Previously on The Exorcist: The Moveable Feast
By the end of this episode you will either love where the season is going, or you’ll think the reveal that Angela Rance is actually Regan MacNeill, the possessed girl from the original movie, is a cop-out – a pandering to the fans of the 1973 horror classic.
For me, it was the best Holy Shit moment I’ve experienced in any show in the last few seasons. I simply didn’t see it coming, but now that Angela’s secret is out, I can see it made sense in the overall scheme of things: it explains near enough comprehensively why Angela ran to Father Tomas straight away when she strange things started happening to her home and family. She just got the daughter wrong – it was Casey not Katherine who was possessed.
This is the episode, the halfway point of the season, where God stands up to the Devil; where Tomas and Marcus join forces and using the power of Christ to compel the demon to leave Casey. But while the ritual itself is problematic, the real tension of the episode lies in the effects it has on the show’s protagonists.
It’s Storm of the Century time in Chicago, and Casey remains chained in her padded room. Tomas and Marcus have been attempting to exorcise Casey’s demon for a couple of days now, but are making little headway. Kat’s protecting herself by staying in her room, looking at old pictures of her sister, and listening to music on her headphones, protecting herself from the chaos next door. Angela is dealing with the stress by drinking wine and going on house-cleaning binges. Meanwhile Henry is praying over his disturbed younger daughter. But just as he’s leaving, the demon coaxes him over with the promise of a secret untold. She/It slings some chain around his neck and whispers what we know by the end of the episode is Angela’s secret identity. Henry spends the rest of the episode asking Angela is she’s ever lied to him, and at one point it seems he was thinking about pushing a chair she was standing on from underneath her. Henry’s a changed man. When he discovers Regan’s old Bible in a closet, he knows the demon was telling him the truth.
Kat, too, is unimpressed by the comings-and-goings in House Rance and suggests Casey would be better off under professional medical supervision. Marcus begs to differ, saying that no matter what happens, he will never harm Casey. The demon has other ideas, though. It continues to eke its way into both priests’ souls, searching for weaknesses. It taunts Marcus with memories of his parents, particularly his brutal father, who murdered his mother, and reminding him that he was an unwanted child. But Marcus is built of sterner stuff. Not so Tomas. When the voice of the young priest’s grandmother doesn’t cause any untoward damage, the demon appears in the form of Jessica, and at one point it looked as if Tomas was giving the demon some oral pleasure. When Marcus castigates his co-exorcist, Tomas runs off to see the real Jessica and pretty soon they’re at it like rabbits. #TheyFucking. The lines of defense are being eroded from within.
But it’s Kat who causes the most damage. The poor misguided girl has called the emergency services and soon enough, just as Marcus was beginning to break through to Casey, the cops take him away and Casey is whisked off in an ambulance, but not before offering a victorious smile to Kat. The older sister knows there and then that she’s made a huge mistake, one that causes the life of the paramedics who were taking Casey to hospital. The demon causes the ambulance to crash, slaughters the men inside, and is now missing in Chicago. Marcus, from his police cell, works out what the demon was saying to him just before his arrest. He is coming. Marcus is bailed out by Father Bennett and urges that His Holiness The Pope be warned of events.
The big reveal unfolds when Tomas offers an act of contrition in his church. They say the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. In Tomas’ case, neither spirit nor flesh put up much of a fight, but he’s eager to make things good with his God. Angela is at the church, too, and in a scene brilliantly cut with one that reminds fans of the movie of Father Merrin’s first appearance at the MacNeill house in Georgetown, Angela reveals that she is in fact Regan MacNeill, telling the priest of how much or little she remembers of her horrific experience as a child: Captain Howdy, the red bird, the post-traumatic amnesia, etc. It’s while all this is happening that Chris MacNeill (Sharon Gless) arrives at the Rance house demanding to see her daughter.
The Exorcist continues to go from strength to strength, and while the reveal might polarize opinion and ultimately lose the show some viewers, for me, and I hope the bulk of its viewership, knowing who Angela Rance really is offers a fresh and vital perspective to a story line that’s both apocalyptic and emotional.
I was surprised that the cops only arrested Marcus. Faced with the chaos when the emergency services gained entry to the house, I would have expected the entire family put in custody.
No appearance of Marie Walters or her ailing husband this week. No doubt we’ll get some continuance next time around. Her agenda regarding Tomas remains mysterious.
Casey has been missing for two days. How much havoc has she wreaked since her bloody escape?
And how much influence will Chris MacNeill have over the Rance household? This is a particularly tasty development. I can’t wait to see Sharon Gless tap into her new role.
The Exorcist S1E5 = 8.3/10