FOX’s The Exorcist
Season 1, Episode 10: “Three Rooms”
Directed by Jason Ensler
Written by Jeremy Slater
* For a recap & review of the penultimate Chapter Nine, “162” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 premiere, “Janus” – click here
Angela Rance (Geena Davis), under possession of the demon Pazuzu, strangles the life from her daughter Casey (Hannah Kasulka), as Henry (Alan Ruck) and Kat (Brianne Howey) watch helplessly. But then Father Tomas (Alfonso Herrera) arrives. To fight. However, he’s worried that the “integration” is complete. He wants to believe it hasn’t happened. Hard not to believe. “Let‘s see the measure of your conviction,” Pazuzu challenges before tossing Tomas into the air like a doll. The demon touches him and suddenly he’s in a little room in Mexico, a house, and then he sees… Father Marcus (Ben Daniels), sitting on his bed. But it can only be a vision, something the demon wills upon him.
Because the real Marcus has been captured, at the hands of Brother Simon (Francis Guinan) and Maria Walters (Kirsten Fitzgerald), the latter of whom is constantly put down by everybody around her; how long until she turns on her demon friends? Well, at least Marcus has company – a still alive, still wisecracking Father Bennett (Kurt Egyiawan), though worse for the wear, is tied up in a chair alongside him. What Simon offers is integration. Join their legions, or die. And the clock, it’s ticking, as the nasty demon in the Brother cuts each of the priests open, letting them bleed.
Marcus: “A whole eternity listening to your poncy little speeches? Kill me now”
Back in that little dream-room in Mexico, Tomas talks with Marcus. The older priest talks of integration, taunting Tomas. Can the younger of the two make it out of his own head, away from the influence of Pazuzu? The dream-Marcus urges Tomas to wake up, else he die, too. Then there’s Pazuzu still controlling Angela, the entire family. All of a sudden the demon realises there’s a piece left to Angela, something he didn’t snatch up yet. She’s still in there, the integration isn’t complete.
What I love about this episode is the dream world Slater is drawing out for us. We’re headed inside the possession rather than seeing all the external effects. Essentially, we see the cause. Angela finds herself in a dark hallway, the demon coming towards her, scraping its fingernails along the walls. It’s genuine terror.
Pazuzu: “Little pig, little pig, let me in!”
Tomas, in his dream world, confronts the death of his mother, as Marcus continues whispering in his ear. He literally confronts her death – a dead, torn face from cats who ate it off. He then sees her die, alone in bed.
Now we find out more about Marcus. He shot his own dad with a poaching rifle, which got him sent to the school where he learned his trade. Brother Simon goes at him mentally about the “lonely trail” of his life. He wants to convince Marcus into joining their plan. The parade for Pope Sebastian (Bruce Davison) looms, so the demons have bigger things to do. Things don’t look good, though. Maria’s been pushed as far as she’s willing to go, or so it seems. Worst of all, Simon has released the ash of vocare pulvere into the air. Is it going to take him? Bennett? Maria?
At the Rance house, they’re playing Spin the Hammer. Naughty, nasty Pazuzu wants Casey to bash her sister’s knees in after it lands on Kat. If she doesn’t, the demon will haul Henry’s arms off. This is a tragic moment, as Henry tries to reassure his daughters of his love for them. And before the countdown ends, Kat grabs the hammer and crushes her own knee.
Looks like the ash is taking Bennett, swirling around him, trying to draw his mind to the legion of demons. Then he gives in. “Poor little Renfield, left all alone to eat your bugs,” Marcus laughs at Maria, left behind by her demonic friends. Such a great reference and even better delivery out of Ben Daniels. Instead of taking Bennett, the plan of Marcus worked, and Maria receives the demon’s influence. The two renegade priests break free of their bonds while Maria gets what she’s always wanted.
But what worries me most is Father Tomas. Can he push through? I believe he can. He wants to, and the Rances need him. With a blade to his neck, Tomas finally breaks free of the spell. He admits to his sins, bares his soul. Afterwards, he wakes to fight against Pazuzu. Just as Casey fights against it, willing her mother to come back.
Tomas: “I have hope and I have faith. These things are not weaknesses, they make me what I am.”
Marcus: “And what‘s that?”
Tomas: “An exorcist”
But who will win? Tomas shouts his prayers at the demon, commanding it to leave Angela. He works with every bit of his being to cast Pazuzu out, and Casey joins him with Holy Bible in hand. The whole family gathers reciting The Lord’s Prayer.
At the same time, Pope Sebastian has hit the streets of Chicago. His motorcade passes the hordes of people waiting to wave at him, to catch a glimpse. And Father Marcus, bleeding out more and more, tries hard to save him.
Cutting back and forth between these two scenes is fantastic, the tension is thick. Once the demons in the crowd at the parade start to bring everyone to their knees, and Pazuzu rages in his hallway, things get intense. Brother Simon and his crew of demons go to the Pope. Before Simon can do anything Marcus cuts his throat. The spell on everyone is broken, the Pope is rushed away to safety, and Marcus rushes off.
Angela opens the door in her mind, but not to let Pazuzu in: to invite him into a fight. She bashes his head in on the floor of the hall, closing the door on him to leave him in darkness. Outside, Angela nearly breaks in half, seemingly dead; her family left to mourn.
Father Marcus sits with Casey, who’s glad to be done with the entire mad affair. He is a sweet man and comforts her the best he can. She wonders about the others he’s helped, how many were actually saved and got better. “Hurt me all you want, but the bastards don‘t get to win,” Marcus assures Casey, and tells her how strong she is despite the Rances many troubles.
Off the Rance family goes in their car, headed away from Chicago and all its terrible memories. Marcus, he’s left to keep on battling for souls. What about Tomas? He wants to train to be an exorcist. He wants his new friend to stay, to teach him. Tomas has now seen the true face of God and is more compelled than ever.
But we can’t forget about Maria Walters and her friend Superintendent Jaffey (Tim Hopper), and the others; they’re still kicking around. “Sebastian was never the finish line,” Maria tells the Superintendent. I can only imagine what the demons will plan next.
Oh, and Angela, she’s not dead. In a wheelchair, but not dead. The Rance family is safe and sound out in a country house, enjoying their lives. For now.
Even if they don’t #RenewTheExorcist, as they should, FOX did well with this Season 1. I truly hope they give this a Season 2 because there’s so much more to explore. Not just with the Rances, but with the demonic influence still on Earth. Plus I feel like Casey would make a great addition to the exorcism team of Fathers Marcus and Tomas.
Either way I loved this season so much, it was brilliantly written and the fantastic cast lifted the material up every chance they got. Cheers to all involved!