As Kristen’s daughter Lexis (Maddy Crocco) has body-issues and starts to fall under the sway of a vapid online beautician, it seems her grandmother Sheryl (Christine Lahti) has an even more dangerous relationship brewing with an influencer of a more diabolic kind – though both look to be heading in unusual directions.
Kristen, Ben and David renew their pursuit of answers surrounding the RSM Fertility facility that has connections to many of their cases and still possesses some of Kristen’s eggs from when she was undergoing fertility treatment years before. or do they? Every avenue for Kristen accessing her own genetic material is being blocked and it’s clear that someone doesn’t want Kristen to find answers.
Meanwhile, Ben himself is undergoing something of a twin dilemma…
Evil has a well-deserved reputation of being risque, thought-provoking and subversive – but even by its own standards, this week’s episode is bat-shit crazy with multiple variations on ‘body horror’ in the mix.
The management at RSM Fertility come across as Olympic-level condescending, openly talking down to Kristen about the eggs that are supposed to be in their care. It doesn’t make them unholy, but it certainly makes them corporate douchebags (though they’re likely both). It’s the kind of arrogance that makes flooring bothersome guys in shopping lines pale by comparison, but surprisingly Kristen doesn’t reach across the desk and slap anyone, deciding to go the legal route instead – but it’s a close call. The real danger here is having villains so moustache-twirling that they are devoid of the charisma and smarts that characters like Leland possess (even when deliciously evil). In some ways, it feels like a different show.
Standard series with central mysteries often have difficulty in spinning all their plates at once and dovetailing them into coherent solutions and converging arcs. In a season full of ambiguous twists and turns, there’s almost too many new or forgotten factors suddenly back in play here. Returning to the RSM storyline means viewers trying to remember exactly where the main thrust of the Season One story was heading before it felt dropped in pursuit of other elements. Even loyalists have probably forgotten the strange quirk in Ben’s relationship with Vanessa (Nicole Shalhoub), who – we are reminded – claimed she had a symbiotic sister in the womb whom she absorbed into her arm but who still manifested to ruin her life. (Honestly, with so much going on, I’d forgotten that thread entirely). A off-beat and very theatrical voodoo ‘exorcism’ seems to solve the problem, though Ben now finds himself with a reinvigorated Vanessa who might not be who she claims to be.
Christine Lahti continues to dominate in the scenes she’s in, even if we’re still not clear (as with her daughter) how much her recent behaviour is herself or something else. Veteran actor Tim Matheson plays a media ‘influencer’, one who has a clean-cut demeanor but something decidedly off beneath the pearly-white veneer and wide-eyes, the kind of creepy guy you wouldn’t trust to sell you a car never mind a lifestyle. A shady Evangelical, but likely working for the competition. It all leads to Sheryl being drugged, paralyzed, apparently tortured – Lahti selling the ‘horror’ of it to great effect -and then the next time we see her acting like a totally new person. Maybe literally. At this point, who knows?
Several great shows have crashed and burned under the weight of expectations and loving the mystery over the answers (think LOST, The X-Files etc). However enjoyable it is, this week makes the viewer seriously wonder if that will be possible with Evil. Right now we have strains involving dream-demons, possession, invitro, creepy influencers, fake exorcisms, cloven-hoof agitators and now a daughter with a tail….
Wait… what? Yes, it gets stranger. One element of this week’s entry deals with body image – a worthy subject given the pressure young people feel to fit in and do the most bizarre things to achieve artificial ‘beauty’. Lexi, Kristen’s daughter is facing such pressures, but the fact she suddenly seems to have a real serpentine like tail is somewhat out there. It’s hard to tell if it’s only she and the viewer that can see it, or even if it’s purely imaginary. That’s a card that can be played every so often, making the metaphor all too ‘real’, but Evil might be pushing the envelope if repeatedly introduces them for wild-ride fun and then shrug them off as creative affectations later.
The series should be (and usually is) crazy-smart but this could all be getting a little too ‘cuckoo for coco-puffs’. One hopes that’s not the case, but it’s getting hard to ignore that there could be any ‘real’ explanations tying everything together in a way that remains remotely grounded. Evil is still fun, but this week’s felt a little indulgent.