To his anxious followers the good Lord once said “For wherever two or three come together in my name, there I am with them.” But typically, wherever three people come together to do anything, even in the Lord’s name, (which is rarely), there is likely to be tension and conflict. The reason for this is a psychological process called triangulization.
Originally derived from family systems therapy, the concept has seen wider application to situations in which a relationship involving two people—typically family members, though not always—is disturbed by the interactions and agenda of a third. The original two person relationship loses its stability with the arrival of the third member, who can act as a messenger between the two, but usually with his or her own interests in mind. A common example of this is the “romantic triangle” involving two lovers, one of whom has attracted an alternative. Another common triangle is the one that forms between two competing employees and a boss.
It may be that there is at some deep psychological level a human preference for the symmetry of even numbers over odd. “Two” and “four” are peaceful and complete. “Three” and “five” seem unstable. (On the other hand, Three Dog Night would have it that “one is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do” and David Crosby once sang “Why can’t we go on as three?”)
At least two separate triangles are on display in the newest episode of SyFy’s Dominion. An especially interesting one is created with the appearance of Michael’s and Gabriel’s older sister Uriel. The three angels gather to complain and criticize each other, as siblings often do under duress. Uriel misses her father—who is of course, God—and is appalled at the behavior of her two younger brothers. The “boys” have been fighting each other for centuries. All three in fact miss their father, each in their own way, and are uncertain and anxious about the future.
Uriel warns Gabriel to avoid harming the Chosen One, whom we now know is a common soldier from Vega named Alex. She also states that humanity is her father’s greatest creation. (What then was His worst?) Yet she seems strangely ambivalent about the outcome of the war between the angels and the humans. Can she be trusted? Probably not—every character in Dominion seems to have a hidden agenda. In separate scenes with Michael and Gabriel, she promises to take each brother’s side if they can bring her the Chosen One. She even offers to give each one her special sword. Clearly she is playing one off the other, and last appears with an impish grin and knowing eyes.
Senator Frost, David Whele and General Riesen form another troubled triangle also focused on meeting the Chosen One. Frost knows that the Chosen One is somewhere in the city of Vega, and suspects that the other two are concealing him to protect their political power. He lures the other two men to the agricultural irrigation tower—so that’s how Vega gets its food!—and threatens to drown them as well as destroy the city’s hydroponic farms if they do not produce the Chosen One. While in captivity, the General and the Secretary reminisce and philosophize about their experiences in the earlier part of the war—two old guys reliving past glories. They even review their respective medical histories: the general’s heart problems, Whele’s recent gunshot wound.
David Whele, the evil, Machiavellian Secretary of Commerce, is by far the most interesting character on Dominion. He is the champion of a materialistic, power-hungry secular humanism. In an earlier scene, he disputes the existence of the Chosen One and mocks the religious sentiments of his fellow citizens—even though his son William is the leader of a fanatical cult surrounding this Messiah-like figure. (Recall that in previous episodes the Secretary has fed innocents to his pet lion, Samson.) His best line in the most recent episode is “The Chosen One—It’s Us!”
As with the malevolent Constance Sutton of Helix,Whele is so bad you suspect he eventually must die in some spectacular fashion. He is merely shot in the leg by the twitchy Senator Frost, which provides a moment or two for the Secretary to display some vulnerability. Yet he rallies, shoots Frost in the head during the rescue, and resumes his evil machinations.
This week’s episode—called “The Flood”—contains some interesting baptismal imagery. While briefly imprisoned, Alex has a vision of being hallucinogenically doused with streams of brightly lit water, which spills over the mysterious tattoos on his body. The general and the Secretary also come close to being inundated in the irrigation tower, a scene that recalls the biblical flood. The archangel Michael finally reconnects with Alex, the Chosen One, near the end of the show. Coming attractions indicate that Alex is now going to be intensively trained by the angel in fierce hand to hand combat with sharp implements and other weapons.
Though blasphemous to say, had the original Chosen One received the kind of martial arts training Alex is going to receive from Michael, salvation history might have taken a completely different direction.
Dominion is on SyFy Thursday nights at 9:00 E.S.T. See the show’s website at http://www.syfy.com/dominion for more details.