will make the ruling classes stronger or save the city or some such romantic obstacle.

William’s father, David Whele (hi, Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, aka Anthony Stewart Head!), is the power-hungry senator who longs to take over Vega from the General and rule with an iron fist. Tonight is the annual Vega Jubilee celebration, where the whole city gathers to watch really poor circus acts and celebrate having not yet been killed by angels with scary contact lenses. As David explains to his wishy-washy son, he’s gotten ahold of the rotund yet agile angel that attacked Alex, and he plans on using her to remind the citizens of what they still need to be terrified of during the Jubilee. Sounds like a solid plan. We’d like the seats nearest the exit, please?

Dominion series premiere: Michael (Syfy)The very serious archangel Michael receives a bedraggled visitor named Jeep (Langley Kirkwood), who turns out to be Alex’s long-lost father. He ditched Alex at age 11 to embark on a 15-year quest to decipher some magic tattoos he has all over his body. He failed, although he did discover that Gabriel’s Fortress of Solitude (Evil Edition) is in the Rocky Mountains and that Gabe is gathering a ton of angels to attack Vega. Some of those angels being the “arch” kind, with suits of armor and helmets and grrrr, aggressive. War is nigh!

In the meantime, David Whele (it’s so weird watching Giles with an American accent) hosts a delegation from a neighboring city. Their representative, Arika (Shavina Ghai), is the mouthpiece for an as-yet-unseen ruler named Evelyn. Arika and David have done business before, and David seduces her with the nifty new nuclear power plant that Vega has constructed. Amongst Arika’s entourage is a child named Ronan, who is some sort of savant and a protege of bigwig Evelyn. She allowed him to tag along because he wanted to visit Vega for the first time. *cue creepy foreshadowing music, because he’s not actually a kid, he’s a junior evil angel*

Dominion series premiere: David and William Whele(Syfy)The Jubilee goes off without a hitch, and if you believe that, then you are a silly type who has never watched TV or movies. First, David Whele ruins Claire and Alex’s day by suddenly announcing the engagement of Claire and William in front of the entire city. Can’t really back out now, Claire. It’s almost like you were proposed to at a hockey game by a dude on a Zamboni. There’s no way to say “no” in that situation. Second, big bad Gabriel can possess his minions from afar. Dominion series premiere: lower angel(Syfy)He takes over the rotund-yet-agile captive angel, bids a creepy wave “hello” to the horrified Michael via his stooge, and then has her break out of her cage and start randomly killing people. RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! Just because her jorts are size XXL doesn’t mean she can’t somersault through the air and land on your skull!

Taking advantage of the chaos, three angels led by an arch one named Furiad (Anton David Jeftha) storm the city and head for the nuclear reactor. Uh-oh. Dominion series premiere: Michael(Syfy)Michael unfurls his big black wings and takes on Furiad in your standard action-y acrobatic sword fight. Alex begs Claire to leave with him right then, using the chaos as a cover, but she declines. She doesn’t want to leave her father in a bind, what with David lusting for power.

Once the ruling class (along with Alex and a jaundiced orphan in a beret) are safely ensconced in their situation/panic room, the little redhead savant kid who is actually a tiny evil angel guts Jeep and makes his escape. Sadness ensues. And then wonder, as it’s revealed that ALEX IS THE CHOSEN ONE! If you didn’t see that one coming, I weep for your future children. Alex magically acquires his dad’s holy tattoos, and there’s your premiere. Oh, it’s probably important that the only part of his new tats he can decipher tells him not to trust those closest to him. They probably mean that annoying orphan girl.

Plus, in a twisty ending, it’s revealed that Reverend Wishy-Washy (William Whele) is in league with the evil angels (Furiad and the little redhead monster child). It’s only episode the first, and we’ve already got a mole. *sigh*

Dominion, rated TV-MA, airs Thursdays 9/8 C on Syfy.

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