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Evil Delivers the Amazing Kristen-Leland Confrontation We've Been Waiting For

That was intense

Maggie Fremont

Where does one even begin to recap an episode that starts by diving into the Rwandan genocide of the Tutsis and ends with Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson) chatting with his therapist, an antlered demon beast who's very into dream analysis? This is both obvious and an over-simplification but guys, Evilis WILD. Is there any other broadcast drama on TV today that even has the audacity? That's not rhetorical; the answer is no and we all know it.

Let's start with David's (Mike Colter) terrifying adventure, because that man has had a time and he deserves whatever we can give him. You wouldn't think things could get much worse than being nearly stabbed to death and then having to endure that horror show in the hospital from hell, but you'd be wrong. Like, so very wrong.

"Justice x 2" kicks off with stand-up comic Lando (Gbenga Akinnagbe) going home with a cute bar patron at his set, Sonia (Emayatzy Corinealdi). Now, you may just think she's a big fan of comedy. But she is not. She's a big fan of murder as retribution. A twist, I know. When she starts performing one of his "old jokes" about stepping on cockroaches, his whole demeanor changes and he knows he needs to get out of there. But he can't. Because she knocks him out with a bottle of booze and then ties him to a chair in her basement. I don't know, maybe don't go home with people you just met who say they're super into comedy.

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Sonia is going through something much more complicated than your run-of-the-mill possession, which is why she calls David, in a sling and very much still recovering, to come and advise her. Sonia tells David that she has been hearing a whisper telling her to kill. David's like, "This may be obvious, but that's not God talking to you." But before they can really unpack that whole thing, David spots a trail of blood on Sonia's floor and she pushes him down the stairs into the basement. Not great in general, and definitely not great for his stab wound stitches.

Down in Sonia's basement, things become much clearer. Sonia is a Rwandan immigrant who survived the genocide and knows Lando is a former Rwandan radio personality who just days before the genocide was comparing the Tutsi people to cockroaches needing to be stomped out, playing it all for laughs. She even has a recording to prove it. She goes on to tell a gut-wrenching story of being there while her people were being slaughtered by Hutu extremists with machetes, about how she had to listen to men telling each other Lando's jokes and laughing while murdering innocent people. Lando denies being that comedian and knows the horrors of the genocide, too. He tells her that at night he can still hear the babies screaming. She tells him she can help him with that. And that's when she cuts his ear off.

Mike Colter, Evil

Mike Colter, Evil


David attempts to talk Sonia out of her plans to get revenge, but it doesn't help that she keeps hearing that whispering through a crack in the basement wall, and every time she does, things get really amped up. Sonia is struggling with her actions, but there seems to be no escape. Finally, when she threatens to cut Lando's hand off, he confesses that yes, he is exactly who she thinks he is and he's sorry. Sonia's demeanor changes. She forgives him and tells him he now has a clean soul. And then she takes out Lando's own gun and shoots him in the head. When David, horrified, asks why she did it after she forgave him, Sonia explains that because she forgave him, she didn't kill for revenge. No, she killed him for something much nobler, something God would want: justice. Then a cockroach crawls out of the hole in the wall where the whispering was coming from and can you believe this show is on CBS? A discourse on both the Rwandan genocide and violence in the name of God? What a time.

Because her job is done, Sonia calls 9-1-1 and turns herself in, so David will be fine. Well, he'll be fine physically. Mentally and emotionally, that's a different story. Honestly, David not needing to lie down in the fetal position in a dark room for four months is the greatest miracle we've witnessed on this show. As we close in on the finale, however, I fear that not everyone will make it out unscathed. That's mostly due to Leland Townsend (naturally), who is back to terrorizing Kristen (Katja Herbers) this week. There are some other familiar faces, too: Remember our original evil-doer Orson Leroux (Darren Pettie)? Sure, he brought our little soul squad together, but he also murdered a bunch of people and pretended to be possessed to get out of it. Well, with the help of Leland, he's getting his conviction overturned. Someone else has confessed to Orson's murders: Dwight Ferrell (Dan Bittner). You know him! He murdered four Latino boys and tried to frame his possessed wife for it. Kristen tries her best to help D.A. Cormier (Danny Burstein) stop the insanity from happening, but her testimony just makes things worse. In the end, Orson is released. We should all be as scared as Orson's wife.

Right now, however, that's not the scariest thing going on at the courthouse. Can we have a moment of silence in appreciation for the showdown between Kristen and Leland? Katja Herbers and Michael Emerson are so good in this scene I'd like to marry it and them and we shall all live happily on David's father's commune with our goblin babies. Leland has been enjoying Kristen's failings in court and comes to revel in it by getting in her face and threatening her entire family, Job-style (Job-style is a technical term for murdering all of a person's loved ones one by one and then burning down their house and making the person watch). But Kristen is so over Leland's prattling. You see, Leland made a mistake: He left some DNA on a glass at her house, and Kristen was able to find out who he really is. Surprise, guys! Leland Townsend is really an insurance adjuster from Des Moines named Jake Perry who decided to reinvent himself as a psychopathic forensic psychologist who's into Satanism. She really lays into him for his pathetic life, his two failed marriages, his impotence, and perhaps the most cutting of all: the fact that he played tuba in his high school marching band. Leland (Jake!) is left shaken. It's an amazing takedown and I'm adding it to my "Hardcore Workout" playlist -- it will come right after Kristen saying "Oh you're never getting out" from the pilot episode on a loop for three straight minutes.

Katja Herbers and Michael Emerson, Evil

Katja Herbers and Michael Emerson, Evil


And yet, Kristen has no time to bask in the glory of knowing she is America's Hero. Ben (Aasif Mandvi) arrives at the courthouse to tell her that Laura (Dalya Knapp) had to go in for emergency surgery on her heart valve and Andy (Patrick Brammall) has been trying to get a hold of her all afternoon. You guys, I'm still laughing at how threatened Andy is by Ben the Magnificent -- he called Ben thinking that Kristen would answer his calls over her husband. It makes for a very awkward introduction at the hospital. Also awkward? Andy is getting into Buddhism now, and after Lynn (Brooklyn Shuck) catches him praying in his room Kristen finds her daughters in the waiting room repeating those prayers. I mean, this is priority 167 out of 1,000, but still -- it bothers Kristen. In a twist, the doctor finds Kristen and Andy after Laura's surgery to inform them that somehow Laura's valve was completely healed by the time they went in there. He can't explain it. It is a, wait for it, MIRACLE.

No one is celebrating though, because the end of "Justice x 2" ends with two alarming scenes. Okay, one alarming scene and one so hilarious and insane that I will never recover. The first: Back at home, Kristen asks Andy what he was praying for in Laura's hospital room and he explains it was Tonglen -- a Buddhist mantra of "give and take." Basically, he was offering his life in exchange for Laura's. Given Leland's threats earlier in the day, that doesn't sit so well with Kristen. Just because she was so easily able to tear Leland down doesn't mean his threats on her family don't have her spooked. Herbers hits that note perfectly.

The hilarious and ridiculous scene? Leland is truly shaken up by his encounter with Kristen, so like any psychopath questioning his place in the world, he goes to see his therapist. You guys. YOU GUYS. Leland's therapist (Marti Matulis, who also plays George, BTW) speaks in all your typical therapist jargon and seems to intently listen to Leland complain about Kristen hating on marching band, but he is not your typical therapist: He's a giant, hairy, horned beast. The two go on to talk about how Leland wanted to "rip [Kristen's] heart out" but couldn't because that's "not the plan." The therapist suggests getting someone else to do it and then they "can eat her heart together." I'm both alarmed and cackling. I know the holidays are long gone, but I'd still like to get out my Love Actually poster board and hold it up to this show because Evil, to me, you are perfect.

Evil airs Thursdays at 10/9c on CBS.

Previously on Evil...

Evil Season 1, Episode 1 Recap: "Pilot" / Evil Season 1, Episode 2 Recap: "177 Minutes" / Evil Season 1, Episode 3 Recap: "3 Stars" / Evil Season 1, Episode 4 Recap: "Rose390" / Evil Season 1, Episode 5 Recap: "October 31" / Evil Season 1, Episode 6 Recap: "Let x = 9" / Evil Season 1, Episode 7 Recap: "Vatican III" / Evil Season 1, Episode 8 Recap: "2 Fathers" / Evil Season 1, Episode 9 Recap: "Exorcism Part 2" / Evil Season 1, Episode 10 Recap: "7 Swans a Singin" / Evil Season 1, Episode 11 Recap: "Room 320"