All is not well in the Rance household. The demon is back inside Angela and is quietly sewing seeds of uneasiness within the other members of the family. This is easily the most Angela-centric episodes we’ve gotten so far. Unfortunately, this isn’t the real Angela. On the upside, Geena Davis gets to play a menacingly dark character, and she does it damn well.
“162” is part one of two-part season finale. The demon inside Angela is actually referred to by name in this episode, firmly establishing that we are dealing with Pazuzu from the original movie and not some imposter demon messing with everyone. Not that we had much doubt about who we were dealing with in the first place. Pazuzu, now in control, is taking a victory lamp around Chicago. Before getting right down to business with the Pope’s visit, he wants to take sweet vengeance upon those who tried to get rid of him, starting with Mother Bernadette and the sisters.
The scene between Pazuzu and Mother Bernadette is probably the tensest one in the episode. Mother Bernadette knew right away who she was speaking with, and even broke her vow of silence to tell Pazuzu that she should have killed him when she had the chance. With a smile and a few more gloating words, Pazuzu slit the mother’s throat and then moved on to the rest of the convent.
At the same time, the Rances are noticing little changes within Angela. Most of all Casey. When not consumed by the traumas caused by Pazuzu’s possession, she sees a little bit of the demon inside her mother. Most of all when she and Angela have a “heart to heart” about what it felt like to be possessed. Casey’s sentiments echoes her mother’s when she first described to Chris how she felt after Pazuzu was cast out the first time. This time, however, Angela’s description of her feelings towards being possessed felt almost verbatim what Pazuzu has said to Casey about eventually giving into the “pleasure” of the demon taking over. The final straw for Casey is when she subtly catches Pazuzu about to molest a sleeping Kat. She smartly doesn’t let on that she has figured it out, until the following night when she and Kat resolve to take their father and escape. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go as planned.
Pazuzu reveals that Angela is no longer with us. The very moment she lost complete control was when she made a deal with the devil just before he broke Casey’s neck in the previous episode. Yup. Pazuzu is fully integrated with Angela. He’s taken over, free to walk the mortal world relatively undetected, while Angela’s soul is likely stuck somewhere in a special part of Hell.
Meanwhile, Marcus picks up where Father Bennett left off. No one knows what happened to him, not even the viewer (he’s not dead until we see a body, that’s generally the rule). Marcus’ best guess is that the Friars of Ascension took him and is holding him captive somewhere, torturing information out of him. If that’s the case, then the Friars would know about him and the Regos and what they’re doing. Whether they eventually got the information from Bennett or not (he never shows up in this episode), the Friars do know about them.
The Regos, the quirky couple who have been so eager to help Marcus and Bennett just because the notion of a demon-led conspiracy excited and interested them, were the first to go. The head demon, Brother Simon, leading the welcoming party for the Vatican notices the Regos, who have been following the Friars’ movements for some time. A little later, they’re killed off screen. Marcus is the one to find their bodies after they send an urgent message with a picture of Brother Simon (with his demon eye showing) attached.
After also discovering Mother Bernadette and the sisters all dead, Marcus pays a visit to Brother Simon. A few dunks in holy bathtub water squeezes out some vital information — Simon is responsible for the Regos’ murder, Angela Rance killed the nuns, and the Friars’ plan to have a disgraced priest assassinate the Pope during his parade through Chicago tomorrow. Marcus is then ambushed by exiled priests who joined order and taken captive. While Marcus is bound and gagged, Simon then reveals that the Friars once approached Pope Francis years before he ascended to the Catholic Church’s highest rank, known as Bergoglio back then. Bergoglio dismissed the order and turned them away. I imagine the Friars took great offense to this, and sought to get back at him ever since. By the looks of things, it seems Simon plans to force a demon into Marcus so he can be the order’s fall guy. We won’t know until next week.
Meanwhile, Father Tomas is oblivious to everything that’s currently going on. Marcus has never let him in on his conspiracy hunt, so Father Tomas naturally turns his attention back onto his church and other church-y affairs. First, Bishop Egan reveals that the diocese is closing St. Anthony’s because of low attendance and lack of funds to keep it running, despite the slowly-but-surely growing numbers. As for Father Tomas, Bishop Egan is promoting him to a better, wealthier church in another part of town. Shocked, Father Tomas is compelled to confess to Bishop Egan about his affair with Jessica. He feels undeserving of such a promotion, but at the same time, he doesn’t want to abandon St. Anthony’s and the faithful few still attending. Before he can actually get the words out, however, Bishop Egan let’s Tomas know that he is already aware of his little indiscretion. Jessica’s husband made good on his threat to tell the Bishop, but Egan waves it off as practically nothing. They’ve dealt with worse. He goes on to say that Tomas’ promotion has been in the works anyway. Whether Tomas accepts his promotion or not, St. Anthony’s is going to close either way.
So while everything in the episode is going on, Tomas mostly stays in his office making preparations to at least take his staff and parishioners with him to the new church. He does manage a visit to the Rances’, however. They all have dinner together on the first night Casey returns from the hospital. Afterwards, he has a talk with Henry. Henry reveals to Tomas that he’s been hearing a cacophony of voices in his head since the accident that left him brain damaged. Sometimes they’re just a bunch of voices talking all at once about nothing in particular. But sometimes, they all say the same thing over and over. The first incident (that we see) was when Henry told Tomas about where to find Marcus. Now the voices are repeating the same three numbers: 162. Neither of them know what this number means, it doesn’t hold any significance whatsoever. That is, until Tomas sees his assistant holding Chris McNeil’s memoir with a red feather inside of it. He flips to page 162 of the book which has a passage describing how Chris has always suspected that the demon will never let go of Regan/Angela, and that he will come back for her.
It’s in this moment that Tomas took Henry’s numbers as a warning: The demon is back and it has Angela. He barges into the Rance house and confronts Pazuzu just as he is choking the life out of Casey in front of Henry and Kat.
Next week is part two of the season finale. All the set pieces will be in place, and we’ll (hopefully) get to see who wins and who loses. This season has been unexpectedly great, which is saying a lot of a Friday night television adaptation of a movie that turned out to be a direct sequel. On Fox, no less.
- I wish we had more time with Detective Lawrence. He knows something is amiss with what’s happening with the Rances, but Superintendent Jaffey keeps c*ck-blocking his thought process.
- Watching Angela/Pazuzu basically showing how big, bad, and powerful she is to the rest of the Friars was a cool moment.
- Pazuzu tells Maria Walters that she will never be picked because she wreaks of “desperation and mediocrity.” Ouch.
- Possessed Angela is one snazzy dresser. Her clothes are darker yet tighter and form-fitting. Her lipstick is a few shades darker too.
- “This is not a tantrum. This is a victory lap.”
- The Regos really didn’t comprehend what they were dealing with, did they?