Yeah, here we go. The mini-series has been zeroing in on Dominick’s problems and how his own temper gets the better of him for a while now, and here, in the penultimate episode where he arguably does some of his worst things, he is also maybe starting to realize it.
That comes when Dominick starts to read his late grandfather’s autobiography. Dominick is, in a word, repulsed by the man. Domenico Tempesta was, in many ways, an awful human being. He could be dismissed as merely a narcissist with a very high opinion of himself and some old fashioned ways gleamed from growing up in Italy, but that isn’t how it turns out. He came across the ocean as a young-ish man with his younger brother and the brother’s pet monkey.
Domenico had a strong work ethic, which might be the only thing he had going for him, and he soon had a job as a dyer in Three Rivers. His brother was a bit lazier and a womanizer, and Domenico couldn’t stand co-worker Nabby Drinkwater because Domenico was also a huge racist. He bought property and immediately went about killing the rabbits on his land by feeding them broken glass mixed with grass. He got tired of his brother’s not helping with the home construction and told a cop to go home early, catching his brother in the act with the cop’s wife. The cop shot Domenico’s brother and the brother later died. Said brother’s last wish was that Domenico take care of the monkey. Domenico drowned the animal in a weighted down sack not long after that.
And that’s before he bought a wife, forced himself on her, abused her and her sister living with them, and got himself cursed by the sister. His wife died after giving birth to a girl with a hairlip, Dominick and Thomas’s future mother. Domenico would never have a son like he wanted, and the curse would cause health issues for seven generations according to his sister-in-law, a woman Domenico called “the monkey”. Or, you know, so the sister claimed.
In the present, Dominick is wondering if he is cursed. The thing is, he almost sees he has a lot in common with the grandfather he never met. The differences seem to be Domenico’s temper comes out when he feels disrespected or someone gets in the way of his own egotistical beliefs. Dominick never lays a hand on anyone, and his temper comes out when it comes to Thomas…mostly.
That isn’t to say Dominick is innocent or anything. In this episode alone, he uses words to really hurt a concerned Dessa (dude, don’t hurt Katheryn Hahn!), and his own arrogance assumes he can take care of Thomas better than the hospital. Yes, there’s proof that he got, thanks to Ralph Drinkwater, that Thomas was being abused, but even Sheffer thinks taking Thomas in is a bad idea. Dominick, he doesn’t care since he finally seems to think he won one.
Now, again, Dominick is not as bad as his grandfather, a man who forced himself in every possible meaning of the word onto his own wife. But he’s not acting like some sort of saint, and in his efforts to do what he believes is right, he doesn’t see how much he’s hurting the people he actually does care about.
I’ll say this much: at least we can see he does care for people. Domenico, not so much.
That said, reading about his grandfather does have Dominick looking at himself in ways he may not have considered before. So, that’s a good thing, and it does set up the final episode as Dominick completes the journey he began ages ago. Hopefully, he can let go of his anger and become a better person as a result.