Father Francis is discovered riddled with arrows like Saint Sebastian, continuing the theme of the victims’ bodies being arranged in Christian poses. He still has enough life in him to tell Merrin that Cheche is possessed and needs an urgent exorcism.
Merrin goes to the church and finds Rachel under the influence of the demon. She tells him that the fiend offered her the chance to rewrite her past. Merrin briefly confronts the demon, who tells him that Rachel betrayed her friends in the concentration camp. Is it true, or is the Devil up to his old tricks?
He then returns to town and prays to God. In a scene that plays a little like “John Wick” digging up his guns, Merrin busts out some priestly vestments and heads to the church to perform the rite. The demon also offers him an opportunity to change history and clear his crushing guilt. In a vision, Merrin disarms the SS officer and shoots him, prompting the German soldiers to open fire and kill everyone anyway, including the priest. The demon mocks Merrin’s guilt and encourages him to “cease to care.”
Meanwhile, it’s all kicking off back in the town. A spooky aurora, looking like a special effect from “Exorcist II: The Heretic,” shimmers in the sky as Rachel prepares to cut her own throat and the Turkana warriors attack the British soldiers.
Thankfully, Merrin recovers his faith just in time and exorcizes the demon, averting multiple deaths and turning Cheche back to his former disabled state. A Turkana elder warns Merrin that he has made an enemy of the demon, nicely setting the table for “The Exorcist.” Merrin says a tender goodbye to Rachel and walks away into the sands, ready to become a priest again.