Dr. Kristen Bouchard ( Katja Herbers ) is a psychiatrist who specialises in helping the District Attourney to find suspects mentally fit to stand trial. Her latest target is alleged to be a serial killer, and she accuses him of having anti-social personality disorder. This brings her into conflict with a trainee priest, who suspects that the accused man might be victim of demonic possession.
Like the title character in Medium , the female protagonist who works for the District Attourney also has a busy home-life with four daughters. In this case, however, there is no pesky husband in sight. While he has divorced her and become a tour-guide on Mount Everest, the kids are left in the care of their maternal grandmother Sheryl Luria ( Christine Lahti ). This frees up the heroine to have a love life, and potentially pursue her cow-orker as a love interest.
The protagonist starts to have nightmares about a demonic entity. Luckily she has her psychiatrist, Dr. Boggs (Kurt Fuller - Supernatural ), to confide in.
The plot takes a twist with the appearance of Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson - Lost (2005) ) as the kind of creepy sinister manipulative mastermind that Emerson plays so well in everything he has ever done.
The wannabe Exorcists investigate a suspected miracle. A young woman was declared dead in a hospital, but woke up when they were about to start the autopsy. Was this a case of medical incompetence? After all, they do not even take the girl's clothes off before they start the autopsy procedure. And since this is was made in the Trump era, will the show make a woke reference to systemic racism?
Dr. Kristen Bouchard ( Katja Herbers ) is a freelancer, so she craves job security. The District Attorney offers her old job back, so she gets to start a bidding war. Who will offer her a two-year contract first?
Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson - Lost (2005) ) is back, and will probably spend the rest of the Season undoing her work.
George the Dream Demon is back again. This time he has apparently appeared to one of the daughters. Is the image based on a monster in a movie the family watched? And since the monster is based on a dream the SPFX designer had, did the dream actually feature a real demon?
The team investigate a suspected case of Diabolical Obsession, an obscure form of possession that may just be mental illness. The target is Byron Duke (Jon Glover - Smallville ), a Broadway producer who has become volatile after losing a Tony contest. It turns out that he may be the victim of a computer hacker, so the tech support guy takes the lead in this case.
Glover played the devil incarnate in Brimstone (1999) , but in this show the nearest equivalent is Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson - Lost (2005) ). When Townsend tries to overturn his predecessor's decision, with the intent of having a teenage boy tried as an adult, she has to face him at his own game. Strangely the Judge allows Townsend to use stolen files, even though this is fruit of the poisonous tree and should render him and the DA unemployed or worse for the felony of handling stolen goods.
The team investigate a young boy who may be possessed. The technician suspects the problem may be contaminated water from a dodgy pipe in the family's new house. The priest bonds with the boy over a shared love of graphic novels.
Dr. Kristen Bouchard ( Katja Herbers ) has problems with her own children. As in Medium , the four daughters are whiny and annoying. This week they try some Virtual reality goggles, courtesy of their maternal grandmother Sheryl Luria ( Christine Lahti ). The naughty children decide to play a computer game that is above their age range, and end up butting heads with a creepy character named Rose 390. This is the new version of Satanic panic , with a digital version of the ouija board.
It is Halloween, so there is a lot of supernatural activity. Dr. Kristen Bouchard ( Katja Herbers ) and the priest help out on an exorcism. This includes a scene that is the compulsory visual homage to The Exorcist (1973) . Unfortunately the patient is in medical difficulties, with a severe case of dehydration, so the doctor is worried it might end up like The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2006) . Luckily she has her psychiatrist, Dr. Boggs (Kurt Fuller - Supernatural ), as backup.
The tech support guy has a subplot of his own. He is guest-star on a Ghostfacers type Reality TV show. They investigate a haunted strip-club.
As always, Kristen's kids are left in the care of their maternal grandmother Sheryl Luria ( Christine Lahti ). Unfortunately she is being seduced by Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson - Lost (2005) ), which distracts her from her babysitting duties. Meanwhile, the girls have some friends over for a sleep-over. This includes a new girl who never takes her halloween mask off, and urges the others to indulge in ever creepier games.
Dr. Kristen Bouchard ( Katja Herbers ) dreams about George the Dream Demon again. She tells her psychiatrist, Dr. Boggs (Kurt Fuller - Supernatural ), who gives her a tip on how to control her lucid dreaming. This is just a version of the way she defeated George in the first episode, so she should have been able to come up with it herself instead of needing the shrink to justify his cameo appearance.
Kristen is called in to investigate a suspected miracle. An ethnic Chinese woman named Grace seems to be a Prophet. God speaks to her in Cantonese, she translates it into English, and the Vatican has matched it to English-language translations of a set of prophecies in Italian from the sixteenth century.
It turns out that the Prophet has overstayed her visa. The US Federal government is out to deport her. Vatican City, being a sovereign government, could offer her its protection if it desired. Instead she faces being sent to a re-education camp in Red China.
Leland is dating Kristen's mother ( Christine Lahti ), and gets invited to dinner so he can meet the extended family. Naturally Kristen takes an extreme reaction to his intrusion. But will grandma heed her daughter's warning and skip out on the best sex of her life?
The Vatican has sent a special team of investigators to interrogate our heroes. These investigators have a partial copy of the Italian prophecy, and they want what the Prophet wrote to fill in the gaps. Of special interest is a diagram of sigils, which are basically the heraldic emblems of the demons.
Leland gives himself a new pastime. Although the previous episode emphasised his work for the District Attorney's office, this week he is busy recruiting victims for his private practice. Specifically he recruits young men who are involuntary celibates, then encourages their frustration to manifest itself as anger. Then he nudges them into joining an online forum which amplifies their rage and excludes any other viewpoints. Although both sides have such thought bubbles, the incels are portrayed as being ultra-patriotic Americans so we know exactly who this army of straw-men is parodying.
Dr. Kristen Bouchard ( Katja Herbers ) is called in to investigate another demonic possession. The possessee claims that she killed someone while under demonic influence. She tells the priest that since the judicial system does not acknowledge demons, the defence of demonic possession will not be allowed, and thus the possessed woman will be found guilty. Since she is familiar with the court system, she should be familiar with the verdict of Not guilty by means of insanity. After all, the possessee is a mentally ill person and the exorcist is basically a witch-doctor.
Kristen has a friend who is a homicide detective in the NYPD, and happens to be working on the exact case that is referenced by the possessee. This puts Kristen under some pressure, as her cop buddy wants to further her own career and solve the case.
Kristen is sent along with the Priest to interview his estranged father, so they can find the truth about the demonic sigil that appears in his paintings. The father is now hanging out at a hippy commune. His friends invite Kristen and the priest to stay for the night. Unfortunately our heroes get doped with halucinogenic drugs, so what they think they see there might not exactly be accurate.
Bottom line, the sigil is a metaphor for slavery. Not all slavery, just the Dixie-land slavery that was ended with Lincoln's emancipation proclaimation in the 1860s. Yes, once again we are reminded that the USA has structural racism against African Americans.
The tech guy is unable to go on the mission this week. Instead he attends an ADR session for the Ghost-facers show he appeared in. The good news is that he gets to see the actress that he flirted with in that episode. The bad news is that she never returned his calls so she evidently has changed her mind about dating him.
The actress accuses her white male boss of treating People of Colour worse than whites. Then she destroys the production company's expensive property, and tells her boss that the Human Resources Department will prevent her from getting fired. Yes, virtue signalling and a complete lack of consequences.
While Kristen is away, her husband the mountaineer returns home. He gets filled in on a few things by her mother ( Christina Lahti ), and the four daughters try to get him up to date on things like the VR game from a few episodes ago.
The woman who was victim of an exorcism a couple of episodes ago is now suing the Priest and the Church for the torturing her. David has a new Bishop, thanks to the Vatican's interference, and they have appointed a lawyer to defend him. She is the sister of his dead ex-girlfriend, which means there is lots of personal angst. On the other hand, Kirsten's husband is back so it makes sense that David would get a new love interest as well.
The exorcism storyline seems influenced by the movie The Exorcism of Emily Rose , about the criminal trial of an exorcist who killed his patient. Despite the fact that the movie was based on a real-life story about an innocent woman who died an unnecessary death because her mental illness was treated by witch-doctors instead of actual doctors ... this show takes the side of the superstitious.
Despite there being a professional lawyer on the case, kristen is the one who works out that the trick is to go on the offensive - and pass the blame onto someone else. Do they point out that the woman's husband was gaslighting her, because he was part of a criminal conspiracy? No, they attack the psychiatric profession instead. Yes, they are one step above the Scientologists now.
Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson - Lost (2005) ) is still up to his old tricks. He is still priming the lonely involuntary celibate towards some act of violence. He even introduces the incel to a firearms expert whom he refers to as one of the fifty nine people in this world that I trust, implying that he and the gunman are members of the fraternity of sixty demons.
To prove the show's political agenda, the villain uses loaded terms like red pill moment. This might actually be a bit more convincing if the show's main agenda was to prove that superstition is real and that science (or at least psychiatry) is hoakum. In other words, it is propaganda of the worst kind.
The Exorcists are called to a school where some teenage schoolgirls have started compulsively humming a tune. Kristen deduces it is just a catchy tune, and traces the cause to an Internet influencer. Despite the Internet being an International Network, as its name would suggest, this influencer lives in the same city as them. Very convenient for the plot!
The previous episode attempted to debunk the science of psychology. This week it is the turn of the Internet, which is shown as a danger to easily influenced children. Maybe the parents should just switch off the kids' electronic devices, and let the youngsters go play in traffic or take candy from strangers in the park.
One of Kristen's many daughters is bullied by another girl. She goes to her grandmother ( Christina Lahti ) for advice, and grandma tells the child to stand up for herself. Unfortunately Grandma's advice comes from her boyfriend Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson - Lost (2005) ).
After the epilogue of the previous episode, David the trainee priest gets hospitalised. A fellow African-American patient warns him that their nurse is a racist and a serial killer. Given that the show already addressed the issue of systemic racism in the medical industry in episode Evil (2019) [Season 1, Episode 2] 177 Minutes , this seems a bit repetitive.
Kristen and the tech support guy investigate David's case themselves. Well, Kristen has a low opinion of the cop officially assigned to the case She has her detective friend from Evil (2019) [Season 1, Episode 7] Vatican III assigned to the case, although David's former shrink Jenny does most of the work. Not only do they track down the stabber, they also link him to the creepy VR game character Rose. Yes, not only only is there a non-demonic explanation but David and his crew knew about the suspect before they even met Kristen.
Strangely, this episode does not feature Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson - Lost (2005) ) or his demonic cabal. In fact, it does not seem to be part of the show's overall story arc.
A mediocre stand-up comedian is invited home by a beautiful woman. We get hints that something is wrong, but this leads into something greater in the main storyline.
David the trainee priest gets left off to do a solo job. Things go very badly for him, as he ends up trapped in a revenge scenario. This involves the genocide in Rwanda, that long-forgotten massacre of Tutsis by their Hutu neighbours. The comedian's crime was to make jokes about the Tutsis, which may have contributed to the genocidal culture. His defence is that he was merely punching up against authority.
What makes this such a great storyline to explore serious issues is that it is removed from the American context - which is what made Star Trek such a great exploration of contemporary issues. The fact the genocide was black-on-black violence means that it is not clouded with the usual American version of racism.
Kristen is busy appearing in court. The serial killer she interviewed in the first episode has put in an appeal, as the killer from a different episode has confessed to the crimes. Of course, Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson - Lost (2005) ) is masterminding the whole thing. He tries his Hannibal Lector mind-games on Kristen, and literally threatens her with the biblical trials of Job.
One of Kristen's daughters suddenly takes ill. The father takes her to hospital, and conducts a Buddhist prayer ritual for her. He is willing to trade his own life for his child's. So if the girl is miraculously cured ... which supernatural entity will get the credit, and what will the cost be?
Kristen's husband is out of town, in Denver for the week. She is visited by George the friendly dream demon. The good news is that she has mastered lucid dreaming. The bad news is that this just invites intervention from Goat-boy, the one who is pulling Leland's strings. It may be that Goat-boy is just a figment of her nightmares, but he pops up in other peoples' dreams too.
Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson - Lost (2005) ) is pulling the strings of the serial killer he got released. The killer drops by Kristen's house to say hello. She uses her Missing White Woman superpower by making a hoax call to the cops about him. Things escalate from there, and Kristen does something very bad.
David and the tech guy investigate a pregnant woman who claims that one of her unborn twins is possessed. It turns out that this might be linked to other cases, such as the young boy in Evil (2019) [Season 1, Episode 4] Rose 390.