Keep your rosaries close. FOX’s series premiere of ‘The Exorcist’ definitely left an impression on us.
When I first discovered that a television adaptation of The Exorcist was going to be made, I was a bit skeptical. Let’s just say that the 1970’s original film is a cult classic and that I was unsure if FOX’s adaptation would live up to the name. However, after viewing the series premiere, I can without a doubt say: Boy was I wrong. Not only is The Exorcist a fresh take on a classic film, but the show in itself is completely different in its own great way. Combined with the pilot’s excellent acting, intriguing characters and unique storyline, The Exorcist is definitely a show to look out for this fall.
To start, the series stars Geena Davis as Angela Rance, the head of the Rance family, her husband, and two daughters Casey (Hannah Kasulka) and Katherine (Brianne Howey) who experience the effects of a demonic possession in their home. In the pilot “Chapter One: And Let My Cry Come Unto Thee,” several aspects of this idea were introduced. We got to meet Father Tomas (Alfonso Herrera) and Father Marcus (Ben Daniels), as well as the Rance family household. And, with Father Tomas experiencing dreams of a previous exorcism Father Marcus failed at, mixed with Angela trying to convince someone that her daughter is possessed by a demon, the pilot leaves viewers at the edge of their seats. From the very start, those who watch will feel the suspense and tension in every scene.
Overall, The Exorcist was a pretty solid pilot. Want to know what else went down? Keep reading to follow along on what stood out to us the most:
Backstory: “You’re being manipulated my friend, by dark forces…”
One of the first things that stood out while watching the pilot was that the writer Jeremy Slater gave a generous amount of backstory so that the plot could be introduced correctly. For the most part, most new shows introduce a plot quickly and that can be confusing to viewers first tuning in. However, with The Exorcist, the plot was introduced rather slowly- which was great. The first episode was timed perfectly, allowing new fans of The Exorcist and thrillers in general, to understand what was happening at all times.
So with that, let’s get into the juicy stuff. Beginning with Angela Rance’s backstory, we enjoyed how the pilot portrayed her as sort of insane. Throughout the entirety of the episode, Angela believes that there are “voices inside the walls,” and that these voices are haunting her family. To top it off, she believes her eldest daughter Katherine is being possessed by a demon because her attitude is now completely different after coming home from college. That’s a pretty big assumption, right? Yet, what was even more interesting about this idea was that fans never heard any voices or saw any reason that would lead us to believe that there was actually a demon possessing Angela’s daughter. It isn’t until the end of the episode (which I’ll get into later!) that we finally see evidence that Angela was indeed sort of right all along.
Secondly, we enjoyed watching the backstories of Father Tomas and Father Marcus unravel on-screen. We are introduced to Father Tomas, a priest at Saint Anthony’s Church, from the start of the episode. He seems kind, loving, and incredibly strong, despite knowing so little about him. However, as the pilot moves forward, the story behind Father Tomas gets a little creepy. And by creepy, it’s absolutely terrifying. Within minutes, the pilot jumps into the terrifying dreams and flashbacks Father Tomas had been having about an exorcism. In his dreams, he sees Father Marcus (whom he has never met) performing an exorcism on a young boy in Mexico. Honestly, the most startling idea was the fact that Father Tomas was dreaming about someone he did not know in the slightest way. Literally, how was this possible? Well, the answer became pretty apparent by the end of the pilot. After Father Tomas found out where Father Marcus was staying (thanks to the help of Angela’s husband Henry), he asked Father Marcus to assist him in determining if there truly was a demon possessing Katherine. In response, Father Marcus hesitantly tells Tomas this chilling response:
“God for future reference isn’t the one who works in mysterious ways. You’re being manipulated my friend, by dark forces that you can’t even begin to understand.”
So, clearly, viewers learn pretty fast how serious of an issue this demonic possession is in the Rance’s home. Viewers can to see how frightened Father Marcus is about Father Tomas’ dreams based on his warnings and the fear in his eyes. However, by the end of the pilot, we see Father Marcus pack up his things and head out the door with his hat and bag.We can only assume that this means Father Tomas and Marcus will be working together soon. I can’t wait!
Lastly, the only backstories we have not seen are the stories of Henry, Angela’s husband, and her two daughters Casey and Katherine. We are curious to see how these next few episodes play out and can only hope that the writers included their backstories too.
The Likeability Factor
Another aspect of the pilot that really stood was how likable every actor was. From Angela to Father Marcus, everyone never missed a beat. In particular, Alfonso Herrera, who plays Father Tomas, really caught my eye throughout the episode. In the first scene of the pilot, we are introduced to Father Tomas giving a sermon to a group of people at his church. He only spoke for a few minutes, yet in the moments he was talking, I had the biggest smile on my face. Literally everything from his accent, smile, and soothing voice made me want to keep watching the show. Was that just me?! Through the entirety of the episode, my mind was focused so much on him and his excellent acting!
Also, can we talk discuss how Alfonso is a Latino actor playing a lead role? Yes!?! The Exorcist is on a large network and having a Latino actor in the main role really sends a great message to Hispanic and POC fans who are watching. Diversity is such an important issue, especially in terms of representation on screen, and the fact that FOX has put a person of color in the forefront of a series as big as this is amazing.
The unexpected twist and it’s totally creepy.
Do we even have to say that we never saw the twist at the end coming? Well, we never saw the twist at the end coming. As we know, Angela tried to convince Father Tomas that her daughter Katherine was possessed by a demon. This assumption naturally led almost all of us to pay close attention to the way Kat acted, spoke, and displayed herself to the public. From the way she spoke to her mom, to her evil-sounding laugh at Father Tomas in the bedroom scene, and the fact that she stayed in her room all day, all led us to believe Angela was right.
However, the writers definitely wanted to grab our attention with the whole possession of one daughter idea, and they did just that. We learn in the last moments of the episode that Casey is, in fact, the one who is possessed— not Katherine. In a scene taken place in the Rance’s attic, Father Tomas goes to look for the cause of strange noises coming from the room. Yet, as he climbs the stairs, he sees a dead rat and Casey standing with her back turned to him looking completely distorted. Her whole body looks terrifyingly overtaken by an incredible source of evil, and for whatever reason, this evil wanted to attack Father Tomas. But, before any harm could come, Angela unknowingly saves him by coming up the ladder to the attic. It is here where normalcy returns. Crazy right? BTW— did you all hear what Casey told Father Tomas after she tried to hurt him?!
“We should get some traps. Don’t they say, where’s there’s one, there’s probably a whole bunch?” – Casey
Totally creepy. Does this mean there are more than just one possession in the Rance’s family? Perhaps it’s Henry, Katherine, or even Angela. In the end, we applaud creator Jeremy Slater, director Rupert Wyatt, and the rest of the team, for giving fans a twist that was completely unexpected and not boringly cliché. *Round of applause!*
Final Verdict: With only a few minor issues, The Exorcist is a show to keep on your radar.
When thinking of The Exorcist, only a few negative aspects come to mind. Overall, we give the show an A- because it was a solid pilot as a whole. However, because the pilot does have a few faults, its grade is lower. Although the plot and focus of The Exorcist were clear and concise, there was most definitely a bit more to give. We still don’t know much about Angela’s daughters Casey and Katherine beside the fact that they are sisters who sometimes fight. However, with the last scene showing Father Marcus leaving with his hat and bag, we believe that viewers will absolutely see more of their characters and that this will be resolved. We are also wondering, why did no one explain what Henry’s condition was?
Despite these minor faults, The Exorcist was surprisingly good. The storyline of the series really caught our attention, and with the show’s great acting, in particular, Alfonso Herrera’s Father Tomas and solid writing from Slater, the show really did surpass expectations. It was truly a terrifying horror series, and we believe fans of horror or thrillers, in general, will love the show. Or if you’re just curious about what’s going on, you should keep watching and join us in our Four Episode Challenge! We are excited to see what’s next and what will happen to the Rance family’s troubles with this demon. What did you guys think of the pilot?
Questions and Comments:
- Why is Alonso Herrera so damn likable? I adored him from the second he was on screen & that says a lot about the great casting of the show.
- The excellent acting from each cast member was a joy to see. Not many shows have actors that all are good at what they do.
- There doesn’t seem to be much music in the show, but it isn’t needed. The eerie sound effects perfectly match the dark tone of the show.
- I hope we learn more about Angela’s husband, Henry and his condition.
- The transitions between scenes in Mexico and Chicago were seamless.
- The exorcism of the young boy in Mexico was terrifying.
- On a side note, I kind of think it’s hilarious that the demon had an English accent.
- I loved the reference to the original Exorcist film in the scene where Father Tomas was researching about demons.
- “I’m looking for the answer.” “Are you sure you have the right question?”
- How could that blind man see Father Tomas, even though he’s…blind? I’m scared already.
- That TWIST. I’m upset that the pilot had me thinking the older sister was possessed when it really was the younger one. Sneaky little things…