“162,” the penultimate episode of the first season of Fox’s The Exorcist, continues the series’ tradition of captivating and meaningful storytelling, all while ramping up suspense levels to unprecedented heights as it barrels towards next week’s finale.
Episode Eight featured the surprising deaths of Father Bennett (Kurt Egyiawan) and Chris MacNeil (Sharon Gless). Episode Nine increases the body count by killing off fan favorites Lester and Cherry Rego (Ken Marks and Keira Naughton), Mother Bernadette (Deanna Dunagan), and the entire Convent of Our Lady of Mercy. While this is an incredible loss of characters who have all contributed towards the unique atmosphere of the show, it’s clear that the showmakers are serious about increasing the odds as the story progresses. Captain Howdy (Robert Emmet Lunney) has achieved integration with Angela Rance (Geena Davis), and there had to be serious consequences for it to mean anything. The expression on Father Marcus’ face as he takes in all of this death says it all: there’s no going back at this point. Anything less would have caused the viewers to seriously question one of the following scenes where Marcus pistol whips and nearly drowns Brother Simon (Francis Guinan). The show seems very aware that it can’t raise the stakes without raising the consequences. Suddenly, none of the cast feel safe anymore. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that Fox has not yet committed to renewing the series for Season Two. Maybe Jeremy Slater, the show’s creator, doesn’t want to hold back on telling his story in case the first season is all he gets to tell it.