“Tonight the role of Judas Iscariot will be played by Krevlornswath of the Deathwok clan”
David Greenwalt didn’t work for ANGEL during season four, so he missed the Jasmine arc. The above quote comes from the episode when Lorne’s forced to betray Jasmine, who has come to bring peace on earth. She eats people, but that’s a side effect of bringing hope and peace to the world. Dwight Eleazer, the Evangelical minister at the center of this episode’s case of the week, brings hope and peace to his believers by defeating the devil at every service. He doesn’t eat people, but he puts himself in danger by converting the vulnerable. His Evangelical followers believe in a literal Christian hell, a literal red-skinned horned devil, and they will kill to free the beast from the man.
“The Believer” is heavy on Christian symbolism. In fact, the audience may be severely concussed after the bludgeoning of symbols. From Dwight’s body guards Mark, Luke, and John—three of the four gospel writers—to one of the them hanging themselves after betraying Dwight complete with the bag of coins he took for betraying his savior, plus the imagery of Dwight dead in the pose of the crucified dead Christ, and let us not forget the name of his wife, Joan Vark, which recalls to mind Joan of Arc, a martyr, heroine, and Roman Catholic saint, “The Believer” sort of retells the broad points of Christianity to show that history repeats even when some of it doesn’t. Dwight expected Nick to slice his head off, but Nick didn’t. When leaving Dwight’s trailer with Hank, Dwight said, “That’s it?” Nick replied, “We don’t judge.” Compare that to the people Dwight saved who turn him over and kill him to save him, and like a good savior, as he lay dying, he thanked Joan Vark for saving him. It’s his way of atoning for cheating on her.
Greenwalt and Kouf wrote this episode with a sardonic smile, one would assume. Wu makes a joking remark in which he paraphrases scripture after telling Hank and Nick the names of the bodyguards; however, the underlying theme of the case is giving hope to the hopeless (and help the helpless), which was the mission statement of ANGEL when Greenwalt developed it with Joss. How much does it matter if Dwight’s defeating the devil isn’t real if it saves souls from a life of hell? The epigram came from Oscar Wilde—about each man being his own devil and making an individual hell for himself—but I mistook it for a quote from The Brothers Karamazov, maybe something Ivan said to Alyosha about man making the devil in his image and likeness.
The case doesn’t depend on a murder, but it depends on preventing a murder. A bodyguard dies, but he’s not mourned by anyone. The bodyguards are Dwight’s disciple, willing to die for his sake. Nick and Hank don’t know whom to charge, if they should step because it’s a wesen, and they do nothing until they arrest the members of Joan’s church in the final act. Wu’s lyncanthrope bite caused him blurred vision and muscle cramps during the investigation. Hank and Nick used the case to keep Renard occupied while Eve tried to pull information from Rachel.
Rachel’s seducation of Eve-as-Renard was amusing. Their scenes showed that Sasha Roiz’s a better Eve than Bitsie Tulloch, but anything important Eve learned was off-screen. Kouf and Greenwalt used their scenes for comic relief. Wu’s oncoming bout of lyncanthropia fun also was comic relief. He has terrible luck.
Monroe’s professor friend studied the piece of cloth for the gang, and they learned that the language written on the tale was archaic Latin and Aramaic--that’s how to give credibility to your mythology. The important part was two words, one meaning miracle and one meaning danger. What does this mean for Monroe, who was saved by the piece of wood? Did the cloth give the wood its miraculous healing power? One may only ask questions now and wait for more to be revealed later.
-I liked “The Believer” quite a bit more than “Skin Deep.” The run of stand-alone episodes will make it hard to transition back to Black Claw as a thing that causes constant upheaval throughout the world. The X Files aired four weeks of stand-alones before returning to the alien conspiracy storyline. The change is too sudden and drastic to work. So, I’ll probably complain more about it in a few episodes!
-William Mapother played Dwight. Mapother previously played Ethan Rom on LOST. Oh, Ethan. What a character.
-I should’ve mentioned the name of tonight’s wesen, yet another new addition to the mythology. I can’t remember the name; however, the back story is gnarly. Monroe explained that Popes in the Dark Ages used them to scare the faithful into giving alms so that they’d go to heaven. The preacher Dwight showed his faithful that the scary devil can be defeated with will. They needn’t give alms. All they need is belief.
-Jim Kouf & David Greenwalt wrote the episode. John Behring directed.