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TV Review: The Exorcist (Season 1, Episode 3)

EPISODE: CHAPTER 3: LET 'EM IN

THE DISH: Fathers Keane and Ortega show video proof of Casey's possession to their pious higher-ups, but much to their chagrin, aren't given the go ahead to perform an exorcism just yet. 

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW. IF YOU'VE NOT SEEN THIS EPISODE YET, STOP READING HERE!

THE DICE-UP: Happy Friday friends! So what did you think of the third episode of Fox's TV redo of The Exorcist? Honestly, I thought it played as a slight bounce back from last week's oddly disjointed second frame. Anyway, opining to come, first we pick up a flashback to start the episode, one that places us right in the car ride prior to Kat crashing and losing her friend Julia. Turns out they were more than just friends, as the show opens with a bit of a steamy confessional regarding how and what makes the two girls hot for each other. Hotly creepy. Then...WHAMM...bloody asphalt. Back from the credits we find Angela curbside, welcoming a new church higher up, Father Bennett (Kurt Egyiawan) to the papal emissaries. A big day. A barking loon on the street exhorts the devil to come, Angela quips "makes you question the right free speech." Oh religion!

Back the Rance abode, Kat and Casey ready for Julia's memorial service, both of which are dreading it. We'll get back to that in second, because what happens before that directly effects how Casey comports herself. See, after being granted permission to question Casey, Father Ortega brings in Keane to help with the line of questioning. And it's needed, as it's clear Ortega is a complete and total tyro when it comes to exorcism. Keane pokes, he prods, and soon he gets under the demon's skin, and in a visual manifestation, we see the demon who is possessing Casey in the human form of a sleazy older gent she once met a department store. Keane sense the presence, but can't see it. One thing is clear though, Keane drew out the demon in Casey, and for the rest of the episode she acts bat-shit bonkers. This includes scorching her own arm with curling iron, pussing lesions boil up the surface. She then, in the show-stopping finale, brutally eviscerates a an aggressive meat-head-pervert who advances upon her on the subway. She rips, shreds and tears the f*cker to a bloody pile of pulp. Then, reverting back to a little girl, she urinates all over the floor of the subway car. Adorable!

The driving obstacle of the show this time out though was between Keane, Ortega and the newly appointed Father Bennett. Despite giving compelling video evidence of Casey's demonic possession, the two Fathers are not only denied the right to perform an exorcism on the poor girl, Bennett actually threatens to end Keane's career as a priest. Undeterred, he's intent on going behind the backs of the powers that be, but convincing Ortega - the pure of soul and moral center of the show - proves much harder. In fact, Ortega is the kind of dude who would rather serve the impoverished South side of Chicago in equal time to the rich and well off neighborhoods. As it is, the ratio is two hours to a day and half. Not ideal. But to backtrack a bit, before Casey goes absolutely Pazuzu, she attends Julia's memorial with her sister Kat. And does she act a lady? Hardly. One of the silliest notions on this show so far is how inferior looking Casey is, a tomboy, in comparison to the artsy Kat. Hogwash, as anyone with even one eye can see how much more radiant Casey is. So her self-esteem issues, which partly cause her to branch out at the memorial in a way that embarrasses her sister, don't quite sell. 

Bluntly speaking, the best part of the show for me - all three episodes so far - is the way the creators are addressing the real life plight in the city of Chicago, the south side in specific. We know this is a place of abject poverty right now, soaring crime and murder rates, a lot of social and economic disenfranchisement, all of it. So the show is almost calling for the excision of evil in that region - an exorcism - to lift the city out of the darkness and hoist it back into the light. I realize it's an extreme metaphor, but it's an important one. And if it takes a silly horror driven TV show to shed even a modicum of light on the matter, then it's a damn worthy cause. That off the old chest, the other obvious triumph of the show so far is the revelation of Ben Daniels (Keane). This dude is badass, and easily my favorite character so far. Everyone else seems a bit too safe, a bit too cautious, but Keane's a unapologetic warrior of good, even when we can sense he's done bad in the past.  Let's hope we see some devil in the details!

THE EVIL DOING:

  • Casey's demon, the salesman, shows up curbside and lights himself ablaze with a mere thought
  • Casey scolds her own forearm with a curling iron, boils well up
  • Casey eviscerates a dude on the subway, ripping and clawing at his chest until he's a dead red mess

CREEPIEST MOMENT:  It's easy cite the final scene of Casey gorily waylaying the dude as the creepiest, or even that foul and mealy looking salesman. But for some reason, I found the opening sequence both eerie and oddly arousing. Something about hearing Julia speak while only seeing the lower half of her face while the rest was shrouded in darkness. Don't know why, it kind of got me!

LOOKING AHEAD: It will be interesting to see how far Father Keane is willing to illegally go to help the Rances. He's obviously in a compromised position, wanting to do good even if it's technically against law and order, so how he's going to convince Ortega to aide him will be fascinating push and pull. As for Casey, will she continue to be the only Rance daughter possessed. Or is something still in store for Kat? We shall see!

Extra Tidbit: How you feeling about The Exorcist series so far?
Source: AITH

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