Remember last season when the “Evil” team discovered a fertility clinic in Manhattan infusing babies with concentrated evil—no doubt imported from the Prince of Darkness church—including one of star Katja Herbers’s daughters? It was a big deal plot then. This season it’s been barely acknowledged, then this whole episode is about getting the show back towards that big deal. See, Mike Colter’s only got four more weeks until he becomes a Catholic priest and will have to obey the Church no matter what—sure, like covering up babies infused with Satan’s DNA is the worst thing the Catholic Church will order him to do—and, if they’re not going to take on this hipster Rosemary’s Baby clinic, he, Herbers, and Aasif Mandvi will just have to do it themselves.
Of course, the episode isn’t about that decision at all. The episode’s about Air Force pilot April Matthis seeing a UFO and no one believing her except the Catholic Church. They’re just clamoring to get some aliens to convert. The episode makes a dig at the Church’s treatment of indigenous people, but I’m guessing they weren’t explicitly referring to the indigenous children the Church murdered and dumped. Actually, Herbers backs down from that argument with new hottie guest star priest Anthony DeSando, who’s a lot more charming than the other priests in addition to being a hottie.
The episode—ninth of thirteen—seems like it could be picking up right at the beginning of the season. Except it’s better than last season ended. It hits some familiar strong points, like scenes with Colter and Herbers talking about spirituality and being mutedly hot for one another. Then the team being entertaining together when getting plastered. Not to mention the subplot with Michael Emerson’s meetings with his demonic supervisor and his attempts at bringing Christine Lahti back into his life. A bloody return.
But not in a bad way.
It’s positively creepy; as in, it’s creepy in a positive way. “Evil”’s bringing back some of its old plots and tropes, only it’s got a far firmer footing now.
Initially, Herbers and Mandvi get more to do. Herbers has martial counseling with wet noodle of a husband, Patrick Brammall—they now own a trucking company in Colorado, not a mountain-climbing expedition company in the Himalayas, or maybe I was just zoning while Brammall was talking—and Mandvi’s interviewing another UFO witness (Malika Samuel). It seems like they’ll be doing the heavy plot lifting while Colter meditates until Colter has a vision of sexy time with an evil Herbers and then Jesus imagery. And maggots. It’s intense. Then he and Mandvi have a nice minor tech subplot.
It’s a busy but not too busy episode. It’s full. Even if the UFO story turns into this confounding conspiracy nonsense with the sole purpose of getting them interested in the fertility clinic again.
Strong direction from Clark Johnson and a thorough script, credited to Nialla LeBouef.
Who knows if they’ll pull it off, but “Evil”’s sophomore season turnaround is going strong.