And that is what we have all been waiting to see.
It took an episode or two, but it seems EVIL may have finally found its stride as EVIL Season 1 Episode 3 delivered the best episode of the series so far.
If the show keeps knocking out heavy-hitter episodes like that, then fans, myself included, might be intrigued enough to stick around for the long haul.
It’s not entirely clear what the showrunners did or didn’t do differently this time around, but everything about the episode seemed to work.
Kristen was instantly more likable, Ben got a few extra minutes of deserved screen time, and even the season-long mythology surrounding the Sixty and Acosta’s visions sneaked in an appearance.
However, the biggest turnaround was the case of the week.
Kristen: That’s a real thing: People pledging their souls?
Acosta: It’s real in that if a human wants power, they can trade away their future for that power.
Kristen: Oh, so you mean it as a metaphor.
Acosta: No, I think a lot of what we consider metaphor is real.
Ben: Are you texting?
Kristen: No, I’m taking notes.
What started as a standard possession – this time diabolical obsession – completely flipped the script on what was expected.
Unlike the previous two episodes, where everything was mostly wrapped up in a neat bow, this episode left some pretty big questions up in the air.
Firstly, there was never a given answer as to who was screwing with Ben and his sister, but more importantly, who sent that chat message to Duke as “Joe.”
And what exactly happened next that caused Byron Duke, who seemed to be in much better spirits, to jump off the roof?
That was a complete 180 in the best possible way.
Acosta mentioned at the beginning of the episode that diabolical obsession could lead to suicidal ideation. Is that what happened here, or is it something else entirely?
All of these unexplained and unanswered questions are exactly what the show has been missing.
It’s been so focused on keeping such a rigid line between faith and science, that it’s completely forgotten that the gray area exists.
Sure, viewers got a few nuggets here and there, but this episode really solidified how the series can keep that balance while relishing in the unknown.
Duke: If you’re really Patty’s church people, say some prayers, sprinkle some Holy Water, c’mon get going.
Acosta: Is that what you want?
Duke: What I want is for you to get this over with so I can roll my calls. Do I have anger issues? Maybe, but I’m a perfectionist. I’m a demanding person, and I’m surrounded by millennial nonentities. Here, look. Two spaces after every period. How many times do I have to tell them? One!
While things seemed wrapped up on the team’s end, I have to wonder whether Byron Duke’s sudden suicide will cause them to take a second look.
During EVIL Season 1 Episode 2, Acosta let go of the unexplained apparition on the video surveillance at the behest of Monsignor.
This time, it may be harder to ignore the very public suicide of a prominent Broadway producer, and it’ll be interesting to see if Acosta listens to the orders from the higher-ups to drop the matter.
A semi-rogue Acosta is a very appealing concept, though it may be too early at this junction for him to go off on his own.
Or rather further off on his own, as he seemingly “failed” to mention the cause of his drug-induced visions to Father Amara, the newly introduced priest.
It seems like everyone with the Church is more than willing to accept Acosta's visions as a sign from above, which they very well could be, but mostly because believing in the visions takes the least amount of effort on their part.
Like Monsignor last episode, who seemed more interested in determining whether the "resurrection" of the teenage girl was a miracle or not than in figuring out what the apparition on the video footage really was, Father Amara displayed similar qualities this episode.
Father Amara was more than willing to perform an exorcism on Byron Duke, but he needed proof first.
God draws in straight lines. The devil draws in puzzles and anagrams.Father Amara
After all, the Church already had him on three other exorcisms.
As men of the cloth, both Monsignor and Father Amara believe in God, demons, possession, and miracles.
Heavenly visions would definitely fall into that category, and it's easier to take Acosta's word for it than questioning whether or not the visions are real.
Granted, it could also be because they are men of faith, and Acosta left out the part about his drug use, but I do think there's some weight behind my theory.
Kristen: If you want us out of here, just admit that it’s anger management.
Duke: Who the hell are you, lady?
Kristen: Somebody who enjoys your shows but thinks you’re being a bit of a dick. Genius doesn’t mean you can treat people any way you want; it means shutting up and doing good work.
What I really like about this series is how it's addressing the Church in all its varying aspects. It continues to show that not all priests are as devoted and in search of meaning as Acosta.
Some of them just want to do their job and move on with their lives.
This episode also addressed hot button issues involving the Catholic Church like the sexual abuse allegations against hundreds of priests, and the blessing of same-sex marriage, in a way many series would have avoided.
By addressing these issues head-on, EVIL proved it's not afraid on tackling controversial issues.
Kristen: Does this bother you? Talking about it?
Kristen: It’s just, there are so many things wrong with the Church.
Acosta: That’s one of the reasons we need good people.
And by having Acosta decry the sexual abuse by priests and the immorality of homosexuality, the series just further showed that it's on the right side of things.
Yes, religion plays a big role on the series, but just because it does, it doesn't mean the showrunners are living in the Dark Ages.
Acosta's reasoning for joining the priesthood, in spite of all the bad publicity surrounding the Church, was a needed moment that I think, in a way, a lot of fans will respond to.
It gave some more clarity on what attracted a former journalist embedded overseas to uproot his entire life and join the priesthood.
The reasoning on why is still unclear, but hopefully, that answer will be revealed down the line.
What else continues to be unclear is if every episode will feature Kristen and Townsend facing off against each other.
I was sort of into the idea at the start as it provided a logical reason for Townsend to grace our television screens without seeming like the world's creepiest stalker, but now I'm not so sure.
The entire point of Kristen taking the job with the Church means that she no longer works for the Queens District Attorney's Office.
Sure, the team could cross paths with Townsend on occasion, but Kristen running off to battle him and her former bosses every episode isn't plausible.
How many people actually return to their previous place of employment daily just to spar with their replacements?
Townsend: So, a deep fake, how very modern. Those are my tools.
Kristen: What did Shakespeare say? ‘To do a great right, do a little wrong.’ Technology’s a bitch.
Townsend: You know the next line? ‘And curbed this cruel devil of his will.’ There are forces in play, Kristen Bouchard.
Townsend definitely got under Kristen's skin, and her wanting to take him down a peg makes sense, especially after he stole her therapy notes, but going up against him time and time again is just ludicrous.
Although these interactions do give Michael Emerson quality screen time so that in and of itself is enough of a reason to be patient.
Some stray thoughts:
As much as I appreciated the focus on some of the other characters, I really missed the weekly nightmare appearance by George. Does last week's episode, coupled with his absence this episode, mean we've seen the last of our nightmarish demon?
Because if so, I'd like to lodge a formal complaint with the appropriate party and petition for his return.
There was another reference to The Sixty, though it was sort of a blink-and-you-miss-it moment. Who or what The Sixty are has to part of overarching mythology of EVIL Season 1, and I'm still really intrigued by the concept.
- Have the writers completely forgotten that this is not The Good Wife, and therefore, there doesn't need to be a courtroom scene every hour?
So what did you think EVIL Fanatics?
Was this the best episode yet?
Will there be any follow-up to Byron Duke's suicide?
How far is Acosta willing to go for the Church?
Is it inevitable that Kristen and Townsend will spar in the courtroom every episode?
Hit the comments below to share your thoughts. And if you missed the episode, no worries. You can watch EVIL online at TV Fanatic.
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Jessica Lerner is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.