The Castle Started Spinning, or Maybe It Was My Brain: The Exorcist, ‘Darling Nikki’

Last time! Grace turned into long dead Nikki who is Alicia Witt (Who I cheered for last week, ’til I remembered she helped ruin one of the last seasons of Justified). We pick up exactly where we left off with Andy staring at the woman before him. Andy breathes ‘Nikki’ and she’s eerily calm commenting on the state of the room. As soon as she turns away from him Andy’s expression changes to dull sad shock because of course he could only let himself enjoy this for one second, because, you know, she’s dead. Oh man, we don’t deserve a second of John Cho’s time.

He asks after Grace, who has been ‘sent away’ because he doesn’t need her, now he has Nikki. Andy knows it isn’t real but he can’t quite bring himself to walk away as she gently touches his face. His expression makes it clear he’s still not comfortable with it.

A (dear, beloved) friend and I talked this week about how refreshing it is to have Andy be an intelligent guy who keeps making smart choices, and Rose, too. It amplifies the terror of the island plot because no matter how often Andy does the right thing, he’s still losing. Compared to Tomas and Marcus, who so often wind up in danger because they … they’re just not smart, the events on Nachburn just get under my skin in a different way.

The other kids hike home, led by the farmers wife, and Harper learns Truck will be taken to a psych ward for kids until he’ll be allowed home. Caleb spits Truck will be sent to juvie, and doesn’t think it can be fixed. Trailing behind, Harper hears spooky voices, then spots a bunny on the path. She looks ready to follow, but she’s called after the others.

GhostNikki can sense Andy’s fear as he mutters he’s losing his mind. Before she can kiss him, the kids arrive back. GhostNikki is fine with him going, and he emotionally asks how she could have left him. She promises she never will again, as he finally, slowly withdraws to head downstairs. As soon as he’s gone her face turns cold.

Innnnnnnntense! In Seattle, Marcus awaits a returning Tomas ,who arrives all in a fluster and demands they go back to the house. For once, Marcus is on board (spend more time with Pete, dude, you’re a reasonable man when you get some). Tomas emotionally speaks of Nikki, then sees all the poor, murdered kids from his vision in the back of their pick up. He goes pale and emotional, and Marcus has to shake him to bring him back. I love it when they let Alfonso act.

Between them, they realise a demon, or several have been living on the island, hunting.

At the sad, sad, grey grim psych ward, Truck is asking when he can come home. Rose is shouldering the heavy lifting, because Andy is not mentally there at all. Truck begs forgiveness from Verity, then says ‘she’, a person in his head, made him hurt Verity. A doctor arrives to take him for an evaluation and Truck, sobbing, takes Andy’s stony silence as a sign of hate. My heart.

As they leave, Rose discusses finding a better place for Truck, considering his special needs but Andy is more worried about his whole house being shut down after such an incident. Would it, though? A boy with a recorded sleepwalking disorder has an episode that even the ‘victim’ doesn’t blame him for? Rose calls out his negative thinking and Andy goes off to be alone … aaand ask GhostNikki if she’s the thing in Truck’s head. She calls the kids ‘unfixable’; well, fuck you, GhostNikki. Andy thinks he’s failed to protect the kids, even as GhostNikki claims he did but he thinks he failed because he was alone.

She reminds him he’s not alone now, and no one will tear them apart. Back inside, Rose can see Andy sitting alone, looking toward someone who isn’t there.

Back home, she sees  Marcus and Tomas arrive; doesn’t look entirely upset to see them.

Caleb and Harper play together, Caleb talks about Verity giving Truck his nickname, and it’s very sad. Harper asks if the Island Witch is real, and admits seeing something creepy in the woods. Andy arrives, and Caleb knows he’s there. He stonily tells them dinner will be ready soon. Sad, sad, sad.

Rose meets the boys at the well, and talks about the incident with the kids. They talk about what they do and in an astonishing turn around, Marcus actually defends Tomas’ ‘ominous’ approach from earlier — and MARCUS, MARRY PETE. HE IS GOOD FOR YOU.

Rose finally answers Tomas’ question about weird behaviour, worrying about Andy, and they tell her about the murder demon. They ask to talk to Andy and promise to leave if Andy is just depressed, but if they’re right, they can help.

Verity visits Andy, who’s making dinner, and asks about Truck. She won’t be pressing charges, and wants Truck home, but Andy is still Captain Misery and calls Truck disturbed, so says they should focus on who is left behind. Verity leaves, as Rose arrives back with the dynamic duo. They have a nice cover story that as the boys are ‘leaving’ tomorrow, Rose asked them to stay for dinner. Andy acts like this isn’t a problem, and retreats to the kitchen so GhostNikki can comfort him and feed his paranoia that the boys are there to tear them apart. She tells him to protect the family and when the boys are gone, they’ll ‘put the house back together’. Oooh dang.

In Chicago, Mouse and Bennett are in what I assume is Haus Walters, and go and visit with the now possessed, perhaps even integrated, and clearly dying … Maria Walters! I mean that was their entire stated mission, so I’m not wholly sure why it was treated as a reveal but … okay.

On the Island, Andy serves dinner and makes snide comments, while Tomas says grace. They talk about the boys’ ‘work’, and Harper outs then as Exorcists because of how they met. Naturally, Andy is dubious as a psychologist, and ends up calling the belief in demons ‘primitive’, which, Dude, don’t be a jerk. Tomas talks about his own doubts and then beliefs, but Increasingly Possessed Andy is on a roll. He brings Verity’s ‘conversion therapy’ into this, against her wishes, though he has a point about how many of Tomas brothers of the Cloth think Verity has a demon. Tomas calls them wrong, and sincerely apologises to Verity. Marcus is like ‘Hey, lets leave the child out of this!?’ all brittle and bright, and everyone is So Nice And Reasonable, and god, that scene hurt, but it was well done.

The demon inside Maria talks about how as rich and powerful as Maria was, she also had terminal cancer and now is just a dying, worthless body. Mouse demands names about the conspiracy, as the MariaDemon offers to possess Bennett instead, give him something to do before the war ends.

Mouse hooks Maria up to a Holy Water IV, as the demon prattles that with Maria’s body went her value, and neither of them know anything. Dude, you’re a demon, and they are professional exorcists; they know you have psychic powers and what not. Come now. As the Holy Water hits, the body gushes blood from the eyes and mouth.

Marcus is asking Harper if she’s seen anything weird, and she talks about the voices and the bunny in the woods. She’s afraid of the Island Witch, but darling, charming Marcus reassures her. Seriously, marry Pete, Marcus, adopt her, live in peace on Nachburn. Once you exorcise the whole island of the demon.

The adults get coffee, and Rose is very cleverly guiding the conversation to keep it about exorcism without it seeming too obvious. Andy makes an … entirely, utterly baffling reference to The Exorcist, like, as a film? I mean I suppose you could argue he’s read the McNeil book, or seen the internet clips we saw Kat look at last year, so he’s referring to that information — but it comes across like he’s talking about a movie or something. Guys. Guys. Don’t.

Marcus is like, ‘Yeah, sometimes’ and talks about other symptoms of possession, again, some more. I know, for Andy and Rose’s sake, but couldn’t some of this talk have happened offscreen? Andy is standoffish as the boys ask about fostering. Marcus settles into the most relaxed posture on the couch, and starts smiling as he makes nasty jabs about how hard it must have been for Andy to love kids that aren’t his. It’s another of those scenes that has to happen to move the story along, but it hurts, of course. Andy gets pissed and leans forward; GhostNikki appears, to him, to calm him down. She cuts him off mid-sentence, and there’s a great shot of Marcus and Tomas noticing his weird behaviour. He uses getting more coffee as an excuse to exit the conversation, and the boys admit to Rose their asshole behaviour is to bring out the demon. Marcus is pretty convinced they’re on to something, and Tomas really is, when Andy returns to pour their coffees and Tomas sees a mug full of blood instead. He excuses himself, leaving Marcus in control of the conversation, which … bold move, Cotton.

Marcus changes tactics, and starts congratulating Andy’s good work, asking, what if Andy never took in the kids? He drops some Italian ‘in the house of the shoemaker there are no shoes’ and to Andy’s and my ‘… what?’, Marcus asks if Andy got counselling when Nikki died. GhostNikki ghosts around, telling him to be quiet. Marcus asks about the kids and opens his hand, revealing the weird rock from the attic room. Andy calls it just some old rock, but Marcus asks why, then, Andy keeps staring at it.

Marcus talks about Nikki, and finally gets Andy on his feet. He’s throwing them out and Rose agrees, admits inviting them in, and poor Andy is so heartbroken while GhostNikki spooks around and works at Andy’s paranoia. Marcus emotionally begs Andy to ‘fight it’, but after an intense moment, threatens the cops until Tomas hurries Marcus out.

Outside, they agree Andy is in trouble, and they’re tactically retreating until everyone goes to bed. Marcus worries for Tomas freezing up like he did and Marcus fearfully calls his burgeoning powers a curse. Marcus calls it a gift that led them to the house, and promises to listen if Tomas needs to talk about all the fucked up shit in his head. They pray together and Dear Show, if after that wonderful moment you backslide this pair AGAIN, I am coming for heads.

Bennett questions the dying DemonWalters, while Mouse finds evidence she’s hunting our boys. Walters finally admits that ‘the little cub’, Tomas, is being tempted quite successfully in spite of Marcus’ warnings. Bennett refuses to believe Tomas can be corrupted (ooooh so Tomas didn’t admit he went and had sex with Jessica that time? He’s already corrupted, by your rules anyway). DemonWalters adopts Marcus’ voice and mocks Mouse about some past incident between Mouse and Marcus. Bennett, who heard Mouse refer to knowing Marcus with his own two ears like, yesterday, is shocked, SHOCKED. Mouse falls for the super obvious trick and as the demon suggests, Bennett ask about an incident at an Abbey twenty years ago, Mouse shoots her in the head. WOMAN, YOU JUST SPENT TWO EPISODES TELLING BENNETT NOT TO FALL FOR THOSE EXACT SAME MINDTRICKS.

The death makes the room whir into fury, and Bennett saves Mouse from a falling chandelier, getting a gigantic shard of glass in his side for his trouble.

Back at the house, a storm is brewing … an actual one, like a weather system. Rose goes to sheepishly apologise to Andy, but argues her case that, to be fair, things have been weird, especially, in particular, Andy. He blames it on what happened with Truck and Verity, and guilt trips her over the home falling apart, and she fails to point out his weirdness starting before the Truck thing. She admits she should have come to him, and Andy sneakily pretends to have a Moment about his grief, even though he’s repeating, nearly verbatim, what he said to Rose the night before. Rose, the professional Social Worker and therefore, Bullshit Spotter, falls for this. Andy uses the moment to finally kiss Rose, and the pair tumble off to bed together. But, as they get hot and heavy, GhostNikki appears and Andy recoils.

Harper is wakened by the storm, and in easily the scariest moment of the entire fucking show so far, her nightmare of a mother appears behind her. She’s there to take Harper, and pulls out a giant knife to make Harper comply. She sneaks the girl out of the house and OH THANK GOD, MARCUS AND TOMAS ARE RIGHT  THERE OH MY GOD, MY HEART.

In the bedroom, Andy is now talking directly to Nikki, whose eyes have gone all demon creepy. He kisses her while Rose watches. Marcus and Tomas are backing Harper and her mother upstairs, and then … Then, something really silly happens. Nikki tosses Rose into a wall, but outside in the corridor, this somehow makes everyone float before crashing to the ground. It just … looks so silly. In the room, an entranced Andy starts to choke Rose while outside, Marcus grabs Harper, and Tomas wrestles with Harper’s mother. Verity screams for Andy, who appears on the corridor and lifts Harper’s mother with impossible strength, then, literally, eviscerates her. To my endless relief, Shelby shields Harper from seeing this.

Andy staggers, leaves a bloody handprint on the wall of handprints, before he collapses to his knees and makes inhuman sounds. Tomas and Marcus break out the Crucifixes and advance. We end there.

Well, DAMN. PS, not that I’m keeping score of how many of my predictions come true (I clearly am) but, so far, short of Caleb, I’m nailing it.

Next week, the show wants me or Andy to think he’s killed the children. Oooh, I will RIOT.

The Exorcist returns next week on Fox.


Nadine Morgan

Nadine Morgan is really terrible at the ‘About You’ part of life. Nadine developed her reviewer skills writing epic facebook rants about the details script supervisors forget and trying to explain why Carol on The Walking Dead broke Lizzie by accident. Nadine loves TV, film and books but she wishes someone would pay her to be the continuity editor. She can be found on Facebook and in her forest garden and if she’s not yelling at her TV she’s trying to convince a cat to be an Instagram model and refusing to let 90's fashion die.

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