Sure, he’s only human — but throughout “The Exorcist’s” first season, we’ve become quite irked by the actions and behaviors of Father Tomas Ortega (Alfonso Herrera).
What we know is this: For the exorcist team of Father Tomas and Father Marcus (Ben Daniels) to work — according to the movie’s original canon — one man has to be a seasoned professional while the other needs to be mired in amateurish behavior.
Since Episode 1, it’s been clear that Marcus is a man of strong will and even stronger conviction — quick to pull a gun on a fellow priest all in the name of saving one more child’s life, no matter how challenging.
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But while we’ve gone on this trip with Marcus and watched him grow equally in his compassion as in commitment to the cause, it feels like Father Tomas remains as confused and conflicted as on day one. It’s not the best character trait to not grow as a person throughout a story such as this, unless of course, that’s the exact point of the character. And, for us, the jury is still out on Tomas.
He’s a younger priest and brand new to the world of exorcisms, but we’ve already seen how weak his will can be. It didn’t take long for him to break his vow as a holy man to sleep with Jessica (Mouzam Makkar) — his married friend who ratted him out last week — and when confronted, he seemed tempted to fight the woman’s husband in his own church. Not only was that moment very telling of Tomas’s own inner turmoil, it helped to shine a light on his overall character. Is it us, or is Tomas a bad guy?
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Yes, his affair with Jessica ended up the weakest link in the show’s ongoing narrative. It simply felt contrived and predictable — a weakness, set against the continually strong demonic story explored each week — but we understand its place in “The Exorcist’s” world. Tomas needs to be tempted much like Father Karras (Jason Miller) was in the 1973 film.
For those of you who recall “The Exorcist 3” — we know things go very bad for Father Karras. However, we can’t help but feel there could’ve been a more compelling way to show Tomas’s own dark urges than just through some annoying acts of infidelity.
At this rate, we’re hoping the Friars of Ascension turn Tomas to the dark side. Originally, it was engaging to watch his partnership with Marcus blossom throughout their mission to help Casey (Hannah Kasulka). But what better way to catapult Father Marcus into full-on hero status than to have him face-off against his old partner?
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We’re hoping for an epic climax at season’s end, in the coming weeks. But if FOX wants to take “The Exorcist” out on a high note, then they need to commit to a firm payoff with Tomas. Stop waffling and choose a side, man. We’re in a demonic war of the ages — and by the looks of things, it’s are about to get much much worse.
“The Exorcist” airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.