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 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.