The embracing of his destiny as the Antichrist has been Damien Thorn's journey throughout season one of Damien, the spin-off from 1976's The Omen. Starring Bradley James in the title role, the show is produced by Glen Mazzara of The Walking Dead and The Shield, who, in what follows, describes the evolution of the character over the course of the ten episodes making up the first season. Beware of season finale spoilers.
"Damien has been running his whole life. He's been denying the fact that he is the Antichrist, though I think he understands that he is on some deeply emotional level. He doesn't want to look in the mirror. He doesn't want to face that. At the end of the first episode, he is forced to look in the mirror. He sees the 666 and he has to accept it. He immediately tries to rationalize it. He looks for a rational approach. He researches this. He does his surveillance on Barbara Hershey's character, Ann Rutledge. He's trying to figure out, 'How can I get around this?' As if it's an ordinary problem in an ordinary person's life.
"When he's confronted with the supernatural, face to face, in episode five, with the seven-headed demon, which is a demonic intelligence that possesses the seven wounded soldiers in the VA hospital, he realizes that he's up against supernatural forces that cannot be contained. Having just dealt with the veteran who was opting for suicide, Damien uses that solution and he attempts suicide. He really does."
Damien Meets The Exorcist
"Now, we push in deep into his psyche in episode six. We see the inner workings of his mind and we see what he wants and how he wants it to be and what was the life that he could have had that he wanted, and we see his wish fulfilled. But then he wakes up from this and we find that Damien realizes his life is a living hell and he's trapped in a nightmare. In episode seven, he lashes out. He tries to take control; he realizes that there's a force around him and he starts playing with it. He's aware of it and he's seeing if he can get control of it. Gradually he's pushed to a breaking point.
"Then the nun, Sister Greta, tries to perform an exorcism on him. He's turned to the church. He says, 'Fine, I'll give myself into perhaps the supernatural cure.' Sister Greta attempts an exorcism on the Antichrist — that's something that I have never seen before — but it backfires and instead awakens the demons."
His Ascent Begins
"Then in episode ten, the entire process comes to fruition and Damien enters a Faustian bargain with the Devil. And this is the key phase: Damien, in order to save the people he cares about, sacrifices himself in a Christ-like way to fulfill his role as the Antichrist. By the end of episode ten — with an entire emotional journey behind him with ups and downs, going down blind alleys, trying something else — it's all about him willingly accepting his role as the Antichrist. Early on, Ann Rutledge said, you can't just put a gun to his head and say, 'Bring about the apocalypse.' This was set up early on and Damien, because he is also human and not just satanic, needs to make a human choice and accept his role. That is the journey that was designed upfront."
The Antichrist As Messiah
"People were asking, 'Why isn't he more demonic? Why isn't he more devilish? Why isn't he more fun?' That's not what the Antichrist is. The Antichrist is supposed to be the Messiah. This is the beginning of a religious movement. I would say it's easy for a demagogue to get people to kill for him, but it's difficult to get a messiah to have people die for him. That's what we've done. When you see Damien surrounded by his followers and his evil church at the end, they have all witnessed a miracle. That is the beginning of Damien as the head of the Dark Church.
"When people hear, 'He's ready to trigger Armageddon,' they think that it's going to be a light switch and suddenly the Earth is in Armageddon. But that's not it. It's got to be a slow build to Armageddon. It's a bait and switch. The Antichrist appears as a messiah. His followers think that they are entering the promise land. They don't realize they're actually being dragged into hell."
The season finale of Damien airs May 9th on A&E in America.