[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Evil Season 3 Episode 3 “The Demon of Sex.”]
How does one explain away an eyeball popping up in a toilet, especially one that’s been bleeding and groaning (and that had a head flushed down it)? That’s one of the questions right now on Evil, and seeing that eye is doing things to skeptic Ben (Aasif Mandvi) after Kristen (Katja Herbers) calls him in to take a look in her bathroom.
“That’s when he starts to sort of, for lack of a better word, implode,” Mandvi told TV Insider. “[Co-creator] Robert [King] said to me at the beginning of the season, ‘Ben’s brain bursts,’ and that’s a really great analogy for what’s happening to him. Things are now happening [that shouldn’t be]. He has that great moment where he just walks out of the house. It’s like he’s thrown his hands up. He’s like, ‘I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to make sense of this.’”
Fortunately, his sister, Karima (Sohina Sidhu), offers him a “respite, a place where he can go to get back to sanity with the science league,” he continued. “He can find some kind of normalcy. He needs the world to just start to feel a little bit normal again, which I think we all can relate to.”
Added Robert King, “Ben really feels his brain is broken because of all this insanity. Everyone has their threshold, and he’s a sane empiricist and then to have so many things, like, ‘oh my God, this is weird.’ I think that’s just hard on him and that’s going to play through the season. That’s his arc for the season: How do you stay sane in an insane world?” (Also playing out through the finale: what’s going on with the plumbing in Kristen’s house.)
Elsewhere in the episode, Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson) makes a move against Sister Andrea (Andrea Martin), expressing concerns about her health and tendency towards hallucinations.
“He’s just following his nose for mayhem and anyone that catches his attention, if he can figure out a way to discredit or bring them down, he will do it,” Emerson explained. “She seems to be a particular worry of his, I think, because she appears to be a Christian warrior with magic and that’s troubling to him and it’s not the way it’s supposed to go. He needs to debunk that just for his own peace of mind, I think, and also to win.”
Sister Andrea’s not too worried. First of all, she has her allies, namely David (Mike Colter), with Kristen joining the list after the two reach an understanding in this episode while working with a couple dealing with a demon.
Plus, said Martin, “more than anything, what she has is her faith, so she’s not fearful of anything because she really believes in her mission. She believes there’s a higher power. She believes in God. She believes she’s doing the right thing. She believes she’s put on this Earth to speak the truth and to abolish evil. So she’ll do anything that she has to. Fear is not part of her vocabulary. I don’t know many people like that.”
What might give her pause, however, is what’s going on between Kristen and David, who kissed at the end of Season 2. (That situation has gotten complicated, with a demon Kristen visiting him after.) “I don’t think that she thinks that sex is evil. She’s a worldly nun and not much upsets her, except for evil. I think she would certainly condone a relationship but not for David because he’s a priest,” Martin shared. “I don’t know that she knows at the beginning what Kristen represents with David. But I think she doesn’t want David to get off of his path to become a priest and to be able to see visions that she does. She wants to cultivate that in him because she knows he’s very special and he’s been called by God to do this work, even though he doesn’t know it.”
Then there’s what’s going on with Sheryl (Christine Lahti), whom Leland has put in charge of selling Makob, a form of cryptocurrency. “Making everyone unsettled is part of it, this idea of evil can take hold if everyone is afraid all the time and so you give them reason to keep doom-scrolling,” according to co-creator Michelle King.
“Cryptocurrency is unsettling people’s fortunes. They’re not sure whether to buy more, buy on the slump or whatever, and so I think the bottom line is, the devil, if there is a devil, plays off the act of creating money out of thin air,” Robert King added. “If you want an easy answer, we think cryptocurrency is evil and so does the show.”
But Sheryl’s not just doing what Leland says. She fires Taylor, whom he had spying on her, in dramatic fashion: giving her chocolate with Brazil nuts, to which she’s allergic. She only gives her an epipen when she’s signed a resignation letter and she’s left, with the doors to the elevator about to close.
“She doesn’t kill her, she just makes her nervous and makes her suffer because she was very, very rude to Sheryl,” Lahti pointed out. “She was dismissive. So I think she’s trying to teach her a lesson. She’s had it with anybody disrespecting her. She’s not going to maybe do it in the best, most gracious way, but she’s going to make sure that people treat her the way she feels she needs to be treated.”
Evil, Sundays, Paramount+
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