In Chapter Two of The Exorcist “Lupus in Fabula” things are beginning to morph into The Omen. There is more than a touch of the 1976 film and book, as well as some other elements more reminiscent of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot. (Sacrifices in the middle of the night and Father Marcus’ lack of power.)
This week we get more backstory on Father Marcus. He was introduced into exorcism at the age of 12 after being sold to the church. It appears that the priest has been fighting the devil for a very long time.
The Exorcist continues to put the viewer in that uneasy place where sleeping with the light on seems like a good idea. Angela Rance is still concerned about Kat, but how realizes the problem really lies with Cassie.
The eldest sister is still full of attitude but the “devil” has not made her do anything. It is Cassie, the innocent who has been chosen as the demon’s vessel and Mrs. Rance kicks up her investigation a notch or two.
Father Tomas speaks to the Auxiliary Bishop who takes the modern day approach to the whole thing. There are no demons in the new church and he does not support the younger priest’s request to start proceedings for an exorcism.
The Bishop also questions Tomas’ visit to see Father Marcus, the man has gone missing since the impromptu Q&A instigated by Tomas.
Marcus turns up at the younger priest’s apartment and assumes the position of mentor. He believes that the child Father Tomas spoke of is indeed possessed.
There are no more scenes to equal that creepy and disturbing sequence in the attic last week. Instead there is a mysterious man at Cassie’s lacrosse match. A player on the opposite team who is roughing up the Rance girl suffers a horrific leg fracture with no one near her.
Earlier Angela meets with the Pope’s Chicago representative for his visit, she gets two calls from Cassie. When she goes home Cassie is not there but the phone is on the pillow. As the phone is picked up a blood red centipede scurries away.
Cassie says she will never sleep on that pillow again. Kat scoffs and replies that it is just an insect. Kat picks up the pillow and there is a boiling mound of the things underneath. Henry moves off saying he will call the ‘bug man.”
At the church community picnic Cassie is accosted by a homeless man who says he knows her and that “he” picked her.
Angela believes that Tomas is going to leave her in the lurch and during the church community picnic takes some holy water. Father Marcus sees her and suggests she put it in the afflicted person’s drinking water.
Later she pours the stuff in Cassie’s water who drinks it with no apparent reaction. The possessed girl then excuses herself from the table and rushes upstairs to vomit dark green slime. She finishes by pulling an incredibly long centipede from her throat.
Father Marcus tries to track down the homeless man and finds another possessed homeless woman. He attempts to force the demon out and learns that his power to exorcise is gone. Either through a crisis of faith or because he caused the young boy to die, his “the power of Christ compels you” has no effect.
At the start of the episode a young black lad is seen leaving his house. The boy has on headphones and he rides his bike down the street. As the youngster returns home, he keeps his headphones on and enters his house.
His family have all been murdered and their bodies lay about the house. The lad is then killed and all of the family have their hearts cut out and put in a cooler.
The homeless man who approached Cassie in the church comes out of the house with a blood spatter cooler. He is joined by a lot of other people also carrying coolers. They get into a van which drives out of the neighborhood.
The second chapter of The Exorcist had some disturbing moments and the one that stood out the most was the eye through the jenga tower.
While the series is beyond compelling and is still able to “put the wind up” the viewer, all these sacrifices and the elderly chap that only Cassie can see feels at bit too much like The Omen. All is missing are people dying who learn that the youngest Rance girl is possessed. (And of course the fact that Cassie is not the Antichrist is the main difference.)
In the Blatty novel and the 1973 film there were things that led up to the possession but there was no concerted effort by followers to protect or support the possessed.
Regardless of this morphing of two different tales, The Exorcist is still pretty scary stuff. Perhaps the change is necessary. After all the book, like the film, was produced during the whole “God is dead,” phase in ’70s America.
There are still homages to the original film. Tomas runs wearing the same sleeve less sweat shirt and there is close up of a jackhammer pounding the sidewalk (although the sound is nowhere near as loud as in the film.).
On a sidenote: There were no tubular bells this week.
The Exorcist ends with the two priests teaming up, Tomas more reluctantly than Marcus.
The series airs Fridays on FOX.