“Time to give the people what they want.”
It’s been a tumultuous journey for the Rance/McNeil clan, and it feels as though it’s finally coming to an end with the conclusion of Casey’s eight-episode long possession. It seemingly ends with good conquering evil, and it feels like the practice of exorcism feels like it has legitimate weight for once.
Marcus, Father Tomas, Mother Bernadette, and Angela team up together for one final showdown with Pazuzu. We viewers get all the iconic visuals befitting an exorcism — floating furniture, levitation, Pazuzu slamming Casey’s body up and down the stone altar, demonic irises, and even 360 head turn…sort of. Pazuzu begins turning Casey’s head like he did with Reagan 40 years ago, but as we’ve seen with the possessed boy in Mexico City, a broken neck would have most definitely been in Casey’s immediate future if Angela hadn’t stopped her.
It’s worth noting that the show intentionally has been taking steps to set itself apart from the first movie. The Rances aren’t about to fall into the same exact pattern Pazuzu put Reagan through decades earlier. Through a mixture of professed love and earnest and the renewed spiritual fervor of the priests praying over her, the demon is cast out of Casey’s body. The nightmare is over and the family can start over (by running off to Canada or Venezuela because Casey is still technically wanted by the police for killing two people).
Then again, this is still a horror series. Evil is never really done messing with you.
The most immediate danger of the season has been resolved, leaving room for all of the other plot lines to develop into one giant problem for the city of Chicago. Marcus can now focus on the bigger problem concerning the Pope’s arrival. Tomas’ infidelities with Jessica takes its next logical step. Angela can look forward to becoming the kind of mother for Casey that Chris wasn’t for her. Except…
Pazuzu is now inside Angela. While packing up the house alone, Angela and Chris are having a conversation about what’s next. Angela’s tone becomes more vulgar and hostile towards Chris. Momma McNeil doesn’t figure out her daughter has been possessed again until it’s too late. Seconds later, Angela/Pazuzu snaps Chris’ neck and throws her down a flight of stairs. Now that Pazuzu is inside his true target, I wonder what he plans to do now other than torment Angela/Reagan. We’re in the early stages of a demonic possession, where everyone just thinks the victim is just moody, depressed, or whatever. For right now, Pazuzu is free to roam the city. Free to rally the many demons hiding in the shadows of Chicago’s streets. Free to assist whatever plot the Friars of Ascension are cooking up upon the Pope’s arrival.
The sudden death of Chris McNeil is a statement on a couple levels. She was a big connection to the original film, as well as a thematic mirror image of Angela who is now going through the same horror Chris went through when young Reagan was possessed. Killing effectively ends the original story and all the familiar territory we trod in the first half of the season. Now we’re in unfamiliar territory, and there’s nothing scarier than the unknown.
Meanwhile, Father Bennett is way too close to uncovering the conspiracy enveloping the show. You know what happens to the first person who gets too close before the narrative is ready to reveal it? They DIE. But not before whistleblowing to the authorities. He and the Rego couple anonymously notify the cops about the dead bodies in the Tattersal building. This eventually leads to the cops uncovering a conspiracy to assassinate the Pope. While this news is cycling on TV, Bennett is relaying the finer details of the conspiracy to his superior (until I find out otherwise, I’m assuming Bennett’s boss is a Cardinal). He knows something is up with the Friars of Ascension, and that Church leaders and other influential members of society are a part of the organization. Unfortunately for Bennett, the Cardinal is in on the conspiracy too…
He better not be dead. Bennett is one of the few people on this show who has some real sense. But he’s a black character in a horror series, and they put a significant amount of emphasis on the black police detective, currently a minor character. I would like to think that the Cardinal’s goons just knocked out Bennett. He still need the names of those helping him, after all.
- Marcus is gay. Cool! Even though he’s technically no longer a priest, and therefore is not beholden to its laws, the poor guy is still denying himself a much-needed hookup with the cute guy who was smiling at him from across the bar.
- Jessica’s husband Jim discovers his wife’s affair with Father Tomas and threatens to expose him. I wondered if Tomas would learn any real lesson. I was beginning to think the affair was just framing Tomas’ existential crisis.
- The Friars of Ascension have been looking to recruit Tomas for a while. I wonder if they’ll use the young priest’s impending downfall to fold him into their ranks.
- Pazuzu transports Angela to the past where Reagan is introduced to her “imaginary friend,” Captain Howdy. At first I thought Pazuzu/The Salesman/Capt. Howdy froze the scene to concentrate on talking to Angela. Actually, we’re still seeing the memory in real time. Reagan is sitting motionless because the demon is already possessing her.