Yep, they went ahead and ended the episode that way.
Damnation hasn’t made a point of doing cliffhangers, so for the show to drop one this week with such efficiency, I’ll admit it, they got me good. One look at Seth’s face, and while it’s dawning on him that his life is in his brother’s hands, it’s dawning on me that this episode’s about to end.
Seth is absent from the preview for next week’s episode, so they’re keeping this cliffhanger tight, but we leave him next to Sam Riley, Jr. in a noose. Regardless of whether there’s a desire on Creeley’s part to save his brother (and let’s say there is, since he didn’t finish burning the photo), Seth could hang for this. The Black Legion have a machine gun, and unless Creeley wants to die in the rescue effort, it might not be possible for him to get Seth out.
There’s also the part where he’s been trying to psyche himself up to kill Seth, but if the Black Legion get there first, there’s no guarantee the Duvall family will keep their promise of getting Creeley released from prison. The deal was for Creeley to be the one to kill his brother, but the way things are heading, he’s going to have to watch Seth die without the reward, to put it crassly.
The one way I could see Seth dying for this is if there’s a question of saving Sam Riley, Jr. As Seth brings up in his sermon, there are evil men wearing masks of goodness, and their day of reckoning is near. It’s a speech that could apply to himself, as well as most of Holden, and with Seth wanting to repent, it is very possible he would put his life forward for Sam’s.
Another person around to hear his sermon that day is Connie. This episode we learn her daughter died from an untreated illness. Like the strikers who stood by their blockade to the point that a three-year-old couldn’t get medicine, Connie has her adherence to revenge questioned by her new “daughter” when she falls sick and doesn’t want Connie to go. Having Connie take her time with Seth has humanized her, but this might be too big of an ask for the girl to make.
Strict adherence is usually seen as a strength during strikes, but when you have Seth’s dad talking legacy while destroying Seth’s future, and bankers thinking they can back Nazis if it gets the job done, that’s clearly not the case. Devotion can destroy lives, and when Creeley tells his dad about Seth out of obligation, he’s only called a disappointment afterwards.
Hopefully tattling ends up being the worst of Creeley’s crimes. Appearing to warn Seth about their father finding out, the flashback ends with a gun shot and a woman’s scream. Was Cynthia’s dad killed? Did Cynthia shoot an intruder? If Creeley knowingly acted as a distraction, Seth’s anger will be justified.
Other thoughts on “The Goodness of Men:”
- I expected more from Sheriff Don. Thinking he would handle the Black Legion and keep Sam Riley safe fits his personality, but that he left the jail cell guarded by one deputy doesn’t. There’s no excuse for not increasing security.
- To be honest, while it was clear Bessie saw something she shouldn’t have last week, I didn’t peg the face of the Legion’s leader as Melvin Stubbs, Holden’s new candidate for sheriff. By having Bessie need to tell Seth and Abigail everything, Damnation irons out the details, in-show.
- Taking Seth’s retort as a challenge, Abigail visits her parents’ factory to prove she’s not running from her past. From the way she uses her name to draw a connection with people, that won’t go unnoticed.
New episodes of Damnation have moved to Thursdays at 10 PM EST on USA Network.