Strange Angel Season 2: Episode 2 – The Magus

As the episode opens we are back at the Parsonage, the new home of the Agape Lodge. Ernest (played by Rupert Friend) having returned to Los Angeles is detailing his journeys since leaving Los Angeles at the end of season one to the Magus.

When the Magus (played by Greg Wise) brings Ernest to the group and says he should stay, Jack would have none of it and that the Parsonage is his house to which the Magus reminds Jack (played by Jack Reynor) that since inviting the Agape into the mansion, it is now their home. Love is the Law, the Magus says and the group repeats, Jack finally saying Love is the Law.

Patty and The Magus are central figures in this episode as they both pursue their respective objectives, Jack and Susan. Patty (played by Laine Neil) snoops around the house, taking in the new residence, finding herself in the Magus’ quarters she finds a large chest with strange symbols inscribed on it, but before she can open it, the Magus finds her.

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When we find Richard, he is searching for Marisol’s (played by Veronica Osorio) family, intent on asking her father’s blessing to marry her, the reception he receives is less than he had hoped for and when Marisol finds out that Richard has gone to see her family, she is less than pleased.

At the same time, the military and the rocketeers are viewing footage of a V2 Rocket being launched, realizing the Germans are far ahead of where they need to be but hope arrives in the form of a POW who helps the team by detailing the missile location, providing information on the facilities the missiles are made and most importantly what the fuel smells like.

Meanwhile, Patty has begun working at Aerojet with Jack. She is flirtatious and rubs some of the employees the wrong way by wearing stockings that are currently being rationed because of the war. Jack notices a car parked across the street and it appears he is being followed.

Back at the Parsonage, Patty has found what was inside the box hidden in the Magus’ room, it was filled with the audio recording of sessions the Magus has had with the members of the Lodge. Patty, attempting to drive a wedge between Jack and Susan, let’s Jack hear the conversations between Susan and the Magus.

During all of this, Susan (played by Bella Heathcote) are growing closer. The Magus encouraging Susan to participate in the Yoga sessions with with group and flirting with Susan as she prepares a meal.

Ernest has joined into an unholy alliance with Susan and Patty’s father Virgil to bring down the Lodge, particularly Jack by recording the names of the Lodge members and goings on and reporting back to Virgil. During his time away from Los Angeles, Ernest has become a Heroin addict and in attempting to get close to Jack, introduces him to the drug.

After his first experience, Jack finds himself in a diner where he meets Aleister Crowley (played by Angus McFadyen) going under an assumed name, who claims to be working for “King and Country” and who appears to be the person following Jack. Crowley explains to him that they must work together and act against the forces of evil but due to the effects of the drugs Jack and Ernest took, Jack is not certain that Crowley is actually there.

Back at Aerojet, a disheveled Jack barges in triumphant, he was able to figure out what the fuel type the German Scientist was using for the V2s, Richard shows Jack and article that the British Air Force bombed a German research facility. Jack sees this as a confirmation of his Will, Richard is not so sure.

Later, the time had come for the Lodge to decide if Ernest could stay. Jack upset at the secret records the Magus has been keeping challengers him when the Magus says they should expel Ernest after finding Ernest and Jack getting high and surmising that the visions Ernest has been seeing may be chemical in nature.

At this point, Jack and Patty have grown closer, which you can see as Patty takes her seat next to Jack opposite Susan. The Magus is outvoted and Ernest is allowed to stay.

The episode ends with a outdoor ceremony at the Parsonage; Patty with Jack’s support has become a member of the Agape Lodge, whether or not purely to annoy her sister remains to be seen, Susan is not pleased by the situation. The Mass is then followed by an orgy at which point Jack and Susan decide to take over lovers, perhaps in a foretelling of future events…

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Strange Angel Character Profiles: Jack Parsons

John Whiteside Parsons, played by Jack Reynor, is the subject of the CBS All Access series Strange Angel has been a mysterious figure since his death in 1952.

Occultist, Chemist, Rocket Scientist and American pioneer, Jack (as he was known to his friends and family) was a man ahead of his time. Born October 2, 1914, in Los Angeles, CA, Jack was a curios child who had a passion for science fiction and fantasy, particularly the works of Jules Verne.

Jack had another passion, a passion for the occult. He is on record as having claimed to have summoned the devil as a child. As he grew older, Jack’s attentioned switched to more scientific endevours and he and his childhood friend Ed Foreman began building rockets with the intention of traveling to the stars along side Frank Malina, a student at CalTech.

Jack was a founding member of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) which in some circles was called the Jack Parsons Laboratory and the Aerojet Engineering Corporation. Around this time, Jack became a student of English occultist Aleister Crowley and the religion of Thelema. Thelema’s core tenet being: Do what thou wilt, shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the Law, Love under will.

Being that this was 1940s/1950s Los Angeles, this religion/cult was deeply underground with the FBI opening file after file on Jack Parsons and the Agape Lodge he belonged too. Eventually, Jack and his first wife Helen (who will be covered in her own post) became the head of the Agape Lodge, turning their mansion into the Lodge’s new home.

Eventually, Jack’s extracorrecual activities drove him out of JPL and CalTech. Jack died on June 17, 1952 in an explosion at his home in Pasadena, CA. The circumstances of the explosion remain a mystery. Some suspect that Jack accidently dropped a chemical he was working on, others suspect that Jack was murdered by a gangster that he had testified against in the 1930s.

Another, more occult theory is that Jack was attempting to summon a fire elemental and it appeared causing the explosion. We may never know. What we do know is that the work in rocketry that Jack and his team performed in the 1930s-1950s paved the way for future rocket scientist to lead humanity to the stars.

The series, Strange Angel, is a fictionalized version of Parsons’ life, many of the characters are either reimagined or made up versions of people from his life and times.

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“Early History.” 2019. Nasa.Gov. 2019. https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/jplhistory/early/.

Wikipedia Contributors. 2019. “Jack Parsons (Rocket Engineer).” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. June 4, 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Parsons_(rocket_engineer).

Keane, Phillip. 2015. “Jack Parsons: Occultism, Magic and the Birth of NASA JPL.” Space Safety Magazine. February 11, 2015. http://www.spacesafetymagazine.com/aerospace-engineering/rocketry/jack-parsons-occult-roots-jpl/.

 

 

Strange Angel Review, Season 2: Episode 1 – The Fool

Season 2 of Strange Angel opens with a two year time jump and a celebration as Jack and his team of rocket scientist are celebrating a year in business and their growing relationship with the US Military.


Jack and Susan have moved from their small home from season one into a mansion in a wealthy part of Pasadena. Jack is troubled by nightmares of a dragon attempting to break down the door.


At the same time, the Agape Lodge have been driven from their home by the local Priest, his congregation and Susan’s stepfather Virgil. While talking to Alfred, the head of the lodge, Jack invites them to move into the mansion with Susan, Jack and Susan’s younger sister Patty.

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Alfred is reluctant, saying to Susan “I don’t think the house will be big enough for the both of them”. Whether he was referring to Jack and Alfred, Alfred and Susan or Susan, Jack and the lodge remains to be seen.


Across town, Ernest emerges from the hull of a ship having traveled away from Pasadena, Jack, and the Agape Lodge. A lost soul, Ernest heads back to the house where the Lodge had been to find it empty, enraged Ernest goes on a rampage including beating a store owner and ending up in jail.


During all of this, Jack’s partner and friend Richard is having relationship issues. Richard and his girlfriend Marisol, who may or may not still be a member of the Lodge, have grown closer since last season but are having to deal with the realities of an interracial relationship in 1940s Los Angeles. In a stark contrast, we see that the Agape Lodge is welcoming to people of all types and a haven for the misfits and outcast of the day.


The episode concludes with a raucous party, where the guest follow Jack is reciting Aleister Crowley’s Hymn to Pan*. And just as Jack says the final passage, there is a loud banging on the doors, the sound exactly like the sound from Jack’s nightmare.


Jack approaches the door and throws it open…. to find Ernest standing on the threshold, “Hey Jack” he says “long time no see”.


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*Hymn to Pan by Aleister Crowley:
Thrill with lissome lust of the light,
O man! My man!
Come careering out of the night
Of Pan! Io Pan!
Io Pan! Io Pan! Come over the sea
From Sicily and from Arcady!
Roaming as Bacchus, with fauns and pards
And nymphs and satyrs for thy guards,
On a milk-white ass, come over the sea
To me, to me,
Come with Apollo in bridal dress
(Shepherdess and pythoness)
Come with Artemis, silken shod,
And wash thy white thigh, beautiful God,
In the moon of the woods, on the marble mount,
The dimpled dawn of the amber fount!
Dip the purple of passionate prayer
In the crimson shrine, the scarlet snare,
The soul that startles in eyes of blue
To watch thy wantonness weeping through
The tangled grove, the gnarled bole
Of the living tree that is spirit and soul
And body and brain — come over the sea,
(Io Pan! Io Pan!)
Devil or god, to me, to me,
My man! my man!
Come with trumpets sounding shrill
Over the hill!
Come with drums low muttering
From the spring!
Come with flute and come with pipe!
Am I not ripe?
I, who wait and writhe and wrestle
With air that hath no boughs to nestle
My body, weary of empty clasp,
Strong as a lion and sharp as an asp —
Come, O come!
I am numb
With the lonely lust of devildom.
Thrust the sword through the galling fetter,
All-devourer, all-begetter;
Give me the sign of the Open Eye,
And the token erect of thorny thigh,
And the word of madness and mystery,
O Pan! Io Pan!
Io Pan! Io Pan Pan! Pan Pan! Pan,
I am a man:
Do as thou wilt, as a great god can,
O Pan! Io Pan!
Io Pan! Io Pan Pan! I am awake
In the grip of the snake.
The eagle slashes with beak and claw;
The gods withdraw:
The great beasts come, Io Pan! I am borne
To death on the horn
Of the Unicorn.
I am Pan! Io Pan! Io Pan Pan! Pan!
I am thy mate, I am thy man,
Goat of thy flock, I am gold, I am god,
Flesh to thy bone, flower to thy rod.
With hoofs of steel I race on the rocks
Through solstice stubborn to equinox.
And I rave; and I rape and I rip and I rend
Everlasting, world without end,
Mannikin, maiden, Maenad, man,
In the might of Pan.
Io Pan! Io Pan Pan! Pan! Io Pan!


*Crowley, Aleister. “Hymn to Pan.” Hymn to Pan – Book 4 – The Libri of Aleister Crowley – Hermetic Library, hermetic.com/crowley/book-4/hymn.

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