Now I haven’t seen the original The Exorcist but by now, everybody kind of knows what it’s about. This isn’t the first time TV has dealt with the idea of exorcisms this year as a little show called Outcast, created by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, on Cinemax earlier this Summer. Outcast was my favorite new show this year because it had a lot more liberty, being on Cinemax. While the title of this show may imply a reboot, it merely introduces the idea of exorcists and exorcism (at least so far). This may not be a fair comparison but think of this as an Outcast-lite since it is on network TV on FOX.
The shows starts off with a priest named Marcus Keane (Ben Daniels) who looks to be either walking to or walking away from something. What was/is he doing? This leads to a very sinister looking and sounding title sequence. Marcus’ darker nature is contrasted with another priest named Tomas Ortega (Alfonso Herrera). He is performing a pretty regular sermon. As he is saying goodbye to everyone at the end, he sees a mysterious man up in the distance. This set the tone for the rest of the episode and probably the whole series.
During this sequence, we are also introduced to the Rance family, Angela (Geena Davis), Henry (Alan Ruck), and their daughter Casey (Hannah Kasulka). They believe that the church is important as it is a place one can go to for help. All is not right in the Rance family, however, as Henry suffers from cognitive problems and since coming back home from college after losing a friend in a car accident, their other daughter Katherine (Brianne Howey) has been acting strangely. Not only that but Angela begins to hear things from within the walls of her house.
We go back to Marcus who is greeted by another priest who came from Rome. We learn that he has been disobeying orders by remaining in Mexico City to assist a boy possesed by an evil spirit. This other priest believes that this is a lost cause but Marcus is determined to help him despite this other priest’s opposition. We soon see the boy in question and he obviously is in trouble. He quickly goes from innocent to demonic on a dime, forcing Marcus into action.
For some reason Tomas is there and he is horrified by what he is seeing. He doesn’t quite understand what is going on as he sees the boy go into full on demon mode while Marcus is performing an exorcism on him. The problem for Tomas is that nobody seems to be able to see or hear him. We soon learn that this was all a dream. Tomas can’t stop dreaming about the same incident which ends with Gabriel being killed by the demon. This kills Marcus’ spirit.
Fearing for her family, Angela approaches Tomas and asks him to help her. Tomas is skeptical that her problems are due to a demon but he decides to still see her house. As soon as this happens, more weird things start to happen. Are they because of him, Angela, or both? When Tomas interrogates Katherine, she is defensive and attributes all of it to her mother losing her mind.
After Henry somehow gives him a message about Marcus, Tomas begins to look into him. After research into him and exorcisms, Tomas finds Marcus. When Tomas confronts Marcus about his dreams, we learn that these events happened 18 months previously. Marcus doesn’t believe him but after Tomas shares important details, Marcus is more convinced. Marcus believes that there may be something there but with his spirit broken, Marcus tries to steer him away from pursuing this further. Marcus questions God and his purpose for him.
With that, Tomas decides to go back to the Rance house. He tells a story to Angela about him questioning his relationship with God and realizes that his purpose is to help her family. After hearing a strange noise, Tomas investigates the attic. We see a rat that dies under strange circumstances and then we see a possessed looking Casey who attacks Tomas. Once Angela gets up there and turns on the light, everything appears normal again. Nobody seems to question why she was in the attic in the first place. Tomas leaves and as he looks back, Casey stares back at him through the window. Angela may not see the extent to which things are but Tomas knows. Marcus changes his mind and as the classic Exorcist music starts playing, we see him seemingly preparing his exorcism kit to come and help Tomas and the Rances.
Overall, this was a very exciting episode with some great tension and great performances. Sure there maybe wasn’t that much horror as a lot of this episode was set up but it will come if next week’s preview is any indication.