Previously on The Exorcist: Unclean
Now that we have, with these two episodes, all the major characters (with the exception of Father Bennett and Mouse) under the one roof, so to speak, this season’s arc can continue whispering its demonic suggestions into our ears.
Pretty much like the start of last season, the viewer is left guessing for some time as to the true nature of the evil Tomas and Marcus face. This double bill of episodes clear up that mystery, but still leaves us with plenty of questions.
At any one point, you could choose from Caleb, Verity, Harper, or little Grace as the possessed one. Although you could probably rule out Harper as being a victim of her mother’s obsession with exorcism, there was still that scintilla of doubt about her. But no – she’s in the clear, for now. The more the two priests investigate – together and individually – the more enlightened and terrified they and we become.
Andy’s genuine but desperate need to hold his foster kids together, regardless of all the madness surrounding them, reveals a tragic side to his story. We’re aware of his wife’s recent suicide, but up until now we didn’t have thought to question the events of Nicole’s death. Andy’s been struggling to keep it all together, and he’s hoping the new kid on the block, Harper, will bring new life to the house. And for a while, despite objections from the other children, Harper begins to settle in. She makes a new friend in Verity, whose room she is now sharing. Only Grace remains resistant. “She shouldn’t be here,” she says ominously to Andy.
Tomas and Marcus hang around for a while, because both of them have a very bad feeling about this. Tomas recognises the painted handprints on the wall from his vision. He feels Grace’s presence but doesn’t quite manage to see her. Marcus has been making friends with the island’s Fish and Wildlife Administration officer, Peter Morrow, who’s been taking samples from fish that have washed up dead. Peter knows a fellow haunted soul when he sees on.
Over beers, the two priests discuss faith, God, and their reason for being. Marcus wonders why God doesn’t talk to him anymore (don’t we all?), while Tomas is convinced of his own abilities, albeit still shamefaced after nearly calling it wrong with Harper. “You believe in God, Tomas,” Marcus says, “but I believe in you.” It’s as if there’s a transferring of responsibility between the two exorcists.
Only at One For Sorrow’s end do we begin to get the full picture of what’s happening. Verity sees Andy out in the yard with Grace – or at least we think that’s what she sees. When she goes to the room Andy came out from, she sees a place that’s wholly different to how Andy and we see it. It’s more like a disused artist’s studio than Grace’s bedroom. It’s like Grace was never there. And that’s the truth of it – Grace was never there because she only exists in Andy’s head. A twist straight from The Sixth Sense, and the clues were there if you looked close enough.
When Verity calls him on apparently talking to himself, Andy’s way of deflecting her questions is to call for an immediate camping trip for himself and the kids. But we all know camping sucks, right? Grace’s revenge for being “left behind” is to put Trunk into a trance, make him bang his head repeatedly against a wall, and then choke Verity who comes across him. Tomas, who’s in Grace’s room, can sense something happening, although he can’t see it. He does manage to make Grace stop what she’s doing, allowing Rose to take control of the situation.
Tomas is hammered by visions of previous deaths and suicides on the island. He sees a family slaughtered by their father, beaten to death with a chain; he sees a woman push a young boy into the well Caleb was made to stand over in the season premiere; he sees all this and it’s then we know that the island itself is some kind of malevolent force. Grace is perhaps the child Andy and Nicole never had. But before our and Andy’s eyes, Grace changes into the body of Andy’s dead wife. Is Andy losing it, as he seems to think? Or are demonic forces at work here? If so, what are their intentions?
Marcus and Peter share war stories of differing natures, with each of the men hiding demons of their own. They share a kiss, and this tender moment will be, we suspect, only too brief. Still, we take these moments when we can.
I’m not forgetting about Father Bennett and Mouse. They’re still in Antwerp, keeping a close eye on Sister Dolores, who’s completely integrated with her demon. So much so, that Mouse is convinced Dolores no longer exits. Bennett won’t give up unless he has to. He will always try to save a soul if he can. He knows from Tomas’ and Marcus’ endeavours that you can successfully separate a demon from its host. But Dolores is too far gone, and when Mouse and Bennett need to return to Chicago to pick up the trail of the conspiracy, Bennett has no choice but to kill the host body. What’s in Chicago? Who is in Chicago? My guess is we’ll see the return of Maria Walters from season one. This should be good.