What a Lovely Day for an Exorcism: The Exorcist, ‘Ritual & Repetition’

Previously on The Exorcist; Thrown in with last week’s cliffhangers, we’re reminded about Tomas’ sister and nephew, and how once upon a time, Tomas’ wasn’t far off becoming a Bishop — he was even offered the job after saving Casey Rance, but turned it to run off with Marcus.

We’re in the Nachburn house, where it appears Marcus has finally woken up, taken the time to get his coat on, and found Tomas in his trance, only he can’t wake him up or even pray him out of it. Marcus leaves Tomas safely hidden in a closet to rush off and rescue the kids. In Limbo, Tomas thinks he and Marcus are working over Andy, but hearing Real Marcus’ disembodied voice clues him in that something’s wrong. He tries to flee, and the bedroom opens into an old church, and he’s wearing the cassock and red silk skull cap (called a zucchetto) of a Bishop — like Andy trapped in the restructured suicides, Tomas is trapped in a false memory where he didn’t leave with Marcus and has been Bishop for a year. He’s the youngest Bishop in twenty years, and built his own church and developed a thriving new congregation.

He’s still clued in something is wrong but when she shows him the full pews, parishioners singing as one, he’s struggling to nail down what it is. The people sing  On Eagle’s Wings’, which made my lapsed ass cackle, but if you know the lyrics (and all good/bad Catholics do), it’s a damned clever choice of song to underpin this scene.

At the a ferry station in Seattle, A Vatican Death Squad has killed the ticket booth guy and, thinking they’ve found Keane, fire into the boys’ pickup truck that’s still parked in the long term lot at the station. Seemingly, they’ve tracked Mouse to the car ,and she quickly dispatches both men and rushes off to … catch a ferry? Swim to the Island? The ticket man is dead! How … did those guys know where to go? How did Mouse? Is this because of the call Tomas’ made? Or Bennett in the hospital? Should she have left the comatose, defenceless, probably-wanted-by-Vatican-Death-Squads-Bennett alone? Priests carry ID that says they’re priests; the hospital would call a local parish or somebody once Mouse just dipped. What?



Marcus has gone to the farmer’s house, and finds the murdered old couple. As Marcus creeps through the house, finding signs of a struggle, we see what happened the previous evening; AnDemon knocked Verity out, so Rose began fighting back and wisely led him away from the girl. As AnDemon passed a mirror, he/we saw that inside he’s becoming integrated, appearing as the half-rotted Nikki corpse. Outside, Rose had snatched up a pitchfork and first chance she got, plunged the thing into AnDemon’s chest and briefly weakened the demon’s hold, but it quickly recovered and knocked Rose out too.

Back in the now, Marcus follows drag marks out of the house.

At the Nachburn docks, AndyDemon turns up to take Harper, Caleb and Shelby, claiming to be better — and though he looks unwell, you might be forgiven for thinking he’s on the mend. Shelby is openly suspicious, perhaps more so because ‘Andy’ praises God for his recovery. I love how smart this boy is. He’s afraid but has no choice than to go, if only to protect the younglings.

In Limbo, Tomas opens his mass and there is a clever, subtle effect on the sound, playing with the built in resonance churches have and like … muffling and shortening it just enough to be a little off to the ear — particularly if you know what Mass sounds like. As he asks his congregation to sit, Tomas spots one familiar face in the crowd. Casey Rance.

On the island, AnDemon pulls up outside the house. Caleb asks what ‘it’ was like, and AnDemon calls his possession ‘hell’. Shelby asks again if the demon is gone, and AnDemon asks Harper. She thinks ‘he’ killed her mother but whether she means Andy or the thing inside him, is not clear. AnDemon tells her god killed her mother by sending her to Andy. Harper cries, and Caleb holds her hand. AnDemon gets out of the car and Shelby makes the babies lock their doors, but AnDemon has the electric fob. Shelby takes Caleb’s cane to use as a weapon, and AnDemon hauls him out of the car. In a profoundly disturbing scene, we stay on Caleb as Shelby is audibly beaten, then a shrieking Harper is dragged away too.

That made me sick.

Caleb though, gets out of the truck and finds a rock on the ground, because this lil badass isn’t playing, but AnDemon is already there. In the creepy building — I now realise is an old chapel or school house — where Truck had his episode, all the kids and Rose are tied up. They realise AnDemon is going to kill them and then in a moment I sort of love, Rose turns to Verity who is visibly struggling with shock. Rose reminds Verity that her file discusses how when Verity was tied down at those awful camps, she always freed herself. Verity focusses and starts working on her ropes.

In Limbo, Tomas finishes his mass and in the offices from before he finds his adorable nephew, Mateo and rushes to embrace him. Mateo immediately invites Tomas to his birthday party — another reason for him to ‘stay’ here — and as Tomas agrees, they’re interrupted by Casey Rance. Left alone, Casey fearfully admits she’s afraid something is wrong with her, and talks of terrifying dreams. Tomas knows it’s not her, that none of this is real. Casey speaks in demon voice (ugh) and guilt trips him about leaving St. Anthony’s and his congregation, just so he can feel special.

In the school, AnDemon terrorises the children, choking Verity and torturing Shelby’s broken ankle. Shelby admits that he’s known something was wrong from the start, and flashes back to his night in the woods when he smeared lamb’s blood on the house. AnDemon explains it only works to protect from god, and talks about the horrors of the Plague of Death in Egypt and gods … you know, general sort of of homicidal nature for much of the Old Testament. AnDemon promises Shelby will die last, so selects Caleb to go first. Caleb flashes back to his night on the well, and it was Grace who led him out there. Rose, a boss, calls AnDemon a coward and weak, reminds him that Andy’s body is bleeding from when she stabbed the crap out of him. AnDemon tries to say she’s not even part of their family so, as best as one can when tied down and seated, Rose squares the eff up.

AnDemon draws a knife, but then we cut to outside where theDemon is hovering her over the dangerous well and counting down, breaking away the wood beneath her feet, a cruel twist on the children’s initiation ritual. He counts down to ten, slowly, quickly, mocking her and then at ten … he drops her. Oh no. Later, we’re with Marcus, who is STILL searching the island. Like it’s dark now, and he appears to have no idea where to go. He’s been to the well and the schoolhouse. And all these locations are within mere moment’s walk of each other. We’ve spent eight episodes establishing this.

In the school, AnDemon is still taking his time about it and Shelby begins to pray the Lord’s Prayer, while AnDemon is distracted, Verity frees herself and runs. AnDemon chases, but Harper trips him and gives Verity a chance to get to the woods. Once there, the woods are dark, every branch is coated with webs or silkworm cocoons.

‘Literally, not today, Satan’

Tomas is still trapped in Limbo, and ‘Casey’ is trying to use his ‘sins’ against him. Tomas owns all his sins, so she wonders how long he’ll keep going before he kills and destroys everything around him. This doesn’t phase Tomas all that much, hopefully because he knows that his decisions haven’t actually hurt anyone.

On the island, Marcus has finally found the kids in the school, and frees them. Shelby gathers up the tiny ones, and sends Marcus after Verity because Shelby is a badass.

In the woods poor little Vee is lost, and hiding from the AnDemon in the creepy woods. She realises she’s leaving tracks, and walks back on herself before crawling into one of the thick cocoon/web-things to hide.

Caleb is helping Shelby to the car when Harper gets a … sense and runs over to the open well. She calls to Rose, who HOLY FUCKING SHIT, is alive, though weak in the water at the bottom of the well. She begs the kids the leave her and run, but they fetch the ropes from the shed to try and reach her. In her scrambling in the water, Rose finds a pair of glasses, and thinks she sees bones under the water. The kids toss the rope down to her, before Samara rises up and makes everything worse.

In Limbo, the Casey Demon is working on Tomas hard, and promising to make him Pope, but Tomas, who has brushed off so much of this already, reminds her he wanted that a long time ago. What he wants now, he steps in fiercely to whisper, ‘I want to watch you die you son of a bitch!’ and holy shit, that was sexy. Alfonso!

On the island, the children work together to haul Rose up out of the well and they all embrace  and call each other family, and I cry and cry.

In the woods, Verity is still hiding behind the silk/web stuff, and has worms crawling on her face as AnDemon creeps around incredibly close by. He’s found where her tracks stop and she appears to vanish, and takes only seconds to find her hiding spot. He tosses her to the ground and while she cries and calls him ‘dad’, he chokes her with the web. But, something gives Verity the chance to kick him off and when he comes back at her, Marcus is just there, and tackles Andy midair, and begins pummeling him. The AnDemon flings him back, so Marcus sends Verity with the other children, and breaks out a jar of what I assume is holy water or anointed oils. He whispers ‘The power … of Christ’, and the NikkiDemon appears in his ear to hiss ‘Compel me, Marcusssss’, before AnDemon appears and begins choking the shit out of him.

In Limbo, Tomas literally screams his way out of the church fantasy and wakes up in another Limbo, but back in the house. The Casey thing is there, and a newly empowered Tomas screams it back into the NikkiDemon, then starts psychically whupping demon ass. In the woods, AnDemon weakens and drops Marcus.

In Limbo, Marcus finds Andy, the real one, badly weakened, and runs to him. Andy has black blood coming from his eyes and ears, like Maria Walters’ human body had, and is — or fears — he is dying. He begs Tomas to save the children, and we hear a voice begin to pray over them. Andy has some sort of seizure, as we come back to the real world (this is … so confusing sometimes) to see that Mouse has found Tomas, and has pulled him out of his trance for real. He wakes, and they stare at each other.

I’m … again, mixed feelings. I’m still very confused about the Vatican Agents from the start, but not enough to make a big thing out of it. I just wish a leeetle work had been done, a scene or two over the last eight episodes to lead into those guys just  … turning up, to keep that part of the story in a little better focus. That said, the season has been so well structured I’m not wholly sure where they would have slotted in without us losing something more interesting. As it is, it’s merely another reminder of the somewhat extraneous nature of the entire conspiracy plot.

Everything else was excellent, though it was hard watching. I’m glad Rose made it, and the scene of the children working together to save ‘family’ had me tearing up. And, Rose stabbing the bejesus out of AnDemon with a damned pitchfork made me cheer. The scenes where AnDemon terrorised the children were brutal and in particular, the offscreen assault on Shelby was disturbing. It reminded me of a similar scene in season three of Fargo, made worse for the fact you only hear what is going on. Sometimes pained grunts and screams can just cut deeper than seeing the violence onscreen. And though I’m not clear how she’s found them, I’m glad Mouse has finally arrived. She’s clearly a smart, powerful person, and she helped Tomas when Marcus couldn’t. I’m still sore as hell that Bennett will miss out, though. Sore as HELL.

I have to say … it was refreshing to see the guilt-tripping head-games just bounce off Tomas. He’s had some doubts about himself this season, sure, but having a character undergo that trope and just being like, ‘Nah I’m at peace with all my decisions, I own my shit’, is something I loved, especially contrasted against how Marcus wears his guilt like clothing. He’d have been screwed, but Tomas, a good Catholic boy who sees god and still goes to Confession is like, ‘Nah, I’m good.’

Now we’re in the endgame, predictions time — if Rose made it … Andy may not, and he certainly doesn’t think he’s long for this world. Last season got, for the most part, happy endings with the family left scarred but intact, and I think it would be … sort of a copout to do that twice. I want Andy to live, but it can’t be that easy every time, or there’s no real conflict. The kids will be okay, and I feel like Rose will find a way to keep them together. In my dream world, that’s with the newly Official Couple™ Pete and Marcus, but, guys … I am worried for Pete.

We last saw him offer Marcus something real and wonderful, and then he was absent all this week. Pete, who knows something was up, and just doesn’t seem the type to entirely stay away. AnDemon has targeted those close to Andy, friends and potential saviours of the children, and while Pete only briefly spoke to Andy in the ‘Now’ — when the birds flew into the house — we know from the suicide flashback just how close he is to this little family, which if I’m right would prove to be a daringly clever way to place Pete in the demon’s sights without the audience immediately worrying . I am predicting that when all is said and done, Marcus will go to find Pete, and find he’s been dead since Andy escaped. On this I am … distressingly certain. I hope I am wrong.

Next week, John Cho gets to deliver my favourite line of the franchise, and NikkiDemon breaks out the infamous Spider Walk. Oh, you know I’m there. The Exorcist returns Fridays 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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