Evil (2019) s02e07 – S Is for Silence

Silence is a humdinger of a concept episode. It’s so good it doesn’t even matter at least two plot questions never get resolved or even seriously addressed. However, one of them presumably will come up later in the season, involving an unexpected character. The team is investigating a possible sainthood at a monastery. It’s a silent monastery—it figures into the plot—so no talking. It’s also super-sexist, so Katja Herbers can’t play with the boys when they’re doing the saint investigation.

Instead, Herbers has to bond with young nun Alexandra Socha, who’s doing a bunch of manual labor while the monks sit around and pray. The monastery makes wine, and Socha gets the taste of recycling bottles and whiskey-soaking the barrels to sell said wine to hipsters. Socha turns out to be really important to the episode mystery, and the relationship between her and Herbers is easily the best single episode character development the show’s ever done. Excellent acting from Herbers and Socha, who never get to talk.

While Herbers has that arc—and generally gets cast aside from the main plot for her girl parts—Mike Colter and Aasif Mandvi also have their own plot lines. They’re only ever able to talk when they can get off the property (otherwise speaking will unleash a demon in the monastery because Catholicism is silly), so everyone’s got to get through their own plot, mostly on their own. Mandvi’s investigating the miracles and the demon and gets scared. He also gets to bond with one of the monks over geek stuff.

Colter bonds with boss monk Kenneth Tigar (a very familiar character actor who’s delightful here) and thinks about maybe joining the silent order and just escaping the world. Colter gets the best self-reflection scene, which includes thought subtitles. They’re well-executed and well-written, but also really funny. And remind when “Evil” might be able to have a little more fun. This episode’s a break from the travails of the main plot lines; it’s almost wholly detached, save one of the big unresolved plot questions, which—thanks to some horrifying events—works out reasonably well.

Great acting from everyone, excellent direction—from show co-creator Robert King (he and other co-creator Michelle King get the script credit). It really shows off the potential of “Evil,” given the cast's ability and the creators' imagination.

There’s also a “Star Trek” reference, which seems really appropriate for “Evil” (now streaming exclusively on Paramount+), and an excellent sense of humor. The bonding arc between Herbers and Socha will probably be a series high, though I’d be surprised if they’re ever able to get a better overall episode out, either. Silence is a sublime success.

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