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Recap: The Devil Demands, THE EXORCIST Falters, and Secrets Are Revealed

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Season One, Chapter Five “Through My Most Grievous Fault”
Written by David Grimm
Directed by Jason Ensler

[All Exorcist episode images courtesy Jean Whiteside/FOX]

The first four episodes of The Exorcist laid the groundwork for “Through My Most Grievous Fault” At the end of the hour, we have to reconsider everything we’ve seen previously in light of this episode’s stunning revelations. (Check out our most recent recap here.)

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We open on Father Tomas (Alfonso Herrera) and Marcus Keane (Ben Daniels) taking a coffee (Tomas) and “scribble in the Book of Revelations” (Marcus) break outside the Rance home. The exorcism has been going for two days.

Henry, Angela, and Kat deal with the shouted prayers and thumps from Casey’s room in their own ways. Henry (Alan Ruck) prays the Our Father over an almost unrecognizable Casey (Hanna Kasulka), all matted hair and bloodshot eyes, with vomit splattered on her face and shirt. Angela (Geena Davis) watches them on a video monitor amidst a coffee table full of family photographs. Kat (Brianne Howey), unluckily in the room next to Casey’s, blocks out the noise with music and videos of her old dance recitals.

"Casey" redecorated her room in "Late Exorcism Grunge" style.
“Casey” redecorated her room in “Late Exorcism Grunge” style.

Throughout the exorcism, the demon’s most successful manipulation  focuses on Fr. Tomas. “Casey” takes on the voice of his Abuela, first to reveal that the “First Mexican Pope” story he told to Angela is just that — a fictional story. Next, she begs him to “live your life … I never wanted this for you!” Finally, “Casey” appears to him as Jessica (Mouzam Makkar), clad only in a now-spotless shirt.  “What are you so afraid of? Letting yourself love and be loved?

Fr. Tomas embraces “Jessica” but is torn away and out of the room by Marcus. Disgusted, Marcus believes the younger man has been compromised and like Angela last episode, says Fr. Tomas is useless to him now.

“Casey” attempts the same technique on Marcus. First, his father’s voice deplores what a disappointment Marcus was to everyone, then his mother walks through the room while displaying the skull his father bashed in, telling Marcus regretfully, “I should’ve flushed you when I had the chance.” Whereas Fr. Tomas is gradually worn down by the manipulations, Marcus sees through the act “Is that all you’ve got?

"Casey" thanks her father for they prayers with demonic blandishments.
“Casey” thanks Dad for the prayers with demonic Happy Talk.

Of course, “Casey” tosses in some profane blasphemy (“Your God is Filth! I am Havoc and Despair!“), a callback to the original Exorcist movie (“What an excellent day for an exorcism.“) and a cryptic demand (“Bring her to me!“). Casey keeps resisting, but at great physical and spiritual cost. She’s tossed through the air, slammed against walls, and gets a big toe twisted around with a smirky “Isn’t it wonderful?” While Marcus attempts to pray for her, Casey only sees and feels Creepy Tall Man (Robert Emmet Lunney) sitting on her chest, choking her with a grimy bare foot (is there any part of this guy that isn’t tattered, greasy, and thoroughly grimy?)

The Rance family is not always in the room with Casey, but they’re being manipulated as well. When Henry was praying for her, “Casey” whipped the metal chain attached to her leg around his neck then whispered a menagerie of gibberish in his ear. For the rest of the episode, Henry repeatedly asks Angela if she’s ever lied to him or has something she wants to tell him.

Kat is used in a very basic and direct way.  When Marcus sends Fr. Tomas out of the room “Casey” pleads with her sister through the open door “Help me, Kat! They’re torturing me!

The demon’s work on Casey, Fr. Tomas, and Henry have their desired effects.

"Casey" is rescued by the unluckiest ambulance crew in Chcago.
“Casey” is rescued by the unluckiest ambulance crew in Chcago.

~ Kat calls 911. The police and paramedics swarm the house, arresting Marcus and bundling “Casey” into an ambulance. But “Casey” lifts off her oxygen mask to coyly smile at her horrified sister before the ambulance doors close. Kat realizes she’s been duped. “Casey” then massacres the entire ambulance crew before escaping into the night.

~ Fr. Tomas walks (!) all the way to the real Jessica in Evanston and has sex with her (luckily her husband Jim is out of town). He then goes back to St. Anthony’s to pray  before the altar.

Did Father Tomas light all those candles before he entered St. Anthony's?
Did Father Tomas light all those candles before he entered St. Anthony’s?

~ Henry breaks off reciting the Hail Mary prayer to explore the bedroom closet.  He finds a Bible with a small red feather and some dried flowers in it. Angela wakes up to find an angry Henry by their bed. He tosses the Bible to her and advises her to confess.

~ Fr. Bennett gets Marcus out of jail. Marcus urges Bennett to warn the pope. Before the police dragged him off “Casey” whispered in his ear “Ipse venit” — He Is Coming.

THE EXORCIST: Ben Daniels in the "Chapter Five: Through My Most Grievous Fault" episode of THE EXORCIST airing Friday, Oct. 21 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jean Whiteside/FOX
Marcus is about to remember a very important “Warn the Pope!” plot point.

Angela Rance comes to St. Anthony’s to confess to Fr. Tomas. After hearing her story, so much of what puzzled me about Angela — her insistence that her children were possessed, the sketchiness of her as a character — makes sense. It turns out nobody knew her at all.

My parents split up when I was quite young,” and she lived with her mother. They moved around a lot because of her mother’s job and Angela had few friends her own age. When they were living in Washington, D.C., Angela made a friend. A friend she saw as a red bird who made her feel special, like she could do anything. Though she doesn’t remember much else, her friend could also “make her do anything.” Angela’s story ends with a quiet but stunning statement.
My name is Regan MacNeil.

 

In the foggy night, a cab pulls up to the Rance home. A person gets out of the cab and stands before the house — much like Father Merrin stood before a Georgetown home decades before. Henry answers a knock on the door; an older woman who announces, “I’m Chris MacNeil. I’m here to see my daughter.”

Hey Everybody! Grandma's Here, and she looks just like Sharon Gless!
Hey Everybody! Grandma’s Here, and she looks just like Sharon Gless!

 

Parish News and Notes

~ The prayer Father Tomas recites in an empty St. Anthony’s is the Confiteor or Act of Contrition. It is a part of the Mass, while the other two prayers in the episode, the Hail Mary and the Our Father, are devotional prayers.

~ Is Fr. Tomas contrite or repentant? There is actually a difference, at least in theological circles.

~ Before confessing her secret to Fr. Tomas, Angela asks him if St. Anthony is the patron saint of lost causes. He replies that St. Anthony is the patron of finding lost things, while St. Jude is the patron of lost causes.

~ I don’t know if this came up in earlier episodes, but the Rance home is located in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago.

~ It may not be an intentional callback, but Kat’s manipulation to set Casey free reminded me of the classic Twilight Zone episode The Howling Man (written by Charles Beaumont). A bedraggled prisoner begs a man to set him free from the cruel monks imprisoning and tormenting him, only to be revealed as Satan himself once released.

~ So not only is Creepy Tall Man the TV version of the original Exorcist‘s Captain Howdy, he IS Captain Howdy! Young Regan MacNeil’s Ouija-board summoned imaginary friend returns to finish what he started (at the very least) in Georgetown, D.C.

~ Now that The Exorcist on FOX is a confirmed sequel to the 1973 classic, check out our Retro Review of The Exorcist that started the story.

~ The 1973 movie version of Chris MacNeil was a demanding drama queen actress to be sure. But one things she was NOT (in Angela’s words) – “always finding new ways to make a buck off what happened to me.” Chris wanted one thing in The Exorcist — to save her daughter. What changed? I hope the TV continuation explains how Chris changed from a loving devoted mother to someone so awful Angela avoided all contact with her for decades.

~ We’ve seen Creepy Tall Man sitting on Casey’s chest in the two most recent episodes. I keep wondering what that image reminded me of; turns out it was John Henry Fuseli’s 1781 painting The Nightmare.

Image courtesy Wartburg. Edu - Wikimedia Common License.

[Image courtesy Wartburg. Edu – Wikimedia Common License]

 

The Exorcist airs Friday nights at 9/8c on Fox.

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