Evil S4E4 Recap: “How to Build a Coffin” Is Evil at Its Best

Sister Andrea prays in the church.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+

The following recap contains spoilers for Evil S4E4 “How to Build a Coffin” (directed by Darren Grant and written by Aurin Squire).

Evil S4E4, “How to Build a Coffin,” opens with the fulfillment of Kristen (Katja Herbers)’s prediction she made to Leland (Michael Emerson) at the beginning of the season. Sleeping peacefully (while wearing his glasses, like the lunatic he is), Leland is jolted awake by the cries of the baby Antichrist. A sinister-sounding song from the sinister-looking mobile briefly quiets the Antichrist, before he poops his diaper. Leland struggles hilariously with the soiled diaper before getting hit with a jet of vomit from the child. Another jet of surprisingly accurate vomit later interrupts a virtual call with the other executives, causing them to roar with laughter. A desperate Leland calls Sheryl (Christine Lahti) for help, and she demands a quid pro quo

This week’s assessment involves reporter Stuart Lawry (Joe Carroll) struggling with words. During a report, he suddenly begins slurring and tripping over his sentences. Kristen, David (Mike Colter), and Ben (Aasif Mandvi) chalk it up to head trauma, but Stuart’s wife Jennifer (Kate Arrington) refutes this, as all of his medical tests at the emergency room came back normal. Kristen conducts her own test on Stuart involving questions such as “What comes after Monday?,” which he passes with flying colors, but when shown a picture of a church, Stuart suddenly lunges at Kristen, yelling gibberish once again. Kristen still believes that this is neurological in nature, or perhaps a tick-borne disease, but at this point we know better, don’t we? 

A fearful and exhausted Leland goes to tend to the newborn baby.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+

Kristen and the team also start struggling with words, almost immediately after coming into contact with Stuart. All three of them begin to suffer significantly with “tip of the tongue” lapses of speech, failing to come up with the word they’re trying to say. Father Ignatius (Wallace Shawn) isn’t immune to it either. Continuing to struggle with finding the right words, Kristen takes an online Aphasia Cognitive Impairment Analysis test, with unsatisfactory results. Dr. Kurt (Kurt Fuller) assures her that this is a result of a post-pandemic world—increased screen time, lack of in-person contact, etc. When Kristen asks him about the younger generation’s addiction to screens and social media, Dr. Kurt responds, “Oh, they’re screwed.” For his part, Dr. Kurt seems a lot more put-together than he was last season, but his assistant is still relaying to Leland when Kristen visits. 

Sister Andrea (Andrea Martin), who does the laundry for all of the priests, has been noticing a large hole in one side of the garments of Father Ignatius. When confronting him about it, the Father reacts with hostility. However, in one of the best “what the f*ck” moments in a show filled with them, Ignatius inadvertently raises his arm when taking a phone call, revealing a gaping hole in his left side…and a gremlin-like demon emerging to growl at Sister Andrea. 

Sheryl arrives at Leland’s apartment to blaring music, dirty diapers strewn everywhere, the Antichrist in a laundry hamper in the People Juice Room, and Leland himself buried under towels and bedding in his bathtub. Sheryl agrees to help Leland with the baby, but she wants some jars of People Juice in return. She calls them transfusion bottles, but it’ll always be People Juice in my heart. 

As an aside, I love how Evil has pushed even further into the running joke of the title sequence threatening repercussions if you skip the intro. This week, the text at the bottom reads “Jenny Park of Sun Valley, Utah skipped the intro and lost all her hair.” I’m looking forward to how these escalate in the coming weeks. 

Ben’s djinn has become more tenacious, invading Ben’s thoughts to tell him that Kristen wants to have sex with him and that he wants her as well. When this first happens, we get a POV shot of Ben glancing at Kristen’s neckline and seeing and locking eyes with her when she glances at him. It gets to a point where Ben loudly blares music, before Renee (Gia Crovatin), from S3E7, “The Demon of Cults,” shows up with a bottle of tequila and an interest in sharing a bed. Ben doesn’t have any recollection of calling her—maybe it was the djinn?—but they do the deed anyway. A night or two later, they discuss whether the beam from the particle collider in the premiere might be causing his djinn. Disappointingly briefly, Renee suggests the Many-Worlds multiverse theory, in which the beam may have split Ben into one of two or more possible outcomes. It’s a fun theory to look into if you haven’t, and I hope this is a little seed of more exploration to come. 

David, Kristen and Ben sit together at a table.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+

Sister Andrea’s plotline this week has to be one of my favorites the character has yet had. The Sister in demon-hunting mode is peak Sister Andrea, and she does so again this week, starting with her climbing over pews and fighting a demon with a pair of garden shears, and later grabbing Father Ignatius’ gremlin demon by the tail and pinning it to the inside of a wardrobe with a plunger. Sister Andrea is the badass we all aspire to be. We’re also reminded multiple times that Sister Andrea has the ability to see demons that almost all of the other characters lack, and this will no doubt be pivotal in the battle against evil that is coming. She also stabs the Demon of Words in the stomach with a crucifix, which is awesome. 

We get another interesting tidbit for Andrea after she has captured the gremlin demon and pinned it to the back of her wardrobe with the plunger. It tells her that what she’s doing is futile, that the children she schooled are no longer Catholic, and then name-drops “Paul”—a man who Sister Andrea apparently loved for a few months, but is now dead, with all that remains of him being broken heart, as Sister Andrea left him behind for the Faith. That’s when Sister Andrea realizes, this little gremlin is the Demon of Grief. The demon insists that he is all that Father Ignatius has, and that pain sustains us. 

An earlier scene wonderfully foreshadows that the demon plaguing Father Ignatius is the Demon of Grief. Father Ignatius has been falling asleep during the day, and when Sister Andrea enters his office, she finds the demon pushing out fleshy bits of the sleeping Father’s body and pulling in stones—the grief over losing the Monsignor progressively weighing him down more and more. Father Ignatius has been lashing out at Sister Andrea when she tries to get him to raise his arm and reveal the hole in his side (admitting to his grief, something he brushes off even when Jennifer raises the subject earlier), but the Sister finally sits him down and takes a different tactic. While Father Ignatius doesn’t want to talk about the late Monsignor, Sister Andrea interjects with how “funny” the Monsignor was, and this finally causes Ignatius to open up, and they share memories of the sock puppets the Monsignor would do, and his favorite song—it’s a genuinely emotional moment, as Ignatius admits how much he’s hurting, but finally smiles and accepts his pain over the loss of his dear friend. It’s what expels the Demon of Grief, who crawls out of the Father’s side and flips the bird to Sister Andrea before being smashed by her heel. 

Continuing to work on the house expansion, Andy (Patrick Brammall) once again receives a phone call. Now, all it takes is the “Feliz Navidad” fiesta doll’s song to send him into a trance-like state and exit the house to head to Leland’s place, where Leland hooks him up in the People Juice Room and tells Andy that he will, in the middle of the night, bring a syringe into the girls’ room and inject Laura, inducing cardiac arrest. This whole scene is incredibly chilling, but Andy moving to fulfill the instructions is downright horrifying. He and Kristen tell the girls a scary story before bed, and he indeed returns to the room to inject Laura, but he can’t do it, instead plunging the syringe into his own arm. I knew he would probably do it to himself instead, but the direction of the scene is unbearably tense and genuinely had me on the edge of my seat. 

Leland speaks to a hypnotized Andy.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+

Andy surprisingly doesn’t die, but goes to the hospital, where Kristen still believes that he is suffering from a drug problem. Andy insists that it is “something else,” but doesn’t seem to know that he’s been hypnotized by Leland. He does, however, confirm that he needs to get away from the family, because he’s afraid he will hurt them, and wants to go to a psychiatric hospital upstate. I swear if Nurse Bloch is at that hospital, I will literally scream. As he and Kristen cry together, the Demon of Grief watches them, perched on the room number sign just outside the room. 

Finally, we have the exorcism itself. Our heroes have established that it is indeed a demon plaguing Stuart and that an exorcism is necessary. The exorcism scene is kind of intense, with flashes of lightning during the rainstorm that, I’ve noted recently, always seems to be happening at night at the church, but Sister Andrea with her trusty garden shears is the real hero, puncturing the inflated Demon of Words with the shears and causing him to pop like a balloon, splattering the Sister and the walls around her with viscera. And just like that, the demon is vanquished, and everyone plagued with the speaking problem is cured. I really loved that, now that we established a couple of seasons ago that Sister Andrea can truly see demons, we get a bit of camp. To everyone else, Sister Andrea is slashing at thin air with the shears, but to her, she sees a very large demon trying to escape and being unable to fit through a doorway due to his girth. 

I absolutely loved this week’s episode. I really liked how they handled the Demon of Grief, watching Sister Andrea go beast mode on some demons was a delight, and the climax with Andy very nearly taking his daughter’s life was one of the most suspenseful sequences in Evil’s run. I haven’t revisited past seasons recently, but it would be interesting to do so to see where this episode ranks among some of my favorites. It’s the best episode of the season so far, and easily the most memorable. See you next week! 

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

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