The Exorcist, “Chapter 8: The Griefbearers”
Last week, Mother B. and Keane were totally going to kill Casey with poisonous tea.
No hyperbole, no funny wording. They were going to kill her.
Mother B. feared what might be unleashed should the exorcisms continue to fail — a valid concern considering the general incompetence of Keane and Tomas — but also considered it a mercy to the suffering girl.
Here’s the thing; it would be murder. This wouldn’t be like giving a terminally ill person the right to have control and agency over their death.
Casey is incapable of giving any level of consent regarding anything happening to her right now, and her single plea ‘no more’ can’t be taken as meaning any damn thing, and it would be murder. Legally, morally, ethically, murder.
Without even telling the family Casey had been found and was alive, by the way. That’s how weird and screwed up it got.
Thankfully, Tomas was for once not a big dumb handsome moron and brought the mentally unwinding Regan to see her little girl, even if it was just one last time.
But, it wont be. As soon as Regan arrived, Casuzu began to recover and sat up to greet her as ‘the sow’.
Regan’s psychological recovery is instantaneous and she righteously slaps the taste out of Keane’s mouth for so, so many reasons. She approaches Casuzu who is excited to see her and still talks in that damn stupid voice that is so goofy coming from her.
Casuzu tells Chris she got old and Kat that she’s a terrible driver, calling poor, dead Julia a whore (fucking, can we leave poor, dead Julia alone? She didn’t even get a face!). Casuzu rounds on Henry and mocks his disability and claims to have caused his near fatal accident, before tossing both of out of the room.
Later the exorcism continues and Henry is desperate to be inside while the MacNeil women just ride this all out, old hats at it all. There’s a nice subtle moment when Henry struggles for a word due to his brain injury, and though Kat quietly offers one he figures out his own anyway, as if his injury is still very much healing.
Regan asks Henry to go home and pack them some bags so that when Casey is better, the whole family can pile into a car and leave town to protect Casey from the drama that will certainly follow. Remember, she did technically kill two people.
The family hasn’t learned how to shake the press and other obsessives who are gathered outside the abbey.
Mother B. emerges from the Abbey to demand the press leave or she’ll call the cops, but a detective in a gorgeous suit is already there and won’t move the crowd from the public sidewalk unless he can see inside the abbey. She demands a warrant and when he can’t provide one, she checks her clock and declares it’s silent time, zipping her lips closed. It’s as close as she can come to flipping them all off as she dips back inside, clearly smirking. I’m stealing that for when I need to but can’t flip people off.
Oh, B., if only you weren’t so ready to murder that child you’d have my heart for ever.
The tour guides are mopping up Bennett, who spent last week kicking ass and taking names. And getting stabbed. Bennett’s stab wound is described as ‘barely a puncture’ and I’m sorry, Bennett is in a black wife beater and I just forgot how to breathe. Shoulders.
Also, if it’s barely a puncture it’s because Bennett might be Wolverine. That knife was longer than my forearm.
Using a burner cell they report Bennett’s discovery of a dozen bodies in the Tatersall boiler room, destroying the sim as soon as the call is made.
Can we get these three a spin-off, please?
At the Abbey, Keane is praying hard to no avail and Tomas demands they bring Regan in, since the demon openly wants her. Keane, utterly in the right, says this is why they need to keep her away and then for no reason at all they start arguing over the fact Tomas went and fetched the mother of the girl Keane was about to murder.
Is this the demon making them crazy, or are they this stupid? Genuinely hard to tell, guys. While the dunderheids bicker like fishwives, Mother B. is overcome by demonic forces and faints in agony, and the two stupidest men on planet earth fall into a violent spat.
Keane notices Casuzu’s pleasure at their state and calms them both down; somehow they decide to fall into the obvious trap and invite Regan into the room.
Keane is genuinely terrified for her safety and tells her to just run if she feels anything wrong, and inside the room, Casuzu mocks everyone again; Keane directs Regan to talk directly to Casey.
Casuzu throws enough pain at Tomas to send him to his knees, but Regan catches its focus with a story of how Casey broke her foot as a child, and walked all the way home on the injury without crying once.
Casuzu reveals Regan had an abortion, but Regan powers through the abuse and tells Casey she’s strong. Casuzu falters and the exorcists swoop in and get to work.
If that voice wasn’t so dafty, that would have been a powerful scene.
Bennett is speaking French and I’m having a religious experience. He’s showing his (obviously evil) Cardinal from the Vatican the news report of the dozen of bodies, and talks about the organ harvesting to be used in a demonic rituals. He reveals they found similar farms before but not in this level and admits he anonymously called the police. He lays out the whole Tatersall/Walters conspiracy and the danger the Pope is in. He asks if the Cardinal understands the danger; the man seems devastated by the news and thanks Bennett, lamenting the wasted work they’ve done.
Bennett seems relieved, and now I know, he’s doomed.
At the exorcism Casuzu thrashes and everyone else prays and the room shakes. Regan notices Casuzu is smiling despite the intensity of the prayers. She prays again but The Salesman’s voice gets inside her head, just like Keane worries.
It asks her to play a game and in an instant, adult Regan is back in the basement in Washington.
He turns and sees her younger self playing with the Ouija board, and as she asks if someone is there, the planchette moves its self.
Adult Regan sits at the table beside Young Regan and watches herself talk to her visitor via the Ouija board. It names itself Captain Howdy, and The Salesman appears in a fancy costume a 12 year old girl might think is fun.
Regan recognises him from a zoo when she was six, when he took her photo (…what? What does that mean?). The Salesman tells her this is a stroll down memory lane to remind her of all the things she’s been claiming she forgot. Young Chris comes to the door and The Salesman speaks through Young Regan to send her away. Chris calls Regan a stinkpot, which she had forgotten with everything else about the possession. Young Regan is almost in a trance, drooling, as The Salesman tells Adult Regan that this is his favourite memory of her, his sweet, his dear, the girl that got away.
Adult Regan is horrified, but he reminds her how good he made her feel and cheerily claims he ruined other men for her.
Oh, fucking gross.
She asks why her and he tells her there was no reason, she’s not special. Humans are insects, and she was under his foot.
He says her ‘whine’ has a good vintage and talks about how Jesus asked the same question on the cross. Regan demands he leave her alone, and Salesman says he misses Regan’s taste and licks her face. She reels, utterly horrified.
Young Chris comes down and talks to Rags and she’s genuinely loving and caring and excited to tell Regan she’s going to get to be a director. Older Regan weeps at the memory she had forgotten, of her mother’s kindness.
That was a great scene.
Back to the exorcism; Casuzu is smashing Casey’s body into the bed, and Tomas shows Keane a passage from the bible and starts to read The Last Rites for the demon.
Casuzu tries to do the head spin but Regan pounces on her to hold her, and stop the head turning past breaking point.
They finish the rites and Casuzu levitates and thrashes and then abruptly, its over.
She falls back to the bed and wakes as Casey and Regan runs to her. They embrace, they cry, Mother B. cries, Keane and Tomas cry, it’s a great moment all around.
But we’re only 30 minutes in so … It’s back in Regan, right? She pulled a Karras on us? It’s obviously back in Regan. It was always going to be.
Casey is later rushed to the hospital, while the detective from earlier shoots daggers at Mother B.
Cops bust into an apartment and find a Lunatic’s Man Cave; a murder shrine to the Pope, inverted crosses and glued up newspaper clippings and bible pages everywhere. Food rots on plates and on the stove. In the back room, Crazy Homeless guy, who we last saw get his ass thoroughly whupped by Bennett, waits long enough to ask SWAT if they can hear the angels singing, before he blows his brains out.
Uuuh that’s not his place, right? He was homeless as fuck two weeks ago, he didn’t get an $800. a month apartment that quickly.
Regan and Chris watch over a sleeping and visibly improved Casey. The detective from the Abbey wants to speak to Casey but Henry chases him off with an invitation to talk to their lawyer, and points out how 100 lb. Casey didn’t kill two people. I mean, she did, but the general vibe is ‘prove it, dude’.
Henry encourages Kat to think about an offer Chris made earlier, for Kat to join her in California to pursue her career, while their parents take Casey to seclusion in Canada. They talk about how weird it is that Chris is actually a super famous star ,but Henry says she’ll know people who can help Kat.
She tells him he’s getting better, he’s been sharp and it’s a sweet moment, but has she ever apologised for clicking in his face in the pilot?
At a bar some badass chick plays electric blues and sings and an adorably drunk Keane tells Tomas, ‘You asked what God sounds like? That’, and yeah, I can see that.
Tomas thought it would be a six piece mariachi band, and Keane is delighted Tomas actually made a joke and yeah, Regan is definitely possessed and someone won’t survive this episode.
Tomas claims he jokes all the time, but Keane never gets them and then Keane warmly tells Tomas he could make a go of this exorcism business. He did ONE, Keane. With help. And lets be honest, it’s very obvious you all fell into a trap and let the demon get back inside Regan but, okay. He should toootally make a go of this.
They toast their success and Keane wants him to stay and hang and make a legendary night of it. Honestly, it sounds like a party and I’d hang with him.
Tomas says ‘next time’ and a lonely Keane talks to himself in Spanish. He notices a super cute guy watching him and sort of asking for permission to approach in his eyes. Keane is very happy of the attention and smiles a sweet, inviting smile and heey. Okay, show. Okay. I see you. Nice.
But, tragically for the entire world, Cutie Bar man, and Keane, Keane notices the news reporting on the discovery of the plot to kill the Pope. In the time it takes Cutie to reach him, Keane grabs his coat and runs out of the bar.
Oh come on! Who plays news in a bar! Keane was about to have a great time, Goddamn it.
In a Papal limo, svelte little Bennett is wedged in between two bull-sized bodyguards and very aware of that fact, but not aware enough, while the Cardinal talks of how the Pope had chosen Chicago specially, sensing the optimism of the people there. He’s sad that the Pope won’t see the city now that ‘our enemies are moving against us’.
Aaah shit I really wanted to be wrong about this guy. Alas, poor Bennett. We hardly knew ye.
Bennett assures him there are still people loyal to the Church, even here, and as the lights outside glow eerily red across his face, the Cardinal demands the names of those ‘who would move against the Divine Right’. Bennett realises too late he’s screwed as the bull-built body guards throw a plastic bag over his head and restrain him.
I will still riot if he’s dead. I will.
At St. Anthony’s, Jessica has turned up with her husband. The shitty one who cheated on her. That douche.
He’s a fucking smug prick and a homophobe to boot, and just all around garbage. He accuses Tomas of hiding behind his dog collar and thinks he can beat him up so Tomas takes off the collar and adopts a general attitude of ‘Fight me’, so the Mr. Jessica backs down.
Instead this wiener decides he’ll call the Bishop and get Tomas in trouble for that adultery he did in fact commit.
…well, he’s got you there, T.
Keane is with the academics, watching the news about the uncovered attempted Papal assassination for which Homeless Guy is being blamed. They can’t get Bennett on the phone ( … dude). Keane recognises the homeless chap as, you know, all sorts of homeless, and they figure his apartment and thousands of dollars in guns and bombs are from his being set up to take the fall for the whole mess Bennett uncovered.
At the Rance Manse, Obviously Possessed Regan and Chris talk about moving and while Chris is trying incredibly hard to be there for her daughter, Obviously Possessed Regan is just throwing barbs and shade, and calls the MacNeil genes rancid.
Chris walks away from the bitterness, but Regan follows and drops ‘stinkpot’ into the conversation. So presumably, that was the only time Chris ever gentle admonished her daughter with that expression? Sure, okay.
Because the script needs her to be, Chris is indeed horrified by this, and turns in time for Regan to break her damned neck and toss her down the stairs. We zoom in and Regan’s eye changes to the double iris.
This episode was weird. It seemed fairly obvious it was written as a season finale, but there are two more episodes airing in December.
It’s hard to figure out just what those episodes can possibly say or be about. Instead, the show is blowing two, arguably three predictable but fairly solid cliff hangers in two episodes, rather than explore them over a second season;
Tomas may be in some trouble for the affair, but honestly, I doubt it. If he is, it will serve to push him towards Walters and her evil cabal. I think it’s more likely Mr. Jessica will find the Bishop less than receptive. Tomas is constantly talked up as a ‘rising star’ and the Satanists want him for something. Do they want to possess him and set him up as a Pope? Fulfilling his grandmother’s wish in the worst possible way. It would be a cool call back to his ‘origins’ story. Whatever they have in mind for him, I can’t see Douchey McDoucherson being a problem for very long. I hope he’s not a problem for very long, I’m already bored with him.
Bennett is dead or at least in mortal danger. It’s hard to decide his fate. Narratively, he’s a threat to the evil mission so they could just kill him. I suspect Bennett has some more time on this earth. They’ll torture him for information or they’ll force a demon on him, and use him against Keane It would contribute to Keane’s ever present, crushing guilt if he has to hurt his old friend. Outside the narrative and speaking as an audience member, they’d be stupid to let a character as mysterious, cool and badass as Bennett get killed off this early. Even if he’s possessed, the dude has to stick around a while longer.
I’ve always said the Cardinal would turn out evil but I’m actually pissed that I was right. Everyone is evil and it’s so tedious at this point. It makes Bennett and Keane’s efforts feel pointless if everyone is already a bad guy. And, if this Cardinal who works in the Vatican is Team Satan, why are they creeping around Chicago trying to fuck with the Pope? Can’t this guy just walk down the hall? I’d have found it far creepier and more of a surprise if the Cardinal was on the up, but his body guards smothered him and abducted Bennett.
Regan getting overtaken and killing somebody wasn’t a great shock, and it’s frustrating the boys fell for the obvious ruse to get her within Possessing distance of Pazuzu/The Salesman. I thought Henry would be the one to die, though.
That said, Chris’ manner of death was another call back to the film and arguably the most interesting yet in the show. Of all the discussion of Regan’s possession, Chris has never mentioned the man Regan almost certainly murdered. A friend of Chris, he was over one night when Chris had to run out. He, for some reason, was in Regan’s bedroom and the possessed child snapped his neck and tossed him out her bedroom window ,and down the same steps where Karras would eventually end his life. It’s never entirely clear why he was in the girl’s bedroom, and his death is claimed to have been a drunken fall by those protecting her.
As yet, this death has not been mentioned, though Merrin and Karras have. Chris is no longer around top provide insight into what happened to Regan. But now, maybe, The Salesman might reveal some things to us and her that she doesn’t want to know.
And finally, a positive note. The moment with Keane and that dude at the bar, I feel I need to give credit where credit is due. That was a really nice ‘Wait … ooh!’ moment that warmed my heart, and I hope the show is able to continue to examine. Thinking back, Keane has been so well characterised and played as a driven obsessive, that the idea he’s attracted to anyone at all never really entered into it, even after his formal defrocking. Now, or once all this demon business is over, he’s going to be free to explore whatever he wants. It sends a fantastically positive message on top of everything else. Ben Daniels has the most beautiful smile, and seeing it finally unleashed on this of all moments was just a gorgeous touch.
We shall see where we go in December …