That’s the word that creeps into mind while watching EVIL Season 2 Episode 12, as demonic forces, which are no longer up for debate, permeate every level.
We’re barreling toward the EVIL Season 2 finale, the direction is unclear, and we love it.
There’s no more evil way to ensnare an unsuspecting group than through a children’s toy.
Dolls are often the subject in horror movies because of the innocence they represent. Children automatically gravitate toward dolls, and bringing one to life is a perfect mechanism to infiltrate the pure of heart.
The writing on EVIL is so engaging that it’s easy to miss connections. Maybe that’s just me, but “D Is for Doll” is a good example of it.
Maybe it’s because I’m not a parent, but it isn’t easy to keep track of Kristen’s girls. Initially, I didn’t connect the babysitter to the family because the idea that she was part of what seemed to be an upcoming case was hard to fathom.
But it wasn’t that simple.
Instead, it was the first of many dolls revealed to be at the crux of a demonic wave rolling through town. While most use children as their launching point, we’ve seen one claim Sheryl, too.
It’s interesting that Sheryl’s doll didn’t aim for her grandchildren, but when you think about it, having someone in a position of power spread the message is far more effective on a larger scale.
Sheryl hasn’t done anything overtly harmful to her granddaughters, but she’s exposing them to her state of mind, which likely works gradually to their detriment.
Kurt’s involvement was a new direction, and he seems incredibly susceptible to deceptive demonic activity.
If you ever wondered what he thinks of Kristen’s line of work, he appears to believe it has some merit, even if his thoughts always veer toward the explainable.
He’s prescribed Kristen anti-hallucinogenic drugs to counter what she sees without considering that they aren’t hallucinations at all.
Is it irony that as soon as Kristen is free of spirits, Kurt begins seeing them? They’re both in the psychological profession, so their insistence that actual demons don’t exist makes sense. Our minds provide plenty of fodder in that area.
But Kristen is a different person now that she succumbed to the “placebo effect,” as she calls it. She’s kinder, gentler, and even less skeptical. It’s as if now that she’s experienced a phenomenon of some kind, she’s more willing to accept that others may take the same experience and process it differently.
Go get ordained.
She’s even come around to David joining the priesthood. Again, the irony is that as David grows closer to taking his vows, he’s more hesitant. Had everything not unfolded as it did, they might have taken a step neither of them was inherently ready to take.
David: You don’t think they’ll ask why I want to be a priest?
Sister Andrea: This isn’t a cruise director interview; this determines whether you’ll be ordained or not. It’s a given you want to be a priest. Or is it?
Previously, David and Kristen danced around their flirtations. Asking the question, “what if,” sets their feelings on the table and allows them to process them for what they were. A different time and a different place might have found them sharing an earth-shattering love for one another. But they’re not in those places.
Had David not grown close with Sister Andrea, his commitment might have wavered even further.
But one thing is certain. The perfidious nature of the dolls is nothing compared to what Leland is doing with The Church. Frankly, it makes The Church look embarrassing, and if that’s how it would really go down with a Catholic Monsignor, well, that’s a problem.
Leland allowed himself to be exorcised just enough so that the exorcist bought into his journey. Have David and Sister Andrea shared their concerns with Bishop Marx or the Monsignor? If they have, why do they trust Leland over them, and if they haven’t, why not?
Sure, they can sit back and figure that since she’s a woman and David is a black man who hasn’t been ordained yet that they wouldn’t be heard. But over a goon like Leland? That’s just silly.
Then you look at the Gregory of it all. What the hell is that about? Hot on the heels of the pastor David visited, declaring Catholic exorcisms are theatrical at best, Monsignor proves the pastor right.
Gregory: Do you know why there’s no infestation in abandoned houses?
Ben: Because there’s no one there to notice them.
That the pastor doesn’t believe in actual demonic forces and David does might be the only thing keeping David from jumping off the Catholicism ship and going the pastor route.
So you leave the church instead of trying to change it.
And if there genuinely are demonic forces afoot, and now it seems impossible to deny they are in this EVIL world that has been created, then stepping back would go against what David believes.
Unless, of course, he were to try going the freelance route as Gregory has done. David’s presence might actually work instead of being the equivalent of a shitty horror movie.
By introducing Gregory, it allows David to consider additional avenues to continue the work. But Sister Andrea’s warning should prove the cementing factor. David will want to take his vows. But will they be approved?
David: Sister, when did you take your vows?
Sister Andrea: When I was 19. Why?
David: And you never wanted a family or children?
Sister Andrea: This isn’t helpful.
David: Sister, I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing to spend my whole life without a wife, without children, to be alone? Are you… alone?
Sister Andrea: No. I didn’t want children.
Sister Andrea: There was a man who fell in love with me… Look, David. I have a gift like you have a gift. A door has been opened up to us, and it comes with some responsibility. But when you’re in Plato’s cave and you break the restraints and you turn to the light, you can’t go back.
Kristen’s drastic behavioral change is also of concern. Although she has come around to why The Church and its parishioners need David on their side, how easily the placebo exorcism turned her suggests that she might turn a blind eye to actual demonic activity in her backyard.
She’s already ignored the blatant cry for help Sheryl sends with her altar, and when the couple Lynn babysat for showed up at their door talking about a doll very much like the one in Sheryl’s apartment and wrapped in stinky gauze in Nate’s attic, she failed to see a connection.
Will Kristen see a reason for concern if she visits Sheryl and finds a shrunken head on the altar?
That Leland and Edward can both push Sheryl’s buttons so easily and get her to do their bidding is disturbing.
With Daffodil as her trigger, there’s no telling what she could be forced to do under the guise that she’s doing it for some special prize. Now Sheryl is Edward’s protege? For what?
There are so many questions and very few answers, but the more interlaced the story becomes, the better it is. Kurt Fuller has been underutilized as Kurt Boggs, and getting him more involved is an exciting prospect. He could either really F things up or help the team question themselves.
We still don’t know if the Monsignor will allow Leland to join the team, but with how the Monsignor praised Gregory, someone like Leland with a flair for the dramatic would be right up his alley.
The closer Leland gets to the team and the church, the more insidious his beliefs. And if he is added to the team in some capacity, that makes David and Sister Andrea’s job eradicating his dangerous presence even more difficult.
Once Leland has a foot in the door, the Moneseignor and Bishop Marx will also need to be tended to, as will anyone else within The Church that gets on board with what Leland is laying down.
Such a tangled web and that doesn’t even address that the team has barely had time to address the looming scope of the fertility clinic, which will inevitably tie back to Leland and, now, Sheryl.
So, what do you think of all of this activity, its insidious nature, and how so many different facets of the show are beginning to merge?
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.