Fox’s The Exorcist
Season 2, Episode 2: “Safe as Houses”
Directed by Deran Sarafian
Written by Adam Stein
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 premiere, “Janus” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Unclean” – click here
We open on the Vatican. Studying, deep in the Officio Di Esorcismo, is our friend Father Devon Bennett (Kurt Egyiawan). Apparently he’s having trouble, the tribunal wants his evidence. In a court of appeal, he presents the council his case. He speaks of the “integration” when there’s a “permanent fusion” between human soul and the demon. Then he explains his belief about those who’ve already integrated having infiltrated the Roman Catholic Church, at every level.
And then Cardinal Guillot (Torrey Hanson) arrives, to testify about his supposed demonic possession. Nobody believes Father Bennett’s story, though he’s insistent about the man: “I know who you are.” After that Guillot sets about proving he isn’t a demon. He’s poured a small chalice of water to bless and swallow back. Nothing happens. So the tribunal is satisfied. They’re only concerned with the rogue priest, Father Marcus Keane (Ben Daniels).
Speaking of Marcus, he and Father Tomas Ortega (Alfonso Herrera) are still in that barn, at the hands of those angry men. And one of them’s a cop, Jordy (Warren Christie), so that makes it all the more uneasy.
Andrew ‘Andy’ Kim (John Cho) is fixing up the boards over the well, explaining to social worker Rose Cooper (Li Jun Li) there’s never anything like that around their place. Although she worries, it was an intense situation. At the foster home, the kids take care of themselves pretty well while Andy has things to deal with; Shelby’s (Alex Barima) even invited by a neighbour, a farmer, to view the birth of a lamb, clearly he has an interest in medicine, maybe veterinary work.
Elsewhere, in the barn, Marcus tries explaining to Sheriff Jordy his wife Cindy (Zibby Allen) has been taken by Lucifer, “the Morning Star,” and they’re her only hope. Naturally, these men don’t believe this religious insanity. Until Marcus talks about things he shouldn’t know, by any natural logic, from being with the demon in her mind. However, if she dies, those men are going to kill the priests.
Back on that Washington island, Rose questions Caleb (Hunter Dillon) about what happened the night before. If he wanted to hurt himself. The kid doesn’t want to talk about it. Obviously something’s up. We further find out about Andy’s wife, who it seems committed suicide, or at the very least died because of deep, emotionally traumatic issues.
Marcus keeps warning Tomas of his “unnecessary risks.” He talks about a friend, back during his training, who walked into a room with a demon and did not come back out for six months. He worries for the younger priest’s soul, whereas Tomas believes he’s jealous. Oh, Father Ortega’s getting lost, and fast.
The men take Father Keane and Father Ortega to the hospital, after Cindy’s had quite a… fit. They’ve cleared the place out, but there’s streaks of blood, bits of gore in the hallways. In a nearby room, Cindy’s got a man held hostage. She’s in the full grips of the demon, contorting her body, frothing black bubbles from the mouth. She speaks in cryptic scripture-like sentences, chewing pieces out of the man’s face, gouging him open. Then she takes off into the ceiling like an animal.
“So sweet. Sweet like stolen candy.”
Father Bennett’s discovering his office and exorcisms in general within the Church are being undermined; the integrated are most certainly infiltrating. At least he’s got himself a few friends left, behind the scenes. Such as Cardinal Caro (Philip Craig) who shares what he knows in private.
Poor Caleb bites into an apple finding a mouthful of squirming maggots. He spits them out, rinsing his mouth. He runs into Verity (Brianna Hildebrand), but he’s acting strangely. Later, he goes to talk with Andy – he says last night, he was with Verity, that she made him go out to the well and stand there, counting to ten. He says she left him. Is this the truth? Could Verity be possessed? Or is it him, playing tricks?
Next door, Shelby watches the lamb’s birth. Only there are issues with the delivery, the other animals even seem to know. When they remove the baby it breaks out of its sac, looking like some sort of demonic creature. And it has to be put down.
In the maternity ward, Cindy has lots of babies to enjoy. Marcus and Tomas confront her. It’s quite difficult, when she has her hands on a child, power over the others in the room. Suddenly, Tomas begins singing a familiar song to the woman, but she grips Marcus by the throat, choking him powerfully. After a moment, she sings along with Tomas. He manages to get the baby away from her. Giving his partner enough time to tackle Cindy, reciting the necessary prayers.
Shelby goes out in the woods at night. He prays to himself, though soon the forest is filled with hideous, terrifying sounds. At the foster home, Andy talks to Verity. She denies taking Caleb out there at night, admitting to taking him there earlier that day. So, who’s lying? It makes the girl look untrustworthy, given her apparent history of trouble. Andy’s worried about her, and Verity is pissed that he would believe she’d try to hurt one of her friends. Then there’s little Grace (Amélie Eve), stuck in the middle.
The priests keep battling. Except that Tomas is being pulled deeper into the demon’s mind, his own mind. He’s called to another place with it, as Marcus loses a grip on his friend. In a dark church, Tomas meets with Cindy, she points him toward the confessional. The demon tries to turn him further against the other priest, as Tomas inside and Marcus outside fight to save Cindy. And eventually, she comes back to the world in the hospital. That evening, Father Bennett calls Marcus to let him know the Vatican are coming for him, the integrated within its ranks. So this means he’s got to get moving.
This is where the priests get closer to the Washington Island, on which the foster home is situated. Where Andy’s seemed to have cleared things up, thinking Caleb went out there as a ritual sort of thing. At least that’s what he tells Rose to keep the kids together. But in the night, outside, Andy finds there are more troubling things going on around the place after finding bloody hand prints on his door, and Shelby, holding the bloody lamb fetus in his arms: “There‘s something in the woods.” So fucking creepy.
Fantastic follow-up to the premiere. Also love how we’re not sure WHO is going to be possessed at the foster home, or who’s ALREADY possessed, because there’s a swirling bunch of events happening that takes us in many directions.
“Unclean” comes to us next week.