Fox’s The Exorcist
Season 2, Episode 7: “Help Me”
Directed by Steven A. Adelson
Written by David Grimm
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Darling Nikki” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “A Heaven of Hell” – click here
Oh, Andy (John Cho). I feel for the guy. Lost his wife, now she’s being used by a demon to taunt him. An existential torture far worse than merely losing his wife to suicide. We see the fateful day. A normal one, like any other. Andy wakes up and can’t find Nikki (Alicia Witt). He wanders down by the water and it’s there he sees her wading in off the shore. She disappears under the surface sending him running. He can’t find her anywhere.
Authorities start searching the water, police and paramedics crawling all over the beach. Peter (Christopher Cousins) is there to console him. And then they find her corpse, hauling her in. Drowned, gone. No wonder the guy’s had trouble. What a way to see his wife go.
And that stone, the one Andy’s kept in the room upstairs, is one of the stones she used to weigh herself down below the water. All of sudden, we are BACK! Father Tomas (Alfonso Herrera) and Marcus (Ben Daniels) are working their religion on the demon inside him, Andy’s strapped to a bed: “The power of Christ compels you,” they chant, that old familiar line.
In his head Andy is tortured by the memories of Nikki, the happy times with the foster kids. All the good stuff. Marcus and Tomas will not give up on him, even when he comes to through the demon’s influence, worrying about the kids and wanting to be let out of his restraints. He mentions his wife to the priests, and they’ve got to convince him it isn’t her, it is a “parasite” that feeds off him. They’ve got to get to know this Nikki demon. It’s the only way to beat it.
So when did it first turn up?
We cut back to the married couple. Nikki, a social worker, talks about a special girl she wants to bring to live with them. She worries he’ll be freaked out, instead he’s beyond supportive. That girl she spoke of was Verity (Brianna Hildebrand). Skip ahead to after Nikki’s suicide, Andy and the kids pouring out her ashes in the garden.
But when did the demon arrive, the first time? Marcus and Tomas press him to remember. It was upstairs in the room with all of the painting supplies, when Grace (Amélie Eve) came to offer her hand: “I could be your friend.” Thus began the demon’s domination over him.
Rose (Li Jun Li) is worried, naturally. There’s a dead body in the house, Andy’s strapped in the bed and gone mad. It’s all a bit much to take, even if she invited the exorcists into the house. She never expected any of this wild shit. The priests can only work as fast as they’re able, to try freeing Andy from the demon.
“It‘s not luck when you get what you deserve”
The demon, through Nikki, has Andy living the ideal life. Just him and his wife. In sensual bliss. They have everything they ever wanted, everything they could need. Except it’s only a vision, a hallucination the demon provides to lull him into servitude. Marcus and Tomas fight hard, they try coaxing him back to reality, telling him it’s all an illusion. But oh, what an illusion. Demons know to prey on the weak, and they know where the weak are weakest, as well. Can Andy tear himself away from such a perfect world?
Well, it ain’t so perfect. There’s graves dug in the garden for each of the kids. Only Andy and Nikki now. No kids. No obligations. Just them, forever. Nikki tries turning him against the children, blaming them for her death. He’s being torn between religious demonology and the psychology he knows, an interesting juxtaposition. The demon continues tearing him apart with memories. He fights back, enough to keep himself still clutching at reality.
That demon’s got tricks up its sleeve, though. A lot. Andy is made to relive the morning of Nikki’s suicide again. He tries to go stop her, only the kids hold him up, being eerie. When he gets to the water he finds her going in, just like before. Smiling now. He goes in after her, pulling her out. The kids are on the shore taunting him, a hollow look in their eyes. One big scary vision.
Until he’s nearly drowning in bed, lake water pouring from his mouth. He nearly chokes before the priests turn him on his side. They’ve got to keep him grounded in reality. But that’s proving a hard task, of course. Suddenly the priests look terrifying, Andy feels attacked by them. He’s burned with the cross, holy water. His memories crush him. The demons tell him if he’d like it to stop, all he needs to do is ask. So he does. “Help me,” he croaks. Ahhh shit.
Nikki, the demon, has come to him, aiding his struggle. What’s going to happen from here? Things are about to get severe up in here! Andy will make a final choice. He’ll pick the kids, their deaths, or his wife. He wakes in the house to see his children hogtied, awaiting their fates. So he rushes off to look for Nikki. She’s already disappeared into the lake. He pulls her up, alive.
And now he’s awake, the full force of the demon throwing the priests around like rag dolls. The two of them, as well as the kids, are in a hell of a lot of trouble.
Wow. This series gets better every step of the way, it’s undeniable. Anyone who doesn’t dig it, fine. But it’s truly an amazing adaptation of Blatty’s work into a sequel to the original Friedkin film. Just downright spectacular writing. Plus, Season 2 has got a fucking jaw dropper performance out of John Cho.
“A Heaven of Hell” comes next week. I’m loving it already, as a Milton scholar, because that title is taken from a quote in the old poet’s epic Paradise Lost. So, extra nerd fun! Bring it on.