The mysterious plotline involving the pope’s arrival (and potential assassination) ended in a very disappointing finale for The Exorcist’s first season. For weeks, the show inferred something mysterious and intense was coming with the Catholic Church’s top dog. All the posters of the pope’s silhouette and Father Simon’s secret meetings culminated in a brief scene that never saw the pope leave his car. And Father Simon’s big plan? He just walked up to the car and tapped on the window before his throat was brutally slashed by Marcus. Yep, that was it.
A few weeks ago, I praised the potential of this storyline. With the story of the Rance family winding down I thought this could propel the show to something more than just an extended remake of the movie. But oh, how terribly wrong I was. Not only was the plan and motivations stupid to begin with, but the story surrounding it was never fully developed. The best part of the whole thing was when all the people waiting for the pope started to bleed from their eyes and going deaf from a loud ringing. I’m still not sure what that was, but it was entertaining to watch. If the show wants to have multiple seasons it needs to develop better stories, something more than just little girls being possessed by demons. The show tried this season but it never worked.
What the finale did do, was reaffirm what the season was really about, the Rance family. Angela’s possessed state the last few episodes was the result of Captain Howdy/Pazuzu (the demon) finally getting what he’s always wanted. I must give the show credit for doing a good job of incorporating its source material. The show could have easily gone in its own direction, but it knew you couldn’t build off one of the great horror movies without embodying the original. This week we saw Angela/Regan/Pazuzu torture her family, first by choking Casey, then threatening Kat with a hammer, and finally attempt to rip Henry’s arms off. When watching a show about evil demons, this is the kind of stuff you want to see.
Meanwhile, Father Tomas was passed out in the corner after being thrown into the ceiling by the possessed Angela. She then put a knife in his hand and sent him into a hallucinated state that saw him questioning who he really was and whether it was worth living for. This was pure torture for him. A faux Marcus was there telling him his grandmother died slow and painfully in her bed while cats ate her face (ya, it was pretty gruesome). Whether the faux Marcus was Pazuzu in disguise or his own mind creating motivation to wake up is unknown, but it worked. He came out of his tortures state finally knowing who he was. He was an exorcist who saw God. He then exorcised Angela and freed the Rance family from the grips of the demon (for now).
This whole encounter was a great end for the Rance family and Father Tomas. Out of the many characters this show introduced to us in the first season, Father Tomas was the most interesting and best developed. He went from a promising but deeply flawed young priest to someone with a real identity. The Exorcist hasn’t done a very good job with character development, but Father Tomas was an exception. I never thought I would find myself actually rooting for one of these characters, but by the end, I wanted the best for him.
In general, The Exorcist wasn’t a very good show, but it wasn’t a total waste of time. There were parts that I actually saw myself getting invested in. Father Tomas and Marcus were great characters and were at the center of the show’s best moments. Visually, the show was also well done and that was on full display in the finale. There’s nothing better than seeing a lady with no face and people bleeding out of their orifices. I don’t know if The Exorcist will get a second season, but if it does it will be interesting to see where the show goes from here. It will need to tell a better story than just killing the pope and will the Rance family still be involved? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.