Damnation – One Penny
Episode 3, “One Penny” of USA Networks Damnation slowed down a bit this week from it’s usually “edge of your seat” storylines. Perhaps to give viewers a chance to catch their breath after the intensity of Episodes 1 and 2. While not as action packed it did give us a chance to learn some character backstory.
We open the show with the most wholesome of activities, little boys playing baseball. When the mother goes to the shed to fetch them some cream soda we see the shed is filed with nooses and Black Legion Robes. The juxtaposition of innocence and evil makes for a powerful back drop to the opening credits
Amelia (Sarah Jones) begins questioning Seth (Killian Scott) about “The Strike Breaker” (Creeley) and Seth continues to be vague about his past, saying he is a changed man now. We then switch to Creeley (Logan Marshall-Green) and Bessie (Chasten Harmon). He gives her nice dress so she can pretend to be “a respectable woman”, he then takes her to bed. It’s clear that they are becoming more than just “a whore and her john”. I love seeing these two characters begin to fall in love, and I’m not the only one. The fandom has already started voting on what their “ship” name should be.
At the Auction of the Collingsworth farm that snake of a banker Calvin Rumple (Dan Donohue) is insisting that the Collingsworth Family Bible be included in the sale. When Seth calls him out over this he says that Granny Collingsworth is free to bid on it. When the Bible comes up for auction Mrs.Collingsworth gets in a bidding war, with the help of Seth and Amelia, with an unknown gentleman.
I immediately hate this man because he knows this is her family Bible and still runs the price up higher then she can afford ($12). My heart was aching for this poor little old lady. Just when it seemed it would be lost, Creeley shows up bidding “two crisp twenty dollar bills”. Both Seth and the gentleman are shocked. Upon winning the Bible, Creeley gives it to Mrs. Collingsworth while explaining that bank doesn’t like foreclosing but they have no choice.
My favorite moment from this episode happens as Creeley and Bessie are leaving the auction. Bessie and Amelia come face to face. Amelia asks Bessie “How does it feel to go around town with a psychopath?” Bessie responds “You tell me. At least I’m getting paid for it.” The tension between these two women is palpable and I’m expecting a huge show down between them in the future.
In Canton, Ohio we catch up with Connie Nunn (Melinda Page Hamilton) in a Diner. When we last saw her I was not sure what was going to happen to the miner’s daughter, but we now see she has taken the child (Alexis McKenna) with her. Connie begins teaching the girl her warped sense of men and the world. I started out thinking Connie was just another badass female character, but it’s now clear to me that she IS badass, but also crazy. She tells the girl that together they will rid this world of all it’s “bad men”.
Amelia again asks Seth if he knows Creeley and he again denies it. She then pulls out the picture that Creeley gave her of Seth and another woman and shows it to him. Amelia explains that Creeley had warned her and said that killing was Seth’s God given gift and that he tried warning the woman in the picture too. Seth claims that Creeley is just trying to break them, but refuses to say anything about the picture. I wish Seth would trust Amelia enough to let her know that Creeley is his brother. She has more than proven her loyalty to him.
Bessie reads a letter to Creeley from Hyde explaining that the man bidding at the auctions is named Tuck Tandy (Victor Atelevich) and they need to let him buy everything. The Black Legion pulls up on them, Creeley gives Bessie and gun and tells her he will handle it. He attempts to use his charm with them but they knock him out and drag him away as Bessie speeds away in the car.
Back at the Diner Connie explains to the girl that they are going to Detroit to stop the “bad men”. The little girl becomes sad while talking about her father. Connie asks why she is sad and the girl says she misses her Daddy (who Connie killed in episode 2). She explains to the child that being sad never helped anyone. She then tells her about how her husband was tied up in a car that was then set on fire so he would burn to death, but that she is not sad. At this point even the little girl has figured out that Connie is crazy.
We now find Creeley in a very precarious predicament. He is in a barn, surrounded by the Black Legion with a noose around his neck. The only thing keeping him alive is the tips of his toes on a box keeping him from swinging. Although I know he will survive, I still felt nervous every time he slipped off the box. The men tell him he has two choices. Leave town and “take his pet negroed” with him (Bessie)” or slip off of the crate and hang; whichever comes first. The Black Legion then leave him alone “to think about it” as he struggles to keep from slipping.
Bessie discovers where The Black Legion has taken Creeley and runs to her father, Sheriff Berryman (Christopher Heyerdahl), for help. Reluctantly he agrees to help. He goes to the barn and warns the men to leave and then finds Creeley. The Sheriff questions him about who he really works for but Creeley won’t tell him. The Sheriff kicks the box out from under him and Creeley begins choking to death. Finally the sheriff shoots the rope down and saves him. The Sheriff tells him if it had been up to him he would have let him die.
At the auction of the Riley Farm Tuck Tandy shows up to buy this farm too. Seth and the farmers show up all carrying Bibles. Seth suggests that they put the whole farm up for auction all at once. Tandy agrees this is a good idea. At this point the farmers are all scattered among the bidders and Amelia stands next to Tandy. Mrs. Riley bids “one penny” for the farm. Seth puts a gun in the back of the auctioneer. The farmers all pull knives or guns out of their Bibles and hold everyone off. Amelia puts a knife to Tandy’s crotch and he refuses to bid. Mrs. Riley wins the auction for one penny. As Tandy leaves he says that Amelia has just signed her death warrant.
The episode ends with Seth telling Amelia about the woman in the picture, Cynthia, and claims its Creeley’s fault she is dead. I’m really not sure who is telling the truth, Seth or Creeley, but I still find myself on Creeley’s side. The show continues to keep me hooked and struggling to figure out just who are the “good guys” and who are the “bad guys”. It seems we are learning that most of the characters on this show have a bit of both, good and evil, within them.
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