[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Sunday's episode of Evil, "The Demon of Sex." Read at your own risk!]
Evil's most righteous believer has found a new ally. Sister Andrea (Andrea Martin) and Kristen Bouchard (Katja Herbers) make for a surprising dream team in the third episode of the Paramount+ drama's third season, which pairs up the gutsy nun and the skeptical forensic psychologist to counsel a young couple with serious issues in the bedroom. And when Leland (Michael Emerson), threatened by Andrea's spiritual clarity, plants the rumor that she's in declining health, it's Kristen who stands up for the sister. Asked by the monsignor (Boris McGiver) if she's noticed the sister acting strangely, Kristen insists she hasn't — despite seeing Andrea talk to demons no one else can see.
The episode closes on a sincere exchange between the unlikely pair, who cross paths as Kristen is leaving the monsignor's office. As Kristen thanks the nun for her help, the women address each other as "sister" and "doctor," using the titles they'd requested to be called earlier in the episode. The simple show of respect lingers. "I'm going to cry thinking about it," Andrea Martin told TV Guide.
Martin revealed that it was her suggestion that her character call Kristen "doctor" in the final scene. "She says, 'Thank you, sister.' And I said, 'Can I say, "Thank you, doctor"? I think that would be great. Because it's a throwback,'" she said. "And I think it was effective."
"What she's saying is, 'Thank you for understanding, for being accessible, for being open to me,'" Martin explained. Sister Andrea didn't witness Kristen's conversation with the monsignor, but Martin believes that in her character's mind, it's almost beside the point: "I don't know that she knows that [Kristen] defended her, but I know she believes she's met a friend."
While Kristen doesn't believe in the demons Andrea sees around every corner, she does believe Andrea's intentions are good. Herbers thinks Kristen's bond with the sister is forged by their environment. "This system is not good for women," Herbers told TV Guide. "Although Kristen and Andrea have entirely different perspectives on pretty much everything, there is a kinship between these two women, and neither of them seem to be taking any sh-- from the men around them. And they end up really enjoying each other's company — sort of an odd friendship."
For Martin, who recurred in Evil's second season before joining the show as a series regular in Season 3, the chance to develop the dynamic between Andrea and Kristen was exciting. "She's so great to work with," Martin said of Herbers. "It was a real pleasure this year, because I got to work with so many more actors." She especially enjoyed a scene earlier in the episode when Andrea tries to sit in on Kristen's session with the young newlyweds, who are either haunted by intimacy issues or by an actual demon, depending on who you ask. Kristen pulls Sister Andrea out of the room to point out that having a nun around might make sex therapy more awkward, but Andrea proves her value.
Like their exchange at the end of the episode, Kristen and Andrea's conversation at the door evolved during shooting. "We do a lot of takes, which I love," Martin said. "That scene at the doorway, I originally did it really tough and angry, and then [director Nelson McCormick] asked me to do it another way, which was a little bit softer. And then finally at the end, he said, 'Why don't you just do it like you two are talking?' And that's the take, I think, that he used."
Given Martin's legendary background in comedy — from Canadian sketch comedy show SCTV to NBC's late, great Great News — Evil's particular balance of humor and sincerity offers an interesting challenge. "I've done comedy all my life," said Martin, "so I have to really be restrained." She relishes the opportunity to try a slightly different approach with each take and notes that the editors, along with showrunners Robert and Michelle King, are ultimately the ones to nail down the tone of any given scene. Still, the writing points the way.
"You can't go too far off the beaten track, because of the scripts," Martin said. "There is comedy, but what keeps me grounded is Sister Andrea's mission. She can joke, she can talk about sex, she can talk about her own relationship, she can do all that. But her mission is to completely abolish evil from the world. And when your feet are grounded like that, you can't go too far anyway."
New episodes of Evil premiere Sundays on Paramount+.