The Exorcist: Dark Angela

We shouldn’t have to wait until the penultimate episode for the fun to begin, but sometimes a series has to find its groove. Chapter 9 aka 162 is the scariest, most action packed, enjoyable, and surprising episode of The Exorcist so far. Geena Davis is having the time of her life – or recent career – chewing the scenery as Dark Angela, and the show is beginning to play as a metaphor for these scary modern times.

We open with a body bag containing Chris O’Neil, faded movie star, opportunist, and mom, being taken out of Casa Rance. Detective Lawrence – the cop who isn’t possessed by a demon, is sitting once again in the living room with Angela, Cat, and Henry, as well as Satan’s wing man, Superintendent Jaffey. Lawrence is rightly suspicious of Chris’s “accident” because this family is more jinxed than Robert Durst.

Detective Lawrence has been here so many times the cushion is wearing out.

Maybe he should take a look at the internet because Chris’s fate is a lot like what happened to film director Burke Dennings (Chris’s bff) back in the 1970s, but Chris probably left that out of her book on account it was Lil’ Regan that threw Burke out a window after twisting his head around.

How well is the demon doing pretending to be Angela? Not very, but Henry has a bad brain, and Cat always thought her mom was weird, but even they notice something’s off when she starts to gush about how much she loved the mother she hadn’t seen in over thirty years and would barely let cross her threshold. Do the cops buy the act? Angela touches Jaffey’s hand and telepathically let’s him see what we didn’t last week, that Angela and Pazuzu made a deal for him to vacate Casey and move in with her.

Jaffey states they’ve taken enough of the Rance’s time and should be going. Lawrence is like, “Wha?” but he is outranked and lucky to still be alive given the way this show keeps killing off black people.

Then the family picks up Casey at the hospital. There’s a sign on the ground outside the house – the literal kind, not an omen – that God (and possibly Chicago’s African American population)  will never forgive Casey for those paramedics she dismembered.

Marcus’s Scoobies – Cherry and Lester Rego – are out with Marcus doing some recon looking for Bennett. Marcus recognizes a photo of Brother Simon as a “counselor” at the home for wayward priests, but Lester tells him to “follow the money” meaning Maria Walters. Marcus warns the Regos that if the bad guys took Bennett, they would have tortured him for his contacts, so they really need to amscray.

Back at the Rance home, Angela is serving a roast chicken for dinner because this show can’t get in enough bird references. Tomas is a special guest. Cat says grace. She talks about her very recently departed granny in a way that seems to be a dig at her mom. Henry mentions the move, but Angela has now decided maybe they should stick around.

Do we find it odd that Tomas isn’t just a wee bit suspicious about the timing of Chris’s death? Or do we just accept that Tomas will always realize things a beat later than everyone else?

After dinner, Tomas and Henry have a little chat about that time God spoke to Tomas through Henry and led him to Marcus. Henry has no memory of being God’s emergency alert system, but confesses to hearing voices since the accident, though it’s mostly just noise, and he can’t make much out, but now that you mention it, he keeps hearing “162.” In fact, he’s been hearing it so much that he’s written it more times than Jack Torrance wrote, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” in The Shining because this show can’t go more than a few minutes without homaging something.

Henry also does Amber Alerts and emergency parking regulations.

Did Cherry and Lester take Marcus’ advice? Do people EVER take that advice in a horror film? They’re taking photos of the bad guys from their bus, which I’m sure isn’t conspicuous at all. Lester takes one of Brother Simon and that’s a hell of a lens he’s got there because he actually captures the third pupil, and it sure looks like Simon is staring back at them. Lester tells Cherry they need to get out of there.

He might want to get that looked at.

Simon, Jaffey, Maria and the rest are all meeting to plot more evil doing, specifically the pope’s assassination, which is still very much on. Angela arrives. Simon immediately recognizes her as Pazuzu, aka Captain Howdy, the original brand The Exorcist demon. Just to remind us that this is totally a sequel even if the producers originally denied it, Simon makes a reference to thinking Pazuzu was out of commission since his run in with Father Merrin (the original-brand Exorcist.)

Angela is not that thrilled with Simon or the Simonettes — his boy band of deviant priests. She makes them kneel before her, much like the way Omarosa claims The Donald will make “every doubter” kneel before him (but it’s less scary because it’s not real life.)

How reporters will be greeting His Excellency the Prez.

Simon’s been planing this pope-killing thing for six years, but Angela is the new boss in town. And then just to show what a mean girl she is, Angela tells Maria she’s never been chosen as a demon-host because she smells of desperation and mediocrity. (This might not be the best strategy for keeping Mrs. Moneybags on your side.)

A new morning, Tomas is visiting fancy St. Bridget’s, which will host a gala to celebrate the pope’s  coming visit because you can’t waste enough money on those things. He’s with the Bishop, who tells him they’re going to close St. Anthony’s, retire the current priest, and make this Tomas’ new parish. Tomas claims he’s not worthy on account of the adultery, but the Bishop already knows about that and the church can “handle” complaining husbands – because the church is gangster that way, though Tomas needs to break things off with Jessica.

“Look at all those beautiful flowers and gold candlesticks. Wouldn’t you much rather have that than sex with a lady?”

There are more of those creepy pope “He is Coming” pictures scattered about.

When Tomas gets back to St. Anthony’s, he discovers Marcus has broken into his office and is looking for something. What exactly? Strangely they don’t get into that, nor does Marcus mention the plot against the pope, Bennett’s disappearance, the danger Tomas might be in, or anything else important. In fact, when Tomas tells him about his “promotion” and Maria’s name comes up, Marcus keeps his mouth shut except for a vague generalized “watch your back” warning. Does Marcus not trust Tomas? Or is this just another case of the plot of a television show being totally dependent on things characters don’t tell each other, which in real life they would absolutely tell each other? Marcus gets a text from Lester, which includes the photo of scary Simon, and leaves.

Marcus goes to the trailer to find that not only have Cherry and Lester not left town, but they are both very much dead. Scoobies dead! Didn’t see that coming! Marcus takes the gun what killed them, and some bullets too.

Angela has stopped by the Convent of the Chosen Nuns. She confronts Mother Bernadette who immediately recognizes the demon in her, and also realizes it’s too late for her to save herself, but she at least gets to call the demon out for acting like a bratty child.

Maybe if Pazuzu got a twitter account he could take out his rage less violently.

The demon chokes her and makes her bleed out telekinetically. The other nuns enter the chapel and it’s good-bye for the spunky sisters.

Angela comes home and has a moment with Casey. Casey wants to bond with Mom about their shared horrific experience, but Angela/Pazuzu can’t resist telling Casey how she (Casey) was in love with the demon, and enjoyed the intimacy, and totally asked for it. Thanks, Mom!

Marcus arrives at the convent, where he sees the carnage and we don’t have to because ACTING.

Now we’re at the swanky party with the whole pope-trip fundraising elite. Maria is wearing a red dress and some jewelry that looks suspiciously occult. She makes a toast to Pope Sebastian – “There is no brighter light.”

Over at the Rance’s, Angela starts to seduce Henry. When she tells him to take his pants off it’s worrisome. But thankfully she does not bite his penis off, though she does start to strangle him, and then she stops though it’s unclear why. Maybe she figured another death might be a little difficult to explain. Instead she just pushes him away.

Later, Casey, trying to sleep on the couch hears a noise. She goes toward Cat’s room, where she notices Angela getting very handsy with her her sleeping daughter.

There was no actual p-grabbing, though Angela — like someone else — wants to bang her daughter.

Casey makes a throat clearing noise and approaches, announcing she needs to get some sleep and will be sharing the bed with her sister because the couch is too lumpy. Lying in the dark with her eyes open, we know that Casey knows.

Father Tomas is back at his church, which as usual is open late into the evening. He’s wearing his glasses for gravitas and is on the phone telling the Bishop a thing or two. He’ll take St Bridget’s but only if he can keep St Anthony’s open as well. His secretary, who also keeps ridiculous hours, shows in Jessica, who’s stopped by for a late evening chat.

Marcus has followed Simon back to his suite at Angela’s luxury hotel. Simon is about to chow down on some oysters and other delights which can only be enjoyed by corporeal beings when Marcus breaks in and starts beating him up, which works because this demon is no Pazuzu. Marcus starts running a bath the better to torture him with. Simon makes a joke about “sharing a soak.” In the very first episode, Maria made a joke about New Pope being “nicer to the gays.” Later Pazuzu called Cat out on her relationship to Julia, and made a snide comment about girls not being Marcus’ flavor. Now this. Are all the demon and demon-worshipers homophobes? And is this really fair to Satanists?

Speaking of flavors, Marcus sprinkles some holy water into the tub, and then keeps dunking Simon’s face in it. Marcus wants to know who killed the Regos and the nuns. Simon blames Marcus for leading them to the slaughter. He admits to taking out the Regos, but tells him that Angela took out the nuns. He also recounts the plot against the pope which involves a “disgraced priest” doing the killing – and while we see a vision of Simon taking out the pontiff, wouldn’t Marcus also fit the disgraced priest bill – seeing as he was excommunicated? But before Marcus can do anything with this intel, The Simonettes burst in and take Marcus down.

Tomas tells Jessica about the promotion he doesn’t deserve, and they both realize it’s over, and this confused viewer is still unsure whether Jessica is part of a larger evil plot or just acts like she is.

Casey has told Cat and Henry that Angela is no longer Angela, and they all about to sneak quietly out of the house when the door slams shut and Angela comes down the stairs. Angela sits them down and ‘splains them some things, but instead of tying them up the way villains do, she has psychically forced them to sit with their hands down as though glued to their chairs. She tells them she is indeed “integrated” with the demon – permanently. Also demons do this because they are mad at God for abandoning them and giving their rightful home – earth – to a bunch of primates. Possession is the only way they can enjoy the earthly delights. (Which is similar in concept to what the angels wanted in Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire, and yet one more example of this show’s mishmosh collage of other people’s ideas.) Cat mouths off asking if Angela killed, grandma, and Angela decides she must punish someone in the family for “disobedience” so she picks Casey because why not make her suffer more?  Looks like she’s about to do what she did to Bernadette to her.

Tomas is still working late when his secretary says something about Chris, who gave the secretary her personal copy of The Devil in My Daughter – and there was a red feather in it. This can only mean…. something apparently to Tomas who grabs the book and looks on page 162 where sure enough it says that Regan’s fight against the demon will be eternal, and suddenly Tomas has an epiphany.

Meantime, a bound and gagged Marcus has to listen to Simon pontificate because these demons love to talk while on the television we see that the pope’s plane has landed in Chicago.

Demons do go on.

Simon has the demon summoning ashes made from dead people, and he’s telling Marcus about the time they offered Pope Sebastian “immortality” but he turned them down. The choice is now his.

Before Angela can make Casey’s head explode or her eyes pop out of her head, or whatever gross evil thing is about to occur, Tomas bursts in and tells her the party is over. But how is he going to deal with her super-powers? He’s going to need a lot of holy water!

So will things be all wrapped up by next week, or are we in for a cliff-hanger? And what of Father Bennett? Dead, tortured, or turned? But more importantly, will Fox give a promising show with dismal ratings a second chance, or is the end coming? Season finale next week. Theories and speculation welcome in the comments below.

Marion Stein

Marion writes television recaps and reviews for the Agony Booth, and books you can find over at Amazon.

TV Show: The Exorcist

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