Fox’s The Exorcist is now seven episodes in and it’s pretty clear what problems it has. The show took one of the best horror movies of all time and attempted to spread it out over an entire television season. Because of this, episodes either end up uninteresting or full of unfocused filler. This week we saw a heavy dose of both.
This episode focused heavily on Angela Rance as she struggled to cope with her missing daughter and increased harassment from the public. She blames herself for what happened to Casey and it led her to a nervous meltdown as her entire family painfully watched. What’s worse is Father Tomas kept her daughter’s whereabouts a secret for much of the episode so we were forced to see her depressed and full of self-pity. Normally I would understand why Father Tomas kept Casey’s existence a secret (they were trying to save her life), but Angela is one of the most annoying and uninspiring characters and this just made it worse. Geena Davis is not right for this role, and even if they had a better actress, I still don’t think the character would improve.
Beside the moping family, we also got a lot of Father Tomas this week. Another character that offers very little, Father Tomas spent most of the episode struggling with whether to tell the Rance family about Casey or let Father Marcus continue with the exorcism. We saw him either consoling Angela, sleeping with Jessica, or picking fights in the pharmacy, none of which was interesting.
To distract us from the slow-moving story about Casey, we also get to follow Father Bennett as he prepared for the arrival of the Pope. This week he started to dig deeper into the “party” he attended last week and got himself into things he shouldn’t have. Bennett wound up in a poorly lit basement (the one with the incinerator from last week) full of demons and dead bodies. Aside from its predictability, it was cool to see Father Bennett fight off two demons with some UFC moves and a knife, but I still wouldn’t consider it scary, or even thrilling. I know this storyline will come to fruition soon, but right now it just feels like a distraction. The little teases we get each week don’t justify the slow buildup of this storyline.
If there is one redeeming aspect of this show, it is Ben Daniels and his portrayal of Father Marcus, and this week we saw him at his best. We saw Father Marcus attempt to rescue Casey in the lake last week, but her close call with death woke him up. Father Marcus showed a new connection with God in this episode while he faced a dilemma on whether to continue to try and save Casey or just put her out of her misery. Father Marcus is the only character in this show you can remotely feel for. His passion for her and what he knows he can do is clear and he feels he has a responsibility to save her.
Father Marcus also gave us two great lines this week which cemented him as the show’s best character. The first one came while he was talking to Father Tomas about his relationship with God and Casey where he said:
“God is not some big fluffy border collie that comes running every time you snap your finger. He does what he damn well pleases.”
The second one was even better. This one came during an argument between him and Mother Bernadette about Casey and what to do with her. Mother Bernadette asked Marcus why God allows people to suffer and he responds with:
“I don’t know, so university freshman got something to argue about in the dormitories.”
These two lines and Father Marcus in general, are some of the only personality this show has. The Exorcist has struggled to create compelling characters that would make this appointment television. It’s a shame too but goes to show not everything needs a “remake”. The show lacks depth and hasn’t adequately expanded on its source material.