Saturday, January 28, 2017

[Review] Apparitions


It is a difficult show and it helps if people could have some real knowledge about the Church's doctrines from a real source and not hearsay, own suppositions and unverified stories you can hear all the time. The main topic of these episodes is possession and the ways of dealing with that. If someone doesn't believe in possessions - they will find the show rubbish. If someone entertains an idea of a spiritual disturbance, they might find it intriguing. And even if someone is neither, well, this is a great show, with solid acting and great cinematography.

People have this misguided notion that Church throws exorcisms left and right, deeming everything that resembles a mental break a possession. It is just the opposite, the Church is very reluctant to label some event a possession. Of course, there is a lot of paperwork and documentation to be filled before the procedure even starts. There are psychiatric counselings, tests and observations and only when science cannot identify the cause of a certain behavior, an exorcist appears. And even then he often doesn't perform an exorcism. And the actual exorcism, when performed, can last for weeks, the horrific case of Anneliese Michel being the example.In the series, in the last episode, a psychiatrist is sent to evaluate father Jacob and her diagnosis is clear - he is a self-absorbed man who is ill and Michael, possessed by the demon Astaruth starts haunting our main character - Father Jacob.

Our protagonist is a very friendly and warm Father Jacob, a London priest and investigator of miracles for the Congregation, currently residing in England. He becomes an exorcist but very reluctantly - and immediately loses his young apprentice, Vimal who was kicked out of the priesthood for being gay, although Father Jacob vehemently opposed such decision. Vimal met his tragic end in a gay parlor where he was skinned alive and killed. But of course Cardinal Bukovac (below, in his true form) mocked the whole incident by saying Father Jacob tried to exorcise Vimal from his homosexuality. Bukovac hates the idea of an exorcism, and more - he hates the idea of demons and Satan as the independently existing beings.

The second episode, ie. dealt with Holocaust, the God's response to that atrocity, why he allowed that, the Vatican's responsibility for not standing up to Hitler and his anti-Jew policy. The Chief Exorcist, Monsignor Vincenzo, survived Auschwitz death camp, and before that, to stay alive, he converted to Christianity. God didn't answer his prayers, but Satan did, so with his help, he became the authority on casting out demons, which makes perfect sense. Auschwitz, however, was a camp where not only Jews were put, also others, priests included, but people tend to forget that. So as for me, he didn't have to be Jew converted into Christianity, he could be Christian as well, abandoned in his faith and yet found by Satan. This way, the tension would be even greater. However, he died struck by a lightning in the heart and cursing all gods of the world.

Later in the series we also meet Sister Ruth, who after Sister Anne's death from the hands of the demon, became Father Jacob's main pillar in his struggles - despite the fact she knew demons got a hold of him, she never left him, more - she conspired with Father Daniel to take down the Cardinal, whom she suspected to be a demon. Cardinal, in a convoluted plot, took a bullet meant, as he insisted, for the Pope, so that he could move to Vatican permanently and plot his schemes there. The schemes being: eradicate this damn exorcism idea.

Anyway, I highly recommend watching this series. It's heavy, I won't lie. It took me half a year to watch it whole and another half to finally write this short review. But it was worth it - excellent acting, dense plot and Archangel Michael looming over the production with his fierce sword. Even though it wasn't popular back when it aired, because people expected fancy ghosts and neck twisting demons who barf with green slime.