Damnation Review – Season 1, Episode 9: “Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground” And Disappointing Was The Cliffhanger

by Rachel Bellwoar

[*Warning! Spoilers for Episode 9 below!]
Cliffhangers can be dangerous slopes, and “Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground” is a tumble down from last week’s close call. After all the hand wringing over whether Creeley could save Seth, his takedown of the Black Legion is unconvincingly efficient. Nobody gets hurt. Their machine gun stays silent (yet is supposed to be accepted as a threat towards the end of the episode). Creeley outs himself as a supporter of Seth’s, so his agreement with the Duvalls is forfeit, but otherwise the Black Legion don’t put up much of a struggle.
The Black Legion’s a serious opponent. They have reinforcements coming, and are in control of the city, but in order to ensure every member of the cast is in the final showdown, their good fortune stretches thin, until everyone and Bessie has been taken to safely.
The episode does have casualties, but would that it didn’t, for one of the characters they decide to lose wasn’t done yet. DL had story left to tell — a novel, God’s Body, to write. The more you learned about him (he was taught to shoot by Annie Oakley!), the more there was to like, and his quick thinking with the glass from the bottle, and sharp shooting from the carnival, all pointed to a much bigger story than the unwilling journalist he first appeared to be. This wasn’t the time to see him go.
“Lightning doesn’t strike twice”
As for Abigail, from the moment she and DL were stopped at the checkpoint, she was going to be used as a pawn to break Seth. The question became why the Black Legion were taking so long to come up with the obvious. In theory, waiting until the end of the episode swung a crushing blow, but not when the wait was so long.
If she was wrong about one Bad Man, what’s to say there weren’t others?
Connie’s crisis of faith, when she realizes Seth’s not her guy, shouldn’t have been crammed into this episode. The fact that her child’s sick gets all but forgotten (except when she’s playing Paul Revere) and while it’s great to see Connie pick up a gun again (nobody’s more surprised than me), I wish she’d been allowed to take her time regaining her fire.
Other thoughts on “Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground:”

  • This week’s flashback clears up whose murders Creeley was framed for and, while there’s no minimizing what prison did to him, he told Seth to shoot him. Seth not killing Creeley was a mercy. Still, deciding who’s more culpable in all this is a doomed venture. Seth wasn’t honest with Cynthia and she was killed. Creeley was honest with their father and Cynthia was killed. Either way you look at it, their father killed her, and Seth killed him, first by pulling the trigger and, when that didn’t work, going for a knife without hesitation.
  • One thing Seth and Abigail have in common: both were groomed to take over their family’s business.
  • I always assumed Bessie’s mom was dead, but it sounds like she and Don made a joint decision to leave Bessie at the orphanage. Finding out she was a singer, after believing she was a prostitute, too, must be rough. If this means her mom’s alive, when can we expect the spinoff where Bessie goes looking for her?

The season finale of Damnation airs next Thursday at 10 PM EST on USA Network.

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