'Evil' Might Be the Darkest Show on Television
CBS' Paranormal Procedural Brings The Scares
I like Evil.
I like Evil a lot.
I like it more than I thought I would like a CBS show.
I mean I was hooked when I heard that it was a priest and a forensic psychologist investigating paranormal phenomenon. It's not exactly the most original premise, but the show is well done.
I really liked Mike Colter as Luke Cage and I'm excited to see him in his new role as David Acosta, priest in training. He has excellent chemistry with Katja Herbers who plays Kristen Bouchard, a psychologist. Their repartee is excellent without veering into the typical will-they won't-they territory.
I think what what gives the show and edge on similar series is the edition of a third member to the usual believer and skeptic scenario. Aasif Mandvi plays Ben Shakir whose job it to find a practical reason for the haunting, whether it's a leaky faucet or excess copper in the pipes. So, we have the pure skeptic in Ben, Kristen, who seems willing to at least entertain some of the religious matter, and David, the believer.
They work well together, and the team dynamic works. Even the family aspect, which would be annoying on a lesser show, doesn't impede the show; though it's largely because Herbers handles the role so well, and she is largely parenting on her own with a husband off guiding in the Himalayan mountains. Also, the home scenes are better than most because they eschew the typical doting TV grandmother, and instead have Christine Lahti as a free spirited, rock and roll grandmother.
That's not what we're here to discuss. They show is great and you should definitely watch it, but the show's fourth episode is the origin for this article.
So spoilers for Evil
Okay, I think we need to talk about the fourth episode.
It features a boy whose parents believe he's possessed.
The kid is dark.
Like Damien dark.
He bit his sister, and tried to poison his parents. They want him to exorcised, and David and Kristen must determine if they boy has a demon in him or is just a garden variety sociopath.
He takes a liking to David and they bond over comic books. David even offers to show him how to draw. It looks like we're heading for a Hallmark ending where he gets through to kid.
Except when David shows up he finds that the boy has put his baby sister in the pool.
(How the parents let the baby out of their sight with Lucifer Junior running around I don't get.)
Luckily, David saves the little girl, which brings us to the dark part.
Yes, the attempted infanticide isn't the darkest part of the show. After trying to kill the baby, everyone agrees that an exorcism can't hurt at this point.
We gear up to do battle with the devil, and the shows zigs when we're expecting it to zag.
You think it's going to be about the exorcism, but when they arrive the police are at the house, and the boy is missing.
So they say.
They parents are distraught and insistent that they love all their children. It's then that David says — more for the audience than the characters—that they killed their son to protect their family.
Yep, they went straight "Look at the flowers, Lizzie" on a broadcast network. This was almost worse. There have been graphic violence on other shows, and we've seen children die on the likes of The Walking Dead, and Game of Thrones, but this was dark, especially for a non cable show.
And with one episode, Evil shows they aren't pulling any punches.
And the darkness just keeps coming.
Last week showed the show's second possession and this was downright terrifying. The demon was responsible for killing three small boys and wanted the young woman's whose body it was inhabiting. Props to the actress because between the voice and the movements she really looked possess.
And then this week.
I'm going to have nightmares.
First, Evil tackles another type of darkness, generational darkness. David and his father discuss slavery and the scars the evil practice left on both of them and their family well over a hundred years later. David challenges his father about using the sigil of a slave master in his art, but his father explains that this is how he chooses to carry the pain.
Also, David and Kristen are drugged and it leads to first funny conversations and David gently swaying to the music. To be fair, he's no stranger to searching for a higher power if you catch my drift.
Kristen though wanders into the corn.
First, never wander into the corn maze at night. Has she never seen a horror movie?
And then she hallucinates David's new stepmother giving birth to a demon. She then bites open the amniotic sac and it's just horrifying.
It's the stuff of nightmares friends.
And, yet I pray for more.