The struggle is real.
Evil Season 3 Episode 4 finds David at a crossroads, with his disillusionment with the Catholic Church increasing rather than diminishing.
With all that’s going on, it’s not hard to understand why.
The case of the week revolved around a ghostly section of highway that turned out to be just another loser desperately searching for significance in his miserable life.
Well, definitely all of the above but also far more than that.
Evil as a series is still growing, and it’s evolving greatly at interpreting gray areas by suggesting that we don’t always know what we know.
I noted in my review for Evil Season 3 Episode 3 that everyone is searching this season. David is searching for faith, Ben for scientific answers to life’s mysteries, and Kristen a combination of many things that help her sleep at night and raise her kids.
As the trio took to the road to experience the phenomena themselves, those things played out perfectly.
Any of the fear that had been nagging at Ben through his unanswered questions has dissipated thanks to his science night with Karima.
Kristen: You seem better, Ben. I was a little worried about you last week.
Ben: Yeah, well, my sister, she took me to some science club, and they solved some things for me.
Kristen: What things?
Ben: The angel from the video last year? You know, the girl that was dead for 177 minutes?
Ben: So, they showed me that it’s an app. You can break into somebody’s Bluetooth transmission and give them a guardian angel in their photos.
He got the answers he needed to feel safe in his world again, and he knows where to find them if he needs more answers.
Kristen, on the other hand, was quite frightened by their roadside experience. Even when besieged by her demons enough to kill, she never seemed as genuinely horror-movie afraid as she did in the car.
David was just hoping to find something to prove his faith.
David thought he had found it when he took his solo turn at the road, got attacked by a demon, and was saved by what looked like a page out of the bible.
Ben was thrilled when he and Karima determined what was at work behind that segment of the highway. He used his scientific knowledge and beat that man down.
But it was a longer story for Kristen and David.
Kristen is struggling, once again, as a single parent. As the girls grow older, they’re not as easy to manipulate into thinking as you want them to think, so Kristen is getting crafty in how she goes about it.
She’s also just about had it with anyone assuming that she’s just the little lady of the house and someone to be messed with.
Lexis: Why can boys do whatever they want, but girls can’t?
Kristen: I don’t think that’s true.
Lexis: It is. That guy just said whatever he wanted and did whatever he wanted.
Kristen: Well, I was kind of wrong to him before.
Lexis: I don’t think you were
It came to light when Lexis asked why boys can do things that girls can’t. Her question was related to the grocery store guy visiting Kristen’s house to get his own five minutes of fame on her back, demanding an online apology.
Kristen had he doubts about how she’d behaved, but the visit provoked her to reexamine how her viral video was received and how other women talk about and rely on their inner strength in similar ways.
When the contractor tried playing games with her about money, Kristen stood firm, and her display in front of the girls was proof that women could do and say anything they wanted just like men.
Ben: Hey. You’re dressed tough.
Kristen: I am tough.
So when Kristen had the opportunity to take out a little more of her rage on the highway loser, she went to town on him.
That brings us to David and his struggle and how it ties into Sister Andrea’s plight.
David has been seeking tangible proof of his faith through visions for a long time. When he doesn’t have them, he questions his belief even more. Sister Andrea has no relief from her visions, and her head is on the Catholic Church chopping block because of it.
How do you know it’s God who is helping you and not someone or something else? Or just your mind? Aren’t we all trapped in our minds?
She’s been called to task because she has seen demons, but not just any demon. She’s seen a Cardinal and a demon, and that just won’t stand. In fact, the Church calls it blasphemous.
Sister’s story fits in well with Kristen’s because a nun seeing such a thing is far easier to control than a priest doing, well, anything. Or so the Church thinks.
Sister Andrea has managed to amass friends in the right places, from David to Kurt, thanks to his own little dance with the devil.
The whole situation was downright ludicrous with demon-seeing Kurt and demon-serving Leland standing up for the Church. Leland’s presence proves that the Church is working hand-in-hand with the devil, so why wouldn’t Sister see a demon in the higher ranks of the clergy?
The Church’s faith in Leland and treatment of Sister Andrea are so counterintuitive that it’s impossible to root for the Church, even with a man as capable and worthy of accolades as David among its ranks.
So, of course, David decided to get in on that action by attaching himself to Sister Andrea as her priestly representative during her tribunal process.
David: Does the council think it’s heretical when a nun sees an angel or a demon?
David: Then why are we here?
David needs Sister Andrea as much as she needs him right now. Ben might have been thrilled to debunk the highway phenomena, but that made David question what he’d experienced. Was it the wavelengths giving him hallucinations or was what he experienced real?
Now that he’s ordained, instead of seeking the spiritual side of what’s happening, he’s leaning into the scientific side, believing that it’s nothing more than the human mind playing tricks on him.
And the mind does play tricks. We witnessed it with Kristen’s fear from the backseat. She also brought up the third man factor, in which people struggling to survive feel a presence around them that helps them through their ordeal.
The faithful would call that divine intervention. The scientists would consider that your own mind is intervening to keep you alive.
What’s interesting is to consider why your mind would conjure that presence instead of just unleashing a higher dose of adrenaline and increasing your mental fortitude and drive to survive by skill and instinct alone. Maybe that will be addressed this season.
Thankfully, David is a friend of the Vatican now, and he’s got an insider sharing information with him.
Victor was lurking in David’s room again, but this time, he came with incredibly useful information.
The sigil they encountered on the desperate loser’s truck wasn’t just an electrical map, as Ben deduced. It was a sigil, and while that man wasn’t from one of the vilest demonic houses, taking him out was a win nonetheless.
The key to these houses is cannibalization by the successor. Didn’t Leland, Sheryl, and Edward discuss such cannibalization and perhaps partake in it at one point?
The map the assessors have poured over is significant, and Victor crossed out all of the houses to show David how much there was left to be done before achieving — if you can believe it — world peace.
David: What happens when you stop all the demonic houses?
Victor: Peace on earth.
What is most exciting about this storyline is how it takes everyday evil and supposes that they are at the heart of darker purposes, whether they know it or not. Evil has a flow, and when specific people become a part of it, the greater evil they can impart upon the rest of us.
Leland’s Makob — and crypto in general — seems like an ordinary business with more vile intent.
That’s the kind of stuff that makes Evil so interesting, and from what I can tell, Evil Season 3 will be building on that foundation.
I’d like to mention that there is a conversation to be had around Kurt Bogg’s appearance in this episode and his work with Sister Andrea is thought-provoking.
That discussion is tabled for now because I had the chance to chat with Kurt Fuller, who plays Kurt Boggs, and he provides a lot of insight that you’ll enjoy reading. That interview will drop between Tuesday and Friday of this week to round out this review and preview the coming episode.
If you’ve been watching, I’d love to hear from you!
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.