Strange Angel: Season 2, Episode 6 Recap – The Tower

As the episode begins, newsreel footage of a V2 rocket attack carried out by the Germans in the waning days of World War 2.

The footage cuts away to the Parsonage where we see the remains of the explosion caused by Ernest, the lodge members gathered in meditation and being taken to be questioned by the Police.

At the precinct, we see the Lodge begin to come apart as fingers point at each other for blame. At the same time, the citizens of Pasadena are protesting the Lodge being lead by Virgil and his group on “concerned citizens.”

An officer reports to the detective in charge the only body they found was of a goat and that the blast probably incinerated Ernest. The Police find Alred’s recordings of the sessions with the Lodge members and arrest several members for admitting to crimes they have committed.

Back at the Parsonage, Alfred holds a ceremony for Ernest. While in the library, Jack and Susan discuss Susan’s relationship with Alfred. Susan tells Jack that she is not in love with Alfred as Jack heads to the office. He and Patty had to drive through the mob of angry citizens.

At the offices of Aerojet, Jack finds out that Wallace has revoked his security clearance and General Braxton, the reason due to having an all be it former Nazi, (Brigitte) under his roof. Agent Warren tells Jack if he wants reinstatement, he needs to arrange a meeting between Warren and Aleister Crowley. Richard gets up to leave, and when Jack ask where he is going, he closes the door without a word.

That night, Marisol is packing Richard’s suitcase, and they discuss Aleister Crowley. Richard says Crowley could be working with the enemy to which Marisol says, she does not know about that, but she does know Crowley is someone you do not want to cross. Marisol shows Richard a letter that she received from “Crowley” threatening her after leaving Thelema if she revealed anything about it.

The next day, the arrested members of the Lodge (Brigitte, Joan, Angela, Sam, Joseph and Walter who was attacked while in jail) are being charged and one by one taken away while Jack, Susan, Patty, Alfred, and Alice looked on.

It should not be overlooked that one of the crimes that Walter is charged with is Miscegenation, which is defined as marriage, cohabitation, or sexual intercourse between a white person and a member of another race (see below).

Outside, Patty confronts her parents, telling them she has a new home and family. Virgil says “one of fornicators and murders” to which Patty responds “you’re capable of human sacrifice, what’s one more?” and walk away.

Sometime later, we find Richard and the Rocketeers in London investing a V2 impact site. They are met by a British Agent (Sebastian Roché) who take them inside one of the buildings to a fully preserved V2 rocket that British Intelligence has begun taking apart. The Rocketeers know they need Jack, but the military has sidelined him.

Back at Aerojet, Jack is in his office sulking. Patty comes in and tells Jack that she does not like his new look, the look of failure. As she turns to leave, Patty tells Jack that he needs to figure out what he needs to do to win and then do it.

Across town at the Parsonage, Susan slips into a warm bath, her relaxation is interrupted by sharp pain and erratic movement coming from her stomach as blood fills the tub just as Susan awakes from her nightmare and becomes sick.

Jack goes to see Crowley and tells him that he needs to meet with Wallace so that he can get his clearance back. Crowley tells Jack he is essential to the Great Work and that the war is a blood sacrifice. Crowley tells Jack that other governments would pay mightily for his knowledge. He hands Jack a business card with “Soviet Travel Bureau” printed on it, telling Jack to meet him there. As he walks away, Crowley says, “the man of Will, breaks all boundaries.”

The next day Susan and Alice are conducting a working to determine if Susan is pregnant. Alice injects a fluid into a frog and tells Susan that if the frog lays eggs, it’s a sign that Susan is pregnant. Back in London, Richard asks if transport can be made into the city.

In Pasadena, Jack tells Wallace where Jack is meant to meet Crowley. Wallace and his mean arms themselves telling Jack, Crowley may need convincing. At the Soviet Travel Bureau, Jack approaches Crowley just as Wallace and his men round the corner, Crowley sees them and races into an elevator.

Back in London, Richard goes into a dilapidated building, as Jack and the agent race after Crowley. In London, Richard goes to a door and knocks; a man answers the door, Richard shows him a letter and ask to see the man who wrote it, telling the man he is a friend of Jack Parsons.

In Pasadena, the agents pounce on Crowley as he exits the elevator, but it isn’t Crowley at all. In London, Richard comes face to face with the real Aleister Crowley.

As Crowley is injecting himself with drugs, Richard tries to introduce himself.

He asks if he knows Jack, who Crowley calls Frater JP. Crowley knows about Richard and Jack, but Richard deduces that Jack and Crowley have never met. Richard asks Crowley to help clear Jack’s name, which Crowley laughs off. Richard offers Crowley a supply of drugs if he agrees to help Richard, help Jack.

Back in Los Angeles, Jack is nursing his drug habit as he waits for Wallace outside of his office. Across town, Alfred goes to the Police and offers them a big catch if they would let the Lodge members go. Alfred offers himself in their place.

At the Parsonage, Susan goes to open the box with the frog. But before she can open the box the doorbell rings. Susan rushes downstairs to see the returned Lodge members. Joan stands silent in the doorway as Susan ask where Alfred is

Richard radios to Aerojet and tells Jack and Wallace that he meet Crowley and has a signed affidavit that he has been in London the whole time. Jack says that’s impossible, and he was supposed to meet Crowley. Reaching in his pocket to retrieve the Soviet Travel Beareu card, Jack instead reveals one of his Aerojet business cards.

Wallace tells Jack, “I thought you were dangerous, turns out you’re just delusional.”

Susan goes to the Police Department to see Alfred. Susan asks why did he not tell her what he was doing. Alfred said she built a beautiful home of love and trust, and he violated that trust.

Susan asked if Alfred made those recordings for Crowley. Alfred said that Crowley wanted a way to know his congregation, even if he could not meet them in the flesh.

Alfred says he takes full responsibility. Susan says he has another responsibility as she places his hands on her stomach.

Back at the Parsonage, Jack finds the frog and its eggs.

Jack goes to Patty’s room and asks where Susan is; Patty says she went to see Alfred, that she had something important to tell him. Jack tells Patty that he sees things, things others don’t. Patty tells Jack that Jack is a visionary and that she believes in him. She tells Jack to tell her what he wants and then kisses Jack. Patty tells Jack, “I want it all” as they kiss, undress and have sex as the episode comes to a close.

 

*Wikipedia Contributors. 2019. “Miscegenation.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. July 20, 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miscegenation#United_States.

*“Definition of MISCEGENATION.” 2018. Merriam-Webster.Com. 2018. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/miscegenation.

 

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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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