‘The Exorcist’ Chapter Nine: 162 – Take Me Instead (Review)

 Exorcist Season 1 109

The Exorcist “162” takes the entire episode to give up what the cryptic number means. Last week’s episode “The Griefbearers” saw Chris MacNeil die at hands of Angela, aka Pazuzu who is now back where he started; in the body of Regan MacNeil.

Episode 8 was a riff on the main film’s set piece where Father Karras invites the demon to enter him. Although in that film, the good father leaps to his death from the window shortly after having the demon enter his body.

In this small screen version of Blatty’s novel, Angela/Regan has no plans to self destruct and release the demon’s hold on her. She relinquishes control to Pazuzu who starts a bloody vendetta in motion.  On top of Marcus’ short list of helpers, the demon exacts revenge on the entire Rance family.

Meanwhile Father Tomas is wooed by the Friars of Ascension who want him to close down his parish church and take over the more impressive St. Bridget’s.  He is told that he must deal with Jessica in order to take over the church.

Angela goes after Sister Bernadette and her nuns while Brother Simon kills the two tour guides who helped Marcus. The Rance family undergo their own form of punishment as Pazuzu treats each person to an upsetting experience.

Kat is fondled while she sleeps, Henry is invited to have sex with Angela who then strangles him and Casey figures out immediately that the demon is controlling her mother.

Show creator Jeremy Slater has left the original source behind with this conspiracy laden tale of demons going after the head of the Catholic church. The Friars, who all hold places of great importance, are orchestrating what they perceive to be a harsh blow to the church. 

Marcus, who tortures Brother Simon to learn what the group are up to, learns that they expect the Pope to die at the hands of a “deviant” priest. Sounds like a pretty accurate description of either Tomas or Marcus.

Simon is saved from the defrocked Marcus who is then tied up and threatened with the ashes of the sacrificed neighbors of the Rance family. Unfortunately, there is no follow up to the death by deviate priest plan. No explanation of what will transpire next seems to exist.

While this could mean that those nefarious and evil friars are “winging it,” there may be much more to the plot and Simon opted not to tell Marcus about the rest of the plan.

There is an interesting interlude where Pazuzu, in the guise of Angela, comes to visit the Friars of Ascension.  All the acolytes are forced to grovel at the demon’s feet except for the Superintendent of Police and the needy Maria Walters.

She is taunted by the demon who tells the societal devil worshipper that her smell, a mixture of desperation and mediocrity, has kept her from ever being chosen.

Geena Davis manages to be cheerfully evil whilst chewing up and spitting out great chunks of scenery one moment and then gleefully underplaying the next.  The last time Davis was this deadly in anything was the 1996 film The Long Kiss Goodbye where she played an assassin with amnesia.

Even without Kat’s bloody nose and the near suffocation of Casey, Davis is terrifying. She is all teeth and deadly looks while her family suffer near death experiences. This makes her character something that could give grownups nightmares.

On a sidenote: While Ben Daniels and Geena Davis spar for an Emmy award, the rest of the cast have been delivering in spades. Hannah Kasulka, Brianne Howey and Alan Ruck have all been beyond convincing as the family caught up in a decades long revenge mission from a pissed off demon.

Tomas does, incidentally, discover the relevance of “162.” At the end of the episode, he confronts Angela/Pazuzu and tells the demon, in essence, to get the hell out of Dodge…

This penultimate episode of The Exorcist has simultaneously cranked up the volume in terms of plot threads while confusing the audience with the rather simplistic “kill the pope” plot. Presumably the real plan will be uncovered next week in the season finale.

The Exorcist airs Fridays on FOX.  Be sure to tune in and catch the season one conclusion.


Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, http://MikesFilmTalk.com Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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