That Fox’s TV spinoff of ‘The Exorcist’ turned out to be pretty good was a major surprise last year. That the show got renewed for a second season despite poor ratings was an even bigger surprise. Can the series continue to bring the scares?
In order to get the renewal, the show has undergone some retooling since last season. Father Tomas (Alfonso Herrera) and ex-priest Marcus (Ben Daniels) remain the primary leads, but they’ve left Chicago. Angela Rance (Geena Davis’ character) and her family are barely mentioned in passing and have clearly been written out. In their place, John Cho joins the cast as a new character. We’ll come to him in a minute.
First, Tomas is now officially an exorcist in training under Marcus’ tutelage. They pop up in Montana, having kidnapped a possessed woman named Cindy in order to bring her someplace quiet and perform their rituals on her. The woman’s husband, who happens to be the local redneck sheriff, doesn’t take this too well. He chases them around and searches for his wife, which would normally seem like a perfectly reasonable thing to do, except that she has an evil demon inside her.
That demon gets into Tomas’ head and preys on his weaknesses. He believes that his ability to let demons in is actually a strength, but Marcus warns him that he’s risking his immortal soul. The sheriff eventually tracks them down to an old barn. Marcus tries to stall by picking a fight, but the husband and his buddies interrupt the exorcism ceremony and take Cindy back before the demon can be banished.
Separately from these events, we’re introduced to Andy Kim (Cho) and his gaggle of multi-ethnic and challenged kids. One’s blind, one’s autistic, a young one is afraid to ever leave her room, and another is about to turn 18 and fears that the system will dump her on a cruel and indifferent world. Andy asks them to be on their best behavior when a social worker named Rose (Li Jun Li) pays a visit for a check-in. Making that situation extra awkward is the fact that Rose is also Andy’s ex.
These storylines don’t intersect at all in the season premiere, but it’s implied that the island Andy lives on is haunted by a malevolent spirit. The kids tell the legend of the “Island Witch,” who murdered children and threw their bodies into an old well. After learning what a deadbeat his father is, the blind kid, Caleb, tries to run away and is lured to that well. Fortunately, Andy finds him in time to rescue him from falling in. It’s unclear if any of Andy’s kids are possessed by this Island Witch, but that’s where I assume the story is heading.
I still like the show enough to continue watching, but I’m unsure how I feel about the switch to making Tomas and Marcus roaming exorcists. That seems to abandon the fascinating conspiracy storyline that had built in Chicago last season. Maybe that will come back around, but there’s no indication of it so far.
The John Cho material is also not particularly interesting yet, but it’s too soon to write it off entirely. I can only hope that it proves more relevant when the characters all come together.
I plan to continue watching, but I won’t be surprised if this season turns out to be weaker than the first.