Evil Recap: Believe It Or Not

October 4, 2019
Jonathon Wilson 1
TV, TV Recaps


CBS’s new supernatural procedural is sicker and slicker than your average, and one of the better network shows airing now.



CBS’s new supernatural procedural is sicker and slicker than your average, and one of the better network shows airing now.

This recap of Evil (CBS) Season 1, Episode 1, “Pilot”, contains spoilers.

Robert and Michelle King are best known for The Good Wife, but their new genre-blending procedural Evil (CBS) is destined to become another hit. The show, which combines horror and comedy, philosophy and religion, the supernatural and the mundane, is ambitious enough to stand out on network television while remaining true enough to the comfort-food form to not feel alienating. It’s in the sweet spot halfway between familiar and challenging — just enough of both to please all comers, or at least most of them.

The pilot introduces Dr. Kristen Bouchard (Katja Herbers), a mountain-climbing mother of four daughters (Brooklyn Shuck, Skylar Gray, Maddy Crocco, and Dalya Knapp) whose husband is away shepherding people up Everest. We meet her in Evil Episode 1 as a forensic psychologist working for the district attorney’s office, her mandate being to determine whether defendants are sane enough to stand trial. But when her latest subject shows evidence of being possessed by a demon, she’s inclined to join forces with trainee priest David Acosta (Mike Colter) and his handyman skeptic partner Ben (Aasif Mandvi), who work on behalf of the Catholic Church on a backlog of half-a-million cases of potentially supernatural mysteriousness. And just like that, we have a weekly format.

The reason this works is that it gives equal credence to both the potential of faith-based explanations and the likelihood of mundane realities — Ben’s whole thing is figuring out that most instances of demonic whispering are just things wedged in appliances, and so on and so forth. But the show never looks to condemn or ridicule any potential outcome, so there’s always a sense that you never quite know where things are going, and this tends to manifest as the characters’ having their faith or worldview routinely challenged.

The dynamic within the team, then, becomes obvious pretty much immediately in Evil Episode 1, and it’s an engaging clash of ideologies with an interesting underlying sexual chemistry between Bouchard and Acosta. The pilot contains breadcrumbs of serialization, with the vague mention of an enigmatic conspiratorial group by itinerant evildoer Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson) giving things a “more next week” quality, but the case presented in the pilot is engaging on its own terms. There’s a lot here — from Kristen’s absent husband and her chaotic homelife to Acosta’s literal and figurative demons — that feels ripe for exploration as the series progresses, and as long as it can maintain its fresh fusion of scares and laughs it’ll be a real standout in the weekly lineup.

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1 thought on “Evil Recap: Believe It Or Not

  • July 1, 2020 at 12:52 am

    Ahh… Mr Wilson! I’m back.( Express gratitude to your pre-existing commenters( “community members”) for that, or you can’t engage with any human whatsoever EVEN for that?)

    Appreciated your effort towards painstakingly naming every single “daughter”-character[ since they’re all Regulars], that’s hardly the case with “child-actors”.
    However, “the Kings” seem to be making them all empty-chatterboxes like they use to very frequently do that with adult characters on ‘The Good Fight®’ and if this is the resolve for them to “infantilise”( or say, “kid-ify”) those characters with a broad brush, then I’m Sorry to Say they’ll be dead-annoying characters. And no.. I’m not yet-another one of those who hate “TV kids”, I generally enjoy them — a stark contradiction to the popular-opinion. And that’s why I’m worried if the writing-staff will take the lazy, stereotypical way out for them — rendering them as demonic presences( pun intended) without spiritually( NOT literally) making them four.

    Moving on.. Frankly, as somebody with a “teenage-mind”: I did get a vibe of chemistry but I was ultimately, just confused.. Before “George” spelled-it-out, even though by wrapping it as a question. I dunno.. Given the hype of “Kings”, I hoped it would be so unlike the writing-bros behind that “ASOIAF” TV adaptation that they’ll subvert tropes: Guess either the hype is just like that indeed, or their age is getting to them.( Saw 3rd season of ‘The Good Fight®’, they literally shoehorned-in a fictionalised characterisation of a ‘Downtown Abbey®’ actor just to have Lucca cheat on the now-exiled actor’s character, who is a FATHER of her damn offspring.) And no, I’m neither a monogamy-zealot nor, even a prude!( Like c’mon, I won’t have to prove that by realistically talking about p*********y at length — right? I wonder if that would be even allowed by your nonexistent “Community Standards” — just like how the supernatural apparitions of Townsend talking about sexuality at traditionally-“inappropriate” timings still can’t subvert the primal-universe’s FCC and advertisers( [for already scissor-happy CBS® ]above all), in spite of subverting the psyche of a committed intern-priest“assessor”.)
    And I appreciate how you even got even black POC charcters right!( Yes, I’m referring to Mr Mandviwala’s role.) So, Thanks for not taking the CBS® PR’s bait for indulging in that newly-found trope where minority characters have their identity-markers a bit shifted at “the last hour/minute”.
    And wait.. Ain’t this review fell short than the uszche? I wonder why? Having a lotta work? Or just not enough incentive? Ahh… Well! You know what? Exclusively for the time-being, I genuinely do appreciate this. Guess I won’t have to suffer the same tic I had to, in your HBO®’s ‘Succession®’ — reviews. I obviously do appreciate not having to correct your misinterpretations of plot and its related elements, characters and their related machinations — as in, all that jazz.

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