After a surprisingly good 10-episode first season, Fox’s TV-series adaptation of Catholic author William Peter Blatty’s “The Exorcist” returns Sept. 29, adding “Star Trek” movie-franchise star John Cho to the cast.
In the season-one finale (which I reviewed here) wayward Father Tomas Ortega (Alfonso Herrera) put on his big-priest pants, renounced his sins and doubts and did spectacular and successful battle with the demon plaguing the Rance family of Chicago. In a fun twist, the mother, Angela (Geena Davis), turned out to be the adult Regan from the original “Exorcist” book and movie — and the demon was the movie’s Captain Howdy in a new form.
While Angela fought the demon in the recesses of her mind, Father Tomas took on the evil both inside his own psyche and in the real world.
As the demon inside Angela said, “Well, then, man of God, let’s see the measure of your conviction.”
After some moral hiccups during the course of the season, Father Tomas measured up at the end — because an exorcist’s faith makes all the difference in the ritual.
Ultimately, Tomas thundered, “The power of Christ compels you!” … while the Rance father and daughters prayed, starting with the Our Father.
At the same time, troubled exorcist Father Marcus Keane (Ben Daniels) managed to save the pope from devotees of evil masquerading as faithful Catholic leaders.
In season two, while the fierce Keane — who had a vision of God at 12 years old — is still fighting demonic forces, it’s no longer as a priest. As he said in the finale, facing possible death, “I’m not dying for the bloody Church; I’m dying for Him.”But he still risked it all to rescue Christ’s Vicar on earth.
Also back is Father David Bennett (Kurt Egyiawan), security liaison from the Vatican, who’s got a new mission.
From the press release:
Opening an entirely new chapter in the iconic franchise, Season Two of THE EXORCIST finds FATHER TOMAS ORTEGA and a newly collarless MARCUS KEANE out of Chicago and on the road, searching out evil.
Across the Atlantic, FATHER BENNETT attempts to weed out those within the Vatican who have turned against God.
Ultimately, Tomas and Marcus are led to ANDREW KIM (John Cho), a former child psychologist who runs a group home for five at-risk foster children on a secluded private island off the coast of Seattle.
When one of the children under Andrew’s care is targeted by a powerful force, the two priests head west, setting themselves on a collision course with Hell.
Like the book and movie before it, “The Exorcist” didn’t make evil look beautiful or sexy or compelling. Those who fought the demon were heroes; those who gave into it were venal and twisted.
I’m eager to see if series creator Jeremy Slater manages to keep the excitement high in Season 2, while continuing to demonstrate that he has more than the usual cursory knowledge of Catholic belief and dogma that we see in TV shows.
Image: Courtesy Fox/Wikimedia Commons