The Exorcist: Father of Lies – Father Bennett (Review)

 Exorcist Season 1 Ep 107

In The Exorcist “Father of Lies” sees Casey taken to Mother Bernadette’s and Father Tomas continues to see Jessica. His continued transgression is endangering the exorcism and deep down he must know this. Marcus refuses to give up on Casey and Angela and Chris seem to bury the hatchet.

The Rance house is under siege. There is a huge crowd gathered around the family gate and the police are nowhere to be seen. (Not overly surprising since the police superintendent is with the Friars institution.)

Marcus refuses to give up on Casey even though her condition is deteriorating dramatically. As a result Mother Bernadette is refusing to continue with the exorcism. She even recommends slipping the possessed girl poison.

Tomas has a short chat with Bishop Egan, who wants to know where Marcus is.  Father Bennett has serious misgivings about the near nonexistent security for the Pope’s visit.  He confronts Father Simon, the head of the friar’s group, who treats the whole thing quite lightly.

Father Bennett also wants to know how the Tattersol landscaping company that went bankrupt in 2012 was able to donate $3 million to the church in 2016.  Simon says he will look into.

In the interim, Bennett looks into the company himself.  He breaks into a deserted warehouse that has one empty Tattersol van parked out front.  In the gloomy interior the priest explores the place using his smart phone as a flashlight (torch).

He finds evidence of the ceremony performed by the possessed homeless people who murdered for the body parts. He is attacked by a number of these possessed souls and he kills two of them. The second man, he gives the last rites to and the demon inside curses Bennett.

Back at the Rance household, a reporter does an interview that is cut very short when she veers off the approved Q&A script. Anglea goes through a bit of a melt down and Chris takes on the press outside her daughter’s house.

During one session with Cassie, she bites Father Tomas on the hand. He lies to Jessica about what the wound is and leaves the apartment. He gets into an altercation with a “fan” in the pharmacy where he goes to  have the bite looked at.

When things get violent, the clerk in the shop calls the police. Maria Walters, the woman who supports the demonic friars club comes to his rescue.

Marcus almost gives Cassie the poison but stops. He tells Mother Bernadette that God stopped him. Tomas goes to help Angela and brings the distraught woman to see her daughter.

Cassie recovers from near death and sets up when Angela appears. The demon inside calls her mother “The Sow.”

There is a lot going on here. The Friars of Ascension belong to the devil, or a demon.  Tomas refuses to stop seeing Jessica and it seems pretty clear that she is an obstruction.  Could she be part of the demonic conspiracy?

Even Mother Bernadette seems to be giving up far too easily. She could take lessons from Father Bennett on hanging tough.

Bennett was the real surprise in this episode. From the start the priest has come across as a bit of a prig.  It is his influence that gets Marcus excommunicated from the church. (He also, inexplicably, gives the defrocked priest help in dealing with the teen’s possession after getting him kicked out of the church.)

The priest turns out to be a fighter. Father Bennett does not hesitate to defend himself or to take his attackers out with extreme prejudice. It could be argued that he was aware that his homeless attacker were possessed but that does not matter. Bennett proved, by the very act of entering that warehouse alone, that his cojones were massive and that his faith was absolute.

Marcus points out that  the demon possessing Cassie wants revenge. It was her mother, back when Anglea was Regan, that the thing wanted and when it was thwarted the demon  waited 40 years to get its own back.

We are already aware that Maria is playing for the other team and Henry has been acting rather strange lately. The one person outside the realm of suspect has been Kat.

Cassie’s big sister was initially the first Rance girl to be suspected of being possessed. Angela was convinced of it. Now Kat is acting as a voice of reason, it was Kat who called the emergency services to get her sister out of the house.

Is Kat a part of this? Was she a diversionary tactic to draw attention away from Cassie or was she the first step?

The Exorcist deviates pretty wildly from its source material. However the show does say influenced by Blatty’s novel and not based upon it. In this version we are being told that Cassie is not the be all and end all of this demonic fight.

Once again, it feels like Angela “Regan” Rance’s youngest daughter is a diversion from the demon’s true purpose.

Father Bennett may turn out to be more than beneficial to the cause. Marcus is still the power here while Tomas vacillates between his lover and what really needs to be done.

Show creator Jeremy Slater has managed to create a version of the novel and the film that steps outside its original boundaries.  Regardless of whether you are a fan of the book or not, this is cracking television.  Scary and disturbing on so many levels, this is some scary stuff. 

The Exorcist  airs Fridays on NBC. Tune in, turn the lights on and watch with a friend…


The Exorcist: Let ‘Em In – Excommunicated (Review)

Exorcist Ep 103

The Exorcist continues its “The Omen” type onslaught of Cassie and the city of Chicago, specifically Father Tomas’ parish. “Let ‘Em In” changes the playing field somewhat as Father Marcus is excommunicated and the demons are talking amongst themselves. They know who Marcus is and about the boy Gabriel.

There is some backstory given for Cassie’s sister Kat; the artistic one, the dancer, the beauty of the family.  The love of Kat’s life; Julia, dies in a car accident and Kat herself suffers a knee injury that takes the world of dance away as well. (The man who causes the accident by  standing in front of the car looks an remarkably like Cassie’s special friend.)

*On a sidenote: Julia was the title of Peter Straub’s first novel dealing with supernatural themes. The book’s heroine, named Julia,  was either being haunted or unstable, a sort of “The Turn of the Screw” scenario. It would not be too surprising to see the dead friend show up in later episodes.*

Cassie becomes more affected by the influence of her new friend. She steals a dress, acts inappropriately at the memorial for Julia and she attacks a sexual predator on the subway. Cassie also does something with a curling iron, what the audience is not privy to, but that may have been the TV series’ version of the cross scene in the film and Blatty’s novel.

While nowhere near as shocking (No pun intended.) the inference is that she is doing something bad with the appliance; something it was never intended to be used for.

Later in the episode there is the urinating incident, right after Cassie apparently breaks the neck of the “bad boy” who was groping her on the train.  (Like everything else in the series, this is a “one up” on the book and the film. Regan wets herself in the middle of a dinner party at home. Cassie lets loose on a crowded subway full of people focussed on her every move. Definitely a move up from the original. Although with the dead body behind her it is doubtful whether anyone noticed.)

It is not just the Rance family afflicted by this demon’s homing in on Cassie. The entire city appears to be under siege. The grisly murders on the South Side, where not only hearts were taken but genitalia, eyes, the skin from the palms of the victims’ hands and feet were all removed.

These acts were committed by acolytes in order to summon,  not one, but possibly several demons according to Marcus. A religious zealot immolates (burns to death) outside the building where the religious hierarchy  are sitting a meeting. Even the doubting Thomas who got Marcus fired is impressed by that act.

Exorcist Ep 103
Cassie spoiling the mood.

Tomas will not give up on Cassie however.  Although he is clearly over his head here. Marcus proves that when they question Cassie. The demon who possesses her knows all about the priests failure in Mexico.

It is interesting to note that the last time the entity appears, when he kisses Cassie on the subway, his appearance has changed. The demon’s projection is no longer dapper and neat. It is covered with either ash or dirt and its fingernails are caked with blood and gore.

If the thing appears in any more scenes one can imagine that it will be quite horrific looking.

Although this version of The Exorcist has been modified from the 1971 novel and the 1973 movie adaptation of the book,  it is still taking a good bit from that time period, in terms of theme.

Mrs. Rance believes that Kat is the daughter possessed by the devil initially. She says it is because Kat has been acting oddly, which in a way could be seen as true.  It becomes clear, in this episode, that Angela’s definition of “odd” comes down to Kat being in love with another woman.

Clearly in Angela’s mind, lesbianism equates to possession. This is clearly a throwback to the ’70’s and the mindset that being gay was not just sinning as such, it was evil.

The attitude of the Catholic church also echoes that time period, where the entire country was going through a “God is dead” phase and the church veered away from devils and demons. In all three instances, the pope is coming to visit the city while priests perform the exorcism.

By the end of this episode, Cassie has upped the ante and killed someone and Marcus is sent on a treasure hunt of sorts. The defrocked priest has discovered a list of friends on the back of his train tickets. It appears that someone, or something wants Marcus out of the way.

Exorcist Ep 103
Father Bennett and Father Tomas.

The Exorcist airs Fridays on FOX. Tune in and catch this gripping tale of possession and demonic activity in the windy city.


The Exorcist: Season One, Ep One – Scary but Different (Review)


Show creator Jeremy Slater has delivered a small screen version of The Exorcist that is damned scary but different from the 1973 iconic horror hit. This time around the younger priest does not have a crisis of faith and the older one is suffering a sort of PTSD after a Mexican exorcism goes bad. 

We learn that Father Tomas had (Has?) an eye for the ladies and is a more modern priest. One that believes the dogma that teaches demons are not real but metaphors.

Father Marcus, on the other hand, is old school, albeit a bit on the rough side of it. A priest who is willing to shoot a superior who attempts to stop an exorcism.

Tomas seems to be a nice parochial priest who cares about his flock. He can get stressed but tries to overcome his shortcomings.  Parishioner Angela Rance comes to him and explains she believes a demon is in her house.

The woman has heard noises in the walls and things are being moved about in the house. At first it seems that the eldest daughter Kat may be the focus of this entity. Later it is revealed to be Kat’s kid sister Casey.

Angela’s  father Henry has either Alzheimers or dementia but seems to be in the early stages of the disease.

Father Tomas begins to have dreams, or visions, about Father Marcus performing an exorcism on a young Mexican lad.  The scenes are disturbing. The youngster is covered in boils and spews his teeth out at one point.

Tomas witnesses the battle between Marcus and the demon inside the boy until it reaches a deadly conclusion. The entity twists the child’s head around until his neck snaps. Marcus is beside himself with grief at the boy’s death and his failure.

The two men are obviously meant to work together.  Tomas is given directions on where to find the recovering priest by Henry. The older man enters a trancelike state and tells Ortega the address where Marcus is staying.

Geena Davis as Angela Rance

Angela Rance urges Father Tomas to visit her home and address the issue of the demon. While he is there he and Angela hear noises from upstairs. Tomas goes to investigate and the ladder door leading to the attic falls open.

The priest goes up into the attic to see who is there. Predictably, the light bulb breaks when he turns it on. Tomas then uses his cell phone light to search the attic. The first thing he sees is a silhouette of a young girl.

He calls out Casey’s name and then trips, falling down and dropping his cell phone. He looks up and the shadow is gone.  A rat moving a pile of clothing goes to run off and is killed by something invisible.

A hand shoots out and grabs the dead rodent and Casey then appears. She is pale and floating  and her body acts like a marionette with tangled strings.

The sequence is close to terrifying.

Father Tomas

Angela climbs up into the attic and Casey returns to normal.  When Tomas leaves he house, the girl is watching him from her room.

English director Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Escapist) and show creator Slater deliver some creepy and truly frightening moments in that attic.  They also do a fine job building up the story and creating a feeling of dread.

Daniels and Herrera are perfect in their respective roles and Kasulka, with her morphed facial features and odd movements is scary as hell.

The Exorcist delivers some intense scenes. The sequence where Father Marcus battles the demon is horrific. It is clear that the room reeks of blood and sweat and fear.

Later, in the attic, Casey’s appearance and actions are so disturbing that if the scene had gone on any longer, viewers would be having nightmares afterward.

FOX are to be congratulated for creating a series that is guaranteed to scare the dickens out of anyone. Believing in God or demons is not necessary as the creep factor works on the viewers imaginations brilliantly.

It was interesting, and a nice touch,  having the tubular bells play at the end of the episode.

The Exorcist airs Fridays on FOX. Stop by and check it out, but leave the lights on while watching it.


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