My Little Church Mouse: The Exorcist, ‘A Heaven of Hell’

We’re back! Two weeks have passed for us, and three days on Nachburn Island. Rose is just returning from a visit to Andy’s home. She’s got the kids corralled at the farmhouse with Colleen and Russ, who are caring for a particularly traumatised Harper, upstairs. Rose says the boys are helping Andy but Verity, who we know has every good reason to hate anything religious, is worried they could just be hurting Andy — and points out Rose can’t keep the kids here forever.

Rose sheepishly admits she has to take them off the island, ideally just temporarily, but they all know it will be the end.Verity is, again, the cold hard voice of reason; Andy killed a man in front of them. Regardless how sick he is, they can’t ever come home.

I mean, she’s not wrong. Still, it sucks.

Speaking of, former Foster Dad Of The Century (seriously) is in his Limbo State with the Nikki thing. With her, he’s calm and not in any pain. He can hear a faint whispering but Nikki tells him to ignore it.

Outside in the real world Marcus and Tomas pray over him, and he looks terrible, his skin mottled and swollen. Unfortunately he has now adopted Demon Voice and while it’s slightly better than past attempts — it’s just John Cho’s own voice, altered slightly, its still … completely silly. We were doing SO well.

The AnDemon is working an angle and mentions Marcus’ ‘little church mouse’ and some secret he hasn’t shared with Tomas, and though Marcus claims it doesn’t matter, he’s clearly troubled. He covers by praying some more, and Tomas joins in. AnDemon screams and thrashes.

In Limbo, Andy is starting to wonder how long they’ve been just cuddling in bed together, while the NikkiDemon easily brushes off any concerns, and takes us into the credits. Oh no!

On the mainland, Mouse is driving and Bennett wakes up. It appears they have not sought any medical help for the open wound in Bennett’s side, nor even … like, applied a bandage, or even just a handful of paper towels. Which … is stupid. Apparently it’s because Bennett wants to find Marcus and Tomas so badly. But like, ‘We have no time to stop off at CVS’, badly, Bennett? Really? Especially, considering that last season set you up as damned near the Charles Xavier of exorcists? Shouldn’t you of all people want to make sure you’re actually going to be of some use when you arrive, not just a big, bleeding out distraction?

Anyway, Bennett wants to know how Marcus knows Mouse — he even says she never mentioned that, though she actually did. Again, anyway — Bennett manages to make a joke because he’s perfect, but then he passes clean the fuck out, because of course he does. Great time saving, team. Great time saving.

Instead she, while driving a car, has a flashback to her time with Marcus.

That sound you hear is my screaming laugher. Good LORD

We jump back to the Isle of Iona back in the late 90s. Iona is off the coast of Scotland, which for many is considered ‘the Cradle of Christianity’ for Scotland, having housed monastic religious orders for centuries, and serving for some as a sort of … home grown Holy Land.

Mouse was a novice nun still facing her final vows, and Marcus was a younger priest still … well he’s napping at his desk when she walks in and teases him with the tones of a BFF about his hair. Which, hoo boy.

Marcus mentions her upcoming vows, and gently suggests she just … don’t take them, and instead she should go off and live a real life. She thinks this is her place, like him, but he talks about how he was chosen for this work .Except, unlike he does in the present day, he doesn’t snap or snarl this at her, because late 90s Marcus is all chilled out ‘n’shit.

It would be a nice glimpse into the brighter, fun side of Marcus we occasionally get to see, if I wasn’t so powerfully distracted by Marcus’ terrible shoulder-length wig, and the make-up or ‘soften’ special effect on his face, to try and take 20 years off him.

He looks like what Kurt Cobain would look like today. Over my shoulder, the boyfriend is asking me if Marcus is in his Punk Priest phase.

Clearly.

Mouse asks about a ‘visitor’ she’s not allowed to see, and Marcus promises he won’t let anything happen to ‘my little church mouse’.

It’s a big house, Tomas! Go to the kitchen!

In the present, Marcus and Tomas take a coffee break in the bathroom, apparently just so they can look at Harper’s mother’s body and worry about it. Well that was clumsy. Tomas asks Marcus about the ‘little Church mouse’ and for absolutely no reason Marcus lies ‘nothing happened’, and Mouse is probably some happy nun somewhere. Tomas wonders why, then, AnDemon raised it, and points out how little he knows about Marcus. Marcus claims it’s just game playing by the demon, and heads back to work.

… really? We’re doing this now? We made SUCH good progress!

At the farmhouse, Rose comforts Harper ,who is near catatonic with shock, while Verity looks on. Downstairs, Caleb is telling old farmer Russell how to take care of their pet canary when they leave the island. Russell thinks Andy has severe pneumonia, says he had a bad case once and bounced back just fine, like Andy will. I’d love if that was code for ‘I was possessed, I know what’s going on’ but, probably not.

Colleen checks in with Verity, who is unhappy and worrying about her future. Colleen is so sweet and it seems obvious to ME that the old couple might offer to take her in when she ages out of foster care? Or, maybe Pete? But, Verity is gloomy and who can blame her. She takes a book on engineering Nikki and Andy gave her, and tosses it away. Aaaw, Vee you can live with me!

Back on the mainland, the ridiculous decision not to treat Bennett’s huge wound has landed him in the ICU for a couple of days, in septic shock, which — GREAT TIME SAVING, GUYS. Mouse is juuust tense and edgy enough for the doctor to firmly warn her if she suspects Bennett was assaulted, she has to call the cops.

You fuckin’ pair of dum-dums, you just had to go to like, a Starbucks bathroom, and clean him up!

In the flashback, Novice Nun Mouse goes to see a possessed woman held in the basement of the Iona monastery, who teases her about lying to Marcus about coming down here. Mouse reads from the Bible without much conviction, and the demon calls out Mouse doesn’t feel god the way Marcus does, offering to show her the face of god.. Mouse is distracted enough to step inside the line of salt, and the demon dives on her.

We jump back to modern day Nachburn, where Marcus is asking Rose to borrow one of the kids for the exorcism, to remind Andy what he needs to fight for. Verity overhears and offers herself up, saying she’ll regret it forever if she doesn’t. Besides, she’s not asking. Tomas is back in the bathroom getting water — do they not have anywhere else they can take refreshments?! — and hears creepy noises as if the body is moving.

He takes water back to Andy, and while he’s foolishly, dangerously alone in the room with the entity that he alone is uniquely vulnerable to, he gets one of his … episodes. He turns and sees the Nikki Thing crouching atop Andy’s chest — a callback to the Salesman sitting in Casey last year, which itself references those old paintings of Succubus and Incubus sitting atop their victims. Tomas drops his water glass, and manages to power himself out of the vision. While he clears up the glass, we see the AnDemon palm a shard.

Marcus is walking home, and Pete drives by and offers him a lift. Marcus looks SO happy. Oh no. Pete is doomed.

Back in the flashback, we see what has happened; the demon possessed Mouse. An emotional Marcus tends to her and promises to help her. He tells her of a perfect-sounding pub they’ll visit when she’s better, but the demon takes over and mocks him about ‘running away’ with Mouse. Marcus pushes through. Curiously, what he’s trying is the Holistic method from last year, the one Tomas tries even now. The demon is disgusting, sexualising Mouse, mocking her crush on Marcus, and Marcus’ promises they can elope. Marcus backs away, sobbing.

Pete stops at Andy’s and asks if there’s anything he can do to help what he knows is not pneumonia. He trusts Marcus’ assurance it’s in hand, though insisting that when it’s done, they get to talk. Marcus is all ‘So … I’m sticking around?’ and Pete is like ‘Clearly’, and outright asks Marcus to retire and stay on Nachburn with him, and my heart just about dies. Because Marcus says a sweet thank you, for everything, and kisses Pete, and though he didn’t say ‘No’, it feels like he did.

Later, Verity and Rose arrive. Marcus reminds her it’s not Andy saying any horrible things to her to try and hurt her. Verity steels herself and says let the damned thing try. Marcus just smiles. I’M SAYING, MARCUS, SHE’S GONNA NEED A PLACE TO BE, PETE CAN HELP WITH HER CAREER.

She goes into the room and speaks directly to Andy about how he and Nikki believed in her. The AnDemon cuts right to quick, claiming it was for the paycheque, teasing her about her future death as a junkie in some alley.

Verity stands strong. Andy speaks in Nikki’s voice and twists the knife, claiming her dying thought was peace; she’d never have to see Verity. Tomas steps in and gives Verity advice, and she kneels beside the bed. We see Andy still has the glass shard. Verity is amazing and admits she was a disappointment, and hard. But, it was to try and push people away before they ditched her . Andy and Nikki never did. She says Andy was a good dad, and she doesn’t want to say goodbye. She leans all the way over to kiss him on the forehead, and we see Andy has bloodied his own hand to keep from stabbing her. Andy suddenly surfaces and tells Verity he loves her, but demands they take her away before it hurts her. They rush her off and Rose hugs her, firmly, and rightly tells her ‘You were incredible’. They leave the boys to the work.

Back in the 90s, Mouse was successfully exorcised by a Father Robert, who makes good and sure Mouse blames herself for her horrible, rape-like experience before he even asks if she’s like, okay and stuff. Wow. We learn Marcus fled three weeks ago, without completing the exorcism, and Mouse barely made it in his absence. Mouse can’t believe he’d have left her, but Father Rob just doubles and triples down on blaming her, reminding her she’s meant to be a Bride of Christ. All the stuff not being said here is so ugly and wrong. She’s left alone on a bed, bloodied up, her skirts hitched up, terrified and alone. Aaah Catholicism. *slams drink, googles for the 15th time how to become apostate*

On the mainland, Mouse appears to decide she can’t wait for Bennett to get better. She kisses him on the forehead and leaves.

At Andy’s house, Tomas is still only visiting The Body Bathroom and again, thinks he hears it move. He’s about to uncover the corpse when Marcus comes back, and they try to work out how to get some sleep.

Rose has the kids at the ferry station, facing a small wait for the ride to the mainland, and notices Verity has managed to slip away. The other kids sheepishly admit she went back for the book she dumped at the farmhouse. Rose leaves Shelby in charge to go back and find her. She catches Verity walking back, but the girl won’t get in the car, and wants her book. She breaks down and admits the real issues, that they’re leaving their whole lives behind and the book is all she has of Andy. Rose offers to at least drive her, instead.

In the house, the boys pray. AnDemon mentions Pete and actually manages to trip Marcus up completely, then speaks in Mouse’s voice which sends Marcus into a rage. Tomas pulls him back and sends him to rest, agreeing they’ll work in shifts now. Left alone with the demon, Tomas steels himself.

We see Mouse back on the road, while on Nachburn, Marcus tries to sleep. Tomas prays over AnDemon, who we see still has his shard of glass.

Later, a rested Marcus returns to the room and warmly thanks Tomas for stepping up to make him rest. He calls Tomas a full-fledged exorcist, and says he’s proud, calls him brother. It’s … so perfect as to be suspicious. They stand together to pray. At the airport, the power cuts out, and Shelby holds Caleb and Harper and tells them it’s okay. Verity ducks into the farmhouse, but the power is out, and Russell and Colleen aren’t answering. Verity heads to find her book, still in the wastepaper basket, and as she turns to leave, she hears creepy sounds leading her around the house.

At Andy’s house, we see that as I suspected, Marcus is still asleep on the couch. Tomas, thinking he and Marcus are standing over Andy, is trapped in a trance and doesn’t know Andy has gotten free and slipped away.

Verity walks through the farmhouse and finds the old couple at the kitchen table. She approaches and sees they’ve been brutally slaughtered. She runs into Rose, but it’s too late. Andy is there.

I had mixed feelings about this one, clearly. There were a lot of great, affecting moments — Nikki’s sudden water-soaked appearance atop Andy was a nice little jump scare; every difficult scene with the kids; Rose and Andy, they always shine.

As poor as Marcus’ hair and Younger Marcus’ make-up were, the brief glimpse of his history with Mouse was actually compelling, and I don’t know what was different this time around, but the clumsy rape/possession parallels from last year actually landed effectively here. I think it’s how brief and brutal it all was, it didn’t feel too … uncomfortably lingered over.

But, there were a few outright frustrating moments, too. Even a desperate Bennett is too smart and too capable to think he can’t spare a bit of time getting his injury treated. At almost the exact same point of season one, he had been to the sacrifice slaughter house, kicked ass and taken demon names, and got stabbed in the shoulder/neck with a kitchen knife — during all of which, he uncovered the widespread scope of the conspiracy, and knew for a fact he didn’t have enough time to do what he needed to do.

And the first damned thing he does is go and get his injuries seen to. YES, it is by the murder tour couple; IT IS STILL  TREATMENT. Basically, it’s an entirely out of character moment for Bennett, that only happened because … well, we know he’s a pretty powerful exorcist — are the writers just having to back off because last year, they’d made him too badass? It sort of feels that way.

Next week, The AnDemon has the kids, and I’ll be in a state of mild panic until I know they’re all okay again. The Exorcist returns Fridays on Fox.

Nadine Morgan

Nadine Morgan

Nadine Morgan is really terrible at the ‘About You’ part of life.
Nadine developed her reviewer skills writing epic facebook rants about the details script supervisors forget and trying to explain why Carol on The Walking Dead broke Lizzie by accident.

Nadine loves TV, film and books but she wishes someone would pay her to be the continuity editor.

She can be found on Facebook and in her forest garden and if she’s not yelling at her TV she’s trying to convince a cat to be an Instagram model and refusing to let 90’s fashion die.

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