Evil S3E1: “The Demon of Death” — Evil is Back, Baby!

A team of scientists, Kristen, David and Ben look around a room filled with screens.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+

The following contains spoilers for Evil S3E1 “The Demon of Death” (directed by Robert King and written by Robert King & Michelle King)

Hoo, boy, I had definitely forgotten how dense Evil can get with plot threads and mysteries. Evil S3E1 “The Demon of Death” opens with a concluding moment of S2, wherein a devastated Kristen (Katja Herbers) confesses her murder of LeRoux to David (Mike Colter), and following that emotional release, they start getting frisky. Upon seeing the rosary burn marks on Kristen’s abdomen, David backs off, and Kristen leaves. As he prays, Kristen re-enters and they finally do the deed. 

Or do they? Kristen revisits David a couple of times in the episode; in the first instance, she licks him with a forked tongue, which, I’m sure many of us can agree, can kind of kill the mood (especially if said tongue is decidedly not forked as far as we have known the other person). David attempts to clear the air with Kristen following their tryst, and she confusedly says that David put a stop to the first encounter: she promptly went home after he backed off, and did not re-enter his room. It’s not a season of Evil without someone getting their own night demon, right? Now David’s got one, and it comes in the form of a very lustful Demon Kristen. David’s been fighting temptation and demonic influence throughout the entire show, and it comes as no surprise that David’s ordination has not quelled the onslaught. 

David sits up in bed.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+

It’s a full 20 minutes until we hit the main titles, and I was delighted to see that S2’s pop-up book motif announcing the episode title has returned. It is joined by a revamped credit sequence, which follows the black and white aesthetic of seasons past, and an updated and significantly more bombastic musical piece. The way the music builds in intensity, and how the items smash and fall around aggressive credits signals, to me, that things are not going to slow down this season.

The big A Plot this week is a scientist conducting a study to measure the weight of a body immediately before and after death. As Ben states, this is a direct reference to Duncan MacDougall’s 1901 21 Grams Experiment, in which the physician attempted to prove his hypothesis that the soul has a weight and, therefore, exists—although the non-religious scientist here is more interested in what, if anything, is leaving the body at death and where it goes. One of the many things I love about Evil is how it draws from real-world scientific and spiritual concepts and weaves them into a story with characters that similarly come from different corners of belief. 

A prime candidate for the experiment is ready to go: Frank, a priest afflicted with a rare cancer and willing to volunteer with less than 24 hours to live. Indeed, the experiment finds Frank’s body 24 grams lighter immediately after he dies. This scientific breakthrough is interrupted as the priest suddenly awakens, not only with his tumors gone, but with a prominent id and a cheeriness he lacked in his life prior. His entire personality has changed. 

Frank, seated on a bed, tells Kristen and the team about his experience.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+

Later in the episode, the experiment is repeated with the Sister Gertrude, afflicted with heart disease, and at death, she clocks in at 36 grams heavier. What’s more, her corpse is suddenly found to have Frank’s specific, extremely rare form of cancer. 

But again, in true Evil fashion, the answer is unclear. David posits that it is not the soul that has weight, but a demon. I suppose that a demon could have left Frank and entered Sister Gertrude, but how did his cancer transfer to her? How much do tumors weigh, and were those responsible for the increase in her weight? Why was the weight increase not identical for Frank’s decrease? To boot, there were identical explosions of sparks from the ceiling during both experiments. Could that have been a factor, a machine malfunction? I don’t know what that could have affected, but I feel like it has to mean something. Ben the Magnificent notes the mechanical defects in both situations, and I’m putting my money on Ben in this case. 

As much as I enjoy the emotional chemistry between Kristen and David, I just love when Kristen and Leland get to square off. Kristen is as assertive as ever against her nemesis, and the way she approaches Leland, gets within a few inches of his face, and delivers the restraining order for her daughters against him, is just sublime. Watching Leland get emasculated both through this and the bishop’s alarm at his behavior (he’s been approaching Lexis at school) is so, so satisfying. Ben banging out the iconic opening bars of “Beethoven’s 5th” on the organ in the office makes it even better. 

Kristen presents Leland with a restraining order.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+

Lexis is searching for “Daffodil” on her laptop, when she sees a game called Bumblebee Valley, which looks like some kind of sickly-sweet dime-store ripoff of Animal Crossing. Remember that “Daffodil” was Edward’s code word to get Sheryl to attack a stranger, and we’ve yet to see what implications this word could have beyond that. But also GIRL TURN ON THAT ADBLOCK! Lexis is immediately greeted by an animated pig avatar with the screen name Pollie567. Pollie567 immediately begins asking questions about Lexis’ parents, and constantly wanting to talk. 

I was surprised that not only was Lexis quick to conclude that it was Leland behind the Pollie567 username, but that she was right. To their credit, their mother did ask them to work together against Leland, though she certainly didn’t have this in mind. Lexis quickly ropes her sisters into joining the game, coordinating their questions directed at him and blowing up Leland’s phone with the text version of their “talking at the same time” thing they do, driving him to smash his phone in frustration at the deluge of notifications. One of the funniest moments of the episode is the four animated animal character avatars of the sisters surrounding Leland’s bespectacled pig avatar, him clearly overwhelmed. It was very satisfying that this was wrapped up so quickly, and we didn’t get a rehash of Rose390 from S1. 

Andy’s on a very weird feng shui kick and, upon moving the bed, finds a jar filled with a rancid liquid. Immediately moving to dump it down the toilet, a solid object falls out—a shrunken head. I don’t think this is the shrunken head belonging to Edward’s great-grandfather and Sheryl’s sigil, gifted to her in D is for Doll, since she appears to pray to it earlier in the episode. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Andy in the first couple of seasons, but I’m rescinding my death wish/prediction for him if only to see his reactions to the increasingly deranged things happening around the Bouchard family. He still might die, though. 

I actually hadn’t realized that Sister Andrea and Kristen have not yet interacted, so it was pretty funny when they finally run into each other. Kristen is definitely taken aback by Sister Andrea’s very specific and direct way of communicating, and she’s left shaken when Sister Andrea immediately tells her, “You were baptized, and you turned away.” “Did David tell you that?” asks Kristen. “No! But it’s the truth!” That’s all Sister Andrea has for her. Every time Sister Andrea shows up, she gets better. She just goes around, striking spiritual dread into everyone’s heart, while ostensibly being the biggest fighter for good in the show. I love it, but I’m hoping we get a bit more context to who Sister Andrea is in the coming weeks.

Lord, just get me through the next 10 weeks! Evil Season 3 is off to a sprinting start and it’s never been more evident that Michelle and Robert King have an abundance of confidence in their storytelling and characters.

Evil is streaming Sundays on Paramount+

Written by Hawk Ripjaw

Hawk Ripjaw has been sharing his opinion on film and TV since his early teens, when the local public library gave away prizes for submissions to their newsletter. Since then, he's been writing for local newspapers, international video game sites, booze-themed movie websites, and anywhere else he can throw around some media passion. He watched the Mike Myers Cat in the Hat movie over 50 times in two years, for science.

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