blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Evil (2019) s02e05 – Z Is for Zombies

I’m surprised to see Nelson McCormick is this episode’s director. I don’t remember his previous directorial efforts on “Evil” being… well, being any good. And this episode’s pretty well-directed. It’s all over the place, and McCormick keeps up the pace.

The episode opens on series regular Skylar Gray and her friend Gloria Manning watching scary movies and seeing scary things out their windows. Gray’s always been a regular on the show, but I still had no idea it was her, no idea I was supposed to recognize her. Because without the three sisters, she’s not bulk annoying and instead gets to have some personality. She and Manning are going to have the actual A plot.

The B plot is for Katja Herbers, Mike Colter (even though he brings the case to the group, he still basically gets squat), and Aasif Mandvi is regularly practicing exorcist Brian Stokes Mitchell needs help. He’s possessed–possibly by Michael Emerson–and his gambling problem is back. So the team tries to help him but discovers more to it than just some online poker. With the dueling C plots of Mandvi still recovering from his ordeal last episode and Emerson’s ongoing exorcism sessions.

They’re going to involve new sort of regular Andrea Martin, who’s a nun in Colter and Mitchell’s church, and she knows lots of things and has good ideas, but no one listens to her because she’s a woman in the Catholic Church. There’s a subtle character development thing for Colter, who doesn’t realize he’s been oblivious to the women around him in the church because literal patriarchy. Martin’s excellent and brings some real fun to the show, which it needs. Even when “Evil” is wry, there’s something contaminated about it.

For example, Gray and Manning’s YA adventure—which has them going into the city to get actual zombie cures from awesome guest star Patrice Johnson. The episode doesn’t shy away from its slavery history lesson; instead, it showcases it and does so reasonably well; it’s still a little weird to have them throwing around the term “slave driver,” but it’s much better than expected.

See, it turns out Manning’s dad, Francois Battiste, works at an Amazon competitor, and they treat their workers even worse. It’s topical, empathetic, and profoundly cynical, especially for a world where there’s no such thing as Covid.

Still, a good episode, especially for Gray, Manning, Herbers (who’s spectacular when she gets to be a shrink), and Mitchell. Season two is working out.

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