The Exorcist: They'll steal your heart

This week we learn that unlike the original brand The Exorcist, where priests fought on the side of the angels and were 100% pure, this time around “the Church” as an institution has some, uh, “dark corners”. They’ve also jettisoned the tubular bells in favor of even creepier music, including, at least for this episode, a heartbeat you can hear in several scenes. And to make it even more clear that this is not your granny’s exorcist, they’ve decided to go bigly on the demons: This isn’t a story of one possessed girl. The stakes are going to be much higher. Kind of like every episode of Buffy.


While on a bus to Chicago, Father Marcus, newly escaped from the St. Aquinas Home for Broken Priests, flashes back to his childhood where he was kept in a cellar with other orphan boys and forced to fight demons that look a lot like the “abbies” from Wayward Pines. This is even worse than what they were doing to wayward girls back in the bad old days.


And it wasn’t even a paid internship.

It’s the middle of the night, and Angela comes downstairs for more of that wine Alicia Florrick sent her, only to find Casey sitting in a chair feeling herself up, which isn’t that strange a thing for an adolescent to do. What’s weird is that a man’s voice is coming out of her mouth. Creepy demon voice tells her to wake up, and she does. She seems upset and surprised to be here.

A teenager with headphones leaves his house on a bicycle. He’s listening to that loud rap music like the youths today. This will be important later.

Father Tomas is explaining the need for an exorcism to his bishop. He shows the bishop the videotape Angela sent him. This leads to a giant dump truck of information we might not have gleaned from last week’s episode: Tomas is a priest with a future. Just what the church needs. The higher-ups love his “homeless to houses” project and the way he connects with “the people”. He’s going places unless he keeps pursuing this exorcism nonsense. We also learn—and this is important—Angela’s hubby Henry does not have (as I suspected) Alzheimer’s. He’s recovering from a brain injury.

Angela is at the huge swanky hotel she seems in charge of, where she meets with someone. They talk about Pope Sebastian’s upcoming visit. The pope will be staying at an undisclosed location, but the entourage will be at Angela’s hotel.

Sorry. Wrong entourage.

Sorry. Wrong entourage.

Angela gets an urgent text from Casey and calls her. There’s heavy breathing on the line. So naturally she hurries home, but nobody’s there. She tries Casey’s phone and… wait for it: THE PHONE IS INSIDE THE HOUSE.

Some tropes must be honored.

Some tropes must be honored.

Before she can touch it, Casey, Cat, and Henry all come home. Psych! They were just out for ice cream and it’s all good, until Casey goes to retrieve her phone and there’s a red centipede creeping around under it. But then because the show likes to give us a little jolt before giving us a bigger one, it turns out there are a whole mess of those things on the bed. The women gasp as Dad runs to call the bug man, because men are the rational ones even when they’re brain injured.

Tomas returns to his apartment and there’s old time rock and roll playing, which can only mean one thing! Marcus is in the building! Marcus explains that the demon is currently laying low, but when it shows up, he’ll kill it. Tomas wants to know why they put him in the home for wayward priests. Marcus counters by asking Tomas who Jessica is, but he already knows because he read the letters she sent him.

Demon powers are cool! Casey is playing lacrosse and waves to some creepy older man who looks like an undertaker. And by creepy older man, I don’t mean the cool kind, like the one who always brought the primo weed on The Americans.

The cool kind of creepy older guy.

The cool kind of creepy older guy.

A girl on the other team pushes Casey. Next thing you know, the girl is running and her leg snaps. Just like that.

Marcus and Tomas are walking in a homeless encampment. Marcus confronts Tomas, quoting from the letters Tomas must have made copies of before he sent or Jessica was extensively quoting from. Tomas says that what happened was before he took his vows. He asks Marcus if he ever gave up something beautiful. Marcus can’t think of anything. He warns Tomas to break it off because the demons take advantage of your weaknesses.

Mo’ demon superpowers and information dumping: It’s family time with Casey, Cat, and Henry. Did you know Henry was an architect, but he only built plumbing systems? Neat how they just slipped that into the conversation. Now he’s built a wooden block tower, and they’re taking pieces away. Angela comes home. Cat tells her about the lacrosse game, and Angela is freaked by the leg snapping, plus Cat keeps saying the word “bitch”. Angela says to Henry in front of both daughters that Casey is “not herself”. She might have saved that conversation for later, don’t you think? Casey then removes a block, which should cause the tower to fall, but it hangs in the air a good ten seconds as Angela and Casey stare at each other.

It’s time for soup kitchen at the church, plus an ex-addict is talking about how great the housing program is and the awesomeness of Father Guapo. Angela and Casey are there as volunteers. Angela confronts Tomas to ask if he’s going to do that thing they talked about. He tells her they have to take Casey to a therapist first, because they need “the Church” to be on their side. Seriously, dude?

Angela decides to take matters into her own hands, and attempts to steal some holy water. Marcus steps out of the shadows and advises her to sneak it into Casey’s drinking water. Angela has no idea who he is, but she takes the kindly hot stranger’s advice.

Come here often?

Come here often?

Marcus then gets in the chow line and talks up Casey, who’s ladling out some soup. That creepy homeless guy we saw for a minute last episode staring at Casey is here too. He goes up to her and recites some lyrics from “Creep” about how very special she is. Also, he really wants to touch her. Marcus grabs him, and creepy homeless guy whispers something demon-y to him in Latin.

Tomas meets with Jessica, who took three lines to get here and was clearly hoping to hook up, but he just wants to talk about work. She wants to take him shopping… which sounds like a euphemism. There’s some more information dumped on us about her not-so-great marriage. She makes a move. Tomas is all “I just can’t.” She’s a bit miffed, but instead of telling him they’re done, she tells him to write her a letter.

Marcus is lurking near the homeless camp when the kid on the bicycle shoots by him. Marcus hardly notices because he’s watching the creepy homeless guy henceforth referred to as “the schizophrenic” because priests are such brilliant diagnosticians, and there’s nothing offensive about referring to people by their illness because look at all those lepers in the Bible. A white truck that says “Tattersal Landscaping” pulls up and picks up said schizophrenic.

Marcus, who apparently has never seen an episode of The X-Files or Buffy or any other supernatural-related television show, doesn’t seem to realize just how ominous that truck is. Marcus takes advantage of the schizophrenic’s absence and goes into his tent, disturbing Mrs. Schizophrenic, who calls him by name and tells him they all know him. She also opens her mouth and out comes the voice of the little boy what died. Newsflash: Whoever they are—the united consortium of demons, maybe?—they no longer fear Marcus. Marcus takes out his cross and says all the right words, but the demon not only laughs in his face, it uses sarcasm before walking away. Uh-oh.

“You and what army of God?”

“You and what army of God?”

Over at Angela’s, it’s supper time and she manages to sneak the water to Casey, who apparently can’t read her mind. Henry says grace with only a little prompting. Casey is her usual sweet self, and Angela seems to forget about the whole demonic possession thing. Casey even helps clear the plates before mentioning she better get upstairs and hit the books. Out of her parents’ sight, she runs to the bathroom where there’s another homage to the source material as she vomits up a ton of pea soup. But that’s not all! Next, she removes a super gigantic creepy crawly red centipede from her throat.

Sure it's disgusting, but think how much good it did for Linda Blair's career.

Sure it’s disgusting, but think how much good it did for Linda Blair’s career.

Speaking of creepy insects, remember that old guy in the suit from the lacrosse game? That same night, Casey is sitting outside on her stoop looking sad when he approaches. His voice sounds familiar. It’s the same voice that came out of Casey’s mouth the night Angela videotaped her. What’s even creepier is that Casey seems to know and trust him. She leans her head on his shoulder and starts to tell him “everything”. Henry is watching from upstairs, but he sees Casey sitting alone talking to herself, with her head leaning on nothing. Is Henry recovered enough to realize something is wrong with this picture? Or is he in on it?

Tomas is in his apartment looking through Marcus’ special scrapbook of memories, which includes what Tomas calls “pictures of tortured children.” Marcus walks in and changes the subject to the schizophrenic. He tells Tomas the man recognized the demon inside of Casey, and there’s not just one. The neighborhood is rife with demons. Tomas is not so impressed and tells him to pack up and leave. Marcus starts to gather his meager belongings while telling Tomas about how after his dad killed his mum when he was seven, he went to a boy’s home, and was then “sold to the church,” which is ridiculous because we all know the church never paid for a child (although the church used to sell children to others and also made parents pay to get back children in their custody). There, Marcus toiled under the tutelage of a man named Sean (flashbacks to the opening flashback), and finally at age twelve, he got to cast out his first demon. It was then he knew his life had a “purpose.” Then he gets all teary-eyed talking about that one time when he saw the face of God and how he’s been trying real hard to see it again.

Tomas, moved by this, confesses to seeing Jessica. Then they both pray and decide they’re going to work together. Glory hallelujah.

We’re back to the kid on the bike. Where was he? What did he do there? What’s his name? None of that matters. He comes home, where his father has been brutally slaughtered and his mom is yelling because she’s about to be similarly gutted, but the kid’s oblivious because of those damn headphones. Kids! Then his throat gets ripped open too. Bloody fresh human hearts are stuffed into refrigerator boxes. Next, four people, one of whom is our possessed schizophrenic, come out of the house with the boxes and walks down the street to the truck we saw earlier. And you might be thinking, “That looks really strange. Wouldn’t someone call the police?” But then more people with boxes come out of more houses.


Couldn’t they at least pick a slightly more obscure episode of Buffy to steal from?

Father Marcus is busy reading his journal when he hears a TV report about nine people being killed in Englewood, but not by gunfire. He knows something is up. Meantime, on the billboard across the street, which we see from the window, there’s the world’s creepiest poster advertising Pope Sebastian’s upcoming visit with the words, “He is coming.”

This is what happens when you don't have a partner to say, “Not a good look for you.”

This is what happens when you don’t have a partner to say, “Not a good look for you.”

To quote Count Floyd, “very scary.”

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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