The Exorcist is one of the best new shows on TV right now. It started out looking like another greedy attempt at taking an iconic film and turning it into a hollow TV reboot. However, The Exorcist has thrown some very real scares and big reveals at viewers that have made it must-see Friday night viewing. In fact, The Exorcist may be the best Friday night scares we've gotten from TV since The X-Files.
The Exorcist TV series follows two wonderfully complex priest characters. The first is Father Tomas Ortega (Alfonso Herrera), a rising star at a small parish, who has secret temptations that contradict his holy vows. The other man is Father Marcus Keane, a tormented rebel of a priest, who also happens to be one of the best exorcists in the church. The two priests are brought together by the case of Angela Rance (Geena Davis), an upper-class member of Ortega's church who discovers that one of her daughters has been possessed by a demon.
As unlikely allies, Father Marcus and Father Tomas try to rebuild and fortify their respective and mutual faith, in order to battle a great darkness building around them.
WARNING: Spoilers for The Exorcist follow!
The big twists in the show have been that it was Angela's happy-go-lucky youngest daughter Casey (Hannah Kasulka) who was possessed by a violent demon - not the troubled eldest daughter, Kat (Brianne Howey). Bigger than that, however, we learn that Angela herself has been hiding a massive secret: Her identity is a fake, and she's actually Regan MacNeil, the possessed little girl for the very first Exorcist movie!
As The Exorcist returns from its World Series hiatus, show creator Jeremy Slater talked to Variety about where the rest of season 1 is headed, and where the show could go beyond that.
In terms of the storyline, Slater made it clear that the Rance family possession is indeed the catalyzing and driving event of the season - but the demon that has hold of Casey (and hungers for Angela/Regan) isn't the only threat. A subplot of The Exorcist has featured horrific ritualistic murder and organ harvests by an evil cult of (possessed?) people dressed as a cleaning service.
Speaking of this growing threat, Slater said, "This season is absolutely going to have a definitive beginning, middle, and end. It's going to tell the entire story of this Rance family possession... But while we're doing that, we're dropping in bread crumbs and building a larger mythology, as we start to introduce our villains... Evil has larger designs than just getting its hooks into one 8-year-old girl in Georgetown. It's actively working towards a goal."
As for the structure of the show: Slater at one point referred to The Exorcist as being comparable to something like FX's Fargo, capturing the spirit of the original film while telling a new story with its own unique style. One big part of shows like Fargo and American Horror Story is to re-embrace the anthology format. So could The Exorcist do the same?
Slater says The Exorcist won't be a full-on anthology show, as Father Tomas and Father Marcus will mostly likely be the driving forces of the show... assuming they both survive. "The goal is not to tell an anthology story..." Slater said. "The characters who survive this first season and still have story left to tell, you will absolutely see them again going into Season 2. I think our two priests, Marcus and Tomas, are probably going to be the spine of the show going forward. But the idea is to aggressively tell a new story every single season."
With characters this good, it makes sense to hold on to them; for an actress like Geena Davis, she rightly move on, bringing a final close to Regan's story. That would make sense.
In any event, The Exorcist needs to continue to build on the positive momentum it's built, and finish out season 1 in equally pleasing fashion. Then we'd totally be game for a new case to solve.
Catch the next episode of The Exorcist, "Chapter Six: Star of the Morning" tonight @ 9/8c on Fox.