Chapter Eight of Fox’s The Exorcist, entitled “The Griefbearers” continues to prove the series’ reputation as a quality program that takes creative risks to achieve an expert level of horror storytelling. This episode raises the stakes with the ultimate exorcism of Casey Rance (Hannah Kasulka) and the deaths of two important characters… events which will certainly build towards the high stakes climax of this season.
Geena Davis gives her strongest performance of the season in Episode Eight. Three episodes after a major twist revealed that Angela Rance is actually Regan MacNeil of the original 1973 film, the show now provides Davis with more scenes and more material than ever before. Angela now feels much more like a main character, and her internal struggle over how she is in some way responsible for her daughter’s suffering plays out in numerous interesting ways. One particularly effective scene featured Angela seeing her childhood self in the dusty basement of the classic film, speaking to the Captain Howdy who captivated her as a child. An earlier Horror News Network review commented on how a scene depicting Captain Howdy slowly chipping away at Regan as she lets her guard down wouldn’t have felt out of place in the original film. Through a series of surprise events in the series, the viewers actually get to see that scene!Thankfully, it doesn’t disappoint. Robert Emmet Lunney is creepier than ever before with his bright red and white satin clothing, shoulder bird, and grey nail polish. His interactions with adult Angela and child Regan are perverse and manipulative. It is interesting that his technique seems to be tailored to each individual person he meets. His early encounters with Casey were grossly charming. His early interactions with Regan were creepily childlike. With Angela, he is confrontational and direct. It is clear that the fact that Captain Howdy has been waiting for Angela for over 40 years makes him just as eager to get to her as she is to free her child of this pain.