Demonic obsession as obsessive love as Catholic confession as surreal head-trip
Chester and Luz go to every length to escape Yuko. But it's never enough.
Graham's horror film is a perfectly dreadful view on the devastating hereditary legacy of mental illness.
The priests get to the island, where disturbing things are happening under Andy's roof.
Marcus and Tomas encounter a new possession, or perhaps a hoax. Andy experiences a strange event.
Fathers Tomas and Marcus battle the demon in Cindy. In Washington, Andy figures out more about the kids under his care.
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
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.
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.
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. “Evil‘s 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.
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.
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.
Can’t wait to see what happens next. Chapter Five “Through My Most Grievous Fault” ought to be quite a trip!
Season 1, Episode 8: “What Lurks Within”
Directed by Scott Winant
Written by Tony Basgallop
* For a review of the previous episode, “The Damage Done” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Close to Home” – click here
Working at an arcade counter, Sidney (Brent Spiner) has to deal with snotty little kids. “Rules are rules,” he advises. Funny, coming from the devil. Or whatever he is under that human suit. At home, he listens to jazz and lives a decidedly bachelor life. Well, that is until you see what he’s got hiding in a padded room: one of the snotty boys from the arcade. Terrifying.
This opener gives us a glimpse into the horror of Sidney. And though we’re not given much to go on there is an absolutely unsettling aspect to what we’ve seen just now.
Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey) goes to arrest Sidney for assault on Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister). Watching from his place, Kyle (Patrick Fugit) is troubled. He’s not only contending with the demons floating around Rome, he also has his daughter Amber now that estrange wife Allison (Kate Lyn Sheil) has taken off. Too much to handle.
Then there’s Megan Holter (Wrenn Schmidt) and her husband Mark (David Denman). Their marriage is not doing well. Although for his part Mark believes that Donnie is “a piece of shit rapist” and got what was coming to him. Can’t say I totally disagree. But Mark IS supposed to be a man of the law.
Anderson turns up at Kyle’s house. Happy to see things are moving along for Kyle and Allison; he doesn’t know the whole story. The bigger problem is that Anderson is looking loony to everyone around him. He knows what Sidney is, that there’s an evil force within him, and now he’s worried for his friend the Chief, who may be playing right into the hands of evil. The Rev goes down to the station. He and Giles talk about what’s best to do next. They’re certainly not on the same page. Giles doesn’t want to play too far into Anderson’s delusions, he worries for the Rev, his mental state.
Over at the hospital, Kyle brings his daughter to see his mother. Morbid, though sweet. Just to see them together as a family unit, albeit still a broken one, is nice. Kyle does the right thing and tells Amber about what happened with him and his mother all those years ago. Exactly like Amber’s own mom did to her, as well. A lot to take in for such a young lady. She’s afraid that Allison might end up in a hospital bed, like grandma. All Kyle can do is keep on keepin’ on. When Kyle notices fresh flowers already in his mother’s room, he learns about a man visiting her with candy and flowers awhile ago. A man in a hat. You know who.
We’re still seeing a bit of Patricia (Melinda McGraw) and her son Aaron. He’s intent on hating his mother, calling her awful names. Later, he goes to a trailer to do his own investigating. Don’t forget, he’s seen some things; nasty things.
Kyle goes to see his sister Megan. She’s clearly surprised about the situation with Allison and Amber, but agrees to look after her niece. Off Kyle goes to try taking care of the other parts of his life calling. And probably a good thing. Because as righteous a duty as Anderson tries to uphold, casting out demons and such, he isn’t exactly helping himself. Out on the town, he picks up Kat Ogden (Debra Christofferson). She reluctantly gets in, thinking it’s just a ride. You can be sure there’s something more.
Kyle wants to talk with Sidney in his cell. They get to have a little one-on-one time, hash things out. “How do you know my mother?” is the first question Kyle asks the man. Turns out Sidney only knows her by reputation. “Turns out she put up one hell of a fight,” Sidney tells him. When things get a bit touchy, Kyle lays hands on Sidney, whose skin starts to sizzle, straining under the power of the Outcast. There’s a bit of explanation concerning why Kyle seems to be a magnet for all these possessions around him. Essentially, he’s a light in the dark for all the demons, like moths, fluttering towards his flame. So is Sidney all demon, or is he a human host that accepted its possession?
We flash back quickly to Sidney, preparing knives, and the lock on his door. Where he’s got a boy hidden away. He starts to cough wildly, falling over. The eyes open wide like we’ve seen before. After getting up he seems different, changed. He goes to the locked door, he can’t remember any combination. Very, very curious. Maybe the demon is making him do horrific things and the other side of him can’t even remember. Quite a predicament.
Anderson brings Kat to the Barnes place, as next door in the other trailer Patricia’s son watches. This looks terrible after Kat tries to get away, clearly the demon inside her doesn’t want any part of going into the Outcast’s house. Don’t blame her/it. At the same time, Lenny Ogden (Pete Burris) looks for his wife and wonders where she might have ended up. Yikes. Over in the Barnes residence, the Rev preaches a bit at Kat, the parasite inside her. It comes out to play a little. “The End of Days means that the real deal is returning, right?” the demonic presence taunts. “Unless you don‘t believe it‘s true,” she prods him not long later.
At the station, Patricia’s son lies about seeing Rev. Anderson carve the pentagram into his own chest. He’s trying to get Sidney out. Then he lets slip that the Rev is over at Kyle’s place, “probably raping” poor Mrs. Ogden. Jesus. There is going to be some trouble now. Especially with Lenny pissed off, too. He’d rather take care of his wife’s… issues, without any outside interference. He levels with Giles, so that’s something. Yet he thinks their new life is “exciting” and has become warped by the demonic possession himself. An odd, tragic situation.
After Kyle arrives home he isn’t happy to see what’s going on. He knows that Kat, the human, is still there beneath everything. He’s starting to understand more about these demons. Or, he is falling prey to Sidney’s game. I can’t be sure. Not yet. I’ve never read the comics, so it’s all new to me. I like figuring it out in a slow burning mystery. The writing here is great for that. And so Kyle gets Kat away from the Rev, until Anderson throws a swing at him. Then it’s an all out shit kicker between the two former exorcist buddies. Giles breaks it up when he gets there, but the relationship they once had is totally damaged now. “Fuck thy neighbour,” Anderson yells at them all once Giles explains the strange marriage the Ogdens hope to continue having.
Mark and Megan aren’t exactly climbing any mountains. But he’s decided Donnie isn’t worth their marriage. He sold his truck and downgraded to something much less. He admits his mistakes. Mark will always fight for his wife. He made a bad, bad move with Donnie. At least he’s trying to make amends with Megan for how he’s handled everything. Mark of a true man.
With Sidney strolling out of jail, Giles lets him know there’s no length too far for his friends. A slight warning. At the church and his residence, Anderson finds the Mayor (Toby Huss) and a couple colleagues. Seems that they’re going to want him to leave. He’s terminated, immediately. Plus he has no home anymore. Unfortunately, they’ve got no idea about the evil lurking around Rome.
Over with Megan we find Kyle explaining himself, his supposed beating of his wife, and what exactly happened back then. “I was trying to protect them,” he tells his sister. He talks about how Allison was attacking their daughter. He hit her to stop what was happening. Only he’s worried now about where his estranged wife has gone. So many issues to unravel.
Sidney discovers Patricia’s boy at the trailer waiting for his return. He wants to help, foolish as that may appear. He’s revealed himself to this walking evil. From what we’ve seen, Sidney and young boys don’t exactly mix well: “Go home, while you‘re still safe,” he ominously confides in the boy. But Aaron wants something done about the Reverend. This interests Sidney.
The Holters and part of the Barnes family eat together. They even hold hands and say Grace together. At Patricia’s place, Anderson falls into her arms. The Ogdens happily live together normally as husband and demon. Aaron is safe, for now, with Sidney. But how long is that going to last?
We flash back to Sidney and his hidden boy in the room for another quick moment. Enough to see him let the boy loose telling him to “run” – obviously showing that, somewhere, deep down, a human still resides in that demonic shell.
What an episode! I always say that because the series only seems to get better with every chapter. Honestly. This one was great, though. However you want to cut it. Great episode that lets us in on more of the backstories of characters, adds further plot development, and we also start to see more about the overall mythos of Outcast. Can’t wait for “Close to Home” next week.
Season 1, Episode 7: “The Damage Done”
Directed by Leigh Janiak
Written by Nathaniel Halpern
* For a review of the previous episode, “From the Shadows It Watches” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “What Lurks Within” – click here
Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) is trying to heal up the wound Sidney (Brent Spiner) left in his chest, the pentagram. Takes quite a few cotton balls, bit of alcohol, some Q-Tips. Even then the blood still seeps out of the cuts. A little while later Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey) arrives, obviously none the wiser. They’ve got a card game apparently. And Anderson hasn’t missed one in well over a decade. So Giles is curious when the Rev doesn’t want to play. He knows there’s something else going on. Rather than talk, though, he wants to play. It’s clear, even when the Mayor (Toby Huss), Ogden (Pete Burris), and the Chief are sitting around with him that the Rev is not himself. He is completely out of sorts. Meanwhile, Giles keeps pushing at Ogden about his whereabouts when the fire started out at the trailer. Then the man gets upset, as they nearly come to blows. Anderson even gets thrown to the floor.
This all leads to Giles figuring out what happened to Anderson at the hands of Sidney. The Rev, for his part (bless his foolish heart), wants to expose his assaulter. He knows who Sidney is, he wants to fight the evil with the good.
Megan Holter (Wrenn Schmidt) is off early in the morning. She’s still troubled by what she’s discovered about her husband Mark (David Denman). Is she going somewhere to deal with Donnie? In other news, Allison Barnes (Kate Lyn Sheil) is having some strange flashbacks. To when her daughter was screaming, in the closet. Like her father, Kyle (Patrick Fugit). You can see the heaviness of the memory in Allison’s eyes, all over her face.
Speaking of Kyle, he’s having a bit of trouble. In Rome, it’s Remembrance Day. Seems 29 people were lost in some type of accident. Now Kyle flashes back to his buddy Russ, as the two get off work one day. They chat about family life, going for a beer. When Kyle goes to shake his hand before heading home, there’s a brief moment where Russ hauls back, almost singed by Kyle’s touch. You can see that Russ was shaken. After the flashback, Kyle receives a visit from Giles. He’s wondering why the guy even bothered sticking around in Rome. Moreover, he wants to know what Kyle knows. About what’s happening in their quaint town. Especially after Mildred.
The big Remembrance Day celebration is poised to get going. While Anderson is preparing to give a little speech, he also sees the mysterious Sidney strolling about the town square, smiling like a creep.
Giles winds up out at the burned trailer with Kyle. He’s starting to get curious about Ogden. He wonders if Ogden is like Mildred, and if it can even be fixed. The Chief levels with the man. He feels Kyle has “a stain” that he wants to “wipe off” himself. “That says something about who are, truly,” Giles tells him.
After his recent brush with true evil, the Rev is starting to loosen up with his semi-girlfriend Patricia (Melinda McGraw). Even further he finds Sidney in a barbershop. They talk quite cryptic. Or at least cryptic to the barber in the background. Until Anderson goes ahead and invites Sidney to his regular poker game. Yeah, that won’t be awkward. Having a demon, or the devil, or whatever/whoever he is at the table, playing with his old buddies. Actually, please, I want to see that.
In an drawing by her daughter Amber, Allison notices she has no face; Amber does, Kyle does, not her. We start seeing that the little girl is apprehensive of her mother when she says: “I don‘t know what face to draw.” God damn that was creepy.
Over at the town square, Kyle tries to get a handshake from Ogden without drawing too much attention. No demon. Just an asshole. Ogden makes it clear there’s lots of love lost when it comes to how people feel about Kyle. Not only is there the situation with his wife, he didn’t go to work that day when the big accident happened. So a guy like Ogden isn’t letting that go. Regardless, there’s something a bit horrifying about the man.
And Megan, she goes to pay Donnie every last cent she has to get him to leave their family alone.
Allison continues trying to figure out the hazy bits of that time she can’t recall. It comes back over her in waves. She strangled her daughter, or tried to, anyway. Side note, can I? Kate Lyn Sheil is amazing. I love her acting, a revelation as the episodes pass. In this scene she does a fantastic job selling the fear that wracks her instantly after remembering what she’d done.
Well, Ogden tells Giles to “look the other way” and now it’s far more than obvious he’s done something bad. Something worth the cover up. At the big celebration, Anderson then gets up to say his piece. In the crowd Kyle touches hands with Kat Ogden (Debra Christofferson); is this what her husband’s been trying to keep secret, that his wife is possessed by a demon?
Afterwards when a monument to the 29 fallen is unveiled, a red pentagram is spray painted on its chest. What this does is start to make the Rev seem crazy to the townspeople. It begins alienating him. He talks about the demons, the exorcisms he and Kyle have performed, and this just makes everyone look at him like a madman. He even points out Sidney – to anyone else, a seemingly normal man with a nice hat. “That man, he is the devil, and he left his mark,” Anderson screams before revealing his own pentagram, just like the statue. Ah, the devil’s plan is working perfectly. Kyle takes the Rev away, but Sidney’s little game has worked out nicely for him.
When Mark goes to see the Chief, we see the walls start crumbling. That money Megan gave Donnie? Didn’t do shit. Lawyers are involved now, the dash-cam footage revealed. Uh oh. Big time uh oh. When Mark tells Megan what’s going down, she nearly has a heart attack. She’s been played for an absolute fool. “This is never gonna end,” she weeps. It all makes them fight. Before Megan bursts out telling her husband exactly what Donnie did to her all those years ago, finally.
Over at his place, Kyle finds Allison and Amber waiting for him. That’s interesting. We know that Allison is wising up to her whole situation, what likely happened. At least in part. Putting his daughter to bed, Kyle hears Amber talk about the “cold” and “black” stuff that left her mother. Unlike her father, Amber was spared. We get to watch a loving scene, if not spooky for a moment, between a father and his little girl. Following that, mom and dad reconnect, both emotionally and physically.
Only when Kyle wakes up, he finds Allison gone, a short note. She realised that something terrifying happened to her, some forced made her do a bad thing to her daughter. Which in turn prompted her own husband to have to do a bad thing to her, too. But now Allison has decided to leave. I wonder how this will work out, particularly when people in town discover he’s suddenly got custody. Yet also, what’s going on with Allison? She reconnects with her husband suddenly, then takes off. To who knows where.
What a solid episode, a surprise all around. Really dig this one, as I’ve said plenty throughout this first season. A great, solid series full of good writing and smart choices. Can’t wait for the next episode titled “What Lurks Within.”
Season 1, Episode 6: “From the Shadows It Watches”
Directed by Tricia Brock
Written by Joy Blake
* For a review of the previous episode, “The Road Before Us” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “The Damage Done” – click here
Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) watches the tape of an old exorcism. He flicks through and tries to see where he’s gone wrong in the past. The doubt he’s feeling now is what will become dangerous. Up to now it’s been easy. Without faith in himself, the Rev is not going down a good path. It’s like for all the powers Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit) holds, his presence back in Rome is more disruptive, for everyone, than it is helpful. Anderson goers through tape after tape after tape. The recurring face of Mildred (Grace Zabriskie) pops up from time to time. Not to mention there’s someone locked in the Rev’s basement at the church.
He’s juggling his life outside the church, the church itself, and all the exorcism stuff at once. That cannot be easy on his psyche. He gets a visit from Patricia (Melinda McGraw), who makes clear they’ve got a burgeoning relationship, but that all gets put to an end because Anderson can’t just be honest. Not that telling a woman about demons would be easy. However, he might do something to make sure she knows it isn’t him either not being interested or having someone else on the side.
“Come with me,” he tells Patricia. The Rev leads her back to the door. To show her “what‘s behind the curtain” and she willingly goes forward. Maybe she’s found a keeper after all.
Kyle is out doing community service on the highway, spreading tar and fixing up lengths of road. Is that just his job, or is it community service, as in court-ordered service? A job from the way it looks. Either way, it’s something to keep him rooted in the real world. Speaking of the real world, Officer Mark Holter (David Denman) has a woman in for a bit of questioning in relation to the DNA he found out in the camper. This lady’s got nothing for him, really. She went missing for a while the year prior, says it was a Disney trip. Not sure if it’s true, but she says it all had to do with escaping a crazy boyfriend. For now, Holter’s big cop routine doesn’t get far, as Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey) watches in the wings.
But back to the demon fun. Anderson does some crazy shit, cutting his hand open thinking he can do what Kyle does. Not only that, he even says fuck Kyle. He doesn’t like the boy’s hubris. Yet it’s the Rev who’s got a big chip on his shoulder about being a holy man, doing God’s work, whatever.
Meanwhile, Kyle is trying to put his time in, pay child support, be normal. No matter if the memories and the thoughts are all still there. From what he put up with as a kid, you know Kyle’s mentally capable of dealing with a lot. Stepping outside a moment he sees a car parked outside his place. It’s Patricia. She wants him to go help Anderson, though that does nothing to sway Kyle. For his part, he isn’t ready to make things worse for anyone else. He’s seen what his power does, putting his mother and that little girl into a catatonic state. At the same time it bothers him to sit and do nothing at all.
Kyle: “Crazy Kyle Barnes. Rome‘s own Boo Radley, is that it?”
After Kyle goes out on his porch and sees a little trinket sitting there, eerily similar to one of the figurines we’ve seen at Mildred’s home, he gets hit in the head. He wakes up to – you guessed it – Mildred. She sucks a bit of that black essence out of him. Poor guy can’t catch a fucking break, can he?
Patricia’s own son does not like her being with Anderson. Although he is very crass to his own mother, the boy makes good points about how she lets men treat her badly. But still, that’s his mom. He could have tried to be diplomatic. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Patricia. She’s interesting, both attracted to the Rev and also interested in him as a man of God. There is some good stuff to be mined from this relationship.
When Kyle comes to again there’s no Mildred to be found. Next door, he comes across Sidney (Brent Spiner). He’s still pretending to have been an old friend of Norville, taking care of his estate, that stuff. Really, he only gets closer to Kyle. He’s also got Mildred hiding out in Norville’s old place. Two sketchy motherfuckers. They talk about the whole demon situation. We begin fleshing out, slightly, their world and how they operate, why they’re on Earth. Moreover, it’s the mystery I enjoy. The intrigue gradually stretched from episode to episode. Never too much exposition. Dig the writing, hugely.
Finally we’re seeing more of ole Ogden (Pete Burris), too. He has close relations with the woman from earlier that Holter interviewed. She lets Ogden know about the questioning, and further than that it appears Ogden’s wife has a watchful eye.
Megan (Wrenn Schmidt) goes to see her brother at work. They eat sandwiches together. Unfortunately, she brings back the envelopes of money Kyle’s been sending to Allison (Kate Lyn Sheil). He also brings up the possibility of the supernatural. Only for a brief moment before they finish up. The chemistry between Schmidt and Fugit is awesome, as is the writing of the characters together, their story.
Oh, and Megan gets a call from a mysterious number. Is there trouble rearing its head with the Donnie situation? Or something else altogether?
Over at the church, Giles goes for a talk with Anderson. They talk about Mildred’s exorcism. I dig this relationship, as well. These guys are close friends. Giles even “hushed things up” over the years because he believed in what the Reverend has been doing, or at least convinced himself it was in the best interest of their little town. Things are falling apart now.
In a hospital, Megan finds Donnie laid up in bed, beaten to pieces and recovering. He wants to talk about Mark. And she’s got no idea about what her husband did. Apparently there’s a possibility of brain damage for the rest of his life. That doesn’t sit well, certainly. So blackmail is on the table at this point.
The other side is always calling Kyle. He hallucinates a bucket of tar bubbling over, rising up at him. Without much explanation he walks off the job and heads out of there. Simultaneously, Rev. Anderson is in the throes of a crisis of faith. He speaks candidly with God, wondering exactly where is his place. He admits to failure and agrees to any punishment he’s given.
He doesn’t know that Kyle is headed back to him hoping to work things out, or at the very least explore things a little further. From the basement come the screams of a possessed soul. In the church, Anderson pushes Kyle around, yelling. All the while the demon downstairs breaks out. It’s the handyman, Caleb (Abraham Benrubi). When things get out of hand Kyle touches him. Then the black essence worms its way from out of Caleb and into the air before evaporating. Afterwards, the exorcist duo strike a tenuous deal. Being that Kyle is in charge when it comes to the exorcisms while on Sunday the Rev can have his flock. As for Caleb he’s unaffected, not comatose or anything else. That’s a step up from their last job. Though what Caleb tells the Reverend is disturbing. The possession didn’t come with fear. It came with warmth. Almost scarier than pure evil. Their conversation clearly affects Anderson. Out of nowhere, the foundation of his faith seems to have been shaken over the course of the past couple episodes.
Kyle goes to Mildred’s place and confronts her.
Except she’s catatonic. Just like the girl, Kyle’s mom. He calls 911 to have her brought in, but we know what happened: Sidney has his hand in this one. When Giles comes across Kyle, he gets a bit of the truth out of him. Most of all he begins to find out more to make him understand the Rev hasn’t been helping Rome enough. In the house, Giles finds a photograph, an old one. Of a younger Sidney and Mildred outside a camper, like the one in the woods that Ogden conveniently burned to the ground. A bigger fire’s lit now under the Chief, as he tries piecing it all together in his head.
The Holter house is not well. Megan’s freezing her husband out, as the knowledge of what he did to Donnie, how that can affect their future, rattles around in her head.
Anderson finds Sidney in his church office. The unsettling man starts revealing more of himself. Is he a big time demon, like somebody with a title – Leviathan? One of those big baddies? Or just a renegade bad ass demon from hell? He carves Anderson up savagely, though doesn’t realise Patricia’s kid – likely heading there for vandalism purposes – watches through the window.
Left alone, a bleeding pentagram carved into his breast, the Rev has more of a crisis of faith on his hands this time.
What an amazing episode! I say this every time, but it’s true. The series gets better each chapter. I thought this was a solid addition leading into the second half of the first season. Next episode is titled “The Damage Done” and I am PUMPED.
Season 1, Episode 5: “The Road Before Us”
Directed by Craig Zobel
Written by Robin Veith
* For a review of the previous episode, “A Wrath Unseen” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “From the Shadows It Watches” – click here
Allison Barnes (Kate Lyn Sheil), estranged wife of Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit), locks her door then starts to head for bed. She finds her daughter Amber playing, talking about drinking the “black poison.” She uses her dolls all to similar to what likely happened between her mother and father. Eerily reminiscent, for sure. Outside, Allison sees a car sitting in the darkness – inside sit Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) and Kyle. The torn up husband worries for his daughter, he worries about if whether a demon still resides in his wife. Anderson tries to talk Kyle out of anything foolish saying he can go and talk with Allison. The younger of the two worries about Mildred (Grace Zabriskie), and that Anderson can’t tell on his own anymore. They’re at odds.
So Kyle calls up his sister Megan (Wrenn Schmidt) asking her to help setup a meeting between him and Allison. Bad idea. The sisterly advice is he’ll only fuck his family up more. Megan offers to go see them herself, a good woman.
Police Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey) goes to see his buddy Fire Chief Ogden (Pete Burris) about the blaze down at the little shack. Of course he doesn’t get much. Though, without being too heavy on the puns here, a fire is lit under Ogden. He knows there’s more to Giles than just a bit of talk.
Meanwhile, Kyle and Anderson head over to see Roy Marcus (Jason Davis), who’s had an experience close to that of the Barnes family. Roy’s daughter is out on the streets now, as things have taken a turn for the worse. He’s a broken man. Not hard to see. Although Kyle is still not sure about the Reverend’s abilities after Mildred, and after their experience with Blake Morrow previously; both of which make him wonder if the demons can’t be expelled completely all the time.
At Allison’s place Megan arrives, unexpected. She tries to talk closely with her sister-in-law. She expresses her worry for Allison, for Amber, their well being. The young mother seems off, though it’s tough to tell whether that’s demons. Because it could easily be the fact she’s just under a ton of stress. There’s still love on Allison’s part for Kyle, just no trust, as Anderson pointed out earlier. She knows he’s a good father, but he also has a danger in him. Or, well, that’s the way it’s perceived. She, and Megan and many others, still don’t know the truth behind what really went on between them. For her part, Allison knows something is “blocking the truth” after discovering there are pieces of her memory missing.
On the road again Anderson takes Kyle to see another soul he’s… helped. The guy is another broken down sort. His pet store is shut down. The wife left, got the house. Something is not right with him immediately – Kyle notices he strays from his handshake. So the young exorcist grabs the guy by his shoulders and things set off. The former pet store owner grabs his gun, pointing it at the duo before they take off. Smart idea. Only there’s a demon left sitting inside that man. Now they’re both incredibly worried for what the rest of the people Anderson has ‘saved’ are doing, out there, maybe still possessed. Then Megan calls Kyle, letting him know something isn’t right with his estranged wife. He wants to go see her. Uh oh.
In the meantime, Sidney (Brent Spiner) makes his way out to the Barnes residence. He looks around, in the closet, the kitchen. Everywhere. Even straightens up a picture before laying down in Mrs. Barnes’ old bed. Over at the station, Officer Mark Holter (David Denman) brings Chief Giles some results from his work down at the burned down trailer. An ID and everything. Well, turns out they’ve got the “DNA of a missing woman” that was present at whatever happened in that creepy little camper. Giles suggests before making a big deal to do some follow-up and figure out whether the woman is actually disappeared. But Giles, he worries more, as Ogden is clearly into some troubled shit.
Kyle foolishly goes to see Allison. He wants to talk and does his best to make her feel comfortable, going so far as to take steps away from her off the porch. When Amber shows up things are brutally awkward. She calls her mother a bitch and says she wants to go with her father. In the midst of it all Allison accuses him of trying to turn their daughter against her. Not the case at all. However, we see a moment when Kyle ends up touching her, just for a second, and she flinches. The flinch of an abused woman? Or of a woman possessed by a demon?
Flash back to Allison waking up, beaten, bruised in a women’s shelter. She can’t remember anything from the trauma. Kyle admitted to beating her, though nobody knows the truth, and it all upsets Allison.
In the present, Giles goes to see his old buddy Ogden; gun ready to draw and everything. He talks about their friendship: “I might go so far as to say best friends, maybe,” says Giles. He’s clearly been hurt by the lack of trust between them. Yet Holter calls with news about the missing woman: she isn’t missing. Hmm. The plot thickens, so literally. There’s still something going on with Ogden, obviously. We’ll just have to wait and see exactly what.
The devious Sidney goes to see Mildred. Right away, she understands who he is, no introduction necessary. That’s creepy. They have their chat about physical possessions, how they keep busy as human lifeforms, so on. Sidney wants to know about Kyle Barnes, planning on taking care of him and the Reverend Anderson. Moments later Mildred tries to suck the life out of Sidney, just as the demons often do to Kyle. Does this mean he and Sidney are similar, or one in the same? Very intriguing, brief moment. Mildred mentions something about “the merge” which almost seems like an event the demons wait to see.
On the streets, Kyle and Anderson are out looking for the missing, possibly possessed daughter of Roy Marcus. They find her and she leads them down into the subway tunnels. And she is most certainly still afflicted with a demonic influence. She rambles some madness at Kyle before attacking him, trying to suck that black force out of his body. A battle begins that soon sees Kyle being wrapped up in the black, fog-like, oozing substance from within the possessed girl. Just like his mother, she’s left catatonic.
Sidney: “Humans are so desperate to express their individuality, to separate themselves from each other. Seems so short sighted.”
Allison discovers a trail of blood in her house. Or she thinks so, until discovering it’s red paint Amber tracked in from the garage to throw around the walls. This prompts the little girl to hide in a closet, so painfully similar to the way her father once hid from his own mother. We can see the direct parallel. At the very same time, Kyle is tearing himself up over the Marcus girl, now lying in a hospital bed; again, exactly like his own mother. So many things are directly paralleling his own existence and his life that it’s like a weight bearing down on his chest. Reverend Anderson believes those souls are “in God‘s hands now” while Kyle isn’t happy with any of it. None of it is holy or redemptive to him. No miracles. “Cause no one‘s fuckin‘ listening. If your God is out there, he‘s laughin‘at you,” Kyle berates Anderson.
Back home, Allison is waiting for Kyle. He can’t explain exactly what it is compelling him to protect her. She also wonders why he hasn’t apologised for what happened, seeing as how he’s a chronic apologist, even for the smallest things. This makes her curious and begs the question: did he really do it? Then she goes in to kiss him. She touches him. Nothing bad happens. They embrace. “You‘re safe,” he tells her quietly. Allison doesn’t understand, but can’t remember on her own. She begs to know the truth. But he can’t. The truth is too unbelievable, no matter how true. A rift still exists between them and unless Allison witnesses a possession, or experiences it again herself, there’s no telling if it will ever close.
An amazing episode. The best so far, in my opinion. What a great chapter to this first season. Can’t wait for “From the Shadows It Watches” next!
Season 1, Episode 4: “A Wrath Unseen”
Directed by Julius Ramsay
Written by Robert Kirkman
* For a review of the previous episode, “All Alone Now” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “The Road Before Us” – click here
Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) presides over a very small funeral for poor Norville, after Kyle (Patrick Fugit) found him bloody and murdered at the end of last episode. And then Sidney (Brent Spiner) shows up, claiming himself as a “friend” and claiming Norville must have been distraught over the loss of his wife. Sidney says he’s in town to take care of Norville’s affairs, all that stuff. What a god damn liar. Although I can’t wait to see more of his character. He’s sinister, as we know it was him to have done the need. Or at least it’s highly likely, anyway. So I want to know his full deal. I suspect he’s a demon, but won’t jump to say anything. I’ve never read the source material, I wouldn’t know where this is headed. I can only judge by what we’re given. And I dig the slow burn nature of the plots coming together.
Anderson is an interesting character, too. He has a bunch of keepsakes at home. Little trinkets he keeps from the exorcism work he performs. When he touches them the memories come flooding back, of the demonic possession he’s seen, the victims of said demons. Tragic life to live. In other parts of town, Mark and Megan Holter (David Denman/Wrenn Schmidt) are happy. At least they seem to be, even if she’s got other things happening in her life that he doesn’t know about – Donnie Hamel (Scott Porter) kicking around town and all. He actually shows up while they’re out at dinner. He brings up awkward conversation and while Mark does his best to be polite, his wife is rocked by his presence. There’s a very aggressive element to his presence. More plot and character development/history to come out. I’m sure there’s something deep lying behind their relationship.
Then we get more of Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey), this time at home with his wife and friends, Mr and Mrs. Ogden (Peter Burris & Debra Christofferson). When they’re alone, Giles passes the gold watch over to his buddy. With that, this plot thickens.
At a bar, Kyle runs into Donnie. The whole family clearly has a connection to him. That comes up quick and violent after Kyle attacks him right off before they’re both tossed out of the bar. They fight some more outside. Mostly, Kyle gets his ass beat down. “Always playing the guardian angel,” Donnie smirks above him: “Haven‘t you figured out they don‘t exist?” Next morning Kyle calls his sister. He’s not willing to “ignore” whatever it is that’s happening(/has happened) between them. For the time being he promises not to do anything too drastic. Something big is behind all this and I’m intrigued as hell.
Later on Kyle goes to see Anderson, who’s busy cleaning up the cemetery, picking up trash. The Rev lays it on his younger friend, saying that to get into this whole thing and help people, to fight those demons while using that gift of his there’s a need for people to trust him. They don’t right now. Lots of talk, then his dust up with Donnie. No matter what’s going on there is a good bond between these two. Because really, they’re the only two who know for sure that there’s something dark going on, that the devil is more real than many are willing to believe. And it’s no big religious thing, at least not to Kyle. It’s merely a stand between good and evil. Well the exorcist duo head over to another house, the door has a German “Willkommen” on the door. Inside Anderson sees a few ceramic boys on the window ledge and starts to have flashes of what he’d thought of earlier while touching the trinkets he keeps as souvenirs. Meanwhile, Kyle goes in to see Mildred (Grace Zabriskie). She knows all about Kyle. She alludes to him beating his wife, and in general having a problem with violence. Mildred has trouble sitting down, but when Kyle goes to help her it all but sears her skin. The whole thing is incredibly unsettling, which sends Kyle out fast. We discover more about Mildred, how she’d supposedly been exorcised. And Anderson says she’s been in church for the past couple years, singing, praising Jesus. Could he maybe be a bit too naive? Perhaps the fresh eyes of Kyle Barnes are really needed to figure out exactly how devious the devil can get in his work.
Out on his own, Giles is suited with rifle in tow for a trek in the woods. He’s back at that dirty old trailer trying to find out more about what’s going on out there.
Poor Megan is twisted up over the appearance of Donnie in her life again. Her husband’s worried, and their life is being affected. She can’t even think of anything related to Donnie without getting upset. Then we get a flashback from Megan, she peeks through a bathroom door before running to her room, towel on, and then who I can only assume is a young Donnie corners her, crushing the tail of her white stallion toy on the floor. In the present, Megan takes out a gun and holds it with a look of intent in her eyes.
On the street Mark picks up his brother-in-law Kyle, who reluctantly gets in the cruiser. They go for a beer. Mark wants to talk about Donnie. Right away you can see the look on Kyle’s face change, his entire body language and demeanour becomes more tense. “Is that him?” asks Mark. He obviously knows about whatever happened, just not who did it. We find out Donnie was a foster kid that their family took in and he abused Megan. Yowzah. Lots of explosive stuff about to happen. Disgusting that Mark had to figure it all out this way. Furthermore, Kyle tells Mark about how when he found out what Donnie was doing, he started sleeping on the floor of Megan’s room. So more and more he’s painted as less of a bad guy, and even Mark comes to see him a bit differently, even after all the stuff with Kyle, his wife, his child – something we still have yet to fully discover ourselves.
At the hotel, Megan confronts Donnie. She wants him to leave and he tries saying that he’s changed, that he was a “fucked up kid” and nothing like that anymore. Not sure how this will all play out. I’d like him to get shot, Megan definitely has her gun. Though I doubt she’ll do that.
Anderson is back to visit with Mildred. After the incident with Kyle he wanted to be sure she was all right. Truthfully, he’s doubting his own work. He believes Kyle may be right, underneath it all. He questions Mildred about her grandchildren, the fact she doesn’t want to be around them these days. This is a truly eerie scene. I love it. “What if we like who we become?” Mildred ponders out loud to the Reverend. It becomes clearer by the second there is still something demonic, something evil lurking inside that woman, and it’s obviously gotten better at concealing itself beneath her skin. The Rev finally admits to Kyle he didn’t get the job done on Mildred. Off they go on their merry way, exorcism kit in hand and ready to fend off evil once more. Only Mildred’s daughter won’t allow them in, she knows what Anderson did to try and get the devil out of the old woman before – the demon tells lies, of course.
In the woods, Giles sees his old pal Ogden throw a load of gas over the trailer then proceed to burn it down. Ah, more developments.
Out on the highway Mark pulls Donnie over. He orders the man out of his car, and you can feel the tension fatten up, so thick you could cut it with a knife. And in this day and age you can be sure the dash cam catches Mark beating the hell out of Donnie, throwing him to the roadside, laying into him. At home later that night, Mark gets a call from the Chief to run all that evidence he collected previously down at the trailer. But now Mark has to deal with his own morality, he has to live with himself. No doubt Donnie deserves all he gets, though this whole thing has definitely damaged Mark’s moral core.
The worry in Kyle for the mistakes Anderson has made mounts. He worries now for his own wife Allison (Kate Lyn Sheil), even if she’s got a restraining order on him. What if the Rev has failed to exorcise many demons, not just Mildred? Might mean a ton of dark souls are out there waiting to be saved, or trying hard not to be.
In the trees somewhere, Megan sets up a bunch of glass. She smashes it with a hammer taking out her rage in the privacy of the forest. The pain inside her has to come out, and luckily she isn’t doing anything nuts. I thought she’d have killed Donnie, or maybe she was heading down to do some target practice in preparation. However, I think what we’re seeing is that she is a good person, she’s been degraded and abused terribly yet she chooses to take out her aggression without hurting anyone, putting her in juxtaposition with her husband. Here, the person that was abused isn’t the one wanting the revenge, or at least she isn’t taking it herself. The man always has to step up and make it about his own feelings and his own rage. At the same time there’s a division between people willing to step over the line when necessary and those who will never step over it on principle. Mark is a good man, but this episode sets up a big duality between those who choose to take care of evil firsthand and those who would simply rather try to get past it, however they can.
A great episode. Love this series so much already. Some think it’s too slow, I find the pace extraordinary. It sets things up well and gives us a chance to speculate, before the plots and the characters develop. Lots of surprises, lots of creepiness. Can’t wait for the next episode!