THE EXORCIST: Geena Davis in the "Chapter Ten: Three Rooms" season finale episode airing Friday, Dec. 16 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jean Whiteside/FOX
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Recap: “Three Rooms” With No Exit for THE EXORCIST?

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Season One, Chapter Ten “Three Rooms”
Written by Jeremy Slater
Directed by Jason Ensler

[All images courtesy Jean Whiteside/FOX]

 

The tenth and (possibly) final episode of The Exorcist takes place in (mostly) “Three Rooms.” For a show on the “probably not” side of the renewal bubble, the finale manages a deft mix of over-the-top DRAMA mixed with small family and/or character moments. “Three Rooms” closes one door on the Rance family drama but opens another wide open for further stories in The Exorcist universe.

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When we last saw the Rance family, their late night “family meeting” wasn’t going too well. I don’t think the Rance living room counts as one of the “Three Rooms,” but that’s where the story picks up.

 

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYqvZew2igc[/embedyt]

 

“Angela” (Geena Davis) responds to the last minute entrance of Father Tomas (Alfonso Herrera) with contempt. “I’m not possessed, Father. This is integration … There is no Angela left to save.” Tomas cries “I cast you out, unclean spirit,” which gets him slammed into the ceiling, then to unconsciousness, and the first of our three rooms.

 

Great! I'm back at Grandma's house ... oh wait.
Great! I’m back at Grandma’s house … oh wait.

 

The “Tomas” Room

Tomas spends the majority of the episode in the dreamscape room of the home he shared with his abuela in Mexico. Marcus (Ben Daniels) greets him sarcastically – “you really stepped in it this time,” and readily agrees that he is not actually Marcus Keane – “I’m every lie you’ve ever told.”

In that small dream space of his childhood, Tomas confronts the lies he’s told others, and himself, throughout his life.

The lie that his Grandmother wanted him to be the first Mexican Pope.

The lie Tomas told Angela of hearing God urge him to help the Rance family.

The lie that all the flattery and attention (and donations to St. Anthony’s) that came with being a rising star in the Church hierarchy meant nothing to him.

Marcus urges Tomas to “accept the inevitable” integration of Angela with the demon possessing her. Tomas must also wake up to the fact that he will never be an exorcist. If Tomas wants to actually wake up, the large butcher knife that just appeared in his hand (mirrored by the real knife “Angela” places next to his unconscious body) may do the trick.

Tomas comes close to using that knife after his abuela, hunched with age and coughing up blood and teeth approaches, sadly telling Tomas “I waited so long, but you never came.”

The story Marcus tells Tomas may not be true: The stink of her bedsores may NOT have forced windows to be left open, cats may NOT have wandered in through them and may NOT have started eating parts of her face.  Then his grandmother (face intact) lies on the bed. Tomas holds her hand. Marcus sadly wonders, “Was this what your God wanted? Was this part of His plan?

He may not be the most obedient servant of the Church, but Father Marcus knows how to wear a hat.
He may not be the most obedient servant of the Church, but Father Marcus knows how to wear a hat.

 

The “Demon” Room

After getting beaten up by some Friars of Ascension goons last week, Marcus regains consciousness in a dank, abandoned warehouse. He’s tied to a chair and surrounded by Brother Simon (Francis Guinan), Maria Walters (Kristin Fitzgerald) and members of the Friars of Ascension “Kill Pope Sebastian” hit squad.

At least he’s not going to be tortured to death alone. Father Bennett (Kurt Egyiawan), Action Ninja Priest, lives! Though he’s looking much worse for wear since we last saw him being suffocated on orders from Cardinal Guillot.

Brother Simon plops the Vocare Pulvere chalice between the “politician and the pit bull.” Bennett and Marcus have a choice – integration with a demon or death. Both men refuse. Bennett literally spits his contempt towards Simon. Marcus believes he saw the face of God when he first cast out one of Simon’s “bastard brothers.” He isn’t dying for the Church – “I am dying for Him.” Demonic integration can’t compete.

For the last time, I don't want to join your Super Secret Demon Society!
For the last time, I don’t want to join your Super Secret Demon Society!

It’s the choice made by poor, passed over Maria Walters that is the most interesting part of this scene. She whines to Simon, “I harvested those ashes. They belong to me.” Like the possessed “Angela”, Brother Simon displays shockingly poor interpersonal skills. He brushes aside Maria’s complaints. “I promised you due consideration. It’s not my fault you were unsatisfactory … Know your place. The oxen pulls the plow, Maria. He doesn’t sit at the farmer’s table.” The amount of sexism, body-shaming, and contempt in this bit is incredible, even for Brother Simon.

Brother Simon and the Papal Assassination Squad leave the warehouse. Maria sits and stews and glares at the demonic ash floating above. Some choice verbal jabs from Marcus push her to action.

Is talking to Fake Marcus fun? No, but it beats dealing with Fake Grandma.
Is talking to Fake Marcus fun? No, but it beats dealing with Fake Grandma.

Maria repeats her words from a previous episode. “Choose me. I am your daughter!” This time it’s a demand, not a plea. The ashes oblige and enter. Marcus and Bennett use the distraction, breaking free of their bonds and killing the two goons left to guard them. Marcus races to intercept Brother Simon.

 

Run for our lives, or help save demon possessed Mom? Just another day for the Rance family.
Run for our lives, or help save demon possessed Mom? Just another day for the Rance family.

 

Regan’s Room – Angela’s Refuge

“Angela” doesn’t care if “a pig in a little white hat bleeds out for all the world to see,” but cares very much about the camouflage a picture-perfect family will provide. Henry (Alan Ruck), Kat (Brianne Howey), and Casey (Hanna Kasulka) just need some encouragement to get in line. A game of “spin the hammer” starts things off. Casey “wins” the opportunity to smash Kat’s kneecaps before the count of ten or “Angela” pulls Henry’s arms out of their sockets.

Surprise! The Salesman (Robert Emmet Lunney) lied earlier; integration has not happened yet. A small part of Angela hides in her childhood bedroom in Georgetown. The Salesman rages outside the door, “You’ve been hiding from me … Little Rags found a burrow.” His body burnt to a Darth Maul-esque collage of crimson and black, with razor sharp nails scraping the walls, The Salesman conjures up the screams of her family and promises, “You’re going to open the door to me.”

Like Rick and Luis at the end of Casablanca, this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Like Rick and Luis at the end of Casablanca, this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

 

The Rooms Converge

Holding the knife to his throat, Tomas hears Kat and Casey begging him to wake up. “Marcus” is trying to trick him into suicide. Instead, Tomas acknowledges his lies and failings, while also recognizing the “love, hope, and faith” that make up who he is. “Marcus” mocks him, “And what are you?” “An Exorcist.”

Rising like Michael Myers behind Laurie Strode at the end of Halloween, Tomas begins the exorcism again. Brandishing a cross he delivers this episode’s best callback to the original movie – “The Power of Christ Compels You!” Henry, Kat, and Casey stay and add their prayers to the ritual.

Angela hears her family and Tomas praying for her. She opens the door to The Salesman – and delivers the smackdown to end all smackdowns on him. He begs “Don’t leave me, Rags!” as Angela shuts the door.  In the circle of her family and Father Marcus, Angela’s eyes clear. She is bloody and broken physically, but alive and free.

 

Captain Howdy likes to sharpen his claws on wallpaper.
Captain Howdy likes to sharpen his claws on wallpaper.

 

The Aftermath

Staggering up the parade route, Marcus saves Pope Sebastian (Bruce Davison).  He gets to the Popemobile just in time to slash Brother Simon’s throat with the pointy ended cross on Mother Bernadette’s crucifix, splattering blood all over the Popemobile’s window in the process. Welcome to Chicago, Your Holiness!

Maria Walters meets with Police Superintendant Jaffey (Tim Hopper). Of course, they do this in an abandoned weed-strewn lot in the dead of night.  Brother Simon got greedy, she explains. “Sebastian was never the finish line. We are not going to make the same mistake.” Wait a minute – killing the Pope wasn’t a big enough goal for you?

Marcus, Bennett, and Tomas meet in a diner. Bennett promises, “I’ll be in touch … Do try to stay out of trouble.” Tomas asks Marcus to train him as an exorcist. Like Marcus, the younger priest saw a glimpse of God when Angela was saved. He knows the costs and is ready, as he said in the first episode, to get out of the boat and start walking.

The final scene of the episode belongs to the Rance family. Henry and Angela watch their girls walk down the sunny country lane. Angela is in a wheelchair, but she looks strong, and tells Henry she feels “safe.”

 

Facing the future without fear.
Facing the future without fear.

 

Parish News and Notes

~ The Pope’s parade appears to take place on a side street off Michigan Avenue. So the Cubs get a parade down Michigan for winning the 2016 World Series, and the Pope gets a side street?

~ At least they got the car right. Pope Francis used a rather modest Fiat for portions of his 2015 visit to the United States.

~ Marcus uses the well known (even by demons like Brother Simon) Indian parable of The Blind Men and the Elephant to illustrate why integration with a demon doesn’t appeal to him.

~ Renfield is a mental patient with a small but significant role in the novel Dracula (1897); he’s become a shorthand descriptor for a pathetic, overeager follower.

~ Father Tomas rejects the idea of suicide because as a mortal sin, his soul would be “condemned to Hell.” Like The Exorcist‘s description of excommunication, this is an out of date, simplified for TV version of the actual beliefs of the Catholic Church.

 

The Exorcist aired Friday nights on FOX at 9/8 Central.

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