The season finale of The Exorcist “Chapter Ten: Three Rooms” was, for all intents and purposes a bloodbath. While there were not that many final casualties, the claret was spilling with abandon and the violence was almost Shakespearean in nature.
A good sense of irony also pervaded the final battle for the souls of the Rance family and Marcus’ tackling Simon “in the act” with Mother Bernadette’s crucifix was poetic justice almost in the extreme.
The battle between good and evil, or to be more correct, between Captain Howdy and Father Tomas as well as the stand-off between the Friars of Ascension, Marcus and Father Bennett was almost theatre of the Grand Guignol variety.
Although Simon devolved into an old fashioned villain in the end. Not quite of the Snidely Whiplash mustache twirling variety but he was darned close. The cutting of Bennett’s and Marcus’ wrists felt a tad like a metaphorical version of tying the two men on a railroad track in front of a speeding train.
The big fight was between Father Tomas who finally found that deep down inside, he was much more than his mistress, his own hubris and his specious platitudes. It was always going to be Tomas who saved the Rance family from the decades old revenge plotted by the demon just as it was always going to be Marcus who saved Pope Sebastian.
The implication at the end of the episode is that Tomas will become the new Marcus, trained by him to become him, in essence. A bittersweet ending to the tale with the younger priest realising that in the end, his fate will most likely not be too different from Keane’s own fall from grace.
The Exorcist managed to end on a slightly anticlimactic note. With the vast scope of the evil threatening Chicago, the Pope and the Rance family overshadowing the subtlety of the original source material this was never going to be a truly satisfactory ending.
Father Tomas has to save the family and Regan/Angela. Marcus has to save the Pope (an unrecognizable Bruce Davison) just as Bennett will not raise to the occasion and attempt to re-instate Marcus to the priesthood. These things are practically ordained as a countermeasure against the massive scale of the series’ deviation from Blatty’s classic tale.
Granted, it has been done very well. The sudden twist reveal showing that this was about Regan MacNeil all along and never about Casey was a nice touch. However the whole “Pope” side plot was, to be honest, a bit nonsensical.
This plan to humiliate the church was good for some almost epic moments of murder and sacrifice on a huge scale, even though the Friars did not really have the best of all outcomes in mind. (Embarrassing the church via a disgraced priest was never going to be that earth shattering in today’s climate of clergy already embarrassing the institution with sexual deviancy being number one on the hit list.)
Still, the chemistry and impressive talents of Daniels, Herrera, Davis, Ruck, Kasulka and Howey added much to the proceedings. Not to leave out Kirsten Fitzgerald’s “always a bridesmaid” Maria Walters as she brought a lot to the table, including an ironic twist of fate at the end.
Kudos to Lunney as The Salesman. The man sold it from day one when he appears to Casey.
The Exorcist has not been given a greenlight for a second season as yet. In many ways, another grab at the brass ring would not be the best idea in the world. The move to make this season about much more than just a battle for Angela and her family’s souls have made this a pretty tough act to follow.
Any subsequent seasons would have to up the ante, so to speak. After already going after the “big guy” aka the Pope, in season one, who can the demons go against next? The biggest guy, aka “God?” If this is the next target then clearly a third season would be out of the question.
It feels that in season one the show’s creator Jeremy Slater opted to go large or go home. This has left the show in a bit of a quandary. Any new seasons would have to at least match the first in terms of scope, violence and target. This will be difficult since there is really only one “head” of the church and he was picked on in the first season.
The Exorcist has ended on a high. Although the series never really matched that damned scary sequence in the Rance attic, where a possessed Casey freaked out not just the audience but Father Tomas as well, it did manage to at least disturb on a regular basis.
It will be interesting to see if FOX opt to bring the series back and how Slater will address “topping” the first season.
- Alfonso Herrera – Father Tomas Ortega
- Ben Daniels – Father Marcus Keane
- Hannah Kasulka – Casey Rance
- Geena Davis – Angela Rance
- Brianne Howey – Kat Rance
- Alan Ruck – Henry Rance
- Kurt Egyiawan – Father Bennett
- Deanna Dunagan – Mother Bernadette
- Muzak Makkar – Jessica
- Kirsten Fitzgerald – Maria Walters
- Robert Emmet Lunney – The Salesman
- Francis Guinan – Brother Simon
- Torrey Hanson – Cardinal Guillot
Guest starring Bruce Davison as Pope Sebastian.