Well, that was underwhelming.
Not the entire episode of EVIL Season 1 Episode 2, but rather the medical explanation of how a teenage soccer player comes back to life after she had been declared dead.
Given how the pilot established that the series would attempt to toe the line between science and faith every episode without explicitly confirming the existence of the supernatural, it's expected the supposed miracle would have a rational explanation.
However, the showrunners could have gone with something much cooler than hyperinflated lungs, often seen in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coupled with implicit racism.
Has anyone ever heard of the Lazarus phenomenon or Lazarus syndrome?
Named after Lazarus of Bethany, who -- according to the New Testament of the Bible -- was brought back to life by Jesus four days after his death.
EMT: I’m not religious; I don’t believe in all that stuff, but c’mon, that girl was dead for three hours. I saw her dead.
Acosta: Do you think it was a miracle?
EMT: I don’t know; I don’t like that word, but something happened. You can call it a miracle, you can call it just weird, but something happened.
In actuality, the phenomenon is defined as a delayed return of spontaneous circulation after CPR has ceased. In other words, patients who are pronounced dead after cardiac arrest experience an impromptu return of cardiac activity.
Like that would have been an explainable phenomenon while still being pretty darn awesome.
Despite that somewhat disappointing explanation, the episode was not without its merits, specifically when it comes to the ever captivating Leland Townsend.
For those wondering how the series would "justify" a Townsend appearance in every episode without the guy seeming like the world's biggest stalker, an answer is upon us.
Townsend, it turns out, has been hired to replace Kristen as a forensic psychologist with the Queens District Attorney's Office.
So now the potential psychopath -- or demon -- can creepily keep an eye on the happenings of Kristen, Acosta, and Ben, without it seeming both weird to the characters on the show and ridiculously convenient to the viewers.
Townsend's presence will also offer a reprieve from watching the monotony of the team debunking possessions and miracles every episode.
The series has yet to fully develop the character, or at least let the audience in on who Townsend really is, which is a smart move.
You know what I like about sex? That moment when you see in her eyes she wants you. Kristen wants you, or when she bites you. Oh my god. Screams like she’s out of her mind. You can’t tell me that from Madeline. You don’t say she screams like a saint; she screams like a fricking steam engine. I’m sorry. Did that distract you? Why don’t you make up your own prayers? Why do you keep repeating that same old crap over and over again? Who’s on first? I’m asking you who’s on first? That’s the man’s name. That’s who's name? Yes. When then who’s on first? Yes. Go ahead and tell me. That’s it; that’s who. Yes.Townsend
Usually, one-dimensional characters lack personality, but Townsend has just a great energy and relishes in complicating the lives of Kristen and Acosta.
As a wildcard, one can never be sure what Townsend will do next, but I can't wait to find out.
One character who is still as predictable as ever is Kristen.
Her defiance and skepticism in the pilot made her a strong character right off the bat, but something about her this episode felt off.
Kristen: I just don’t understand how God couldn’t choose winners and losers.
Acosta: He doesn’t.
Kristen: But if there are miracles, and some people get them and some people don’t, right, isn’t that problem with miracles? Not that they happen, but they happen to some people and not to others.
Katja Herbers' performance as Kristen told Acosta about her daughter's heart condition was heartfelt and moving, but the rest of the time, the character just fell flat.
She didn't bring the exuberance of Townsend or the subtle agony of Acosta or even the quiet determination of Ben.
She was just the resident cynic who did her job.
Maybe it's because the series decided to spend an excessive amount of time focused on Kristen and her four daughters.
It's been established that she's "Super Mom," raising four children without her husband while balancing a full-time job, but does it really need to be so explicitly shown?
Yes, the daughter's nightmare about a demon, possibly George, visiting her was creepy and begged the question of whether there was some sort of supernatural element at play.
However, it turned out the daughter was just having a nightmare about a demon that she saw on a television show.
Completely rational and explainable, as Kristen predicted, which is also slightly problematic.
It may be too early in the series for Kristen to show any sort of wavering in her steadfast beliefs, but that was one of the things I really connected with in the pilot.
It was such a refreshing take for a lead character to express doubt, even if momentarily, right away.
Hopefully, as the series progresses, there will be more moments like that one where Kristen has to confront her beliefs with what she is experiencing right before her eyes.
George: Bad dream? Try counting sheep.
Kristen: You plague my mind, you’re not even original. You’re from a bad TV show.
George: Bad? Well, that’s just hurtful.
There, of course, could be a reasonable explanation, but that hesitation and uncertainty was what really drew me to her in the beginning.
That sort of confusion showed she wasn't a woman who had everything figured out, and that she was just as human as the rest of us.
Acosta, on the other hand, proved this episode that unlike Kristen, he is still figuring out his own stuff.
Initially painted as this priest-in-training with some sort of dark and mysterious path, I was under the impression Acosta put his old destructive ways -- whatever they may have been -- behind him when he decided to become a man of the cloth.
Obviously, something happened to Acosta, most likely having to do with the death of Julia, that set him on this path, but he seemed to be a reformed man, completely dedicated to the Church.
Acosta, though dedicated to his job, doesn't seem to have a problem using drugs.
In fact, his drug use may allow him, in his mind, to more fully serve the Church as the narcotics he took allowed him to "see" either God or Julia.
The drugs, it seems, may be the only way he can achieve this sort of enlightenment; as he told Kristen, he used to have visions, but now he doesn't.
Did something happen that caused Acosta to lose his "gift," and now he's desperate enough to try anything -- even drugs -- to get back what he lost? Or is something else at play here?
And lastly, this was sort of glossed over, but did anyone else notice how Monsignor Matthew Korecki, played by Boris McGiver, wasn't particularly interested in the unexplainable angel or ghost that appeared on the video footage?
All he cared about was wrapping up the assessment tasked by the Church rather than digging deeper into the unexplained apparition, which had nothing to do with the case at hand.
Monsignor: How’s the assessment at Harbor Hospital going?
Acosta: The miracle?
Monsignor: That is debatable. You know the priest, Father Augustus?
Acosta: I do.
Monsignor: I’m not sure God uses an alcoholic for his miracles.
Acosta: He used Moses.
The Monsignor also mentioned to Acosta that the next assessment, which would involve a possession, was at the request of a "good" parishioner who donates to the Church.
I find it really intriguing that the series plans to delve into the division between religion and science within the Church.
The Monsignor is most likely a believer in God, but it's an interesting idea to on where religious people draw the line at just how much they are willing to believe.
Some stray thoughts:
Did anyone else catch the reference to "The Sixty," which was first mentioned by Townsend in the premiere? This time, the teenage girl said 60 people came out of the black hole that had opened up on the grass when she hit the ground. That's too much of a coincidence to not be connected, right?
I'm still super invested in Ben as a character and liked that we got to meet his sister briefly. I just want an entire Ben-centric episode where we can just learn his full backstory in one sitting.
- I broke my rule and learned one of Kristen's daughters' names, but to be fair, she was the one with the heart condition.
So what did you think EVIL Fanatics?
Was the medical explanation for the miracle pretty lackluster?
Were you surprised by Acosta's drug use?
And what does the unexplained apparition mean?
Hit the comments below to share your thoughts on the episode. And in case you missed it, don't worry. You can watch EVIL online at TV Fanatic.
Jessica Lerner is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.