The Exorcist: 2.05 There but for the Grace of God, Go I
There but for the Grace of God, Go I begins moments after the shocking revelation of last week. The presence in the house as made itself known to Andy - obviously, we've all known something has been up for some time. His devastation at learning the truth is heartbreaking. Andy is realising that his grief has become an insular experience, he does it privately, throwing himself into the raising and nurturing of his kids without ever asking for help; suppressing the anger and depressive melancholy to such a point that it has manifested as something else entirely - which as we all know is the very crux of possession, that’s when the evil really takes hold. However, it becomes apparent, the malevolent force has been attacking parents for decades. As Andy forces an overnight camping trip on the gang - anything to get out of the house, Marcus takes Peter (the Fish & Wildlife bloke) up on his offer of an island history lesson and a sail.
Over 60 years have passed since Glen Powell killed his wife and children, his eldest daughter Alice, who was at a slumber party, was spared but only just, as Glen took a length of chain and went in search of his daughter, killing whoever got in his way. Marcus insists on meeting her. Now an old woman, Alice (Christina Jastrzembska) still maintains her father’s innocence, “that wasn’t [my Daddy]" she tells the excommunicated Priest, "it was something that looked like him […] wearing him like a cheap suit.” Marcus believes her because, well duh.
Andy lures his reluctant campers out of the house with the promise of s’mores while his wasp sting continues to itch - anybody suffering with Trypophobia, look away - before a visit from, in Verity’s words, “the creepy annoying Priest”. Tomas tries to convince Rose of what he feels and understandably, she’s rather dismissive which begs the question, why is she still there? It’s somewhat idealistic that a social worker can dedicate so much time to one family. Anyway I digress, Tomas and Marcus reconvene via phone, now they’re both convinced that they have work to do but still need confirmation, which they will get together during daylight hours, right Tomas? Of course, Ortega goes back at night alone, he can’t help himself.
In Antwerp, Belgium, Bennett wants to save Sister Dolores from the evil that is hollowing her out but soon realises he and Mouse have ran out of time, there is nothing left of Dolores and he does what he has to so they can catch their flight to Chicago and the monsters that await them. On his boat, Peter gets Marcus to open up and let go of some of the bad memories and thoughts raging in his head and, for once, defensive Marcus does; from being seven watching his father beating his mother through his childhood as a victim of bullying to the abused and possessed children he has helped and not been unable to save. It is a moving performance from Ben Daniels who rarely gets to range beyond mild annoyance and explosive anger.
The Kims are in the woods sat around a campfire, Selby and Verity the most disgruntled of the group, we learn why his faith is so strong and why she loathes Priests. Caleb and Harper are toasting marshmallows and discussing the Island Witch and barely notice that Truck has wandered off. Unbeknownst to all of them of the “prowler” in their home. As Tomas ambles around the house in the dark, beams of torchlight bouncing off the walls, creaking floorboards and moaning door hinges certainly add to the atmosphere but it’s Tomas’s fear that is the more unsettling and he is absolutely terrified by what has hold of Andy and his family home. Whatever it is starts to effect Truck and suddenly more of the kids are in danger. While at the house, Tomas "lets it in” and the journey into his visions comes thick, fast and brutally. He feels everything, and connects with victims effected by the evil: from the settler family and bloody gunshots to what actually happened at the well as he chokes on water, to the feel of Glen Powell’s length of chain across the face. Poor love.
This episode of The Exorcist becomes a shrewd exploration of male mental health as each of our current male leads face up to some of their demons - although not afforded much screen time this week, even Bennett is able to test his mettle. It's a brilliant chapter in which a(nother) female writer focusses on men and their need to engage, talk and grieve; even ask for help. It makes a refreshing change not least in this kind of set-up. Tomas gets his confirmation, Marcus hears God again and maybe even finds love as he shares a kiss with his fisherman Peter (religious themes, man, they’re everywhere). This force/demon has history and no doubt has grown stronger with each passing decade, one can only hope that the old lion and his cub can battle it and remove Andy, Truck and all those in danger and deliver them from evil.
The Exorcist airs on Syfy UK Wednesdays at 9pm. Season one is available to stream on Amazon Prime.