Fox’s The Exorcist
Season 2, Episode 8: “A Heaven of Hell”
Directed by Meera Menon
Written by Heather Bellson & M. Willis
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Help Me” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Ritual & Repetition” – click here
Verity (Brianna Hildebrand) and the rest of the kids wait to see what’s going on with Andy (John Cho). Rose (Li Jun Li) keeps them up on things. While Marcus (Ben Daniels) and Father Tomas (Alfonso Herrera) have been working for days on trying to expel the demon from Andy. For the time being the kids are getting off the island, even if they don’t like that. They’ll be put in temporary housing. Verity’s concerned, Andy killed somebody right in front of them, there’ll be consequences: “We‘re never going back.”
The demon speaks to Marcus, trying to get at him. It chips away at him, speaking of the “one who came before,” a former apprentice: Mouse (Zuleikha Robinson). Ah, yes. What sort of history do they have? What exactly happened to them, or between them?
In the meantime, the demon keeps Andy locked away someplace else with Nikki (Alicia Witt) in that dreamy landscape, that place made of his hopes, his aspirations, just the two of them. He’s utterly hypnotised.
Father Bennett (Kurt Egiawan) and Mouse are trying to find the two priests, to warn them of whatever’s coming. He’s not doing so well with an infected wound. She’s avoiding all his questions about her past with Marcus. Then he passes out, so that’s no good. Puts a bit of a wrench in their plans.
We skip back to the Isle of Iona in the United Kingdom, 1999. Mouse is part of the convent, it seems. Marcus, with his beautiful blonde locks, is the typically hippie priest we could’ve only assumed he’d be, and he even tells Mouse to choose a different life; he was chosen, called to God, whereas she still has a choice. “The rest of us are just fumbling around in the dark hoping it‘s all real,” she tells him, admiring that he doesn’t have a choice. You can tell there’s more to this relationship, I’m sure we’ll soon see it.
Marcus: “My life is a series of rooms, demons, and coffee that tastes like pond water.”
Caleb (Hunter Dillon) and Shelby (Alex Barima) prepare to leave the foster home, as does Verity. Of course none of them can tell anybody what’s really going on, so it’s even harder. Everybody else thinks it’s pneumonia. They know the difference. Verity doesn’t wholly believe it’s a demon, she just knows something is fucked up.
Back to ’99. Mouse sneaks into the basement of the church, into a locked room. There is a woman called Miriam, obviously possessed, chained to the floor. She goes down there to visit by herself, and often. The demon speaks to her, taunting a little: “I am the dragon. What are you? Nothing.” The more Mouse recites biblical verse, the more the demon speaks, talking down to her. And offering its demonic power to her, to see the “true face of God.” Afterwards Mouse is attacked by the demon, viciously.
Now Marcus is asking Rose to put one of the children in the room with Andy. You know who offers: Verity. She won’t take no for an answer, she wants to be of help. If this is demonic possession, she’ll do whatever is in her power to do, to try helping her foster father. Meanwhile, Tomas is having a rough go of things, as well. He let one demon in, once, and now he’s forever scarred, forever marked by that infernal legion from hell. While he’s in the room with Andy he suddenly sees Nikki, water logged and dripping; only for a brief moment, then she’s gone.
Back to ’99, Marcus is nursing his “little church mouse” back to health. Because she’s been possessed by a demon. It’s inside her. And he refuses to let her go, though she begs, feeling guilty for allowing it to happen. He won’t give up on her. We can further see the parallel between Mouse and Tomas, those exorcists in training under his wing, who’ve gotten in over their heads. In current day, he surely feels that what happened to Mouse is again happening, this time to Tomas.
Marcus and Peter (Christopher Cousins) have another romantic moment, that will hopefully continue once the whole ordeal is over. But there’s more pressing things at hand. Verity’s come back to the foster home, to go into that room and face the demon, to try bringing Andy back to them. She heads in to say hello. No happy greeting. The demon talks back, taunting, telling lies to twist her young mind. Worse, Nikki speaks through Andy, directly to Verity. She says horrible things about her suicide, about the girl. Verity’s stronger than that. She rejects the lies, and kneels next to Andy, confessing honestly her own flaws. “No matter what I did you always loved me,” she says. She pleads with her foster dad to fight the demon. And he does, he pushes through for a second telling her to get away; the demon’s palming a shard of glass it wants to use for a stabbing. Luckily she gets out of the house before anything can happen.
Once more, in ’99, we see Mouse returning to the world. She isn’t possessed. But she doesn’t wake up to Marcus. It’s another priest, chastising her curiosity. She finds out Marcus couldn’t complete with exorcism, apparently. He left her there. Naturally, the Roman Catholic Church blames her, nosing around where she should’ve have been, they claim. And yes, in a way, she was, but Marcus was responsible for her to a certain extent. Heartbreaking that he’d leave. However, Mouse must do the same with Father Bennett, whom she leaves in the hospital, hooked up to machines in a coma.
The two renegade priests battle together against this demon. Marcus tells Tomas he’s “proud to stand” with him. No longer master-apprentice, but master and master; Tomas is a full fledged exorcist, as much as Marcus. Their power together can, hopefully conquer anything. Although this demon, it’s one fucking powerful bastard. At the same time, Rose takes Verity back to get a book Andy gave her, she left it at the neighbours place. Verity goes in to get it, finding the neighbours dead. Why? Andy’s gotten himself loose, and he’s got Rose. OH, shit. And is Marcus trapped with Tomas, who’s himself seduced by the demon? SO MUCH HAPPENING. DIG IT.
Another goddamn spectacular episode! This series only improves with every one, truly. The writing is always spot on. Just intense, unexpected, emotional. Bless everyone involved.
“Ritual & Repetition” is next week. The penultimate Season 2 finisher. I wonder what’ll happen in these last two episodes. Good laaawd!