The Exorcist Season 1 Episode 1 Review: And Let My Cry Come Unto Thee

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As many times as I've seen The Exorcist over the years, I've never really taken the time to analyze it from a critical perspective.

It's intense and frightening, yet despite the most iconic scenes, some of which were paid tribute on The Exorcist Season 1 Episode 1, I tend to think of it more as the story of a possessed girl than of the priests who come to her aid.

Right from the onset, though, the premiere makes it known this story belongs to Father Tomas and Father Marcus. 

The Possession - The Exorcist

There is a family, and they are in trouble, but it's the portrayals of Father Tomas and Father Marcus by Alfonso Herrera and Ben Daniels that stand out in the pilot.

Through back stories taking place 18 months in the past and in Father Tomas' dreams (rather vivid waking nightmares, perhaps?), we learn Father Marcus was an exorcist working on behalf of the Vatican.

We can only imagine it would be a difficult job, and Father Marcus doesn't seem like your ordinary priest. Then again, no priests I ever knew growing up were ordinary.

[Due to the horrific patterns of sexual abuse that took place in the church, what we've come to expect of priests and their calling has been has been tainted forever, whether in real life or in entertainment. For the sake of this show, and these two characters, unless we're given reason otherwise, let's not think of that, OK?]

Father Marcus is tough. He smokes and drinks; wears cool leather bracelets. You'd have to be tough to see what he has seen. The child under his care is suffering. The man checking up on Marcus from the Vatican thinks it's at Marcus' hands.

It's not, and Marcus won't let anyone come between him and what he has to do to try and save the boy, Gabriel. It's hard not to wonder if he's just plain crazy or out to prove something. 

Being the only witness to a death like Gabriel's can't bode well for your future. And kudos to the special effects team on that one, as well. Equally horrifying and fascinating. There's no playing around here.

The Rance family is suffering, too. Something has happened to the man of the house, Henry. He's not himself. Hasn't been for months. His brain is going. Daughter Kat was in a car accident where she lost a friend and hasn't been the same since she returned from the hospital.

They attend church with Father Tomas and it's to him the mother Angela turns for help.

Father Tomas - The Exorcist Season 1 Episode 1

Father Tomas is cool. He gives great sermons, is in touch with his parishioners. He also keeps in touch with an old lover. He has always questioned his calling.

It's a perfect time in his life for someone like Angela to need his faith. To test it. To really reach into his soul and push his belief in God and the Catholic church. 

When Angela first reached out to Father Tomas, they startled each other in the dark. That scene worked because it reminds us how easily you can fool yourself into thinking there is something lurking in the dark. But what do you do when something really IS lurking in the dark?

That's what Father Tomas and Angela are going to discover together. 

Angela: There are things going on in the house, my house. I come down in the morning and all the chairs have been moved away from the table. Or, the bookshelves, all of the books are on the floor.
Father Tomas: Maybe Henry...
Angela: It's not Henry. There are voices inside the walls.
Father Tomas: You know, I have this fan at home, and sometimes in the middle of the night it starts to make these strange sounds like tickatickatickaticka...
Angela: There's something inside my house! I know how this sounds, but I have 400 employees under me. I am not a crazy person.
Father Tomas: I'm not saying you're crazy...
Angela: It's a demon.

If you've never known someone who has thought they were possessed by a demon, it's weird. Father Tomas reminds Angela they were created to be metaphors for addiction and mental illness. But what if they're not?

When the addicted or the mental ill are talking about demons, that theory makes good sense, but when you're the one who hears the bump in the night, the voices in the walls, then how is that metaphor working out?

It's pretty much impossible not to fall for Father Tomas. The way he stood up for Henry when Kat talked to him like garbage at dinner scored major points. Henry returned the favor by letting Tomas know where he could find the source of his nightmares.

There is so much promise to the premise of Tomas and Marcus working together. How they will join forces to fight whatever is in the Rance house. That's what I'm really looking forward to as the season progresses.

With Angela and the two men, as well. It sounds corny, but I hope there are more philosophical conversations on the way in addition to the terror inside that house. The discussion Angela and Tomas had about God was important. I think many church going people look at God the same way Angela does.

There is an idea of God, and they want to believe, but it's a hard concept to grasp. Even Tomas had never before heard the voice of God. But now he has his calling.

Father Tomas: I think God spoke to me today.
Angela: What did he say?
Father Tomas: He said, I want you to look at this family. I want you to help them, Tomas. This is your purpose. This is why you are here.

When you're faced with the things they're going to be faced with while fighting doe-eyed Casey, it will be difficult to turn a blind eye to God. Can you believe in demons and not in God? 

Whatever the demon is inside that house, it was trying to fool people into thinking it might have possessed Kat. It probably had us fooled for a little while. But demons usually go for the pure of spirit so they can do as much damage to everyone else as possible. You catch a lot more flies with honey.

Were both Henry and Kat victims of the demon? How long has it been at work? How strong is the presence? Why didn't Tomas tell Angela to watch out for Casey, or did he do that and we just weren't privy to the conversation?

"Chapter One: And Let Me Cry Come Unto Thee" was a compelling start to what could have otherwise been a run of the mill horror reboot. One of the staples in theaters these days has been the solid showings by horror films. 

Can The Exorcist stand out and draw in a respectable audience on Friday nights? If the quality of the story and the special effects is maintained throughout, we should be in for a very thrilling ride.

What do you think? Will you be back for The Exorcist Season 1 Episode 2?

Chapter One: And Let My Cry Come Unto Thee Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (43 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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The Exorcist Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Tomas. Do you know who writes letters? People who don't want to get caught.


Sometimes God gives you a job to do. And when that happens, you have to drop everything and just start walking.

Father Tomas