This The Exorcist review contains spoilers.
The Exorcist Season 2 Episode 10
There is a changing of the guards on The Exorcist season 2, episode 10, “Unworthy,” several actually. We see a change in the family dynamic, in the satanic mechanics and in the clergy’s social fabric. The season finishes with an open-ended closure, but the episode begins with an open mind.
Father Tomas (Alfonso Herrera) is a very special priest. Mouse (Zuleikha Robinson) knows it. Father Bennett (Kurt Egyiawan) certified it. Marcus has been saying it all along. The junior exorcist graduated to senior status by allowing malevolent spirits into his brain. Yes, it compromised him in many ways, but whatever didn’t kill him or drive him nuts made him stronger. Of course, that also makes him a better target for further attempts, and there will be many.
Tomas has a special relationship with demon Nicole (Alicia Witt). She’s been inside him, and he wants to pay this forward. Tomas surrenders to the force of evil and takes up residence in the parallel universe inside Andy’s (John Cho) head. The foster father has been fighting with the demon, whacking plasma formations with a little league baseball bat, for days and would be on his last nerve if he wasn’t such a nice guy. He blames himself for giving the devil the keys to his inner landscape and is willing to pay the ultimate price. The guy’s a saint on almost the same level as Father Tomas himself. Well, he would be if it weren’t for all those people he killed.
No exorcism movie, book, series or comic book is complete without Catholic guilt. Some confessions can be taken care of with two Hail Marys, some require a novena, and this writer’s would need a trip to Lourdes. Not that these characters don’t have enough to feel guilty about. Andy allowed the demon to make him an abuser, liar, and murderer. He killed Harper’s mother right in front of the whole family, disemboweled her in self-defense. Kids don’t forgive that shit. God and Jesus have a problem with it too, though the Holy Ghost doesn’t care one way or the other. But the three of them would all veto Andy’s canonization on the small print of mortal sin.
Marcus Keane (Ben Daniels) also resigns himself to the red ink of judgement day. Apparently, he committed a mortal sin when he put his dad down like a mad dog. Exorcists are not executioners, Marcus admonishes Mouse after she proposes a quick fix to the devilish doings, but takes a shot at repentance at the cost of redemption. “Kill the host, kill the demon,” Mouse reasons, and we wonder why more exorcists don’t carry pistols. “Well this is new,” the demon deadpans as if it’s a joke as old as Methuselah, and reminds me why I root for devils.
The demon of the island off Seattle hasn’t made it easy to champion, what with the children killings and the forks in the eyes of the most neighborly of neighbors. But at least it doesn’t lose its sense of humor, even showing its appreciation of the original film by observing what a lovely day it is for a movie quote. Demons are so easily written off by the faithful, condemned to death by their very existence in a kind of spiritual racism that has persisted throughout ecclesiastical history. Some of the twisted scriptural interpretations provided by hell’s angels make more sense than the original texts, though some of it might have been lost in translation. Sumerian is a bitch to conjugate.
Father Tomas is probably fluent in shorthand. While he is in the bedroom in Andy’s head, the suffering foster father tasks him with getting a message out to his family after he decides to sacrifice himself to the grated cheese of the greater good. Andy tells Tomas to tell Rose every case was real, that he loves her and all the decisions he made for the children. He tells Tomas to tell the kids that he and Nikki loved them, that Verity saved them, that Truck is smarter than he or standardized testing can prove. Andy intones a long and passionate goodbye to each kid individually, and Tomas recites it to them word for word hours after being told. So, does being an exorcist give you photographic memory? I didn’t see him take notes.
The forces of light fight fire with fire, conjuring not only old and older testaments but the oldest religion found in the pop culture hit Charmed as Marcus, Tomas and Mouse project the power of three. The devil pulls out all the tricks, levitating on the bed, throwing furniture across the room, but finally runs out of parlor tricks and treats itself to an exit, taking the voice of god in Marcus’ head with it.
The devil isn’t the biggest evil in the series. As we can see from the soul catcher under Father Bennett’s hospital bed, there is duplicity in the church. Evil eviction notices have been recalled and the Holy Hierarchy is killing all the exorcists who don’t come in from the cold. Marcus decides he prefers a seaside view, he’s not been able to maintain purity, and is in no shape to go after his old bosses. He’s got his exorcist hat and a shoulder bag instead of a suitcase and he’s ready to pass on the torch and face down the demon of retirement.
Mouse and Tomas are just getting started and they end their scenes planning a trip to the hospital to rendezvous with their senior partner. When did Father Bennett go all slasher-scene villain? He’d still had only two eyes when we last saw him. Usually a third eyeball imposes itself on the formerly faithful.
The season ends with one happy family reunion. Though we see it coming from miles away Rose Cooper (Li Jun Li) adopts the whole kit and caboodle of lost children. Whatever could have possessed her to do that? In a feat of facial dexterity usually reserved for CGI animation, we see Marcus hears the voice of god again. Though, in this season, righteousness and madness are a little hard to distinguish especially when the veins, lines and furrows of a brow do the kinds of physical calisthenics usually reserved for the possessed as they come crawling spider-like down hallways.
The Exorcist season 2 expands from the first season, as well as the book and film. It asked questions and dealt with fallout most films of the genre overlook like some of the backrooms at the Overlook Hotel in The Shining. The series wasn’t content to rely on the usual frights found in the devil possession genre. It let horror wash over itself with scenes reminiscent of psychological terror movies to the killer-is-already-in-the-house films. The devil may be cast out but deviltry prevails.