Season One, Chapter Nine “162”
Written by Franklin Jin Rho and Jeremy Slater
Directed by Bill Johnson
[All images courtesy Jean Whiteside/FOX]
The end of “The Griefbearers“, the Captain Howdy/Pazuzu (Robert Emmet Lunney) (re) possession of Angela Rance/Regan MacNeil (Geena Davis) revealed itself through “Angela” twisting her mother Chris MacNeil’s head 180 degrees, then tossing Mom down the stairs to her death.
“162” picks up in the immediate aftermath of Chris MacNeil’s death.
After her mother’s body is wheeled out the front door through a frenzied scrum of media and onlookers, “Angela” tearfully recounts her version of events; the death of parent she “loved very much” was the result of a tragic accident.
Detective Lawrence (James Vincent Meredith) is skeptical, but Superintendent Jaffey (Tim Hopper) calls the interview to a swift close. Why? Under the pretext of asking for yet another Kleenex “Angela” passed the real story to the demon inside Jaffey.
What did Jaffey see? The final moments of Casey’s ordeal at the Convent of the Our Lady of Mercy. Angela sees a red bird flit through the room, then manifest as Captain Howdy clutching Casey’s shoulders. “Show’s Over. Time to give the people what they want.”
Before Howdy can finish twisting Casey’s head, Angela embraces her daughter and begs, “Take me instead.” Howdy obliges with “Ah, together again!”
By the end of “162”, the different plot threads running through this first season – the Rance family drama, Marcus and the Plot Against the Pope and the Temptation of Father Tomas – finally combine in a very satisfying way.
The Rance Family
~ Casey returns home, shell-shocked silent. As “162” progresses, she realizes that the entity she knew as The Salesman has taken control of her mother. The clincher? Casey asks Angela what she remembered from her own ordeal. “Angela” responds with a truly creepy “blame the victim” speech.
“He was inside you, as deep as anyone … so intimate … you had to say No – that’s the game, right? At a certain point, you asked for it. You fell in love with him.“
~ Henry (Alan Ruck) reveals to Father Tomas (Alfonso Herrera) that the low-level background noise he’s had in his head since his accident has started to speak with one voice. He shows Tomas the legal pad we’ve seen him writing in throughout the episode; the pages are filled with nothing but “162” – over and over.
~ “Angela” tries – and fails – to mimic human behavior. From greedily devouring dinner, to creepy slightly off interactions with Casey, Kat (Brienne Howey) and Henry, to her visible annoyance when Kat includes “Grandma” in Grace before dinner, “Angela” clues in everyone in the Rance family that something is wrong.
~ Casey convinces Kat and Henry of her belief that “Mom” is now possessed. Before they can leave the house in the dead of night, “Angela” slams the doors shut, reveals that third pupil, and forcibly sits everyone down for a nice family chat.
Marcus vs the Plot Against the Pope
~ Marcus (Ben Daniels) follows a trail of destruction blazed by “Angela” and Brother Simon (Francis Guinan) after”Angela” stages a hostile takeover to replace Simon as head of the Plot to Do Something Terrible to Pope Sebastian.
~ First, Marcus finds Cherry and Lester Rego (Kiera Naughton and Ken Marks) murdered in their trailer. Then, he is too late to prevent “Angela” from sadistically murdering Mother Bernadette (Deanna Dunagan) and every Sister at the Convent using a Darth Vader-esque windpipe crush.
~ Why do Simon the Brothers of the Ascension hate Pope Sebastian so? Apparently, Sebastian is a “denier of angels” who refused to join their club back when he was a Papal Nuncio.
~ Marcus confronts Brother Simon, only to be overwhelmed by Brothers of the Ascension goons. Simon brings out the Vocare Pulvere chalice, and – we’re left in suspense. Will Marcus be the “disgraced priest” who approaches the Pope when the Pontiff stops during the parade to greet the crowd?
~ “Angela” is powerful enough to make all the Ascension plotters prostrate themselves before her and make Simon kiss her feet. But “Angela” again fails in the “impersonating a human” department. She deliberately insults Maria Walters, telling Maria doesn’t need to kneel. She will never be chosen, “never be one of us” because she reeks of “desperation with notes of mediocrity,” and fallen angels are only attracted to the promising and powerful.
At least “Angela” is nice enough to bring pre-slaughter pastry to Mother Bernadette.
~ Tomas is tempted by flattery and a promotion this episode and does little to resist either one. He attends a gala dinner hosted by Maria Walters, where he is flattered as Casey’s savior. Bishop
Oblivious Egan (Brad Armacost) promises to make the Jim and Jessica issue go away if Tomas goes along with the closing of St. Anthony’s and takes a promotion to the wealthy St. Bridget parish.
~ Jessica (Mouzam Makkar) ends their relationship and bids Tomas a tearful farewell. I am not upset at this development.
Tying It Together
~ Tomas solves the riddle of the episode’s title while packing up the office at St. Anthony’s. Parish member Tara Melissa Russell) says she’s sad about Chris MacNeil’s death as she pages through The Devil In My Daughter. It’s Chris’s personal copy, autographed and given to Tara. Tara found a red feather inside the book. Tomas flips through the pages. The book falls open – at page 162. He reads, “I knew then that the demon would never rest, never stop until it had taken Regan for its own. It would keep coming for her until the end of time.”
~ Hand of the Writer Lightbulb blinking furiously above his head, Tomas races to the Rance home. He interrupts the family meeting and confronts “Angela.” “Get the hell away from them!”
Parish News and Notes
*Brother Simon admitted to killing the Regos, but the real killer was that horror movie staple, Curiosity Killed the Cast. (Marcus did warn them to get out of town.)
*Before “Angela” takes over his leadership role, Simon remarks that they’ll strike when “the Pig pops out of his Pigmobile,” a not-very-nice reference to the Popemobile used by the Pontiff during processions.
*”Angela” speaks admiringly of past Popes who “took advantage of the office” like Urban VI. His nickname? The Mad Pope.
*Here’s some information on Captain Howdy’s “official” demon name – Pazuzu. It was referenced by name in William Peter Blatty’s novel, but not in The Exorcist movie itself.
*Apostolic Nuncio is a fancy term for ambassador (if you’re working for the Vatican).
*Marcus the Multi-tasking Priest says A Prayer for the Dead for the Regos as he’s searching their trailer for guns and ammunition.
*Unless you are familiar with meat processing plants, you might not know why Brother Simon called Marcus the Judas Goat responsible for the many lives lost in this episode.
The Exorcist season finale airs Friday, December 16th at 9/8 Central on FOX.
Check out all The Exorcist Season One recaps at Horror4Me.