This The Exorcist review contains spoilers.
The Exorcist Episode 6
In “Chapter 5: My Most Grievous Fault” the show decided to tie up some knots and connect the original Exorcist to our current series. Angela Rance is Regan MacNeil and, well, no one cares. Okay, it’s not that no one cares, but it didn’t do much for the series. That “bombshell” really only made Angela a little easier to swallow with all her exorcism talk and real-world naivete. It made an already susceptible character now more easily susceptible. But unfortunately, because that mystery is solved the show had to come up with something even better, which is how we get to the Friars of Ascension.
The Exorcist seemed to set up a classic exorcism story about a young girl suffering from a demonic possession, but what “Chapter 6: Star of the Morning” confirms is we really have a series about a city that has become a battleground for good and evil, and sometimes it is hard to tell who is who.
“Star of The Morning” starts off by letting us know that we are in dire straits. There is not a lot of time to find Casey before the demon fully integrates with her. Giving the audience a time-limit and a sense of pressure. Except not really, because the episode instead chose to have the characters focus on the tension brought by Chris MacNeil’s visit and why Angela decided to leave her past behind and never look back.
The only one really focused on finding Casey is Father Marcus, and that’s probably just because he gets really turned on by the words “The power of Christ compels you.” But, he does end up finding and saving her, so we will let his creepy obsession with exorcisms go for now.
Casey’s storyline gets weaker by the minute and the real point of the episode becomes to introduce the Friars of Ascension. Since the series began, we have been getting ready for Chicago to receive a visit from the Pope, which Maria Walters has had a hand in preparing for. All over town there are signs reminding the people of Chicago, and the viewers, the Pope is on his way.
This week, Brother Bennett visits The Moveable Feast tour-guide couple who happen to also be very adept at researching demon fronts. They have uncovered that Maria Walters’ corporation own a bunch of landscaping trucks for a business that no longer exists, yet the vans keep popping up. Also, they have given a lump sum of money to the Friars of Ascension.
Maria has been kind of this suspicious character since she showed up on the scene. She is very wealthy, very involved in the church, and also very interested in Father Tomas. In “Star of the Morning” her plotline opens up. Maria hosts an event at her house sponsored by the Friars of Ascension. Father Tomas doesn’t show up, but Brother Bennett does for a little recon after talking to the carnie couple. At the end of “Grievous” Father Marcus translates a passage told to him by the demon as “He is Coming.” There, propped up in middle of Maria’s event is one of those signs, like the ones all over town, Brother Bennet takes note of what’s scribbled across the top, “He is coming.”
In a not so unexpected twist, the Friars of Ascension are devil worshippers. Or at least that is what they appear to be. The episode ends with members of the group and the church, including Maria sitting around the table begging “Him” to choose their body as a home. And it appears they want Father Tomas to join their little cult.
We also learn that it’s this group that is responsible for harvesting the organs in episode 2. I guess a demon cult could be interesting? The series definitely can’t survive on one possession. We got our exorcism episode out of the way and so it only made sense that something new had to be introduced. I am still not really sure what the endgame of the series is.
The real tension of The Exorcist series comes from this idea that I keep bringing up about the inherent properties of the city itself. The episodes are riddled with socio-political commentary that is used to pose the question of whether Chicago is the way that it is because evil has infected it or whether the way we have treated it, the way man has set it up, made it attractive to evil. I want to believe that therein lies the hook of the series, that will come to a head when the Pope arrives … or doesn’t. It can’t be as simple and Pope vs. Devil because that would be ridiculous, but that unearthed answer leaves something for the series to play with now that our exorcism is pretty much done with.
In the end, who will really be in trouble, and how long can all these characters sustain themselves and the series as a whole?