TV REVIEW: Dominion’s “Broken Places” Offers a Fresh Perspective
BY The Screen Spy Team
Published 8 years ago
By Liv Tadesse
Dominion‘s build to Alex’s eventual acceptance of his messianic heritage has been a slow one, but all signs point to a satisfying one as well. Peppered through last night’s episode “Broken Places” is a look into why Alex is the perfect fit for the Chosen One. He may have some way to go before fully embracing the title, but there is no doubt that once he does, he will be able to settle into his mantle with ease.
Arika, as shrewdly astute as ever, remarks to David: “It must make you feel so masculine to take a predator at the very top of the food chain and dominate it. Lord over it.” These words continue on a particular theme in Dominion that I spoke of in the last episode’s review, where Alex seems to be occupying a female-affiliated role, but just as Arika’s words ended up being a sliver of the intricate smokescreen she’s woven from Day 1, they aren’t ones to be taken at face value.
By the end of the episode, Gabriel is the only person in the cast, male, to not be fooled by false submissiveness, but that’s because he participates it in himself, albeit much more violently than his counterpart Michael. He waits for Alex, knowing that Alex coming forward of his own volition will give him far more power over the Chosen One than physically or emotionally forcing him to surrender. It’s the rare show where this kind of behaviour also engaged by men isn’t ridiculed, although that may be because those who do employ it are either linked to the supernatural or are non-human. What’s yet to be seen is how Arika’s plan paying off will be construed as a woman of color engaging in behaviour that is largely negative, but there’s hope in the way David approached Becca – he may find her after-hours activities personally repulsive, but that doesn’t make her any less efficient on her day job.
Interestingly enough, Dominion doesn’t stop at just carrying over one subtle theme from Arika’s words, but hints at another murky layer. If being falsely submissive can lead to a pay off just as satisfying as dominating, how does one separate true submission to the false kind? As soon as he hears of his departure, Michael catches up with Alex and implores him to return by taking Alex to his childhood home. It’s there where Michael sheds tears in an effort to convince Alex to go back to Vega and take his role as the Chosen One, but his tactics don’t work. The small taste of his history only wets Alex’s appetite for more answers, and the question becomes, did Alex see the opportunity to glean more for the Great Wall that is Michael and thus give in? Back in Vega, with Arika seemingly lower on Dominion’s food chain to David’s eyes, David becomes more sympathetic and washes the feet of Arika’s (alleged) dead sister, a move in a show of Biblical mythos and metaphor is deferential – but is he doing so out of genuine sympathy or out of an attempt to appeal to Arika’s well of information on Helena now that her people have apparently abandoned?
The question is another one of Dominion’s themes rare in a genre packed with warfare and politics. The show’s refusal to box their characters with typical male-affiliated traits continues to refresh a well worn story, and with three episodes under its belt and no signs of retiring this new perspective, Dominion is well on its way in becoming a summer must-watch.