I don't know about you, but there are few things I enjoy more than a night in with a glass of booze and a stack of movies.
The VHS tapes Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) has selected for the evening's entertainment, the ones chronicling dozens of past exorcisms, aren't what I'd usually go for. But, to each their own, I guess.
….Has anyone else in this crazy town been at all concerned about the sheer VOLUME of people being possessed in such a small backwoods area??? Just speaking from a law-of-averages viewpoint here, this number seems unusually high to me. If your population is under 10k and you're having dozens of people climbing the walls speaking Latin in reverse, maybe you should think about ringing up the Pope.
As if what's on the TV isn't worrying enough, someone's screaming in the closet behind the good Reverend. There's a chair propped under the handle, but methinks a single wooden chair won't do the trick against a determined demon.
The disturbing pity party is interrupted by the arrival of Patricia (Melinda McGraw). She delivers an ultimatum to Anderson concerning their budding relationship; when she demands to be let in (speaking from a purely emotional and metaphorical standpoint), Anderson decides to show her firsthand “what he does” and leads her into the next room with the afflicted.
There's a guy who really knows how to kick up the romance in a relationship.
Meanwhile, Kyle's out working with a road repair crew, doing his best to hold down a real job and ignore all of the weirdness associated with Anderson. It seems to be working: in the past five episodes, we haven't seen Kyle smile that much—combined. Poor guy.
The girl whose DNA came back on the nail can't tell Mark (David Denman) anything about what happened at the camper and insists the nail isn't hers. So, where else did the nail come from, missy? Are we to believe there's also a mad scientist cloning people amidst all of the possessions, creepers in undertaker suits, and sentient black tar?
The battle at the church clearly isn't going too well. The Reverend decides to try the blood route, since “it worked with Joshua”—but normal blood just ain't gonna do the trick. Calling Kyle for assistance is out because Anderson is still smarting after their last argument and refuses to admit he was in the wrong.
So, Patricia takes it upon herself to seek out the town pariah, who's none too welcoming when she appears at his house. (Can you blame the guy, though?)
KYLE: “Crazy Kyle Barnes—Rome's own Boo Radley.”
PATRICIA: “…No, you're not Boo Radley. It's been a while since you've read the book. In the end, he turns out to be the hero.”
Ooh, Patty, you're not pulling any punches there!
Kirkman and Co. get points for A) dropping in a To Kill a Mockingbird reference, which is only fitting given the similar Southern setting, and B) for comparing Kyle to Boo, since that's a nail-on-the-head parallel right there. Both are men society can't understand or treat with kindness, who do the right thing even though they're outcasts.
If only we could be sure that Kyle's story ends as positively as Boo's did…
Not long after Patricia has sped off, our hero is attacked by Mildred (Grace Zabriskie). After knocking him out with her walker, the old witch starts sucking his life-force? soul? power? something??? out—until someone abruptly yanks her off of him.
Evil Data/Sidney (Brent Spiner), I'm assuming, since the creepy creeper is still lurking about poor Norville's place next door. And, yep—in the next scene, we see that Mildred's just kicking back in the same room the old man bled out in, getting a strict lecture from her superior officer.
The girl from the police station swings by Ogden’s (Pete Burris) place, confirming that she was involved with the hinky goings-on at the camper. Was it some sort of summoning ceremony where the demons take new hosts? Given Ogden's insistence that the girl leave before his wife Kat sees her, maybe there was some weird sex stuff involved with the black magic hoodoo.
That's pretty par for the course with these evil cult scenarios, right?
Megan (Wrenn Schmidt) visits Kyle at work so the two can have a peaceful roadside picnic and she can stress how proud she is that he's got his life back on track. It's a cute beat between caring siblings—and arguably the nicest, softest moment we've seen all series.
That's all sorts of depressing, in retrospect.
Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey) and Anderson exchange some hot words when the Reverend confesses that his exorcisms aren't 100% effective and the Chief says he's only been covering his tracks with the law because everyone thinks “he's doing the Lord's work.” Looks like another friendship is fracturing under the strain of this supernatural bullshit.
Megan gets a phone call and finds out the despicable Donny (Scott Porter) is in the hospital, thanks to the husband-delivered beat down he got a couple episodes back. In true scumbag fashion, Donny is blackmailing Megan: either he gets what he wants or her husband loses his job and goes to jail.
If you'd only hidden the body better, Mark, we wouldn't be in this pickle now.
Kyle has an unsettling moment with some hot tar and promptly walks off his shiny new job, shooting that minor victory in the foot. Because we—but especially Kyle—just can't have nice things.
Anderson finally comes clean to himself (and his God) when he admits he took his current career path as an exorcist not because he was called to it, but because he liked it: the attention, the praise. You'd think this moment of self-awareness would soften him a bit, but he's just as antagonistic as ever when Kyle marches into the church, spurred on by his tar vision.
Kyle's arrival is, as always, fortuitous. Handyman Caleb (Abraham Benrubi) bursts out of the back room like some sort of demonic juggernaut and promptly begins destroying the place and the men in front of him.
Guess this proves that not even being on holy ground can stop these things—makes you wonder just what the black tar gunk really is? Are these things truly demons? If so, the Good Book seems to have gotten some things wrong about their vulnerabilities and how the power of Christ can be used against them.
Once Kyle has successfully expelled the entity from Caleb, he lays down an ultimatum to Anderson: “On Sundays, in there, you're in charge. But, if we're going to do this, we're doing it my way. Or not at all.”
Talk about a role reversal—seeing Kyle in the take-charge, leadership position. A hard pill for the proud Reverend to swallow. We'll see if he manages it; perhaps he just needs to wash it down with some humble pie after the week's services…
But first, he sits down to have a sobering chat with the now-penitent Caleb.
CALEB: “My brothers and sisters and me were taught that there's no greater torment than to be touched by the Devil.”
ANDERSON: “You were raised right.”
CALEB: “But I didn't feel any torment. What I felt was…this warmth. And, I thought it was the sun. I felt like there was a hole being drilled in the top of my head and the warmth poured into me through the hole and filled up my whole body. …But, I wasn't afraid.”
ANDERSON: “That's the way they seduce you.”
CALEB: “…Reverend, I've been coming here every week because I was afraid. Afraid of dying, afraid of going to hell. But this? This did not feel like something I should be afraid of. I'm not saying you're not doing good work, sir, but I can't stand up there on Sunday and tell these folks that they should be afraid. Not any more.”
Hoooo boy—that's not at all worrying…
With his new determination burning hot, Kyle goes to have some words with Mildred and finds her sitting in her rocking chair, blank-eyed and unresponsive. Looks like Sidney has taken care of her permanently—the old lady thwarted his “ultimate plan” once too often.
In a little twist, the Chief finds a photo in Mildred's living room that proves the old camper actually belonged to her. Further proof that all of these creatures are connected and working in concert.
And, when Patricia's teenaged son decides to swing by the church on his skateboard that night, he peers into a window and sees Sidney delivering a very bloody and painful “warning” to the Reverend.
That's gotta sting. It's gonna be hard to explain why he, a man of God, has a pentagram carved over his heart now. Pride, they say, does goeth before the fall…
Angie Barry wrote her thesis on the socio-political commentary in zombie films. Meeting George Romero is high on her bucket list, and she has spent hours putting together her zombie apocalypse survival plan. She also writes horror and fantasy in her spare time, and watches far too much Doctor Who. Come find the angie bee at Tumblr.