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33. Repentance

Season: 2
First Air Date: 23 May 1997 (Showtime)
Alternate Title(s): Absolution (German)
Repentir (French)
MGM/Showtime Photos: see Season Two photos page
The best episode of season two! Father Philip Callaghan delivers last rights to a convict about to be executed.


Derek de Lint

"Dr. Derek Rayne, Ph D"

Helen Shaver "Dr. Rachel Corrigan, MD"
Martin Cummins "Nick Boyle"
Robbi Chong "Alexandra (Alex) Moreau"
Guest Actors


Patrick Fitzgerald "Father Philip Callaghan"
Tom Butler "Frank Karmak"
Miguel Fernandez "Eric Ravenwood"
French Tickner "Father John Murphy"
Co-Executive Producer -
Co-Executive Producer -
Producer Robert Petrovicz

Mike Berman

Director Paul Lynch
This description by: Patti (1997)


The episode opens with Philip delivering last rites to Eric Ravenwood, a convicted serial killer who has been sentenced to death for the deaths of at least seven young women. The guards strap Ravenwood into the gas chamber as Philip chants prayers for the families of the victims of the condemned man. Suddenly Ravenwood accuses Philip of getting what he wanted when he turned him in to the authorities against the Church's rules. He says that Philip has broken a solemn vow and that no one else could have reported him since no one else knew about the crimes. Philip tells the convicted felon that he is only getting his just desserts and that it is because he committed the crimes, not because of anything he himself might have done.

Ravenwood then demands the Philip give him absolution. He says that the priest owes him that much and that he doesn't want to go to Hell. Philip asks him if he repents and is truly sorry for his sins and Ravenwood replies that the only thing he's sorry about, is that he trusted him. The priest looks beaten, and turns to leave. Ravenwood panics and cries out. Philip turns around and Ravenwood again asks the priest to grant him absolution and begins to recite the words used for confession. Philips stops him by saying "No Eric. You cannot live wrong and die right, it doesn't work that way." Then he leaves the room.

The Warden gives the signal and the execution begins. Ravenwood fights the noxious gases, which eventually start to overcome him, but as he dies he yells that "it's not finished Philip, I'll see you in Hell…I'll take you there with me if I have to!"

The scene fades into Philip standing in front of a depiction of Christ and Father John Murphy asking him if he wants to talk about it. The younger priest tells his friend that he'll be all right and just to "give me the night, John." The older man pats him on the shoulder and walks away saying that he's there if Philip needs him. Philip replies that he knows.

Once alone again, Philip goes back to contemplating the picture before him, obviously upset by the fact that he had indeed broken a sacred trust. Suddenly he hears his name and turns. It's Ravenwood walking up the aisle with the body of a young blonde woman in his arms. He again accuses Philip of betrayal. He places the girl at Philip's feet and tells him he'll make the priest's life more miserable than his own death if he doesn't undo what he's done. He tells the priest that he knows what he needs to do. Absolve him. Ravenwood walks out as the police come charging up the aisle. Philip has picked up the girl, who turns out to be one of his parishoners and a friend, and is arrested.

Back at the Legacy house Derek and Rachel are enjoying a quiet evening at home when the phone rings. It's Frank Karmak telling Derek that Philip has been arrested for murder. He tells him that he'll meet him at the police station in Marleton. Derek rushes out and Rachel says she'll round up Nick and Alex.

When the two men arrive at the jail, Philip refuses to even acknowledge Derek. He asks why "that man" is there, that he doesn't know him. Derek says that he knows that Philip is incapable of whatever they have accused him of, and vows to help his friend when he won't even talk to him. He leaves wondering how to do so.

The four people assembled in the Legacy House conference room are all surprised that Philip is even in town. He hadn't contacted them when he was reassigned to San Francisco once again. They discuss the situation and Alex volunteers to talk to their friend, but Derek assures them that Philip wouldn't talk to anybody. He also says that he saw fear in the priest's eyes. Nick reminds them of a similar situation during desert storm where a prisoner was unable to communicate the danger he was in because of the threat that was unseen during the broadcast. Rachel asks if he thinks that Philip won't talk because he's in danger, and Nick replies that it could be.

Back at the jail, Ravenwood appears to Philip again in his cell. Philip denies that he could be real since he saw him die, but Ravenwood insists that he owes him absolution, and says that the demons of Hell are after him. Philip says that he had his chance to repent and killed again instead. Ravenwood demands that he absolve him and Philip refuses once again, then turns away. Ravenwood walks through the bars of the cell, and drops to his knees in front of the priest. Philip says that he can't help him, and Ravenwood says he'll kill again. The ghost drops a cross on the floor and tells Philip that his betrayal has convinced him that the world could do with fewer priests and that Ravenwood would start with the ones Philip knew. He then disappears and when Philip looks at the cross, he knows that the killer is going after John. He goes to the bars and screams for a guard.

The next morning, Philip has been arraigned on the charges of murder in the first degree. Derek offers to pay the $200,000 bail, but Philip arrives and says that it's not necessary. The diocese has taken care of it. He then turns to Frank and asks if someone had checked on Father Murphy as he had requested. The policeman says that they went to the church, but no one was home. Philip is dismayed that they hadn't done more, and as Alex and Rachel come in, he starts to rush out to see his friend who is in danger. Derek says that they will all go together, and Philip agrees. The three men (Derek, Nick and Philip) leave Alex and Rachel to question the dead girl's mother.

At the church there is no sign of the older priest and Philip is very concerned. They find a candle on the floor where Father Murphy had dropped it when confronted by Ravenwood, and Derek says they need to search the church from top to bottom. When they finally get to the basement, they discover a newly dug hole in the floor. The three men uncover a wooden box which, when opened, is found to contain the mortal remains of Father John Murphy.

Frank tells Derek and Nick that the coroner has confirmed the cause of death as strangulation, in just the same manner as girl of the night before. The time of death is also determined to be around 11:00pm, which helps to clear Philip of complicity in both deaths since he was in custody at the time. Derek says that Philip knows more than he is telling them and that it's time he filled them in. He and Nick speak with the priest, convincing him that rather than shielding them, he should be allowing them to help him. He reluctantly agrees, and the three return to the Legacy House.

Philip explains the entire situation to Derek and Nick, who are not surprised, but cannot think of a way to stop it at the moment. When prompted by the precept that there is more to the story than simply a vengeful ghost who wants absolution, the priest admits that he broke the sanctity of the confessional, albeit annonomously. He says that Ravenwood knew that he had informed the police, which has made him all the more angry and determined that Philip should grant him the forgiveness that he believes will keep him from going to hell. Nick suggests that Philip simply absolve the "wacko" and be done with it, and Philip refuses, saying that he cannot grant absolution with out true repentance. Derek backs Philip up saying that they don't know that absolving Ravenwood will solve the problem, in fact it could possibly empower him, and make the situation worse.

No closer to a solution than they had been before, Philip wanders the familiar halls of the Legacy House. Looking in a mirror, he thinks he sees Ravenwood on the stair behind him. When he turns to look there is no one there. As he turns back around Ravenwood appears out of thin air directly behind the priest and smashes his head into the mirror. As Philip lies unconscious on the hall floor, Ravenwood speaks to him. He tells him that he knows that he's just been biding his time, hoping that the demons would accomplish their design and take him to hell, but that it would happen that way. He tells the unconscious priest that he will be all over him, his friends and his whole "werld" until he grants him the absolution he deserves.

When he awakens in the hospital, Derek is there and Alex and Rachel have just arrived. He tells them that Philip will be fine, that he lost quite a bit of blood and is weak, but nothing was broken. While Alex speaks softly to the injured man and gives him water, Derek takes Rachel aside. He tells her that he and Nick will take turns guarding Philip, and that he wants she and Alex to research Ravenwood. He asks her to find out everything they can about the man, that the only way they will be able to dispatch him is if they can trap the spirit in a human host and exorcise it. Philip hears Derek's instructions and becomes upset, saying that it is his duty to deal with the ghost. However, in his weakened condition, it is obvious that he won't be much help. Alex and Rachel leave.

The two women seek out Frank Karmak and ask to see Ravenwood's house. The three meet at the house, and enter, trying to find something that might help their case. Once inside, Frank begins to describe the serial killer's actions…facts that he says came from the only living victim, the young girl that Philip's call saved. Rachel begins to remember the case and describes Ravenwood's actions to a tee. They find nothing to help them at the house, and so return to the Legacy house to research the case. While discussing potential avenues of research, Nick pops in and says he's headed to the hospital and asks if either woman wants to accompany him. Alex and Rachel say that they want to continue their current line of investigation, and he agrees, leaving them.

Back at the hospital, Derek notices that Philip's IV is empty. While they wait for the nurse to arrive, Derek says he bets that his friend wonders how he got there. Philip, more aware than Derek gave him credit for says that he wonders how any of them got there. How they were called to the Legacy. He asks Derek how it is that as hard as he tries to get away from it, the Legacy always seems to find him again. The precept tells the priest that they all have choices to make. He assures him that he did the right thing and not to second guess himself. Philip smiles and says that it seems to be part of his nature. No nurse has arrived, so Derek leaves for a moment to find one.

As soon as the precept leaves the room, Ravenwood materializes. He has been attacked by the demons trying to take him 'home' and nearly throttles Philip in his bed in his determination to achieve his goal. The killer threatens to harm Alex and Rachel, and the priest finally acquiesces. He tells the ghost to kneel and sits up on the side of the bed. When he places his hand on the dead man's forehead, however, he begins to recite a different kind of prayer. He calls the man's spirit into his own body, intending to kill himself and destroy the spirit of Eric Ravenwood forever. As he perches on the windowsill, Ravenwood's evil spirit begins to take hold, and refuses to allow the priest to jump.

Derek returns to the room moments later with the nurse, and Philip is gone. Nick arrives and Derek has to admit that he left Philip alone for "only a minute" to retrieve the nurse. In the meantime, Alex and Rachel are heading back to Ravenwood's house to see if they can pick up any additional clues. While in the car, Alex is overcome by a vision of Philip at Ravenwood's house. She sees someone trapped in a wooden coffin, pounding on the lid, and feels that Philip is in extreme danger. Derek calls to see what they have found and Rachel lets him speak with Alex, so insists that they can get to Ravenwood's faster than the men. On their way to the serial killer's house, Nick calls Frank to tell him that Philip is missing and asks that he check the church.

Once at the house, the two women find no sign of Philip or Ravenwood. They go into the basement where the murderer buried his victims alive and are horrified at the open pits they find. They split up searching for their friend, and Alex again is assailed by visions of someone trapped in a wooden box. Suddenly, she recognizes the bracelet she is wearing as the same on from her vision, and is shocked and confused. As she comes out of her trance, Philip is standing before her. She is at first thrilled to find him alive and well, but soon realizes that something is wrong. However, not soon enough. She sees Rachel's unconscious form on the ground seconds before Philip/Ravenwood knocks her out as well.

As he finishes burying the women, Alex's cellular phone rings. He answers it and finds Nick on the other end. Philip/Ravenwood tells Nick that something has gone wrong and that Ravenwood has hurt the girls. He begs the men to hurry, and hangs up, smiling evilly to himself. Upon breaking into the house, Nick and Derek find Philip lying on the floor of the living room. They help him up and he tells them that Ravenwood is in the house and has the women. Derek tells the two younger men to search the basement while he looks upstairs…a plan that Ravenwood/Philip heartily approves.

As he and Nick go downstairs, they see the graves and Nick hears the women banging on the lids of their coffins. While he digs to uncover the first one Philip picks up a shovel and hits the ex-SEAL over the head, then throws him into one of the open pits. He hears Derek on the stairs and picks up Nick's dropped gun. When Derek enters the basement, he is greeted by the sight of his priestly friend pointing Nick's gun at him. He realizes what has happened, the Ravenwood is inhabiting the body of the priest. He then talks to the killer trying to make him see that he is the true evil. Nick awakens and calls Derek's name just as Ravenwood is ready to pull the trigger, and Derek lunges at the priest while he is caught off guard.

The precept throws Ravenwood/Philip in one of the empty coffins and yells at Nick to grab something to jam the lock. The killer's soul is still being pursued by the demons from hell, and Derek begins to chant an exorcisim, casting the dead man's soul out of the body of his friend and back to hell where he belongs. After several moments, amid blood curdling screams, the box goes silent, and Derek lifts the lid. Philip looks up at him and asks what has happened and where they are. The spirit is gone, taken to hell.

Quickly the three men begin to dig up the two still buried boxes containing Alex and Rachel, and everyone is alive and well…if worse for wear.

The episode ends with Philip telling Derek he isn't sure how he feels. He says that he knows that he has broken a sacred trust, and doesn't know if he really belongs in the church. Derek tells him that sometimes one has to break the rules, and Philip agrees reluctantly, saying that he has a long way to go before he can be comfortable with his chosen actions. Derek tells him that they will always be there for him, and the priest leaves.

Description last revised: June 1997