Previously on The Exorcist: “And Let My Cry Come Onto Thee.”
“The power of Christ compels you!”
“Do I look compelled, man of God?”
The focal moment in this, the second episode of FOX’s sequel to the movie of the same name, is where the Exorcist himself, Father Marcus Keane, finds out the extent of the evil he and the Rance family face, and that he may be powerless to stop it. It’s an amazing moment in an episode that has managed to build on the promise of the pilot – in spades.
In an eventful episode, we learn a lot about how Marcus became what he is. Basically he was sold to the Church when his parents died and thrown into Exorcism Boot Camp, where he would either sink or swim. He saw the face of evil and liked it. He also knows that demons will feed off a person’s insecurities and weaknesses and orders his new charge Fr Tomas to break off his close relationship with Jessica, an old flame who’s in need of the young priest’s support. Marcus isn’t taking any of Tomas’ bullshit excuses – just end it and be done. I think Tomas should listen to any priest who has the capacity to read his mail openly and not give a toss. This scene is particularly tense as it shows Tomas that he’s not dealing with socio-economic policies here. Demons won’t care about his Homeless to Housing project, unless souls are the ones being made homeless.
Angela Rance is in crisis mode. Apart from being on a committee that has helped engineer a visit to the city by the current pope, Sebastian, she’s having a serious case of the jitters – completely justified, too. She receives a strange call from Casey, only to find that her daughter never made it. The family find a nest of centipedes on Casey’s bed and panic ensues. Angela pilfers a bottle of holy water, and then gets a lesson on how to use it from Marcus, who’s in the church at the same time as her. Casey drinks it unawares but nothing happens straightaway. Later we see Casey vomit it all up, along with a massive centipede. (Just what exactly did Angela cook for dinner?) The demon is conscious of attempts to outwit it, but is “playing possum,” according to Marcus. It’s biding its time.
Casey, though, is using the demon’s force in nefarious ways. Trust me, you don’t ever want to play lacrosse with an angry possessed girl. Jenga is a different matter; Casey reigns supreme at that game. But she can be altruistic, too. Working at the local church’s soup kitchen she comes face-to-face with a homeless man who seems to see the demon inside her. When she recoils from him, Marcus wrestles him away, only to hear the man whisper the episode’s title, Lupus in Fabula, which means “speak of the devil.”
Marcus later goes on the hunt, when he comes upon a homeless lady this time. Recognizing that there’s a demon inside her he attempts a quickie exorcism. She laughs at his performance (embarrassing for any man, really), calling him an empty vessel. As I said before, all joking aside, this is a powerful scene and it’s from this that The Exorcist sets out its stall. The episode follows this up with a climactic scene that is both powerful and violent. Nine people on one street are ritually murdered and disemboweled – one of the perpetrators is the homeless man from the soup kitchen. Marcus sees the report on television and he knows that he’s up against something that he’s never experienced before.
So: The Pope is coming, and no way is this a coincidence. Evil plans the create chaos at the very heart of the Church. Only a burnt-out exorcist and priest who may or may not be true to his vows can stop it. At the same time, the young girl at the center of all this is being protected by someone or something that only she can communicate with.
Lupus in Fabula is exactly the episode I was hoping for after I saw the pilot. There’s plenty happening here, with lots of character development (and more Alan Ruck, too, as I’d hoped), as well as a palpable sense of threat and doom. Well played throughout, I expect next week to be as good – or even better.
The Exorcist S1E2 = 8.3/10