The Exorcist – Season 2, Episode 7: “Help Me”

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
Screen Shot 2017-11-18 at 12.35.53 AMOh, 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.
Screen Shot 2017-11-18 at 12.37.20 AMIn 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.
Screen Shot 2017-11-18 at 12.53.34 AMScreen Shot 2017-11-18 at 12.57.06 AMIts 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.
Screen Shot 2017-11-18 at 1.15.51 AMWow. 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.

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The Exorcist – Season 2, Episode 6: “Darling Nikki”

Fox’s The Exorcist
Season 2, Episode 6: “Darling Nikki”
Directed by Jason Ensler
Written by Franklin jin Rho & Adam Stein

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “There but For the Grace of God, Go I” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Help Me” – click here
Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 12.02.04 AMWe’re seeing the aftermath following Andy (John Cho) coming face to face with the demon haunting him, in the form of his dead wife, Nikki (Alicia Witt). Little Grace is gone, so now they can be together. He’s trying his best to deny what’s happening, but it’s all too real. “Now you have me,” she tells him.
Young Truck (Cyrus Arnold) is gone, taken to another place after his seemingly violent incident recently. The others are left feeling awful, in their own ways. I worry for Harper (Beatrice Kitsos); wouldn’t it be the worst brand of fate for a girl who was made to seem possessed by her crazy mother to actually get possessed by a demon at some point? I feel like the demon’s going to have a lot of nasty fun around that foster home.
What about Marcus (Ben Daniels) and Father Tomas (Alfonso Herrera)? Things aren’t well. The older of the two isn’t exactly thrilled his younger partner went back to the foster home. However, Tomas knows there’s a “presence in that house.” He reveals what he’s discovered. But it’s clear he’s not right in the head, letting the demons in has done him no good. He further mentions the mysterious rock he’d found in that room at the house. The priests begin seeing that the demon might’ve been here for hundreds, thousands of years, using the island as its “hunting grounds.”
Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 12.05.31 AMScreen Shot 2017-11-11 at 12.07.03 AMAt the facility where Truck is being housed, Rose (Li Jun Li) and Andy visit with him. He’s scared, too. He talks of a person in his head, telling him he had to hurt Verity (Brianna Hildebrand). Interesting that he casually identified the voice as a woman. In the meantime, Andy’s wondering about the future of his foster parenthood, the home, worried they’ll shut the place down after all that’s been going on. He also wonders if his wife is the one who talked Truck into being violent. Worse, he’s caught between reality, hallucination, and it’s getting scary.
At home, Harper and Caleb (Hunter Dillon) talk more about the “island witch” before Andy interrupts. The kids clearly feel the tension, they just don’t know why things are SO tense. Outside, Rose receives a visit from the exorcists. She mentions the stress levels, things getting wildly emotional. While it’s a bit far fetched to her still, she’s coming around. At the very least, she’s seen their honesty – they figured out what was wrong at Harper’s home, with her mother. So she knows they’ll actually investigate before assuming an exorcism necessary.
Thus, the priests come around for supper. I wonder how Nikki is going to respond, those men of God so close to her territory. She’s already tightening her grip on her husband. No telling what sort of madness is about to occur.
Elsewhere, Father Bennett (Kurt Egyiawan) and Mouse (Zuleikha Robinson) are headed to see an old familiar face: Maria Walters (Kirsten Fitzgerald). God daaamn. Lady’s looking rough, too. Integrated as a motherfucker.
Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 12.19.45 AMDuring dinner, Tomas says Grace, during which Andy uncharacteristically makes little silly comments. Already, the demon, via Nikki, is influencing him starting at a very basic level. Harper then brings up the fact the priests are exorcists, making things… pretty, pretty, pretttttty tense. This takes us into a conversation about religion v. psychology. A teleological sort of talk. Conversion therapy, re: Verity, also comes up from Andy; for his part, Tomas apologises on behalf of his faith, the Church, for what they did to her. But you can just FEEL THAT SUSPENSE! LORD ALMIGHTY! A little later, upstairs, Harper tells Marcus about hearing a voice in the woods, speaking to her, believing it was the island witch.
What’s Madam Walters been doing since Season 1, anyway? Right now she’s facing an IV full of holy water for her veins – super unique method of interrogation for a demonic presence – if she doesn’t give up any information to Mouse and Bennett. She says, as a “rotting socialite,” the other demons have abandoned her, she serves no purpose anymore.
Alone together, the adults at the foster home chat. Marcus is turning the screw, whereas Tomas is a bit more subtle. They talk of Andy’s fostering the children, his history. He tells them about why he and Nikki became parents. Slowly, the priests can see the demon playing with her toy. Ole Tomas is having visions, as well; yikes. And Nikki, she keeps on turning up, manipulating her husband. Tension ratchets up further when Marcus hauls out that mysterious rock from the room upstairs. Why did Andy keep it around? What does it mean? Ain’t just a rock. The renegade priest pushes more and more until Andy starts getting upset. Rose accidentally reveals she brought the priests in to help, and that’s gonna cost her, I bet.
In the house of the shoemaker there are no shoes
Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 12.29.33 AMScreen Shot 2017-11-11 at 12.31.12 AMTomas excuses himself and Marcus reluctantly, leaving Rose, the kids under that roof with Andy and his demon. The priests aren’t actually going to leave, they just don’t want to get arrested. They figure things are going to get physical, it’s the only way. Problem is Tomas is also struggling with the curse of those visions he’s having. He’s got Marcus on his side, and that’s as good as the entire Roman Catholic Church, far as I’m concerned.
In her sick bed, Maria is about to die. Bennett presses for some info before she’s finished off. They find photos of the renegade priests nearby, hearing more about the “little cub,” Father Tomas; the demons are working to take him over. Moreover, the demon in Maria speaks as Marcus, speaking of something that happened at the abbey two decades prior involving Mouse. Sounds scandalous. Mouse puts an end to it with a bullet to Maria’s brain. In a hail of glass, Bennett gets a nasty wound.
Back at the foster home, Andy gets closer to Rose, they go to bed together. Uh oh. Is the demon seducing Rose? Will Nikki kill the woman? Starts getting freaky for Andy, seeing Rose and his wife together during a hallucination. Meanwhile, there’s other troubles: Harper’s mom came back to find her. She’s taking her daughter back, by violent force if necessary.
Andy’s fully hypnotised by the demon now, just as Marcus and Tomas arrive to try saving Harper from her mother. Things are reaching a boiling point. Everyone’s lifted from the floor throughout the house as Nikki tosses Rose around the bedroom. Andy chokes Rose. In the hallway, Tomas wrestles the mother. Until Andy comes out, picking up a knife, and exerting demonic force of his own. He stabs the woman, right in front of everybody, gutting her open from belly to neck. Andy convulses on the floor, the priests approach with prayer and their crucifixes.
Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 12.37.35 AMScreen Shot 2017-11-11 at 12.45.35 AMScreen Shot 2017-11-11 at 12.46.12 AMWill they save him? Will they save the others? No telling, not yet. ONE OF THE GREATEST EPISODES OF TELEVISION ALL YEAR!
“Help Me” comes to us next week. Bite your nails until then.

The Exorcist – Season 2, Episode 5: “There but for the Grace of God, Go I”

Fox’s The Exorcist
Season 2, Episode 5: “There but for the Grace of God, Go I”
Directed by Alex Garcia Lopez
Written by Alyssa Clark

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “One for Sorrow” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Darling Nikki” – click here
Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 1.11.48 AMAndy (John Cho) is seeing his world slip, after Verity (Brianna Hildebrand) confronts him in what’s meant to be Grace’s (Amélie Eve) room. She asks about what’s going on, and he sees reality for the first time in a while. She worries about him, though he doesn’t particularly react well, either. There’s something terrible happening in that foster home. And it’s only going to get a lot worse from here.
Is the demonic presence taking over Andy? Is it breaking him down until he’s a malleable bit of flesh it can use to its own end? Grace is everywhere Andy turns, even as he tries dispelling the thought of her from his mind: “Youre not real,” he tells himself. Might not be enough, Andy, my buddy. Especially with the memory of his wife, whom he proposed to 14 years ago to the day.
Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 1.12.39 AMNow Andy wants to take the kids on a camping trip, overnight. Because he’s trying to get away from spooky Grace. Rose (Li Jun Li) isn’t so sure, not with Harper (Beatrice Kitsos) just arriving, not entirely settled in or feeling one-hundred percent. And then Father Tomas (Alfonso Herrera) arrives, wanting to talk with Rose. He mentions that he and the former Father Marcus (Ben Daniels) have sensed a presence in that place, wondering if she’s seen any strange things since getting there. The woman’s not ready to hear any of that, after what Harper went through. Sadly, the two priests are the only ones standing between good and evil.
Speaking of Marcus, he’s back chatting with his new pal Peter Morrow (Christopher Cousins). He asks about any strange history around the island, which brings up a story about a supposedly normal guy who suddenly killed his family, as well as a bunch of people at a party where he was looking for his daughter. She survived the incident, and lives nearby. Peter agrees to take Marcus to talk with her. The woman, now in her old age, tells the renegade priest how she saw something that looked like her father that night, just not actually him; clear sign of a demonic influence. Dad also spoke in a hideous voice, an unknown language he shouldn’t have known. The demon speaking through him, “wearing him like a cheap suit.”
We witness more of Grace. She tells daddy to “be careful,” followed by him feeling a burn where a fly recently left a red mark on his chest. He checks the mark to find there are holes all over his skin, from which emerge hornets. She’s not pleased with being left behind while the others go camping.
Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 1.20.52 AMIn Belgium, Father Bennett (Kurt Egyiawan) is still trying to help Sister Delores (Karin Konoval), regardless of her integration. Mouse (Zuleikha Robinson) implores him to stop, that it’s of no use. He’s just a good man, unwilling to leave people behind. Within the demon, the old woman remains. Delores speaks right to Bennett, pleading for help. He must weigh his options. Then he realises it isn’t Delores anymore, only a demon, putting an end to its miserable existence.
Even out in the forest, Andy cannot escape Grace. He believes her only a delusion, though we know it’s more, it’s worse. He confides in Rose that he may be losing his grip on reality. She supports him emotionally, yet always lurking on the edges is the little girl, and that evil inside her. Worse than that? She might have started working her terrors on Truck (Cyrus Arnold), as he sits around the campfire with Harper and Caleb (Hunter Dillon).
Out on the boat, Peter and Marcus get to know each other better. Turns out the former was in Kosovo, he saw some bad things. Marcus can relate, just on a different level. What’s interesting, though, is the parallel between a religious evil and the evil of man; both are, at the core, the same. But Marcus also knows the evil of men, going back to his childhood home where there was atrocious domestic violence. Later, the two men share a kiss briefly. A beautiful moment, especially for Marcus.
Tomas, he’s trying to warn everyone at the foster home. He goes back there looking for Rose, finding only the demon’s presence waiting for him. It’s getting dangerous, since he let a demon into his head. Could complicate this latest battle.
Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 1.52.48 AMShelby (Alex Barima) asks Verity about possibly seeing any supernatural happenings around the island. This is where we find out she was brought to a conversation therapy-type camp, run by religious types who believed she could “pray the gay away.” Moreover, we discover Shelby’s “first birthday present” from mom was being born hooked on methadone. They’ve all got hard pasts of varying degrees. This is a great scene because Shelby represents the sensible, moderate Christian, the one who feels the love of religion, and doesn’t concern himself with the hateful extremes.
And what about Truck? Where’d he wander off?
Verity goes looking, tracking him down in one of the farmhouses in the woods. He’s banging his head on the wall. Simultaneously, we see Grace at home, banging her doll’s head on the wall, in her room where Tomas finds her. The little girl makes her doll move, so Truck moves. He chokes Verity against the wall, slamming her. Tomas fights with the Bible, as Andy runs to help Verity. Luckily it all stops. Poor Truck doesn’t remember doing anything, and Andy’s continually having troubles with reality, too. This further throws the foster home and the kids into disarray.
At the house, Tomas investigates more. However, when he commands the demon reveal itself, Grace takes him someplace else. There, he sees what the demon’s been doing around the island, dating back decades and decades. He experiences bullets in the gut, he spews the water of a drowned boy from his mouth, he dies figuratively as those people did long ago. And he’s helpless to do anything, as the killers each speak the words: “Aeternum vale,” which translates to farewell forever.
When Andy gets home, he lashes out at Grace. Smashing the painting in the room upstairs. Then beneath the little girl’s pillow mask is his dead wife Nicole. She never ever left.
Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 1.45.48 AMScreen Shot 2017-11-04 at 1.54.47 AMThis is one of the BEST episodes of the series to date! So insane and strange and sexy (re: Marcus and Peter) and John Cho is giving us one powerhouse performance this season. Cannot get enough, all around.
“Darling Nikki” is next week. Can barely contain my excitement.

The Exorcist – Season 2, Episode 4: “One for Sorrow”

Fox’s The Exorcist
Season 2, Episode 4: “One for Sorrow”
Directed by So Yong Kim
Written by Rebecca Kirsch

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Unclean” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “There But for the Grace of God, Go I” – click here
Screen Shot 2017-10-20 at 11.56.36 PMFather Bennett (Kurt Egyiawan) is with Mouse (Zuleikha Robinson), in that Antwerp dungeon. With the frail Sister Delores (Karin Konoval) circling the stone floor, a circle of candles around her. Music plays, and she calls to the priest: “Dance with me, Devon.” Uh oh.
Back in Washington, on the island, Rose (Li Jun Li) is heading to get the young girl Harper after the incident with her mother. Andy (John Cho) is more than willing to help out, taking her in. So he lets all the kids know. They’re not totally receptive, but he makes clear that “good families only get bigger.”
I’m starting to wonder, though. Is Grace (Amélie Eve) real? She storms out, down to the doorstep outside. But it’s not clear if anyone else sees her. We haven’t actually seen her interact with the other kids, or Rose, have we?
Screen Shot 2017-10-21 at 12.02.58 AMFather Tomas (Alfonso Herrera) calls his sister Olivia (Camille Guaty), checking in for the first time in a long time. She tells him men from the Church came looking for him recently, now he worries, so he hangs up quickly. He does the smart thing, breaking the SIM card out of his phone, shattering it. In the meantime, he helps patch Father Marcus’ (Ben Daniels) arm. They’ve also got to figure out what to do from here. Or more so Tomas who doubts himself.
On the island, a Fish and Wildlife Agent named Peter Morrow (Christopher Cousins) comes to check out the dead bird situations. Shelby (Alex Barima) doesn’t think it’s as easily explainable as it’s made out. He still sees it as an omen, something dangerous. Andy, naturally, believes Peter’s word that it isn’t anything crazy.
Rose and Harper meets with the priests. The little girl is quite attached them, particularly Marcus. He tries to keep Tomas on point, too. The younger priest worries about the damage he’s done, that he could do in the future.
In Antwerp, Bennett confronts Sister Delores. He doesn’t realise that she’s been integrated. Mouse keeps her around because she knows of the “vermin in Vatican City.” That will prove useful if true. There’s also mention of the demons talking about the priests who saved the integrated girl, in Boston. That’s why they’re possessing exorcist, killing those who they can’t posses.
Screen Shot 2017-10-21 at 12.05.16 AMWhile the other kids play, Andy has a tea party with Grace. During which she gets a little heated, and the place starts to shake. Shit, that’s no good. At the very same time, Father Tomas hears the whispers of demons over the forest when he and Father Marcus arrive with Rose and Harper on the docks. A creepy sequence, these two scenes together. Quite ominous.
Tomas: “Were not heroes
Marcus: “Dont listen to him; I am.”
So the priests meet Andy, Harper meets the kids – except for Grace, off on her own, shaking the place. Verity (Brianna Hildebrand) does her best to be nice to Harper, show her around, tell her about Andy (he’s “relatively woke“). It’s nice to see more of Verity, I thought she’d be a cold character for some reason. She’s turning out much better than that. Also sweet to see her be good to a girl who’s been abused for so long.
In the hall, Tomas hears footsteps, Grace lurking behind him somewhere. He’s distracted when Shelby comes to speak with him. The young man’s troubled, that’s obvious. The priest can tell, without him saying much. He mentions it to Marcus afterwards. But with the doubt after what happened with Harper, it’s hard to judge. For both men. Marcus is willing to entertain the idea, enough to look around the place. Marcus gets talking to Peter, who’s down on the shore looking around. He’s found a Pacific blackdragon. This type of thing is a “deep sea predator.” So, why all the way inland? Hmm. That, the dead birds. Plenty of proof of strangeness on that island.
Screen Shot 2017-10-21 at 12.20.15 AMScreen Shot 2017-10-21 at 12.24.01 AMBennett questions Delores, asking her true name – the demonic name – but eventually he just gets a spit in the eye. The demons believe the “days of the exorcist are over.” That’s not going to stop Bennett. He’s been through a lot. She mentions an “old grey lion” and a “cub” – a reference to our two priests. He’s distracted a moment, then the demon attacks, throwing ash in his face, pulling him to try strangling him to death. Before Mouse shows up to knock her off; she believes they need to go after a demon of great power, which will then lead them to the others in the Vatican.
Talking more, Marcus and Peter get to know each a little better. The priest wants to know more about the island itself, as well. Peter’s a thoughtful sort of fella. He’s also definitely got a slight crush on the priest, inviting him for a tour on the boat; declined, sadly.
At the foster home, Tomas is getting worse vibes from the place. Later that night, Harper and Verity get a bit closer, painting their nails together. And while she’s lying in bed, Rose sees a shadow in front of her, it shifts and moves strangely. Simultaneously, upstairs, Harper has a nightmare about her mother. Very eerie.
Tomas is having trouble, he let the demons in and it’s causing him grief. He’s trying to figure out what’s going on in that foster home. And Marcus, he can’t feel God lately, “his touch” or his voice. He’s an “empty pitcher.” He’s spent his whole life in devotion to God, so without God, what is he? Who is Marcus Keane without religion? Regardless, the priests both realise something ain’t right on that island.
Andy is outside with Grace, she wants to do better for him. While they are, Verity comes home. She see something strange out there. Possibly because Grace doesn’t exist? Verity goes up to see what he’s been doing in the attic, where he supposedly tucks the little girl in for the night. When she gets up there, there’s nothing on the door, inside there’s no child’s bed only his wife’s old art supplies, mouldy, maggoty sandwiches on the floor. No Grace.
Screen Shot 2017-10-21 at 12.45.20 AMSeason 2 is just getting better and better. Seriously, I loved Season 1, and this is shaping up to be as good, if not better. The themes are going wider, the character development is so wonderfully impressive, consistently, as well. Can’t wait for more.
“There But for the Grace of God, Go I” is next week.

The Exorcist – Season 2, Episode 3: “Unclean”

Fox’s The Exorcist
Season 2, Episode 3: “Unclean”
Directed by Ti West
Written by Manny Coto

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Safe as Houses” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “One for Sorrow” – click here
IMG_0355We begin on the River Seine in France. More of the “vocare pulvere” – the ceremony of ash – around the table of Cardinal Guillot (Torrey Hanson). They’re served tarts with something… extra special on top. There’s an eerie comparison to predatory animals and demons while the cardinal fawns over a cat. Everyone has a tart, then Guillot spews blood along with the others. They all catch fire, the table with them. And their server, a woman with a scar across the face named Mouse (Zuleikha Robinson) leaves the place behind, taking the sweet kitty with her. Oh, I like this lady.
All nature will be renewed by fire
Out in Washington, Andy (John Cho) is burying the creepy fetus that Shelby (Alex Barima) brought home the night before. Things are odd, for sure. At the same time, Caleb (Hunter Dillon) is facing his lie about Verity (Brianna Hildebrand) being out by the well with him, only he says it isn’t a lie, that she was holding his hand then… gone. Even with all the tension involved with Rose’s (Li Jun Li) social work visit, Andy tries to get by as usual, plus she’s decided not to make a fuss over the incident at the well.
But Shelby can’t shake the feeling in the woods, believing that something bad is lurking out there. He clutches his Bible, unable to let go of it or the sense there’s an evil close.
IMG_0356Father Marcus (Ben Daniels) and Father Tomas (Alfonso Herrera) are at their latest destination, the former having received a call from a deacon, a close friend. They’re at a house in a quiet neighbourhood, the home of a Mrs. Graham. She has a daughter named Harper who’s troubled. For six months, she’s been a different person, having visions of an “imaginary playmate” from much earlier in childhood.
Sound familiar? Not unlike Reagan and Captain Howdy. Upstairs, the priest tag team find poor Harper in bed looking horrible, very clearly wrestling with a demon underneath. Mom is distraught, she says something “unclean” has hold of her daughter. The priests start trying to figure out if there’s anything signalling genuine demonic possession. And, oh, there’s good proof. Well, it seems. There’s a drawing Harper apparently did three weeks before, showing two priests battling a monster. However, there’s a Chris McNeil book on the shelf, one with which Mrs. Graham is familiar. I wonder… hmm. Possession? Or Munchausen’s of sorts?
They talk with the girl, she says her friend’s name is Tobias. Although things seem off. Marcus charms and questions, probing to find out if this is real or a big hoax and a waste of time. Then she vomits the familiar green pea soup, convulsing.
What about Father Bennett(Kurt Egyiawan)? He meets with Mouse, telling her about how wrong things went with Guillot. She informs him about the tragic fire. Now, it seems these two might become their own tag team, similar to the priest and the renegade ex-communicated priest.
Speaking of the lads, they’re questioning the situation. They have to be sure, if not an unneeded exorcism could fuck the girl up bad, for life. But then a wound appears on mom’s side from across the room as Harper chomps and chomps at nothing. CREEPY SCENE! Dig it.
IMG_0359IMG_0360We find out a bit more of Andy’s inner life. He has a beer with a friend by the water, talking about a life he imagined long ago. He mentions the inexplicable briefly, wondering if anything’s happened on the island. But he dismisses the talk himself. Meanwhile, I feel like there’s going to be demonic trouble for Shelby. Just because demons love to fuck around with the religious, the deeply faithful.
Now comes a connection – Rose goes over to the Graham house. Mom doesn’t want to let her inside, of course, and the social worker pushes back against that. Uh oh. And up in the bedroom, Tomas is breaking out all the tools. He claims to have had a “vision of this girl.” Marcus believes evil has stained him after he let that demon in his noggin. He’s getting a complex over his feeling of power.
Except now Rose has seen them outside in the window. She’s ready to call in the cops. Before she leaves, she drops info that Harper’s been sick her whole life. This interests the older renegade priest.
Andy is taking little Grace (Amélie Eve) outside, she’s conquering her fears and taking off her unsettling pillow mask. They take a walk down to the garden with the sunflowers together. Above them, a gigantic flock of birds soars. Down at the water, Shelby sees them as he prays to the Lord. Andy runs with Grace inside just as the birds begin pelting themselves into the house by the dozens upon dozens. Some actually fly through the windows. Dead birds, everywhere. Hard thing to explain to a girl as a young as her.
IMG_0361We discover that the lake has dark significance for Andy, where his wife Nicole killed herself. Shelby’s religion leads him to believe there’s an evil force in that area. Poor foster dad can’t take that, though. He draws the line.
Marcus has figured out that mom’s been drugging her daughter, injuring her, even herself, all to make it into a big story. Sickening. We do get a sweet moment where Marcus tells Harper she’ll be stronger after she makes it through this ordeal; she is a survivor. This sends Mrs. Graham on the defensive with a hammer. She gets Tomas when he’s looking through her arsenal of pills. Then she goes after Marcus, who fends her off but takes a few knocks in the process.


Police arrive with Rose to break it all up. Later, our priest tag team is at the hospital. Marcus says that “at least with a demon you know where you stand,” but with evil in regular people, a parent who’d hurt their child, it’s unpredictable. This situation also reveals to Tomas his fallibility, he isn’t an all-seeing visionary, he is a man, a priest, only with faith to guide him. Naturally, we see Rose talk to the two men. She’s going to get Andy to take Harper in. Oh, this is going to get real interesting.
Cut to Antwerp. Father Bennett goes with Mouse to a dingy-looking basement. There is Sister Dolores, or “whats left of her.” Plagued by a demon, chained to the floor.
IMG_0365FUCK YEAH! This is another great episode. One of my favourites, probably, of either season. Lots of good stuff happening, and we got to see a different thing going on in terms of the possession, a hoax with horrific consequences. Just a wild ride. Great Ti West episode this time around, too.
“One for Sorrow” comes to us next week.

The Exorcist – Season 2, Episode 2: “Safe as Houses”

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
Pic 1We 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.
Screen Shot 2017-10-07 at 9.11.49 AMAndrew ‘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.
Screen Shot 2017-10-07 at 9.16.15 AMThe 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.
Screen Shot 2017-10-07 at 9.22.08 AMScreen Shot 2017-10-07 at 9.27.24 AMIn 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: “Theres something in the woods.” So fucking creepy.

Screen Shot 2017-10-07 at 9.45.28 AMFantastic 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.

The Exorcist – Season 2, Episode 1: “Janus”

Fox’s The Exorcist
Season 2, Episode 1: “Janus”
Directed by Jason Ensler
Written by Heather Bellson

* For a recap & review of the Season 2 finale, “Chapter Ten: Three Rooms” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Safe as Houses” – click here
Pic 1Father Tomas Ortega (Alfonso Herrera) is ever faithful. He basks in the power of the Lord. But still, he knows evil. He walks outside the church to find children running, yelling, playing. He sees a woman named Cindy (Zibby Allen) with her baby. A group of children beat a pinata and outcomes black, boiling blood, flies buzzing. From it rises a girl’s face. Cindy speaks in the voice of a demon.
Suddenly, Tomas is in Jefferson County, Montana, he’s in the truck with Father Marcus Keane (Ben Daniels) in the pan, the latter trying to speak the evil out of Cindy who’s possessed. They’re being chased by men in a truck, shotguns and all.
They manage to pull off a road and hide. Enough time to get away from Cindy’s “extended family.” She’s not doing well, so they’ve got to get her somewhere safe, more comfortable.
Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 11.48.41 PMIn Washington, Andrew Kim (John Cho) goes about his daily life, running what looks like a foster home, kids of all colours, shapes, sizes under his car. One girl, Grace (Amélie Eve), doesn’t go to school like the others, she learns at home. Andrew’s a pretty involved, charming man, we get a good first impression of him as both encouraging and also stern in a constructive sense.
Although Tomas has known Marcus a while now, he’s still adjusting to being an “apprentice” under the man, going outside the law just barely to get the job done. Because it’s based in faith. They know about the demons infecting people, they understand it’s corporeality, that it’s not just religious jargon used to scare people into believing and into being good. So, in that way, they’re both on the same page. Marcus is just fucking rock n’ roll.
But the demon’s taunting. We know the renegade priest can take it, he’s been in worse places. However, what the thing says has him intrigued. He tries to help Cindy through the process while she’s being torn apart from the inside. What I love about Marcus is how he can separate the flesh from the demon, the person from that other thing inside. At least until the demon gets nasty. “Youre nothing but an empty vessel,” it shouts at him.
Andrew meets Rose Cooper (Li Jun Li) coming to his little island in Washington off the ferry. They’ve got a past together, apparently. He worries this might tarnish her opinion, as a social worker coming to see how the kids are living. She makes it clear, if the kids are fine, everything’s fine.
Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 11.55.35 PMScreen Shot 2017-09-30 at 12.01.48 AMWhen Tomas goes to a local store somebody seems to recognise him, they make a call. To the police? Or someone else?
At the foster home in Washington, Rose finds the kids are mostly okay. The young blind boy Caleb (Hunter Dillon) isn’t happy, his real family having fallen apart long ago. Verity (Brianna Hildebrand) is all jokes, except she’s worried about a few months time when she turns 18 and has nowhere to live. There’s also another boy who has stress issues, and more. Andrew does a pretty damn good job dealing with it all from the look of things.
All the more reason he panics when Caleb is suddenly missing. When they all go out looking for him,
In Jefferson County, Marcus tells Tomas he can’t internally fight the demon, they can’t let it inside. If they do, it becomes dangerous. Headstrong as he is, the less experienced of the two priests believes he can battle it that way. Marcus warns it’s more than failure, it’s the loss of his “immortal soul.” Tomas sees demons as part of God’s world, a gift in some way, just one which brings suffering. I suppose if you buy into Christianity, suffering’s at the heart of it, Jesus, all that.
Either way, that demon’s looking to play. Tomas keeps battling against the thing in Cindy, and Marcus goes to deal with the family trying to take her back. The men are armed, the priest tries explaining the sickness with which Cindy’s dealing.
What good is a God that never shows up?”
Screen Shot 2017-09-30 at 12.18.05 AMScreen Shot 2017-09-30 at 12.20.51 AMTomas finds himself on the precipice of reality and hallucination, ripped between the two by the demon. He fights against it, but struggles. Outside, Marcus fists fights the men in his own struggle. For a priest, he can throw ’em, baby!
Pulled deeper into that dreamspace, Tomas is at the church once more. He heads inside. There’s a font of bubbling blackness like he saw before in the grass. In the confessional booths he hears music, the stuff playing in the barn in the real world, finding Cindy on the other side. She opens her mouth, a hand reaches out to choke Tomas. After that he’s back in the real world, the men breaking in with Marcus beat to a pulp, taking the girl away from there. A demon still lurking inside of her.
Out in the woods, Andrew finds Caleb standing on the rickety well the kids found earlier. He tries to take the boy down, before the thing collapses. He barely catches Caleb and pulls him to safety. He’s angry. More glad that the boy is safe. Clearly, though, there’s trouble at the foster home. No abuse, just troubled kids.
Back at the foster home, the familiar “Tubular Bells” plays. The hand prints Tomas saw in his dream on the church’s exterior? They line the halls here, near Grace’s room. I wonder if the little one is where Pazuzu will show up again, or if it’ll be another kid, or several. So exciting.
Screen Shot 2017-09-30 at 12.25.52 AMLove this season opener! I’ve loved the series from its beginning, just happy to see this get a Season 2. Especially starting out with such intensity and exciting plot, added to a whole bunch of good imagery. I mean, that hand in the end choking Tomas? C’mon, that’s fucking gnarly! This series owns.
“Safe as Houses” is next week. Bring it on.

The Exorcist – Season 1, Chapter Ten: “Three Rooms”

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
screen-shot-2016-12-17-at-12-40-29-amAngela 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. “Lets 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.

 

 

screen-shot-2016-12-17-at-12-55-27-amNow 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 whats 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 dont 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.
screen-shot-2016-12-17-at-1-20-33-amscreen-shot-2016-12-17-at-1-22-16-amEven 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!

The Exorcist – Season 1, Chapter Six: “Star of the Morning”

FOX’s The Exorcist
Season 1, Episode 6: “Star of the Morning”
Directed by Jennifer Phang
Written by Laura Marks

* For a review of Chapter Five, “Through My Most Grievous Fault” – click here
* For a review of Chapter Seven, “Father of Lies” – click here
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After the longest break of my god damn life, The Exorcist returns after dropping the bomb that Angela Rance (Geena Davis) is in fact Regan MacNeil. We start on an old television show where young Regan and her mother are being interviewed about the whole Georgetown incident. She doesn’t remember much, though her mother insists she does. “The demon girl” obviously had to do some distancing to get away from her past since that show. I find it fascinating they did this, plot-wise, as the whole thing opens up a lot of great paths the show can take from here. Dig it wholeheartedly.
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Chris MacNeil (Sharon Gless) has shown up on the Rances doorstep. She and Kat (Brianne Howey) try to do a little bonding, sort of, while Angela is decidedly unhappy about her mother showing up. Unfortunately there’s the whole cover-up asect to Angela’s marriage, Henry (Alan Ruck), very appropriately, is upset about what his wife has hidden. Can he blame her? She was exorcised, she saw several people die – albeit while possessed – and went through a terrifying ordeal. It’s sad that she couldn’t tell her husband at some point, however, I don’t blame her.
Everyone’s clearly worried for Casey (Hannah Kasulka), who is god knows where and doing who knows what. Right now Henry wants to take his chances with the mother-in-law. All to find his daughter; she’s now on the lam and people are left dead in her wake. I’m even more worried for Angela right now. Her old life is clawing back. She even hears strange noises in her head for just a moment. All the same, Father Marcus (Ben Daniels) feels pissed about not having all the facts before going into Casey’s room. “Possession is like a virus,” he tells the scared mother and makes painfully obvious what the consequences are if they can’t find her daughter in time. “Integration” – the next step – is a permanent destruction of the soul, when the girl’s soul will come inextricably linked to that of the demon. Father Tomas (Alfonso Herrera) feels that his counterpart is a bit harsh. They simply don’t have enough time to piss about.
A press conference is called, the Rances in attendance with famous grandma in tow. They’re the centre of a publicity carnival. But not everyone is so concerned with the Rance family. People were murdered – butchered, and brutally – recently and nobody seems too quick to seek out the answer on that. Meanwhile, we see some of the dastardly, wholesale nastiness of those that killed these victims, using the organs taken for sinister purposes. A woman at the press conference calls out the names of the victims, hoping for justice. Nobody there understands exactly the significance of those murders, not just yet.

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The police are curious about Father Marcus, having been arrested after performing the exorcism. They want to shut the whole “possession” story down, so as not to confuse the public. Of course they show Angela and Henry the pictures of what happened during the ambulance ride Casey took. Upstairs, Chris tries to talk with Kat about what happened to her mother, formerly known as Regan. A media circus ensued, partly because Chris needed to keep her career alive. She talks about the Ouija board and “Captain Howdy.” Eerie fucking conversation, to say the least. Kat believes her grandmother is victim blaming a little by attributing it all to Regan not listening about the Ouija being no good, although Chris admits she failed her own daughter ultimately.
Father Bennett (Kurt Egyiawan) and Father Marcus are still getting a bit of help from Cherry and Lester Rego in their quest outside the reaches, and know, of the Church. And in a defiant statement, as per his bad ass usual, Marcus tells Bennett: “I dont care about Gods will.” At the very same time something terribly ungodly calls Angela over the phone, taunting her about Casey. The demon produces a horrific image for the frantic mother. All a dream. Has Pazuzu returned for Regan?
Then there’s Jessica (Mouzam Makkar), she’s left her husband and found herself a new apartment. A place where there’s no “guilt” and no “shame” for neither she, nor Father Tomas. He still resists, even though he loves her. Deeply, too. His faith has been shaken in so many ways at once it’s likely he doesn’t know where to turn.

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Poor Henry’s having a lot of trouble. With his recent head injury there are gaps in his memory. He says what held that together is his wife, his family. Most of what hurts him is the fact Angela couldn’t trust him enough to reveal her former life as Regan MacNeil. There are more problems for Angela, as well. She isn’t happy about her mother returning, dragging the media into their home all over again. “You used me,” Angela yells at Chris. Worse than any of that the coroner calls. They may have Casey.
Simultaneously, a report of wild dogs going mad in a neighbourhood prompts Father Tomas to text Marcus, which sets the renegade priest off to check it out.
At the party Maria Walters (Kirsten Fitzgerald) throws for the upcoming papal visit, Father Bennett comes across Dr. John Rexroth (Michael Patrick Thornton), whose talk of angels on Earth draws his attention. Bennett believes what the doctor is actually talking about are demons in our world trying to influence how it works.
At the coroner’s office everyone awaits the news of whether Casey is dead. In go Angela and Henry to make the identification. Gladly, their daughter is still alive. Yet surely in a great deal of existential agony. Finally, Chris and the girl formerly known as Regan embrace. Maybe those wounds can heal. Someday.
The real excitement is in the journey of Father Marcus into the underbelly of the city. He finds a tunnel filled with homeless, possibly possessed individuals. He searches for Casey, calling her name. One woman looks him dead in the eye, repeating: “Stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it.” All around him are the signs of evil at work. Then from nowhere Marcus is attacked. He commands them in the name of Christ, which holds them at bay temporarily. Behind him Casey crawls the walls and the floor doing the spider walk her mother did down the stairs all those years ago.

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At the Walters party we come to discover that Dr. Rexroth, Maria herself, one of the priests, among others, are in fact working together in order to complete the vocare pulvere ritual. They even have the little bowl of ashes those killers filled with the ashes of the organs they’d stolen. Wow. I didn’t see this coming, at all. “Star of the morning” is a reference to Lucifer, The Morning Star. Brother Simon (Francis Guinan) leads the ceremony.
All of a sudden, HE IS COMING doesn’t only signal the coming of the Pope. And what’s worse is the fact there are so many influential people at that table, including the police superintendent. “Please take me” everyone around the table declares, as the priest at the table blows ashes into the air. It is in fact the superintendent who receives demonic power from the ashes, and something other takes over his body.
Everyone present looks very, very pleased. A delighted, evil laughter rises from the table. Maria doesn’t look particularly happy; she wanted to be chosen. How sad when the devil passes you over.
On the shore near the tunnel Father Marcus locates Casey feasting on a sea bird. He approaches her, reciting Christian incantation. Before the demon attacks him, trying its best to murder the priest. A perfect place, kinda. Marcus uses the water to in effect baptise Casey, releasing the demon. Then she returns, herself once more.
Except she tells Marcus: “Hes coming back. Help me.”

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This was the best episode yet! Creepiest, nastiest, wildest, most intriguing. So much going on. The preview for Chapter Seven “Father of Lies” looks insane. Seems Pazuzu is back for revenge against the girl able to survive his wrath. Excited to see what’s next.

The Exorcist – Season 1, Chapter Four: “The Moveable Feast”

FOX’s The Exorcist
Season 1, Episode 4: “The Moveable Feast”
Directed by Craig Zisk
Written by Adam Stein

* For a review of Chapter Three, “Let ‘Em In” – click here
* For a review of Chapter Five, “Through My Most Grievous Fault” – click here
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After Casey Rance (Hannah Kasulka) went wild on that young man in the subway, she’s treated to a day of happy, happy, happy – or is it a dream? – by her mother Angela (Geena Davis), as Kat (Brianne Howey) and their father Henry (Alan Ruck) wait at the table. She’s served a nasty meal of miscarried chicken fetuses. The Salesman (Robert Emmet Lunney) shows up, too. Casey’s feet are held to the floor by a strange, evil-looking growth. They all want her to eat. “Why resist, darling?” asks the Salesman. She was sold a bill of goods that aren’t what they seemed in the beginning. Demonic possession ain’t all it’s cracked up to be! The demon needs permission to be let in. He doesn’t have it. Not quite yet. But it’s coming, whether Casey likes it or not.
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She’s stashed away in a psychiatric ward for 72 hours. Seeing as how she tore that dude apart on the train; not like he didn’t deserve it, the rapey bastard. Anyways, the Rance family are all struck dumb by everything that’s happened. Worried sick. Angela calls Father Tomas Ortega (Alfonso Herrera), naturally, who gets to the hospital promptly. Angela knows there’s something very wrong with her daughter, and upset the church won’t help. How long until she forces the case into someone else’s hands? Well, the curling iron burns to Casey’s genitals make everybody a little more than nervous.
Father Marcus Keane (Ben Daniels) is out rallying for his cause. He’s been given a short list of names to check out, suggested by Father Bennett (Kurt Egyiawan). He happens to spy a nun at one church with a suspicious injury on her face. Hmm. Then he finds that same nun – Mother Bernadette (Deanna Dunagan) – in the midst of a circle of other sisters, in front of a possessed man in a hideous state. She stands up against the creature’s swiping at her, being pushed to the floor; Marcus nearly rushes in, although she gestures for him to stay put. Eventually, she brings the man and the demon inside him to her mercy, holding him against her chest a moment before laying him to the ground. A mysterious, powerful moment.
At the hospital, the Salesman talks to Casey about how “resistance” is ruining her beautiful face. She understands the trick behind all the seduction. However, now that she’s in pain there’s that temptation of letting go, falling headlong into the abyss. One thing’s for sure: that Salesman is god damn unnerving, every time he’s onscreen.

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Riding around Chicago on a Serial Killer Tour bus, Father Marcus is still curious about the latest murders, the organs and limbs and various human bits taken by people into the night. He’s worried for whatever is coming.
The Rances try hard to get through their predicament. Henry comforts his wife saying he’ll do what’s necessary to help their daughter. We’ll see if the help comes from Father Tomas or Marcus. I’m betting the latter. Because Tomas is busy with Maria Walters (Kirsten Fitzgerald), trying to do a bit of political-type leaning in order to get higher permission for an exorcism. When I imagine Marcus would probably just go for it. Such are the benefits of excommunication, I guess. But Father Tomas, he has the will. He bones up on his study of exorcisms. Right as his almost more than friend Jessica (Mouzam Makkar). She’s found that her husband has been being unfaithful to her. Oh, my. Something else to conflict Tomas, as he wrestles with the most extreme lengths of his Catholic faith.
Over in a trailer someplace, Father Marcus sits with the tour bus guides Lester and Cherry Rego. The know Bennett, it turns out. “An exorcist with a gun,” the priest calls himself. “Evils a moveable feast,” says Lester once they get down to talking business. The Chicago crime rate is brought into the concept of evil touching down in the heartland of America. So, the body parts, “vocare pulvere” the “Ceremony of Ash” and all that comes into play.
Casey has it worse and worse by the minute at the hospital, her condition seemingly out of control. Except the Salesman comes back talking to her about nasty things. There’s no escape for her.

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Finally, Father Marcus meets Mother Bernadette, whose humour is much better than you’d expect. They’re both pretty sly characters, I love it. Their chat circles around, of course, the act of exorcism. She knows Father Bennett, but likewise understands the plight of Marcus, as well as that of the Holy Father and his looming visit. Possession cases, like crime, are heading up, up, up. Bernadette suggests Marcus doesn’t need to necessarily follow all the rules. Rather, he must take his ego out of the picture a little more.
Kat’s not happy about her sister being prepped for exorcism. Even Henry, after the train in the last episode, is on board. Although I worry about Tomas hoping to “unofficially” take care of things. He might botch it, and who knows what that’ll do. Speaking of exorcisms, Father Marcus is in the middle of the nun circle, face to face with that possessed man. He brings the demon into an embrace: “You are redeemed. You are loved.” He learns of a new approach in the fight against the devil’s legions. One with a slightly more feminine touch out of Bernadette’s handbook that just might give him the edge he needs in the battles to come.
Continually Casey is taunted by the Salesman, to let the demons inside. He chokes one of the nurses, insisting she give in and say the word. She nearly does before Angela barges in. For now the Salesman recedes. He’s not gone, only in the background again for a moment. Casey’s let out of the hospital. He’ll be back.

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With Father Marcus refreshed in the concept of exorcism, he heads back to see Father Tomas, who keeps on studying. Better than that the younger priest asks for help. He doesn’t care anymore about the rules of the church, and is willing to go all the way to help Casey. So now there’s two renegade bad asses ready to take on the devil. They prepare themselves a proper room with restraints, boards nailed with coverings in the windows, all kinds of things to make Casey’s room in the Rance house suitable for exorcism.
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Can’t wait to see what happens next. Chapter Five “Through My Most Grievous Fault” ought to be quite a trip!