Damnation Season 1 Episode 3 Review: One Penny

As a tiny cross-section of America fights for their survival on Damnation Season 1 Episode 3, the hindsight we have now doesn't even make their decisions any easier.

It's interesting how even during what will be titled the Great Depression (not that they know that), people cannot open their eyes wide enough to see what is happening all around them.

Maybe the town of Holden is too isolated to feel the full pain of what the country as a whole is suffering.

Preparing for a Fight - Damnation Season 1 Episode 3

What I know of the depression years features a practical hell on earth, especially when it coming to farming communities. Yet the local bank is still in business, people are still eating well (even while not selling their goods), the whorehouse is doing great business, and the Sheriff sees fit to let the town "fix itself."

I have to wonder why Seth and Amelia picked Holden as an ideal place to ruffle feathers and why Creeley was shipped in to break the strikes.

Maybe we need to know who the "they" is that is working with Eggers before we can answer any of those questions, but something doesn't feel right.

If left to their own devices, the town of Holden could hold their own. Based on farming alone they have enough to feed their families to keep them alive through the depression. They could all band together and work each other's farms, do what needed to be done to keep the town alive.

The banker didn't know why he was being forced to fix prices, and that interference was plaguing the whole lot. Were people really that stupid during the depression that they thought making terrible decisions would somehow make all things right in the end?

Yes, dear people, I have forgotten everything about this part of history. I must have hated it. 

So, fill me in. What the heck?

Bessie's New Dress - Damnation Season 1 Episode 3

Creeley and Bessie have become a lot closer than either of them imagined. Will it change the way they both deal with things going forward?

The moment after he got her into the new lemon dress and they were hot and heavy on the bed, they gazed into each other's eyes, and it was worse than a passionate kiss. There are thinks women in whorehouses try to keep from doing with their johns. Kissing is one of them.

Gazing into each other's souls might be another. They were laid bare in that moment. 

Thank goodness because Creeley was soon to need Bessie's help again. 

That garbage at the beginning when Tanner and his wife were watching their kids playing baseball and "living the American dream" (another indication nothing is wrong in Holden during the depression), was so sweet as they had their Black Legion robes hanging in the shack, wasn't it?

Running Afoul of Black Legion - Damnation

Does the whole family belong? 

After Tanner captured Creeley, he was using his colorful language about Bessie and comparing her to things those people always do, but it made me laugh what appeared to insult him enough to leave Creeley hanging.

Creeley: Don't you get it? All the farmers are organizing according to tried and true European Marxist principles.
Tanner: I don't like the way you talk.

Well, isn't Tanner testy?

Creeley being out of commission for a while allowed the church-going farmers to rally around Mrs. Riley to keep her farm. 

It was cruel to sell the family bible, and it's hard to understand why any group would stoop so low when they're ultimately trying to reach the other to communicate. Mrs. Riley got lucky because when it was her turn, they had time to prepare not only for the worst but to jam the knife in the banks and twist.

It seems unlikely anybody else in town will benefit from the same tactic, but if you can't bar anyone from an auction and they must all take place according to the same rules, maybe they will.

Wouldn't all those who held weapons get arrested? If not, why not? For drama? If it's that easy to get away with something in Holden, just kill the messengers. Price fixers, gone. Voila. Banker who wants to take back the farm, gone. 

Auction Preparation - Damnation Season 1 Episode 3

When Della took "dinner" to the Sheriff, I almost threw up. That was too much for me.

The town is divided over what's going on with the two new men in Holden, that's for sure. 

But the Sheriff had to decide between being a father and the law, and he fell on the side of his daughter. Maybe it was the first time in his life; who knows?

While Della was angry, an earlier life choice on his part meant she went the way of the whorehouse while Donald married her sister (who from photos looked like she had a stick up her ass), if his pleasures at her house is what begot Bessie, then, hey, sacrifices had to be made.

I enjoyed the run-in between Bessie and Amelia, and can't help but wonder why Amelia is getting the short-end of the relationship stick.

Amelia: How does it feel to go around town with a psychopath?
Bessie: You tell me. At least I'm getting paid for it.

Seth only gave her the most cursory explanation of the of the photo, the woman in it, and the involvement of the strikebreaker. Bessie already knows the two are brothers.

While everything is bringing two unlikely candidates closer, Seth and Amelia are still worlds apart. Why are neither of them willing to talk about their families? 

And Connie's worldview is equally as strange. Now that she has "Dear Child" at her side, she's just continuing on her hunt for bad men. The way she determines a good man from a bad one doesn't suit me, but the way she treats bad men, in general, is very similar to my own.

That's how you get to the bad men. You let them see what they want to see, and then you cut them down.


Whether you watch Damnation online or have been keeping up live on USA Network, be sure to share your thoughts below. I apologize if this review was a bit more disjointed than the last. Sometimes inspiration hits, and others it's like the depression itself. You're clawing around trying to make sense of it.

I fear I was left with more questions than answers this time around, so if you'd like to join me in conversation, I'd be very happy to banter with you!

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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