Episode nine of A&E’s Damien was legitimately horrifying, with the final 15 or so minutes delivering nightmare-inducing thrills. Season one’s been a carefully paced build as Damien Thorn (Bradley James) struggles with the possibility that he is in fact the Antichrist. Episodes one through eight have given the audience something completely unexpected: a Damien we can root for even as the evidence piles up and the story moves toward its inevitable conclusion.
The penultimate episode airing on May 2, 2016 and titled ‘The Devil You Know’ escalated the tension and placed Damien in a position that forced him to confront the truth about his destiny. Episode nine featured Bradley James’ best performance in the series to date, and set the stage for an epic season one finale set to air on Monday, May 9th.
Damien episode nine recap:
Veronica (Melanie Scrofano) hasn’t checked in and Ann’s worried something’s happened to her daughter who was supposed to be doing surveillance. The last number dialed was to Amani (Omid Abtahi) and you can bet he’ll soon be getting a visit from Ann (Barbara Hershey) or her associates.
It looked like Veronica was either dead or on death’s door at the end of episode eight, but in episode nine we quickly learn she’s in pain and bleeding profusely but still hanging in there. Sister Greta (Robin Weigert) won’t let Simone (Megalyn Echikunwoke) take her to the hospital or call a doctor, believing it’s more important to heal her spiritual state than treat her potentially fatal gunshot wound. Greta wants to show Veronica the light, but Simone’s still very confused and upset because she’ll die without medical assistance.
Back at Damien’s place, Amani’s going over the list of unexplainable deaths that in some way involve Damien. He’s not buying Damien’s theory that there’s an unseen force behind the body count, and Damien throws in the massacre in Africa and flooding in Bangladesh to further prove his point. Damien even thinks he can pinpoint the exact moment when things went to hell, literally. His presence causes bad things to happen and Amani, ever the reasonable best friend, says people used to blame lightning on a pissed off dude on a mountain. With the help of alcohol, they attempt to come up with a rational explanation. And then just to prove how much he cares for and supports his friend, Amani tells Damien he’s in – no matter what. The only concrete suggestions/plan of action that comes out of this session involves Sister Greta. Amani believes Damien should meet with Sister Greta and in one of the episode’s only lighter moments, Damien says that might be opening a can of worms even worse than Ann Rutledge. “The Devil you know…” says Damien.
Before they wrap up their talk, Damien asks about Amani about Veronica and what she’s said about her mom. Amani confirms Veronica’s not happy with the ‘prodigal son’ because her mom has devoted her life to him at the expense of a loving relationship with her daughter. Damien wants Amani to get close to Veronica again in order to get more information and find out anything that could be used against Ann. He needs someone on the inside and Amani, who is truly showing he’s all in when it comes to Damien, agrees to reach out to Veronica.
The sole non-religious figure who has any kind of handle on the situation is in deep trouble at work. Detective Shay’s superiors believe he’s become a liability to the department after the death of Charles Powell (Joe Doyle) by Damien Thorn’s psychiatrist, Dr. Matthews (Claire Rankin). Shay (David Meunier) tries to explain his obsession with Damien, saying, “Weird shit happens around this jerkoff all the time!” Shay still hasn’t put two and two together and come up with the Devil, but he knows there’s a darkness around Damien and the cluster of murders do not make sense. He reminds the higher-ups that he’s had to survive a dog attack, the near drowning of his son, and he nearly died in a car fire. That doesn’t change their minds and they request his gun and badge.
Sister Greta continues to pray for Veronica’s soul, an act which causes Veronica to request they all rot in hell. She reveals that her mom has fawned over Damien his whole life but only met him a couple of weeks ago. “Faith drives us to do evil things,” says Veronica, telling Greta and Simone that Ann has fawned over Damien his entire life but only had the opportunity to actually interact with him a few weeks ago. Simone, apparently believing Veronica is in a confessional mood, wants to know about her sister’s death but Veronica chalks that one up to a greater power. Veronica does say it’s possible Simone can walk away unhurt if she helps her by calling her mom. Otherwise, she’ll soon be joining her sister. Greta tells her Veronica is in service to the devil and her mom made her an assassin. “Is that a mother’s love?” asks Sister Greta and Veronica responds by grabbing her throat and attempting to choke her. Simone separates the two, but it’s obvious she wants to get help for Veronica before she dies from her wound.
The lieutenant heads over to Damien’s house to let him know Shay had to use deadly force against Dr. Matthews at the precinct after she stabbed a murder suspect. Damien asks, “She killed Charles Powell?” and the Lt. wonders how he knew about Powell and if he knows of any connection between Powell and the doctor. Not only could they find any mention of Powell at her office, they also couldn’t find any notes on her sessions with Damien. Damien’s also informed that Shay has been relieved from duty and that it might be wise to file a restraining order. Damien says he’ll think about it.
After he leaves, Damien calls Simone and asks to meet the nun. Simone doesn’t think that’s a good idea, but Damien is pretty much out of options at this point.
Simone introduces Damien to Sister Greta, saying that her job is to investigate things for the Vatican. Sister Greta asks to see Damien’s Mark of the Beast. He shows her and she responds with a hug, saying, “Oh, you poor man,” adding, “Do not believe them that you are the Devil, the son of Satan, son of Light. You are God’s child.” Damien seems to be slightly relieved by this turn of events, telling her she’s the only one who’s said that but that he’s not a man of faith and only believes what he’s seen. She asks what he’s seen and explains he witnessed seven wounded soldiers speaking in unison. They quoted from the Bible, talking about the Beast and Hell, and Sister Greta gets extremely agitated, realizing he’s discussing the seven-headed dragon. “This appeared to you?” she asks, and Damien says it did – and it wasn’t the first time. He remembers something appeared when Kelly died, too, and that it grabbed her and pulled her under. Damien needs someone to believe him and asks Greta if she can help. She embraces him, saying, “That’s why I’m here.”
Meanwhile Amani calls Veronica to see if they can talk. As he’s making the call, he’s approached by masked men who throw him into a car.
Sister Greta, Damien, and Simone walk down the hall and Simone blurts out that Ann’s daughter is there, dying. Damien’s worried because Ann will definitely come for her. Sister Greta sends Simone off to tend to Veronica and walks away with Damien.
Simone finds Veronica still alive but now tied to the bed. She promises to get her out of there and tries the door, but now she’s also locked in the room.
Amani’s brought to Ann who wants to know where her daughter is. Amani pulls the ‘don’t screw with me, I’m friends with Damien’ card, but it doesn’t work. “You’re a small man who took a wrong turn in a theater and somehow wandered onto the stage. Don’t dare think yourself a player,” says Ann. She wants her daughter but Amani, truthfully, doesn’t know where she is. (His call went straight to voice mail.) She then asks about the nun from the Vatican who’s there to kill Damien. Again, Amani responds that he knows nothing. Amani, not quite down with the threats, says he thinks Damien might kill Ann for kidnapping him. Ann knows those are empty threats and cares more about getting to the nun before she can kill Veronica and/or Damien. The only way to save Damien is to tell her the nun’s location. Amani finally gives in and agrees to take her to the nun.
Meanwhile, Damien wonders what will happen if he’s actually the Antichrist. Sister Greta says then that would be God’s will and he must have faith. God has a plan and his might be to bring about the second coming of Christ. She tells him he’s been chosen, and he wonders why she makes that sound like a good thing. He wants to know why she would devote herself to a God like that, that would make him into someone whose life results in countless deaths. She says the demon within him won’t let go, stabbing him in the stomach with one of the Daggers of Megiddo. She then wraps him in thorns, binding his body. She does so without gloves and both she and Damien are bloodied by the time she’s done with this gruesome task.
Veronica calls out for her mother and then Simone hears a noise outside. It’s howling. She tries the door again but it’s no use.
Back with the good detective, Shay is looking over photos associated with Damien and the murders, placing them all over the floor of his home as he organizes his ‘case.’ Patrick comes in and Shay says they’re in danger. He was mauled by a dog, Jacob almost died, and he almost burned to death, and none of those events were accidents. Neither were the deaths in the photos. Patrick thinks he’s losing it and young Jacob walks in just then, asking about the monsters. Shay grabs him and tells him there are real monsters, which proves to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for Patrick. He’s heard enough and is taking Jacob to his brother’s house. Jacob gives Shay a quick hug and whispers, “The Devil did it,” while smiling. Patrick didn’t hear the exchange but Shay is now more freaked out than ever before. He looks down and sees his gun on the floor, barrel pointed toward a photo of Damien’s face. Shay gets up and goes to the front door yelling for Patrick as he hears the car pulling out, but a Rottweiler attacks the screen door barring his exit. By the time he grabs his gun, the dog’s no longer there.
Veronica, still tied to the bed, screams for help. The door opens and Simone whacks the women from behind as she approaches Veronica on the bed. Veronica’s in bad shape but Simone is able to help her down the hall.
Unable to move, Damien quietly, desperately begs Sister Greta to stop. She turns his face away from her and uses a blade to slice open the skin under his tattoo. Lifting up the flap, she sees the tattoo is not just on his skin but also carved into his skull. He turns toward her and continues begging. She gently kisses his forehead.
Simone leads Veronica outside as inside the nuns prey over Damien’s body. He looks weak as Sister Greta makes the sign of the cross on his forehead. “If I die, this passes on to another,” he gasps. “Put your faith in Christ, you must be reborn,” she replies. He’s then lowered into a deep pit, continuously pleading with her not to do it. His pleas fall on deaf ears and so he begins screaming incredibly loudly, loud enough for Simone and Veronica to hear him from outside. Simone leaves Veronica by a tree and goes back for Damien. The thorns cut into him as he struggles to free himself. Sister Greta prays over the pit while down below Damien’s seeing grotesque faces emerge from the rocks and walls surrounding him.
Alone and bleeding by a tree, Veronica’s flashlight goes off, leaving her in the pitch-black night. The howls sound closer and she tries to stand. She’s weak but manages to walk a few feet before roots and limbs pull her down, wrapping themselves around her body. One even works its way into the gunshot wound, through her body, and out her mouth.
Ann, Amani, and one of Ann’s associates arrive at the church and come across Veronica but it’s too late. She’s dead with a massive branch jutting out of her mouth. Ann falls to her knees and Amani begins crying.
Shay, on the verge of a complete mental breakdown, goes to Damien’s house but of course he’s not there. He looks through Damien’s photos, finding the negatives Charles sent as well as other disturbing photos. He begins to hear his son’s voice saying someone is hurting him. He then hears howling coming from the drain in the sink, bending closer until he sees alive in the drain. Laughter follows him as he spins around the apartment.
Meanwhile, Damien is still struggling in the pit and again sees the faces of the wounded soldiers who spoke to him about the Beast and Hell. Instead of his life flashing before his eyes, Damien sees the deaths he’s been associated with as Sister Greta and her assistants continue to pray up above. Simone races up, calling out for Damien but is stopped and restrained before she can reach the edge of the pit. Down below, Damien growls – yes, it’s incredibly eerie – and makes unearthly noises. Incredibly, he crawls out of the pit, not terribly bloody. He heads straight for Sister Greta and she pulls out the dagger as if to stab him again. He doesn’t stop but continues to steadily advance. She tries to stab him but he easily stops her, turning the blade on her and stabbing her in the stomach before surprisingly gently lowering her to the ground. He stares at her as she’s dying but then turns to see the people holding Simone. They scatter and he grabs Simone’s hand and leads her away.