“N Is for Night Terrors” brings Evil back with a literal bite, as the best show nobody talks about continues apace.
This recap of Evil season 2, episode 1, “N Is for Night Terrors”, contains spoilers.
Evil is one of those sneaky shows that creep into the TV landscape under the guise of a run-of-the-mill procedural and end up being significantly better than they have any right to be. The hook of this one was that it was a crime drama spliced with a supernatural horror; its horrific crimes may or may not have been the work of otherworldly demons, and it pitted ardent believers and die-hard skeptics against one another to get to the bottom of it. The first season ended with a major cliff-hanger, too, so the debut of the second on the fledgling Paramount+ service, which needs some heavy-hitting content, isn’t an accident.
That cliff-hanger, by the way, concerned whether or not the show’s protagonist, Kristen Bouchard, had a) hacked serial killer Orson LeRoux to death with an ice ax after he had terrorized her and her daughters, and b) whether or not she was possessed by a demon, a theory given some credence by the fact that a crucifix seared itself into her flesh when she touched it.
Answers regarding the second point are thin on the ground in Evil season 2, episode 1, but the first matter seems pretty clear-cut – Kristen goes to her therapist, Dr. Boggs, and tells him outright that not only did she kill LeRoux, but she made sure his wife – the likeliest suspect – had an alibi, she cleaned up all the evidence afterward, she doesn’t regret any of it, and she’s only telling him because of a guarantee of sacred doctor-patient confidentiality. The matter-of-factness of the whole thing is quite chilling, really. But the possession thing? Still a mystery. We get the suggestion it might be psychosomatic, then that the cobalt crucifix might have just been very hot, but neither seems especially likely in this show.
Connections to the first season don’t end there, since there’s still the small matter of the devil potentially trying to use eggs at the RSM Fertility Clinic – a direct link, by the way, to one of Kristen’s children; more on this later – to corrupt an entire generation, but Bishop Marx is somehow skeptical about this and besides, there are more pressing matters to attend to, namely a wealthy new parishioner who has been cozying up to the Cardinal but who also might have allowed the Devil inside him – in a diabolical subjugation way, not a sex way, although you never quite know – as a teenager. Kristen and co. are to determine whether or not this parishioner warrants an exorcism, and the parishioner is Leland Townsend, because why not?
This is the primary and most fun way in which “N Is for Night Terrors” messes with the established dynamics a bit. Leland is laying on the devil-worshipping stuff super thick, and of course absolutely nobody believes him and he’s perfectly happy with that fact, having a great deal of fun leaving upside-down crosses and such in his apartment for the team to find. But they also find a copy of the sigil map, and they hack his webcam so that when he eventually returns home to stare madly at a wall they can watch him do it and speculate about all the ways in which he’s playing them. It’s fun stuff, and it’s really fun at the end when Ben tunes in to watch him and Leland starts mimicking his movements and laughing maniacally into the screen. Yikes! (Leland also gave Ben a weird nightmare earlier, since, again, why not?)
Anyway, Evil season 1, episode 2 gives a general sense of what Leland is up to – he wants Kristen to tempt David away from being ordained as a priest. Her problem is that Marx doesn’t care about her assessment that he’s just a garden variety nutcase and instead insists that they perform the exorcism regardless, obviously for financial reasons, so we’ve got that to look forward to. But I said I’d mention Kristen’s kid, and here we are. The episode’s one real moment of nastiness comes when Lexi is having her vampire fangs pulled under anesthesia and straight-up bites the dentist’s finger almost all the way off. At this point, there’s no sense in trying to predict precisely what’s up here, or indeed anywhere else, but either way, it’ll be lots of fun trying to make sense of it all in the coming weeks.