This The Exorcist review contains spoilers.
The Exorcist Episode 8
Last week’s episode “Father of Lies” dealt with Father Marcus and Father Tomas trying to secretly save Casey — with the help of Mother Bernadette — while the Rance family struggled with Casey’s disappearance and Angela’s descent into madness. Also, as a B-story, Brother Bennet managed to find some evidence for what Maria Walters and the Friars of Ascension have been up to.
This week’s episode,“Griefbearers,” is another one of those pretty straight exorcism episodes. Father Tomas brings in Angela thinking that Casey was on the verge of death and it was only right that her mother be there. The problem, of course, is that Angela is the one the demon is really after. Angela is the one that got away and Captain Howdy has been pining after her ever since.
In trying to help Fathers Marcus and Tomas exorcise the demon, Angela gets herself caught in a little long-awaited reunion with Captain Howdy. Angela is watching her younger self talk to Captain Howdy through the ouija board. It almost reads like a cut-scene from the original film where Regan first speaks to Captain Howdy. There’s a little look of nostalgia for the way Angela and her mother used to be, but that is overshadowed by the demon yapping in her ear and licking her face.
The real important part of the episode, though, is that Fathers Marcus and Tomas and Angela managed to exorcise Casey using the Confiteor prayer. Father Marcus has it written down in his bible and decides to give it a shot. I think there is something really interesting that the prayer that saves her is one that is inward not outward. Most of what we hear in exorcism films and in the series so far is asking God to chase out the dark from the subject. It’s fighting the devil off with the power of God to save the subject who is still a child of the holy savior. But the Confiteor is a prayer of confessions. It’ taking it upon themselves to expel their own darkness to chase away the dark in the one possessed. I think that is a really good way to end this first chunk of episodes.
What I said in the beginning is that the show seems to be less about the exorcism and more about all the characters own demons. They are each struggling with something, their own darkness, and it was really beautiful to have to solution to be the Confiteor. “ I have greatly sinned,in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.”
That was the high point of the episode for me. The low point was definitely the ending. Angela is now possessed again. They manage to exorcise a demon, think they are all safe, and it turns out that, unbeknownst to them, it has jumped inside another person. It’s a classic and highly predictable possession story trope. Truthfully, we didn’t even need it. There is a whole other story about the Pope and the Friars of Ascension and the devil worshippers. Brother Bennett has been killed. There is a lot going on having to do with the devil and demonic possession, we didn’t need another Rance Family demon running around. At least not right away.
Demon Angela killed Chris and now the series goes on a break for a couple of weeks. When the series returns, I am assuming that a possessed Angela keeps the Rances from leaving Chicago. What I would really like to see is more a dive into the other storyline, because at this point it is way more interesting to evaluate a city bursting at the seems with evil and a powerful group that seems to be made up of both sides of the tracks, the seemingly good and the evil. We will have to wait a few weeks and see, but I am ready to get down to that Friar of Ascension business and watch Fathers Marcus and Tomas try and save the day.