This week’s episode focused on several hot botton topics, that we continue to deal with today. Racism, Classism, Homophobia, Paranoia, and, Fear of the other.
The members of the Agape Lodge are out shopping in Pasadena, everyone is happily enjoying their walk, you can tell from the way people are looking at them, the news of who they are is spreading.
Jack and the Rocketeers are hard at work attempting to craft a rocket to rival the German V2, but at the same time Jack is dealing with paranoia, first that The Magus and Susan are becoming closer, that there may be a spy in the office and that Patty may be interested in a Soldier assigned to the Jack’s office.
At the same time, Ernest is continuing to do Virgil’s bidding, providing information on the Lodge, which Virgil gives to the local community, turning them against Susan and the Lodge. This comes to a head at a Christmas Party, hosted by the Pasadena Conservation Society. While there Susan is cornered by a group of women who question the goings on at the Parsonage, feeling trapped Susan is rescued not by Jack but by Alfred, The Magus who arrives in barefoot and in style.
The host of the party, when attempting to interrogate Susan and Alfred brings up the fact that black people are living at the house, whether as guest or borders which is not allowed. Now, this is important to talk about. In Los Angeles at the time Strange Angel takes place, Jim Crow was alive and well in the American South. California did not have Jim Crow laws per se, but what they did have were Covenant Laws, which basically were a way to make sure a specific type of behavior was abided by in the community.
These Covenant Laws would be expanded to be Racial Covenant Laws which went something like this: Jack and Susan want to by a mansion in Pasadena. When signing the papers, there is a clause that says they will abide by the local Covenant Laws which stated that they promise to not sell the house to people of color or a particular religion or orientation. More extreme versions, like in this episode would include not being able to rent to or board “undesirables” either.
We begin to see the rift between Jack and Susan developing. And with Jack’s erratic behavior in the office, we start to see seeds of Jack undoing. Susan, at the same time, is becoming stronger in Will and her connection to The Magus who comes to her aid at the ambush at the Christmas Party.
We get a glimpse of what Ernest was up to during his time abroad, in occupied North Africa, Ernest spends time with his lover Omar. They are captured by the authorities who question Ernest as a spy, they are tortured, and Omar is killed. The soldiers dump Ernest in the desert, where he begins to hallucinate and comes to see his Holy Guardian Angel after carving Sigils into his skin with a knife.
Back at the Aerojet Company, racism rears it’s head as two soldiers question Chang while he is inspecting one of the rocket shells, not believing that he is working on the project with Jack and the others. Richard interrupts the harassment, and after Chang produces his credentials, the soldiers leave. Patty admits to Jack that the flirting between the soldier and Patty is meant to get Jack’s attention.
Jack and Aleister Crowley meet to discuss potential spies in the organization, Jack is sure that the soldier who is having a fling with Patty is the spy, but how much of this is tied to his jealousy is yet to be seen.
Jack enlist Ernest to help in capturing the spy. Unfortunately, Ernest how has gone mad from his experience in the desert and under orders from Virgil to “cut the head off the snake” nearly kills the soldier and then chases Jack into a river bed with the knife he used in the desert.
Jack fools Ernest into thinking he is a powerful Elemental by using small rocket canisters to produce wings of fire which Ernest is captivated by.
Back at the Parsonage, Susan and Alfred have begun their ritual to be rid of their enemies.