This may come as a surprise to some of you (it certainly did to me), but if you compare the US and the UK versions of the Dominion Blu-rays, you’ll find that the pilot episode on the UK version is about 20 minutes longer than the one on the US Blu-rays.
I’m lucky enough to have both versions of the episode to be able to compare them (yes, I’m that much of a geek to buy them both), so let’s take a closer look at the additional lines, shots and scenes in the extended version of the pilot. For your reference, I will call the US version the “original version”.
Before we dive in, though, let me just say that there are a lot of tiny, almost unrecognizable edits in the original version, which you will only realize when you let both versions run in parallel. I will not list all the many instances where just a second or two of a particular shot was shaved off. This was done in almost every scene, sometimes multiple times, perhaps to save another cumulative one or two minutes in the end. What I will be listing here are the changes that are a little more substantial than that.
Alex in the hallways of the old casino
The first scene after General Riesen’s voiceover starts off a little earlier than the original version. We see Alex walking down a long, deserted hallway littered with puddles of water before he reaches the larger space that houses the car he’s hidden. It looks almost like a school hallway. Foreboding, string-heavy music plays in the background. Most of what follows in the casino with the Eight-balls the same, but there’s an extra camera shot here and there, like Alex drawing his gun, or an old shoe left behind on the ground. → watch video
Alex is transported through the city
After they let Alex back into the city, a fellow soldier drives him to House Riesen for Michael to exact his punishment. We get a few extra shots of the melee on the streets, people aggressively attacking soldiers in black armour who try to keep them in check. A hand slaps a piece of paper against the car window on Alex’s side. It sticks to the window pane, and Alex reads it. It’s a propaganda note. “Those who DENY FREEDOM deserve it NOT!” Alex looks disconcerted at being right in the middle of the city’s darker underbelly. → watch video
Extra lines during the whipping scene
This is hardly noticeable, but there’s a few extra shots and lines in the whipping scene, like the line from the guard, “You’ve got no more mulligans left, Alex. Michael’s gonna peck your eyes out for this.” There’s also a bit more to the exchange between General Riesen and Michael when they discuss the Eight-balls that Alex encountered. → watch video
The planet was teeming with them during the Extermination. Bound to be a few stragglers left over after the wars.
Then why haven’t we seen them in five years?
Claire teaches the children
A few subtle shots here, like Alex casting Claire a telling glance when she dismisses the children from the class. → watch video
The scene where we meet Bixby for the first time has a few extra shots, like the one where Alex hands her a water bottle in addition to the cashews he offers her. He tells her not to eat so fast. “Slow down. You scarf, you barf.” At the end, he adds a, “Keep quiet.” → watch video
David Whele’s childhood memories
During the scene with Edward and David where Edward has his dinner by the pool, there’s a whole story about David’s predilection for blackberries. He grew up on a farm in Nebraska, where blackberries grew on the edge of their property. His father forbid him to eat the blackberries because the bush belonged to a neighbouring widow, but David did it anyway. His father caught him one day and beat him senseless. Which David thinks was the right thing to do, because rules are there for a reason. Edward doesn’t quite agree. → watch video
Jeep steals his way into Vega
When Jeep enters the secret tunnels that lead into the city, we see a few more shots of him actually walking through the underground tunnels. → watch video
Jeep and Michael reunite
There’s a line from Jeep that’s not in the original version where they talk about Jeep trying to decipher the tattoos. “Much of the last fourteen years was spent in wild goose chases, looking for the names of prophets I had misspelled or tasks I thought I was commanded to carry out. Other than the Vicor prayer of exorcism, which must have been a fluke, the rest of the tattoos are indecipherable.”
Interestingly, in the original version, it looks like the word “unfortunately” was added through ADR in post-production, because there Jeep says, “Much of the last fourteen years was spent in wild goose chases, looking for the names of prophets I had misspelled or tasks I thought I was commanded to carry out. Unfortunately, the tattoos are indecipherable.” → watch video
People who have read the script of the pilot that’s available online may have wondered about the limp that’s mentioned in the description of General Riesen’s character, which I don’t think is all that noticeable in the original version of the pilot (or future episodes, for that matter). There’s a prelude to the tête-à-tête between Edward and Claire where we see Edward walk through one of House Riesen’s hallways, and the limp is clearly there to see, as is the cane he leans on.
We see him pensively looking out the window to gaze at the illuminated city stretching before him just prior to Claire’s entrance. → watch video
David gets some extra lovin’
The scene with David visiting Arika while she takes a bath is extended—and rather risqué at that. How can I put this in PG-13 words? Let me just say… oral sex, with David at the receiving end. And he’s very much enjoying it. You can’t see anything explicit, but there’s plenty of mental fuel for those with a vivid imagination. → watch video
Roan wakes up
The scene where Roan wakes up from his nightmare has a few extra shots of him walking to the window. → watch video
Cancelling the Jubilee
The scene where Jeep reveals to the inner circle of the Senate that Gabriel is still alive has a few more lines at the end. After David walks out on them, Becca urges Edward to cancel the Jubilee. He gets up from his seat and says decisively, “Tonight goes ahead,” while Jeep and Michael look on. → watch video
At the Jubilee
Nothing very drastic in this sequence, but we get a few (hardly noticeable) shots of the reactions to the melee after the Fat Momma angel starts wreaking havoc. → watch video
Michael and Becca share a moment
When Furiad and the other two higher angels attack the city and the Senate members watch it in the control room, Michael mouthes a, “Go,” to Becca before she turns and leaves. → watch video
In the aftermath of the Eight-ball attack, a sense of panic ripples through Vega. → watch video
In the Safe Room
There’s a few more lines from General Riesen when the higher angels attack the reactor, where he gives the order, “Reinforce the compound. Use every available unit.” After the reactor blows up, the power goes out and they lose the camera feed to Michael and Furiad. The general tells the security guard, “Get me a picture!” The guard responds, “Sir, the reactor camera is not there anymore.” There’s another few reaction shots that were removed, mostly of Becca. → watch video
William and David’s take on the Chosen One
Little bits and pieces that were cut in this scene. It’s easier to just put all the dialogue here and mark what was cut in the original version. → watch video
I don’t believe this Alex Lannon is the Chosen One. Or even that the baby was ever real.
You saw the tattoos. You saw what happened.
I saw the tattoos transfer from Jeep to Alex. But I’ve seen more extraordinary things happen since this insanity began.
And so have I. The tattoos are a harbinger of what’s to come. They will assure in a period of hope.
Save it for your flock, William. Religious theatre is one thing, this is politics.
My faith is not a theatre. Nor is it a delusion.
I don’t know what it all means, but I’m not bowing to anyone, and you aren’t either. Alex Lannon is now
our greatest threat… And Claire Riesen is in love with him, which makes your union that much harder.
What? You’re wrong. He’s just a guard.
Not anymore. William, come on, I’m sorry, but your feelings for Claire have obviously blinded you to what was plain to see in that room. Which makes it more imperative than ever that we take full control of Vega.
Evelyn isn’t going to like us holding Arika in prison. Riesen thought she was innocent. She seemed to be speaking the truth when she said she had no idea what Roan was.
I don’t care. That city is full of assassins, how do you think Evelyn came to power?
You know Arika is Helena’s wife, don’t you?
Don’t agree with Riesen… About anything… ever again.
Claire confronts her father
This is the first scene that was cut completely from the original version. Claire confronts Edward about his audacity to promise her hand in marriage without her approval. → watch video
INT. HOUSE RIESEN – NIGHT
Edward is talking to some of his staff.
Get me unit commanders. This is war, I need to—
Claire enters the room and interrupts him mid-sentence.
I need a word.
Claire, I’m in—
(beat, then to his staff)
How could you do this to me? I am not a chess piece to be traded for advantage. And you’ve lied to me. You knew I’d never go for it, so you decided to just spring it on me in front of the whole city to force me against my will.
You said it yourself. Whele will not cede power on his own. And I can’t rule Vega forever. I’m… tired.
We need to join House Whele with House Riesen and give the people a government that’s united. Then, over time, from the inside, you can guide Vega towards a republic.
Claire shakes her head incredulously.
William is not like David, he wants the same things I do. We need Vega strong, not subjugated.
Everything is strategy and tactics to you, isn’t it? Even your own family. I don’t love him. Does that not mean anything to you?
Yes, it does.
I love Alex. I do.
He’s a good man. He saved your life. And you have misplaced feelings for—
My feelings are not misplaced. I love him. Jeep says he’s the Chosen One.
I have no idea what he is. I deal with things I understand. Facts, not fiction. And what I do know is that your destiny is too important for this city to be derailed by you choosing the wrong man.
Tears stream down Claire’s face.
We all do things, Claire. Things we hate to do. Your mother was possessed the first night of the war. She went crazy and came after you. She would’ve killed you if I hadn’t stopped her. This must be done. You must marry William. You must lead Vega. Our survival depends on it.
Claire doesn’t know what to say, clearly dismayed and deflated. Cut to next scene (Claire praying) off of a close-up of first Claire, then Edward.
Many people were killed during the higher angel attack on the city. Following the scene where Claire prays, we cut to a grim-faced General Riesen walking through a room where medical staff lays the bodies of fallen civilians out on the floor. Their clothes are stained with blood, one is missing a leg. He says to the soldiers, “Notify the next of kin. Then burn the bodies.” He then turns and leaves. → watch video
While the original version ends after William kneels down in front of Gabriel to be revealed as an acolyte, the extended version has an additional three minutes of monologue by Gabriel, intercut with a collection of scenes from the pilot as per below. → watch video
The longer I’ve lived among the humans, the more I’ve learned to respect them.
(View of the citizens in the streets of Vega as seen by Alex from the car window when he was being transported.)
Not because they’re noble.
(Claire teaching the children.)
Or somehow worthy of love, of respect.
(Michael caresses Becca after the orgy.)
No, I’m not deluded by their small accomplishments.
(David marveling at the power reactor.)
(The ceiling fresco in Michael’s bedroom, the circus show at the Jubilee.)
Their weapons of war.
(Alex’s Humvee surrounded by soldiers with weapons drawn. The defense cannons mounted on Vega’s wall.)
I was soaring the heavens when they were living in caves, clawing for worms to eat.
(Vega in the distance at night, Furiad and the two higher angels advancing on the city.)
But after the last thirty years, I now more clearly recognize their tenacity.
(Jeep walks into Michael’s bedroom. Alex kills the Eight-ball in the abandoned casino.)
The way they cling to their miserable lives.
(Arika in the bathtub pointing a gun at David. David and Arika take their places on the balcony at the Jubilee.)
Their ability to fight, steal, lie.
(Jeep and Alex sword-fight in Michael’s bedroom. David presents the captured Eight-ball to William.)
Even kill their own.
(The Jubilee champion preparing to go against the fat momma Eight-ball.)
And demonstrating their will to survive at any cost. That sets them apart from other creatures.
(The radar showing Furiad and the two higher angels advancing on the city, the Vega wall cannons firing at them.)
But make no mistake. The lowly cockroach has more in common with mankind than any angel.
(Close-up of Alex in the safe room. Furiad landing on the snow-covered ground in Jeep’s video recording.)
And that is why they must be destroyed.
(Roan getting up after his nightmare. The fat momma Eight-ball attacking at the Jubilee. The reactor explodes and the city goes dark.)
They were given our birthright. Gifted a paradise.
(A shot of the House Riesen building.)
And some great pestilence swept forth and turned this planet into a polluted husk. A place of destruction and hatred.
(Jeep entering the tunnels leading to Vega. Shots of the abandoned casino outside the city.)
What I do now is a service. A cleansing. The return to balance.
(Sword fight between Furiad and Michael.)
And when the last of them is nothing more than a memory, I will breathe easy. And so will He. And maybe then, His long disappointment over, our father will return to us.
And that concludes the extended pilot. I hope you’ve found this useful. Let me just add that I don’t usually go and beg for feedback, but this took many hours and lots of patience to prepare, so if you’d like to make my day, it’s as simple as leaving a comment below or getting in touch on Twitter. Thanks! 🙂