31 Days of Horror 2016: “Lupus In Fabula” on The Exorcist
Last week was the debut of FOX’s new series The Exorcist. Henry and Angela Rance are struggling to raise two daughters, one of whom may be possessed by a demon. So, how did the family fare this week?
This episode begins with Father Marcus recalling his early days as a boy, as he is traveling to see Father Tomas, as we learn later. Marcus had a difficult life. At the age of seven, he witnessed his father murder his mother. As a consequence, the young boy was sent to an orphanage until he was sold to the church. He was only 12 years old when he was forced to confront a demon inhabiting the body of a man. He felt relief in the presence of the restrained beast, as it was then that he realized his life had a purpose.
One night Angela goes into the kitchen and sees Casey alone at the table, talking to herself in a deep voice. Terrified, she uses her tablet to record the scary scene, sending it to Father Tomas for review.
Tomas meets with the bishop, who tells him that his work with the Homeless to Houses project hasn’t gone unnoticed by church officials. When shown the evidence of Casey’s possession, the bishop is unmoved, believing the girl is only in need of therapy. Tomas approaches the subject of exorcism, but he is cautioned that Pope Sebastian is coming to town, and it would be in his best interest to keep the Rance Family issue on the down low.
Angela is at work making arrangements for the papal visit when she receives a strange phone call. Believing the caller might be Casey, she rushes home. No one is there, but the rest of the family return from a quick trip for ice cream. When questioned, her daughter says she didn’t call. Beneath Casey’s discarded cellphone slithers a long-legged creature, a gross pile of which are beneath the teen’s pillow.
Meanwhile, Marcus was travelling to pay Father Tomas a visit. The young priest arrives home to find that Father Marcus has made himself comfortable. Tomas is annoyed that the elder priest showed up unannounced, a week after he left him at St. Aquinas. Marcus tells Tomas there are stages of demonic possession and that he isn’t convinced Tomas will do much more than pass out when faced with a demon. Marcus is aware the church is looking for him, but shows no concern. His smug arrogance and devil may care attitude toward authority is making him my favorite character in the show.
Tomas tells Marcus that he knows that St. Aquinas’s is a place for broken priests. When asked why he was there, Marcus only asks Tomas who Jessica is. He already has some idea, as he read the letters he found in the home. Furious, Tomas insists they were helping each other with languages and nothing more. Marcus suggests that he break off his communication with her, as the demon will use that information and exploit it to its advantage.
Casey gets two unexpected spectators to her lacrosse game. Not only does her reclusive sister Kat sit in the stands, but her demon, in human form, appears as an old man. He sees to it that Casey gets revenge on an opposing player who knocks her to the ground. The other girl ends up flat on her back with a compound leg break.
Afterward, it’s family game night at the Rance home and they are playing Jenga. They seem like a normal family, even Henry is able to play. When Angela gets home late from work, Kat is nasty toward her mother for not being at Casey’s game. It’s revealed that Henry didn’t know Father Tomas visited Kat. (Even if he did know, would he remember, given his condition?) The game ends when Casey pulls a wooden block, the remaining tower slow to crumble, as she glares at her mother.
Soon the Rance Family is at St. Anthony’s, helping to feed those in need. Angela tells Tomas that Casey’s condition is worsening, but he tells her they will talk later. In desperation, Angela fills her plastic bottle with holy water, unaware she is being observed by Father Marcus. He steps out from hiding to give her tips on how to administer the holy water to her daughter.
Eager to meet Casey, Marcus cuts in the food line and makes small talk as he is being served. The weird guy watching the church in the first episode tells Casey that he knows her and that because she was chosen, he wants to touch her. Marcus intervenes, wrestling him away from the shaken girl. There’s something in the strange man’s rambling that causes Marcus to flash back to his first demonic encounter.
Tomas meets with Jessica who, despite being married, makes a pass at the young priest. He rebuffs her, and she leaves, but I don’t think that’s the last we’ve seen of her.
Marcus encounters a possessed homeless woman. The demon tells him they no longer fear him, and guess what? The power of Christ didn’t compel it to leave the woman. Perhaps Marcus has lost his touch, as he realizes there are more demons around than the one terrorizing The Rance Family.
Casey drinks her spiked water at dinner. It seems to have no effect on her until she privately vomits green nasty stuff, along with one of the critters previously found under her pillow. Is this the updated version of pea soup?
Outside studying, Casey is approached by her demon in human form, although it’s unclear if she knows his identity. Henry only sees his daughter talking to herself from the window.
At the end of the episode, the boy who had been seen riding his bike throughout the show returns home to be slaughtered with the rest of his family. The attackers flee with body parts stored in coolers, with the guy from the church who wanted to touch Casey in tow. The news reports that nine people were stabbed to death, believed to be gang related. The last image is a poster announcing the papal visit.
There’s more than one demon at work here. Are they working overtime because Pope Sebastian is coming to town? Is Casey a target because Angela is involved with the visit? I can’t wait until next week when Marcus meets The Rance Family.