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The Exorcist 2×03 “Unclean” Recap

I’ve been a fan of this series from the very first episode that aired in 2016. Jeremy Slater has created a unique spin on the 1973 film. While first season was a sequel of sorts to the movie, season two has branched out into a brand new direction, and it’s even more suspenseful, atmospheric, and fear-inducing than ever. Each episode has been progressively creepier, adding layer and layer to this horror cake. I’m biting my nails from the moment the show begins!

This week’s episode opens in the Vatican. Evil Cardinal Guillot, having proved his “innocence” in front of a tribunal last week with fake holy water, succeeded in putting Father Bennett in his place, and disgracing him and his fellow exorcists. In a celebratory dinner, Guillot has crushed up diabolical communion wafers, and used them to make the last member of the tribunal a demon (with some very cool special eye effects). In the kitchen, unbeknownst to the diabolical diners, the forces of good in the form of a young woman named Mouse, is baking almond tarts with real, blessed communion wafers. The unsuspecting cardinal and his cronies dig in…and what a bloody comeuppance the group gets. Mouse sets the room on fire and leaves.

On the road to Seattle, Tomas (rocking the Jesse Custer look this season) has one of his nightmare visions and sees a little girl possessed by what looks to be a giant frog. Marcus warns Tomas once again that he is letting the demon in way too much, and that this could lead to his destruction. Marcus has been on like this since episode one, and he’s starting to sound like a broken record. Tomas is convinced he is special, that God has chosen him and that Marcus is jealous of him. They are both acting like asses.

When they get to the house of their next client, Tomas told Marcus that this was the house he had seen in his nightmare, and that the little girl in the house is the one he had seen possessed. Harper’s mom is out of ideas. Her daughter has always been sickly, but now she is seeing an imaginary friend, who just happens to resemble the toad in the vision. Mrs. Graham has read Chris MacNeil’s book on Regan’s possession, and fears her daughter is facing the same fate. Tomas is ready to get right down to it, but Marcus informs mom there are certain criteria the girl has to meet: speaking in tongues, having preternatural strength, and uncanny abilities. One look at Harper and it is plain to see something is wrong. After the episode’s very first “pea soup” scene, Tomas starts whipping out his exorcism tools. Marcus is not convinced however, and tensions between him and Tomas boil even hotter.

Back at the foster home, Andrew reprimands Shelby for painting blood on the home’s front door. He reminds Shelby that if the social worker sees something like that she will shut the home down. Shelby is convinced evil is afoot nearby, but although he appreciates Shelby’s faith, he tells him to keep it to himself. Andrew is already skating on thin ice with Rose as it is after the incident with Caleb and the well, and she hits him with another blow: foster homes must be run by two adults, and since Nicole has died, Andrew could lose his license. Andrew begs Rose to move in with him and solve that problem, but he can see she isn’t buying it. She does say she’ll think about it as she heads out to see a new client.

Cutting over to Antwerp, Father Bennett is at Mass when Mouse siddles into a pew behind him and informs him that Cardinal Guillot and his friends have perished in a mysterious fire, too bad, how sad. NOT. He questions her identity and she shows him a knife which she then slips into a book. After the Mass concludes, Mouse formally introduces herself, but Father Bennett doesn’t quite trust her. She tells him about an exorcist that has somehow managed to stay alive during the Vatican’s purge. Father Bennett demands to meet this person to see if she can help break open the conspiracy surrounding the Pope.

Back in Seattle, poor Harper is getting worse. She is writhing in pain now, talking nonsense and she somehow causes her mom to bleed. Tomas is just chomping at the bit to start the ritual but Marcus says he’s still not convinced. Harper starts doing these weird, creepy jaw clicks and Tomas is frustrated at Marcus for delaying. Meanwhile it turns out that social worker Rose’s client is none other than Harper and her mom. Rose says she has been sent by Harper’s school, because the girl has been missing too much school and behaving strangely when she is in class. Rose spies Marcus and Tomas at the upstairs window. She demands to know why a priest is at the house, but Mrs. Graham won’t say, and tells Rose to just go away. Marcus sees the interaction, and knows his gut instinct is right on this one, and he really isn’t just being a jealous douche.

Shelby, in the meantime, has ditched school to perform a ritual at the lake to ward off evil. You just know something bad really is out there, and that Shelby is most likely signing his own death warrant.

Andrew calls Grace downstairs to read a book with him, but Grace does not want to go. Something has happened to her to make her scary weird, that’s for sure. She puts on her “brave face” sack – oh my stars, that thing is one of the creepiest things in the show and every time I see it, I shudder. She finally goes outside with Andrew, and manages to get her to take her sack off. Thank goodness! I hate that thing! She and Andrew are exploring the giant sunflower garden when a massive flock of birds seems to rise as one in the distance. They seem to be coming from the lake; the crows pass right over Shelby and begin to attack the house. In a scene that could have come right out of Hitchcock, hundreds of birds hurl themselves against the house over and over.

Cut back to Harper’s house: Marcus finds what he needs to know about the situation there, and runs out to tell Rose, who’s still watching the house from her car. He tells her to call the police; he runs upstairs and stops Tomas from starting the exorcism. Before Tomas can protest too much, Marcus shows him the evidence of all too human evil (I sure didn’t see that twist coming!) Tomas goes to confront Mrs. Graham, but ends up taking a hammer blow to the head.

After the bird attack dies down, Andrew goes to the lake and finds Shelby there. He’s incensed to find him doing another ritual. He grows even angrier when Shelby asserts that it was the evil in the lake that killed Nicole. Andrew tells Shelby that no, Nicole killed herself because she was depressed, and he hadn’t seen it in time to save her. He tells Shelby to never mention Nicole again and to stop with the religious rigmarole.

Finally in Belgium, Mouse has guided Father Bennett to the surviving exorcist, a woman named Delores. Unfortunately, Bennett – and the audience – take only one look at her to see that she is broken and mad as a hatter. How can she possibly be of any help?

Marcus and Tomas manage to save Harper’s life, and she is safely in the hospital for a few days. Tomas admits he had acted like a fool, and he admits he still has a lot to learn from Marcus. Thank God (no pun intended) they finally make up. Rose is at the hospital as well, and tells the two men that after Harper’s release, due to the situation with her mom and dad, she will need to be placed in a foster home. What do you know, Rose knows just the place…dun dun dun!

It was a super great episode! I can’t say it enough, how impressed I am with what the showrunner and writers have done with the storyline, taking it in so many unexpected directions. I highly recommend adding it to your must-see TV list. Binge season one, and catch up on season two, and join us next week as the horror at the foster home continues to grow.

Written by Arlene Allen

Hello, my name is Arlene Allen, and I love all things nerd: genre tv and movies, books, loud rock and roll music, kittens, conventions, books, graphic novels and superheroes, RPG and tabletop games, and did I say books? Oh, yes. I spent 25 years as a librarian (nerd) mainly working with youth (creating nerds), a number of years as a teacher (more nerd indoctrination). I have my own spawn, leveled up to 22 and my partner in nerdiness. As a nerdy writer, I have found a home at Talk Nerdy With Us.

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