Warning: Full spoilers below
Damnation Episode 4: The Emperor of Ice Cream
After getting a chance to catch my breath with last week’s episode, this week Damnation has me right back on the edge of my seat. Things really start heating up as the farmers, with the help of Creeley, begin turning on each other. We’re also provided with a much needed, and surprising, glimpse into Seth and Creeley’s childhood. And there’s ice cream, who doesn’t love ice cream. I really loved this episode and it now has me firmly on Creeley’s side.
Perfume for sale…
We open in Detroit, Michigan where Connie Nunn (Melinda Page Hamilton) and her “dear child” (Alexis McKenna) arrive amidst an autoworkers strike. Connie heads to the home of Earl Donohue (Kyle Rideout), a leader of the strike. Impersonating a door to door perfume saleswoman, whose husband was injured by a strike breaker, she gains the confidence of Donohue’s wife Zelda (Stacie Harrison). After trying to sell the woman perfume Connie leaves, but you just know she has something sinister planned. .
Back in Holden, Creeley (Logan Marshall-Green) meets up with an angry Calvin Rumple (Dan Donohue). The banker is upset that he only received a penny at the Riley Farm Auction. He is concerned the farmer’s will continue to strong arm him into more “penny auctions”. Rumple explains his plan to bust the strike with ice cream. He is bringing some milk into town so Archibald Williams can open his Ice Cream Shop and help turn the townsfolk to the banker’s side. Creeley knows the plan to get milk into town is going to fail.
Seth (Killian Scott) and the farmers are gathered on a bridge discussing how it is time to go to the bargaining table when the truck carrying Rumple’s milk pulls up. When they discover the men are carrying milk into town they begin torturing “the scabs”. They gasp for breath as their heads are repeatedly held in the barrels of milk. Seth tells them to let any other “would be scabs” know that they will not be treated so understandingly.
Creeley turns up in Victor’s (Arnold Pinnock) cow barn. Victor feels threatened and attempts to attack him, but Creeley brings a pitchfork to his throat. I was nervous that he was going to actually drive it into him, but after a commercial break we learn cooler heads prevailed. Creeley actually has a more nefarious reason for his visit. He begins planting the seed in Victor’s head that the corn farmers are not having to sacrifice as much as the dairy farmers are.
Back in Detroit, Connie and the young girl watch as Earl Donohue’s wife and daughter leave the house. Connie has her “dear child” wait in the car while she goes to deliver a “special gift”. Connie enters the home where four men are planning their next move in the strike. She claims to have a gift for Earl from his wife Zelda. When Earl takes the box from her she pulls out a gun and shoots him in the forehead. She quickly kills two of the other men, but the third is not killed instantly. As the man struggles to survive she demands he tell her where he got a propaganda pamphlet he dropped. After telling her he got it in Iowa she finishes him off with one shot. She is one step closer to finding Seth.
About the past…
After a run-in with Creeley, Seth finally admits to Amelia (Sarah Jones) that they are half brothers. We then finally get some of the brothers’ back story. Creeley and Seth have the same father. Seth did not know about Creeley until he was 8. When Seth’s mother died his father brought Creeley to live with them. He had been born to a prostitute, and was raised, up to that point, in a brothel. He never learned to ride a horse, shoot a gun or even read. Their father tried to make “a real Wyoming man” out of Creeley, but failed. As a child he was frequently beaten for this and it was left to Seth to protect him. He tells Amelia that Creeley is “too soft and sensitive” but she’s not buying it, seeing the cold blooded killer he has become. Seth tells her it’s all an act that Creeley puts on. My heart now aches for how Creeley was treated as a child, and I care for the character even more. I’m eager to find out how he went from “soft and sensitive” to the man he is now. I’m looking forward to more of the brothers’ back story as the series progresses.
Creeley, Rumple and Melvin Stubbs (Paul Rae), the food distributor, meet in Archie’s Ice Cream Shop with Seth, Wendell (Christopher Rosamond) and Victor to negotiate fair prices for corn and milk. During negotiations Creeley gives Seth a dig about being a preacher. In response Seth writes the farmers offer on a piece of paper and asks Creeley to read it, knowing that he can not read. Creeley is clearly nervous and upset by this. It’s a tense moment between the brothers and I was worried Creeley’s secret would be discovered by the other men. Luckily Marvin takes the paper and reads it. Pulling this sleazy move has caused me to not only cheer more for Creeley, but to also start hating Seth.
Something to fight about…
The farmers ask for double the current rate which pisses Rumple off, but Creeley shares his plan which will cause the corn and dairy farmers to split. They agree to double the milk price, but will cut the corn price significantly. This causes Wendell (corn farmer) and Victor (dairy farmer) to start fighting as Creeley smugly watches. I can’t help but cheer Creeley on at this point because he is right, the dairy farmers are being screwed far more than the corn farmers with this strike. As Seth tries to break up the fight you can see he is seething at his brother. I really love the back and forth “one upmanship” between these two.
Wendell decides to take the offer and plans to bring milk to Archie so he can open his Ice Cream Shop. As Creeley waits for the delivery Archie gives him an ice cream cone, Granny’s Country Pecan, that he made before the strike. As Creeley eats his ice cream he notices all the corn farmers waiting on the rooftops with rifles ready. The suspense is building because you know this will not be an easy, or bloodless, delivery.
Victor and his armed men arrive with his milk, along with Seth who asked for a ride to town. They are greeted at the ice cream shop by Creeley, who is still enjoying his cone. Seth begs Victor to wait one more week. Victor tells Archie he needs a minute to think about what to do. The tension is building and I find myself on the edge of my seat wondering what happens next. Wendell suddenly appears aiming his gun at Victor. Victor accuses Seth of setting him up. Seth denies it and begs Wendell to put his gun down. Creeley says the time for talk is over and tells Archie to get his milk. He is terrified to do so because all the corn farmers on the roofs have their guns aimed at them. My heart was racing at this moment knowing at any moment bullets would start flying, but from whose guns…and at who?
As Archie moves to get the milk Wendell turns on him, Seth yells, a gun goes off and Seth’s face is covered in blood splatter. At this point I am now holding my breath until the end of the episode. Creeley has shot Wendell and everyone is temporarily stunned, then shots ring out from the rooftops. Creeley returns fire and manages to hit all the corn farmers while avoiding getting shot himself or even dropping his cone. So much for Seth’s description of him being “too soft”. Creeley tosses aside his blood splattered ice cream and stares down Seth who is now cowering on the ground. Creeley explains that he shot Wendell to save Archie and that the corn farmers fired first so it was self defense. He then says if Seth gives him a reason to shoot him he happily will. He then tells Seth “people change”. The brothers stare each other down as the exciting, heart pounding episode comes to a close.
Until next week….
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UPDATE: We’ve learned that Damnation is moving to Thursday nights starting at 10/9c starting on 12/14.
Above title picture courtesy: Tony Tost / Damnation