We knew it was coming and in the eighth episode of “The Exorcist’s” first season — FOX, please renew this show! — Angela Rance (Geena Davis) became reunited with her old demonic friend. In Friday’s penultimate episode, titled “Chapter Nine: 162,” things become a bit more clear regarding the Friars of Ascension’s plans to take out the pope.
With the victims steadily piling up — R.I.P. Chris MacNeil (Sharon Gless) — those in the know, investigating the murders and the real threat boiling under the church’s surface, have decreased in numbers. And now with Pazuzu back inside Angela/Regan’s body, it looks like the pieces to their ultimate plan of bringing hell to earth have all but fallen into place.
But while we’ve previously proclaimed that “The Exorcist” has achieved genre glory through its solid expansion of William Peter Blatty’s canon — with lovely nods to William Friedkin’s 1973 film, throughout — we have to take a moment and bow down to Geena Davis’ evil turn on the horror series.
Watching Angela/Regan take the next steps in her demonic evolution, following through on a promise the original film left mostly unfulfilled in the sequels that followed, has made the show’s previous eight episodes even more powerful.
From the beginning, it was clearly laid out that Angela Rance was the one holding this damaged family together. With her husband Henry (Alan Ruck), suffering a traumatic brain injury, her older daughter dealing with the tragic loss of a loved one and her youngest battling to survive a completely horrid looking possession, the stress on Angela/Regan’s shoulders to keep things together was huge.
And it’s that responsibility — evenly blended with her undying devotion to those closest to her — that leads her to give up her soul completely to the demon, saving Casey (Hannah Kasulka) from continuing to endure what she went through all those years ago.
It took the entirety of the episode for Casey, Kat (Brianne Howey) and Henry to realize the real threat has only just revealed itself. To witness Geena Davis fully embracing her dark side, through the sinister intricacies painted across Angela/Regan’s newly possessed identity, has added a nice new layer to the series.
While this has all been an intriguing twist to behold, we’re also wondering what will transpire with Father Marcus (Ben Daniels) and Father Tomas (Alfonso Herrera).
All this time, we’ve been predicting that Tomas will be the one that gets drawn to the dark side — which may still happen, given his unexpected promotion — but after Marcus’ attempt at infiltrating the Friars of Ascension backfired, it’s become quite possible that Tomas may be the one to step up to take Marcus down. That is, if that pesky Vocare Pulvere summoning ritual goes off without a hitch.
All in all, FOX’s “The Exorcist” has successfully built on its classic genre story to explore grief, family struggles and the moral battle between good and evil we have within us all. How it will go out in next week’s finale is anyone’s guess, but something tells us Pazuzu won’t be leaving Angela/Regan’s body as willingly as he did Casey’s.
“The Exorcist” Season 1 finale airs Friday, Dec. 16, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.