Evil S4E2 Recap: “How to Train a Dog” — A Really Weird Avengers Team

David explores a graveyard.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+

The following recap contans spoilers for Evil S4E2 “How to Train a Dog” (directed by Peter Sollett and written by Rockne S. O’Bannon).

I wasn’t quite as hot on this week’s episode, “How to Train a Dog” as I usually am on Evil, mostly because we get our primary answer very early on. The idea of a werewolf possibly haunting the graveyard is textbook Evil, but it’s uncharacteristically only a couple of scenes before we find out it’s a robotic dog, dispelling the tension. That said, we do get some good character moments that still make the episode worthwhile as well as some development with David’s relationship with the Vatican secret service, making the episode still compelling.  

As the trio camp out in the bed of a pickup truck, exchanging ghost stories, Ben (Aasif Mandvi) leaves to take a leak and David (Mike Colter) opts to ask Kristen (Katja Herbers) if the whole deal with giving birth in 38 days was just a joke. Kristen of course responds in the negative, and calls Leland a “big talker” trying to scare people with demonic stuff. This makes me wonder if Kristen even believes that she’s carrying the Antichrist. She’s not visibly pregnant, but Leland (Michael Emerson) clocks her at 8 months further on in the episode. She goes on to proclaim that she’s given up on being horrified, and a crazy world is filled with crazy people trying to control us. David admits that Kristen seems different, although I don’t know how anyone couldn’t be changed after all of the crazy sh*t our heroes have experienced over the last few seasons.  

One of the lone (and impactful) spooky moments of the episode comes in the form of a pair of glowing orange eyes from behind a gravestone. As David moves forward to investigate, the figure charges him, and it’s revealed to be a robotic guard dog. Back at the church with Father Ignatius (Wallace Shawn), Sister Andrea (Andrea Martin) pipes up to mention that another of the drones attacked Sister Agnes, while ignoring the rest of the congregation she was with. Sister Agnes is also Black, which leads the trio to suspect that there may be some sort of algorithmic bias towards Black people. 

Returning home, David is surprised to see Victor LeConte (Brian D’Arcy James), who informs him that the Vatican is pleased with the help he provided for Grace, and they need his help again. He gives David an address and instructs him to arrive at a specific time, wearing only cotton, no red, no distracting designs, and running shoes. David asks what is on all of our lips: “Do you just make up these odd requests?” LeConte skirts past this question, merely telling David that he is needed now more than ever. 

Things don’t get any less bizarre once David arrives at an address, which brings him to an interrogation room. The man brought in (Samuel H. Levine) immediately discloses some personal information before leaving, and David is brought to a different room, in which he and a handful of other people are instructed to to focus on an Ace of Diamonds card and draw on a piece of paper, with no other information given. From there, David is brought to yet another room, where LeConte meets him once again. LeConte states that David has “graduated,” and his time with David has come to an end. I will be very sad if LeConte no longer appears in the show—he’s such a fun character. Allegedly taking his place is Father Dominic (Chukwudi Iwuji).

Father Dominc makes his appearance.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+

Father Dominic shows David a video, filmed by the man David spoke to in the interrogation room, at the exact same time David was at the strange location. What’s more, the man in the video focuses on an Ace of Diamonds card stuck to a post, before panning left and right to the skylines. Those skylines were sketched by David in the second room. LeConte explains that the reason he is stepping back is because the CIA is exploring remote viewing, and he doesn’t believe in that, while Father Dominic is excited at the prospect of this being one of the “many rooms” in the Lord’s house. David, often an audience surrogate in these scenes, is just as confused as I was. 

Meanwhile at Ben’s apartment, The Magnificent is using science to outsmart his djinn. He’s erected on one side of his room a black and white banner, and on the other side a banner of squares of different colors. At the end of the corridor of banners, he’s placed a lamp. Staring straight ahead, Ben deduces which color the djinn is more visible in, and places post-it notes on the parts of the banners in which the djinn is most visible, all with the djinn trying to talk to Ben. Just like last week, this scene does well in keeping the djinn in the periphery. A lesser show would jumpscare a direct shot of the djinn at the focal point, but direction here is firmly in line with how Ben’s brain works. Ben even pauses when the djinn tells Ben he “can’t science [himself] out of this,” and Ben hypothesizes that a djinn wouldn’t speak like that, and is instead a product of his own mind. The djinn responds by tangibly grabbing Ben’s head from behind, so we’re still not sure what exactly is going on. 

Lexis (Maddy Crocco) wakes up and goes downstairs to find the robot dog whining at the door, and it’s just something I can’t quite get behind this week as the Bouchard daughter asks it if it’s cold and pets it. Maybe I’m just old and don’t understand how the kids would respond to a robot, but it doesn’t feel believable. While Kristen wants nothing to do with the robot, Andy (Patrick Brammall) and the girls are enamored. Kristen is even less fond of the robot when she finds it up in the girls’ room in the middle of the night, growling when she comes close, but it turns out it’s growling as Lynn (Brooklyn Shuck) is returning home from her secret tutoring sessions (presumably) with Sister Andrea, which she continues to keep secret from her mother. 

Andy is really not doing well. Kristen finds him under the bed one morning, and insists on a visit to the doctor. When there, the doctor notes injection marks between his toes on both feet, no doubt a result of Andy’s visits to Leland. Leland for his part has been gloves-off for some time now, but I really liked how this week he’s just hosting a presentation for a group of both humans and demons as to how the company can entice more people for “consumption.” 

Greg R. Bruni (Danny Mastrogiorgio), described as a “Political op,” is assigned to Sheryl (Christine Lahti) for her to rein in his demon, which is starting to bubble up. Mastrogiorgio does some serious heavy lifting with his voice, physicality, and especially his eyes in my favorite performance of the episode as the snarling, gross Bruni. He initially gets the better of Sheryl, but Sheryl comes back with a vengeance, confidently rebuffing Bruni’s aggressiveness and cutting off his pinky finger before mocking his pained cries. Sheryl returns to the office to unanimous applause from her peers, but her reward for her task is merely an office with a glass ceiling only a few feet high, a cramped workspace with Leland and the rest of the office working above her. I don’t know why this lady keeps letting Leland control her, but she vows vengeance against him as he cheekily waves down at her. 

Brooney viciously threatens Sheryl in his lawyer's office.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+

The trio meets with Harley (Maurice Jones), also a Black man, who denies any involvement in the robot’s bias and claims he only jailbroke it to extend the battery life, and shares a Reddit thread from which he learned how to do so. Back at Ben’s apartment, they visit the thread and see the featured image for the subreddit is a sigil. David suddenly suggests that the robot may be attacking not because of race, but because of religion. Ben initially waves this off, but after a beat, realizes that the robot may be keying into phone apps and GPS. David has a Bible app featuring local Mass times, something that Sister Agnes would have also probably had. This hypothesis appears to be correct, as a second robot dog appears at the Bouchard home, growling at Lynn as she listens to what very much appears to be the same Bible app David has on his own phone. Kristen runs upstairs just in time to beat the thing to pieces with a hammer. 

While I was initially disappointed that the robot dog reveal was so soon, there was still plenty of meat on the bones for this week’s episode. I’m hoping some of this stuff ties into the later episodes, but one thing we should definitely be seeing more of is Ben sitting down to a therapy session with Dr. Kurt (Kurt Fuller), with the djinn still appearing at the edges of his periphery. When asked what he can do for Ben, our tech wizard simply replies with, “I don’t know.” 

And when Ben is unsure and afraid, it’s time for us to be, too. 

Evil streams Thursdays 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.


Leave a Reply
  1. Not sure what you mean by Kristen being pregnant. She’s not. Leland used her 12th egg to implant the surrogate mother who was at the baby shower in the season 3 finale.

    • I knew I was missing something. Can’t believe I made that mistake! Thank you for pointing it out, and thank you for reading!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *