In addition to “Evil”'s most acute religion observation in the entire series, this episode is also an Aasif Mandvi episode, which gets it all sorts of goodwill. It’s also got a handful of concerning developments, principally Kurt Fuller falling in with Michael Emerson. Fuller decides he’s going to write a book about seeing the demon and goes to ask nun Andrea Martin for help on the subject. Martin tells him to get some Jesus and stop being a white guy about it. So Emerson approaches Fuller to offer the Dark Lord’s help.
And Fuller goes for it, kicking off what’s inevitably going to be a significant subplot… someday. It’s bewildering because Fuller’s always been, in addition to functionally atheist, an okay guy. So immediately giving in to temptation—in the form of Emerson, no less—is a surprise.
Speaking of significant subplots someday… this episode finally reveals what put lead Katja Herbers in Emerson’s sights, way back before the pilot. It’s got to do with daughter Maddy Crocco being fertilized at a demon clinic. Vatican troubleshooter Brian d’Arcy James—i.e., child rape and murder cover-upper—comes to visit Mike Colter and asks him to sneak a monitoring device into Crocco’s room. Of course, Colter says no but then gets suspicious of Crocco when over for dinner.
There’s eventually a showdown between Colter and James on the subject, with a big twist—James is fine appealing to Herbers, not Colter. This scene would be excellent if it weren’t immediately invalidated by the next one; after Herbers storms out after shaming the Patriarchy, she gets a call about the episode’s case (off-screen) and completely calms down. End of character development. It’s something else they can put off.
Without the decompressed, pseudo-procedural plotting, I wonder if “Evil” even has enough story for a season.
The main case involves a possessed Christian hippie. When Colter, Herbers, and Mandvi go to investigate, it turns out Mandvi already knows the reincarnated Yeshua (as in Heysus). She’s scientist Gia Crovatin, and she’s very hot for Mandvi’s bod. So Mandvi’s got this weird, cult-investigation and sexual thriller episode while Colter and Herbers futz around with the subplots.
It’s a fairly exploitative, manipulative episode but well-executed. Good direction from Yap Fong-yee, low middling script credited to Louisa Hill. Fred Murphy’s photography goes a lot moodier and darker for some of the episode, which hasn’t been the norm. Maybe it’s representative of Colter’s suspicions and fears… just unsuccessfully.
So, mixed bag, some big highlights, though.