I don’t have this feeling often with “Evil.” Maybe ever. I can’t remember what kind of potential the show had at the start; but what if it’s good. Like what if “Evil” can get actually good. What if it can not waste its lead actors. Because after a somewhat rocky beginning where Mike Colter is in mock confession—his professor being Dylan Baker, who is either got to be very good as an evil priest or they’re doing a casting against type thing but it’s Dylan Baker so why wouldn’t you type-cast him since it’s a recurring guest spot—and the first of the episode’s Catholicism is super-sexist digs. The script’s credited to Davita Scarlett and it will blow up a lot, introduce a lot, and constantly remind the Catholic Church is garbage.
Watching Katja Herbers dispassionately smack bishop Peter Scolari with facts, which maybe last episode introduced but this episode it becomes a thing Colter comments on… it’s awesome. And it’s not even where “Evil” hints at potential achievement this episode. There’s very awkward team bonding for Colter, Herbers, and Aasif Mandvi—they’re all keeping secrets from each other, some more important than others–but they all still want to work together. But then there’s also Michael Emerson’s character taking it up a notch, particularly with fiancée Christine Lahti, and all sorts of reveals and promises for future action.
Engaging, interesting future action.
Maybe the move to Paramount+ and the freedom to CGI in the word “fuck” is what the show needed. Though—and it just occurred to me—they’re going to be able to get away with a lot more truthful presentation of the Catholic Church on streaming than they would on network.
But, no, can’t get too excited. There are still big problems—though John Dahl’s direction won me over by the end of the episode; I was very critical for the first act, but he finds a real rhythm with the actors. It hasn’t felt so much like Colter’s show since… probably ever.
It’ll take a lot to get the ship righted and unless there’s a big committed shift it’s not going to happen, but it’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed “Evil” this much. And if the character developments stick—particularly with Lahti and Emerson—the show’s going to get a lot more entertaining.
Real good supporting performances this episode too; Jessie Mueller as the new cop (the one from last season isn’t coming back apparently) who gives Herbers grief, then Joniece Abbott-Pratt and Hampton Fluker as the case for the episode—he thinks he’s possessed by an angel, she’s the concerned then endangered wife.
Also—Andrea Martin. She’s apparently joining the cast as an acerbic nun who counsels Colter and she’s a delight.
I mean, maybe it’s got a chance. Maybe’s very good for “Evil.”