Well, it only took four episodes: Evil was so upsetting I had to cover my eyes. Here's the thing: It had nothing to do with demons or monsters, but rather something truly horrifying done by one human to another, something that leaves the entire Evil team shaken up. Don't worry, we'll get to it — I just really needed to warn you that something terrible is coming.
It makes sense that "Rose390" is the scariest episode of Evil yet; like, hello, it features not one but two extremely creepy children. Say all you want about gross demons or Adults Who Do Terrible Things — creepy children win the "What's Scarier" battle every single time. I mean, we've all seen Orphan.
The first creepy kid is our Case of the Week, Eric (Luke Judy), a 9-year-old who has been displaying possibly psychopathic tendencies for the past two years. You know, tendencies like biting his older sister until she bleeds and liking it, daring a classmate to lie on train tracks for 42 seconds, and putting bleach in his family's milk as "an experiment." After years of having Eric evaluated, temporarily institutionalized, and having to live in fear that he'll harm them or his two sisters, Eric's parents turn to the church for an evaluation. Maybe he's possessed? Really, they are just desperate for any way to help their son and end this misery.
It's clear that Eric has no empathy, or really any feelings outside of anger, possibly. But Kristen (Katja Herbers) still can't say definitively what is wrong with him. David (Mike Colter) has little luck with a diagnosis, as well. Eric isn't afraid of rosaries or the Our Father. Eric does, however, take a liking to David almost immediately (who doesn't?). They bond over graphic novels — the one thing Eric seems to show any affinity for — and their dreams of being comic book illustrators. David uses this connection to talk to Eric about using prayer to help him deal with whatever's going on inside of him; he tells him that he can ask God for whatever he wants, and God will give it to him if he has faith and "acts on that faith." Somehow it works, and Eric is soon praying at night and mowing the lawn without being asked in the morning. His mom (Heather Lind) is beside herself and tells David the good news, and he agrees to swing by and teach Eric some basic drawing skills. Could it really have been that easy?
Meanwhile, Ben (Aasif Mandvi) has a theory that the change in Eric may have been caused by environmental factors: The family moved into that house around the time Eric's mood changed, and Ben finds some possible evidence of corrosion in the copper pipes — over-exposure to copper can have psychiatric symptoms. That theory ends up being a bust, but it does freak Kristen out a bit (everything about this case is freaking Kristen out), and so she asks Ben to come inspect her pipes. And I mean that literally, you dinks. We're still working on the Kristen-David sexual tension (he tells her they "should get a drink sometime," you guys! A drink! Sometime!!); I don't know if I can take a David-Kristen-Ben love triangle right now. Just kidding, I totally could! I am always prepared for a love triangle! One might say over-prepared.
Anyway, there's no reason for Kristen to be worried about her daughters being exposed to too much copper, but it is a good thing she has Ben come to the house. And not just because watching Ben interact with Kristen's four daughters brings me amounts of joy I did not know were possible. It's because he saves them from doing something stupid and potentially extremely dangerous.
Grandma Sheryl (Christine Lahti) has purchased the girls two pairs of Augmented Reality goggles because she can't remember when their birthdays are, so she just got a communal gift now (not enough Sheryl on this show yet!). When the girls try them on, the older two, Lynn (Brooklyn Shuck) and Lila (Skylar Gray), immediately go for the game called "The Haunted Girl" because, I don't know, maybe they have been exposed to too much copper! (They haven't.) The things that appear once they have the goggles on escalate from spider webs and tons of spiders to things like a man decapitating a woman in their bathroom. Very cool for young kids to be playing with, you know? You're not supposed to play the game if you have a heart condition, so you can bet that I was sweating the entire time little Laura (Dalya Knapp) had the goggles on. She merely gets scared beyond belief, but then Kristen comes home and the girls pretend like they were playing a harmless little bunny game. Kids are liars, basically.
The next time they play the game, they get connected to the internet and a player by the name of Rose390 (Nora Murphy) asks to join. They allow this because they are children and have not been scared by the evils of this world and by the fact that many people out there will try to take advantage of you because people are terrible. Don't worry, they will learn this! Rose390 is our second creepy child of the hour. She looks like a mix of the girl from The Ring and the twins from The Shining. So, you know, terrifying. She gets the girls to open a new level of the game through a ouija board and has them chant weird things until a giant demon appears. Thankfully, Ben the Magnificent (that's how he introduced himself to the girls because he's constantly trying to make me love him more) overhears some weird stuff going down and stops them, realizing that they should definitely not be playing this game. Like, at all.
Since Kristen's kids aren't little monsters, as soon as Kristen comes home, they come clean about the game. Ben puts some parental controls on the A/R system and threatens Rose390 should she (or he, probably he) ever show up again, but mostly Kristen is concerned that her daughters were lying to her before. That's how it started with Eric, after all, and who knows which kids are normal and which are psychopaths these days, you know?
Ben's threats are apparently not intimidating enough, because Rose390 shows up one more time, turning the game on herself and telling Lynn and Lila that their dad is dead. Again, this is a super cool time for everyone involved. It's only after this encounter that Kristen finally forbids the girls to use the goggles at all and assures them that their father is fine. I don't normally believe evil children who appear inside augmented reality games, but maybe Rose390 has a point — what's the deal with Mr. Bouchard? Is he really sherpa-ing his heart out on Mount Everest? Will we get some visual confirmation of his existence any time soon?
Yet still, much greater horrors await Kristen than realizing sometimes her kids lie to her. Like, much, much greater.
When David goes to give Eric his first drawing lesson, he finds the boy praying by the pool. Immediately you know something is up; Eric's being extra weird. Even though my spidey senses were tingling, I did not expect what happens next: David looks in the pool and discovers that Eric threw his baby sister in there in hopes of drowning her. Remember how I talked about finally having to cover my eyes? Yeah, it was right here. It is a chilling scene. David saves little Olive and she is 100 percent fine, but they put Eric's exorcism on the express train. They need to do something for these parents before Eric kills someone.
But they have it all wrong. The team gets all geared up for an exorcism (we'll get to see this exorcist priest in action by season's end, right?), but when they arrive at Eric's home, there are already police there. His mother is tearful and cagey, telling them that there was an incident and Eric is missing. He ran away. But they can also hear Eric's dad (Michael Stahl-David) telling the police that "the blood isn't Eric's" and Eric's mom whispers to them that she loves all of her children, but when one is putting the others in danger, she needs to protect them. The team stands on the front stoop in shock. This woman and her husband have killed their son. Let that sink in. These people were so scared and felt so helpless, they murdered their own child... and they are going to get away with it. David, Kristen, and Ben all look like they might throw up right there. Instead, David goes home — with a graphic novel Eric apparently left for him — and prays. Kristen goes home to her girls, but being surrounded by them is too much for her and she winds up on the kitchen floor, trying to muffle her sobs by turning on the kitchen faucet. It is devastating, and a clear indication that these cases are going to take a toll on our heroes. So anyway, that should be fun and I'll see you next Thursday?
Evil airs Thursdays at 10/9c on CBS.
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