The Exorcist — There But For The Grace Of God, Go I — Review

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After having a week break, The Exorcist was back with an episode that was well worth the wait! “There But For The Grace Of God, Go I” is the mid-season point for The Exorcist Season Two and it is an episode worthy of the big screen. Excuse the language, but holy shit The Exorcist is fantastic this season. I am a big fan of the first season, and my love of the original franchise makes me a harsh critic overall. The Exorcist Chapter Two has blown me away from the premiere episode. The Exorcist franchise is easily one of the most widely recognized so anything that ties itself to that universe needs to respect it’s origin and stay true to the nature of the original. Jeremy Slater and the creative crew behind The Exorcist television show clearly respect the original story while creating their own little niche within it. “There But For the Grace of God, Go I” not only deserves to be viewed on the big screen, it is the second most terrifying thing in The Exorcist franchise. Second only to the original film itself. Seeing as this is only the mid-season episode, I think we’re in for one hell of a ride on the back half of this season.

One of the things that I am absolutely loving this season is the mystery surrounding it all. Though some of us had our suspicions about Grace, myself included, the reveal of her true nature in “One For Sorrows” was stunningly done. Each week gets better than the last and each week we are left with more to discuss and question, nothing is as clear cut as it seems. There are clues and hints within each episode that if you re-watch you’re bound to pick up on. But the creative team behind Season Two has us all second guessing our theories and original assumptions, something that hasn’t been seen in horror on television until this fall. There is something really creepy about little kids, especially in horror or ghost stories, and Amelie Eve (Grace) has been nothing short of terrifying so far this season. Her portrayal of Grace deserves some kind of award and I sincerely hope that she gets the recognition she deserves from this role. But it’s not just adorably ominous Grace that deserves mention here, every single week the entire cast proves themselves over and over again. From the stellar acting, intense writing, beautiful camera work, horrifying practical and digital effects, and uneasiness that the soundtrack build, The Exorcist is without a doubt one of the best overall shows on television right now. Fox really has something special with this show and it branches out well beyond the “horror” genre stereotype.

Image Credit: Sergei Bachlakov/Fox

“There But for the Grace of God, Go I” is an interesting title choice for this episode, with it’s origin being a proverb with pretty specific meaning; recognition that others’ misfortune could be one’s own, if it weren’t for the blessing of the Divine, or for one’s luck. Or humankind’s fate is in God’s hands. Unfortunately for our beloved characters things get pretty bad this episode. Father Bennett and Mouse take the back burner this week, though I imagine their story will burst forward in the coming episodes. Having tapped out all the information they can from Sister Dolores, Mouse decides to hunt a bigger fish in the demon filled cesspool that is taking over the church. There was nothing left of Sister Dolores, but her body is finally put to rest and freed from the demon within as Mouse and Bennett kill her with holy water to the heart. If they want to make some real progress in stopping the corruption within the church, they need to go for more powerful demons. So they’re off to Chicago to find Maria and hopefully make some real progress in this demonic war.  I am so happy that Maria will be back this season, she was a stand out character for me last year there is clearly a lot more to her than what we learned in season one. I can’t wait to see how season two uses her character and her strange backstory to thread it’s way into the story.

The real entertainment this week focused on the island where the Kim foster home is. Andy is finally starting to realize that darling Grace isn’t actually there. Though he isn’t connecting her with any kind of demonic force, and instead thinks she’s a manifestation of his grief over Nicole. After seeing her room change from Grace’s bedroom, to art studio, back to Grace’s bedroom all while Verity questions him on who Grace is, Andy decides he is losing his mind. It’s a special day in his history, the anniversary of when he asked Nicole to marry him. So he decides that the best thing for everyone, is to get out of the house and take a camping trip. Though Rose isn’t convinced at first that it’s a great idea, and not all the kids seem to be on board, they do end up agreeing to go. Grace popping up all over the house and physically marking him with a weird rash probably helped solidify that decision. In a scene that will terrify most and trigger those with trypophobia, Andy’s rash turns into small holes in the skin and a wasp crawls out and up his face. Grace isn’t happy about this camping trip and she wants Andy to know it.

Image Credit: Sergei Bachlakov/Fox

Marcus ad Father Tomas split ways this week, something that I don’t think is for the greater good. Tomas does his best to convince Rose that something is wrong in the house and their presence is needed. But Rose is just not having it, it’s taken this long to get Harper to the point where she doesn’t think possession is part of her, so having two priests come in and try and cleanse the house won’t be good for her well-being. But Rose shouldn’t be so hasty in her dismissal. It’s like she’s magically forgotten the nightmare from a few nights before and the fear she felt with the shadow figure coming after her. Let’s not forget that Grace is just as unhappy with Rose’s presence in the house as she is Harper. Luckily Tomas doesn’t really take her dismissal to heart and after an interesting call from Marcus,he ventures back in the night only to find the house empty. Grace’s presence in the house draws him upstairs and into “her room”, which really looks like Nicole’s art studio. In one of the coolest shots I’ve even seen on tv, Tomas tries to get the demon to show itself. Grace grabs his hand and takes him through the history of the island and it’s presence there. See the island itself has quite the history, which Marcus found out earlier in the day via Peter. Tomas is shown and experiences many of the evil acts that haven taken place on this island and through those experiences finds a strange rock within the room. I only point this out because I think it will be something of great significance in future episodes.

Image Credit: Sergei Bachlakov/FoX

Image Credit: Sergei Bachlakov/Fox

Meanwhile, the camping trip isn’t going that great for the Kim family. Andy confronts Rose in the woods and he tries to tell her that he isn’t okay. She doesn’t brush him off, but validates that his grieve is normal. When he tries to tell her about Grace, she appears and the rash on his chest flares up, keeping him quiet. Grace decides that this camping trip is too boring and wants to have a bit of fun, she appears by the camp fire and slowly walks among the other kids, picking a target. It’s the worst game of eenie, meanie, miney, mo that I’ve ever had to witness. She decides on Truck as a target and he goes wandering off into the woods. After some time, Verity goes to look for him and finds him in the abandoned house by the well. He is standing there slamming his head against the wall to the beat of Grace back in the house slamming a doll’s head against the wall to get Tomas’s attention. So not only do we have creepy possessed demon child to give us nightmares, she also also a scary ass doll. Verity assumes that Truck is only having one of his episodes, and tries to rose him from it. But with Grace behind it all, Truck ends up attacking Verity pinning her against the wall. Andy and Rose find them before Verity is too badly injured, but the damage is done.

Image Credit: Sergei Bachlakov/FoX

Marcus does take a boat ride with Peter, after asking him a little more about the history of the island, Peter recounts the story of a man who went crazy and killed his entire family save one, a daughter who was at a sleepover on the mainland that night. Marcus wants to more know so Peter takes him to see the survivor. She tells him that the thing that killed her family and came after her at the sleep-over was not her dad. It was something else wearing her dad’s skin like dirty clothing. Marcus is convinced that what drove the man to do that was possession and that the Kim family is indeed in distress. On the way back to the island, Peter stops the boat. Marcus finally shares some of his past and his backstory is absolutely heartbreaking. Ben Daniels deserves an Emmy for his performance as Marcus and just thinking about his speech still gives me goosebumps. This scene is necessary for Marcus’s growth as a character and directly relevant to how he feels abandoned by God.  After the very raw conversation about what he sees when he closes his eyes, Marcus prays. And for the first time in a long time, he actually feels renewed afterwards. Prompting a pretty steamy and for many fans, long awaited kiss between Marcus and Peter. Though I am happy for Marcus, I’m also concerned. Peter is very much portrayed to Saint Peter and I fear he is anything but. All I know is Marcus is on a boat in the middle of the night in the water that Nicole killed herself in, leaving Tomas alone in the house when Grace is doing the most destruction, unable to help or assist him and Peter is the one who told him they won’t go back until morning. So he’s got some explaining to do before I will trust him.

After the incident with Truck, Andy and Verity go back to the house. Andy storms upstairs, leaving Verity in the car, and demands to know why Grace is trying to tear his family apart. Instead of first seeing her bedroom, he only sees the art studio, which is a step in he right direction. But this demon has a new trick to play. In a bout of frustration, Andy picks up the nearest thing to him, the same strange rock that Tomas found earlier, and chucks it through the painting on a nearby easel. Through the broken painting of an owl (a well known symbol of death or unlucky omen) we see Grace’s brave face mask through the hole. She slowly stands up and walks towards Andy, but something is wrong here, Grace isn’t that tall. She takes the mask off and Nicole is standing before Andy. Well shit, the demon has now taken the form of someone a hell of a lot harder for Andy to leave behind. Nobody in that house, or on that island is safe…

The Exorcist airs Friday nights at 9/8 c on Fox.

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Michelle Harvey