A priest, a skeptic, and a forensic psychologist walk into an exorcism…
If you haven’t seen Evil, you’re missing out. It’s perfect for fans of the following; religious trauma, police procedurals, night terrors, demonic possession, and a batshit crazy battle between “good” and, well, evil. It should come as no surprise to Little Book Blog locals that I’m so into this show – the demonic possession trope truly has me in a chokehold. And, with this one, bonus points for debunking it. Well… sort of. But we’ll get into that.
Evil premiered on CBS in September of 2019, which feels like a decade ago after the Hell that was 2020. This year, it was added to Netflix, and I got my grubby little hands on it and fell in love. Unfortunately, as of 10/1/21, it’s no longer available on Netflix, but you can watch Season 1 and Season 2 (new episode every Sunday) on Paramount+. I recommend getting the free trial and binging over a long weekend because there’s not much else on there worth watching. And I must have some good karma, because it got renewed for a third season.
The show follows a great ensemble of characters investigating supernatural occurrences for the Catholic Church. Basically, they’re attempting to determine if these supernatural happenings are genuine demonic possessions, miracles sent from Heaven, or just your run-of-the-mill psychosis or physical abnormality. It’s a mix of the classic “monster of the week” format with intricate, ongoing subplots.
David Acosta (played by Mike Colter) is a former journalist studying to be a Catholic priest. While undergoing his priesthood training, he’s working as an assessor for his superiors. He takes drugs to see God, but he’s still not sure if it’s the Man Upstairs or just his own, drug-induced visions of Hell.
Dr. Kristen Bouchard (played by Katja Herbers) is a forensic psychologist who is hired by David to be a part of the assessment team. She doesn’t believe in religion or demonic possession, but there are things she sees that push her perception of science and reality to the breaking point.
Ben Shakir (played by Aasif Mandvi) is the comic relief and technical expert. He’s Hell-bent on providing scientific explanations for every supernatural situation they assess.
The team’s main adversary is Dr. Leland Townsend (played by Michael Merson). He’s a forensic psychologist too – a direct rival of Kristen – and a self-professed expert in the occult. He influences others to commit evil acts and takes pride in hurting all members of the team but particularly David, as he wishes to derail his path to priesthood.
SPOILERS AHEAD! READ AT YOUR OWN PERIL!
Let’s do an episode by episode recap, so we can all be up to speed on what the Hell we just watched. If you haven’t watched yet and are just into reading spoilers… I guess that’s okay too.
EPISODE ONE: “Genesis 1”
In the first ever episode, we meet Dr. Kristen Bouchard while she’s working as a forensic psychologist for the DA’s office and testifying in the murder trial of a man named Orson LeRoux. Orson claims to have been demonically possessed during the time of his heinous crimes and, therefore, not at fault. Then, Kristen is rather dramatically fired by the DA’s office and takes a temporary position with David Acosta, aspiring priest, in order to determine whether or not Orson is *actually* possessed by a demon.
During an interview, LeRoux taunts Kristen with personal information about her life that she has shared with no one but her therapist. She investigates how LeRoux got this information, only to discover that her therapy notes were stolen by none other than – DUN DUN DUN – Leland Townsend. Kristen deduces that Leland is the one telling LeRoux to act possessed in an attempt to get away with murder. In the end, Kristen decides to permanently join David’s team of assessors.
The first episode falls into a trap I think a lot of first episodes fall into – so many subplots, so little time! Kristen has a bad relationship with her carefree mother (not to mention four young daughters and a husband who is gone for six months out of the year climbing Everest!) and is plagued by a sleep paralysis demon named George (who is actually hilarious). David is tempted by lustful feelings despite his desire to become a priest (aka, celibate) AND he is desperately trying to see visions of God, as he has in the past. We don’t learn a lot about Ben right away but you can tell from the beginning that he’s going to be the best character on the show. The cool thing about this trap, however, is that Evil kind of pulls it off. All the little pieces moving around each other in this demonic (or not??) circle just waiting to come together for an eventual reveal feels intricate, but not confusing, right from the jump.
That being said, the first episode is also the most boring. It paints the picture as a courtroom procedural that it’s totally not. Sure, it’s spooky with George the sleep paralysis demon and Leland’s…. everything, but it’s nothing compared to what comes next. And maybe that’s for the best. So it won’t scare anyone away before you can get fully sucked in.
EPISODE TWO: “177 Minutes”
A girl named Naomi miraculously comes back to life after her autopsy begins. Yep, right after the scalpel starts slicing, she’s suddenly awake. David and friends are called in to determine if she was revived under miraculous circumstances. There’s video of the autopsy room that shows an image of a woman’s face – a woman who died in the hospital at the same time as Naomi’s revival. Ben (yay, Ben!) debunks the image as possible digital manipulation. This is never confirmed, however, and we’re left to wonder if it was digital or divine intervention. In terms of the actual revival of Naomi after death, David eventually discovers that she was never actually dead. Racist practices among hospital staff resulted in Naomi being pronounced dead thirty minutes too early (thirty minutes less time spent saving her life, as opposed to a white patient). Meanwhile, one of Kristen’s four daughters starts seeing George in her dreams, too. Together, Kristen and her daughter determine that George is a character from a scary movie, and therefore not real, and he can’t hurt them. Or… can he?
We also learn in this episode that Kristen’s old job at the DA’s office has been taken by none other than – DUN DUN DUN – Leland Townsend.
I personally love the “monster of the week” format. Episode one was Orson LeRoux, episode two is Naomi. The show doesn’t spoon-feed you any time of divine message, either. In fact, two-thirds of the Catholic Church’s assessment team don’t even believe in God, miracles, or demons. With the ambiguity of the image of the dead patient in the autopsy room, you’re left to wonder if, perhaps, the spirit did have a hand at reviving Naomi, or if David’s discovery of a wrongful pronunciation of death is to blame.
The racial messaging in the show isn’t spoon-fed, either. It’s blatant right away that the show will pull no punches, and not shy away from the fact that David is a minority, both in real life and in the Catholic Church (especially in the priesthood). It’s woven right into the story and diverse cast of characters as another level of horror.
I was partially invested by the end of the second episode. The main three – Kristen, David, and Ben – work so well together. And it HAS to be noted just how creepy Leland Townsend is. Every time he’s in a scene I get the creeps. Michael Merson also played the creepiest character in Lost, so, I’m not surprised. But the biggest creeps are yet to come.
EPISODE THREE: “3 Stars”
The monster of the week this time is… a Broadway producer? Sounds random, but stay with me on this. It is alleged that the producer sold his soul to a demon named Joe (what a lame name for a demon) so he would win a Tony Award. Ben and Kristen immediately attempt to debunk it, and think they have succeeded when they reveal the producer’s personal assistant (like an Alexa or Google Home) was hacked by an anonymous tormentor. The assessor team is eventually able to track down the disgruntled IT Tech that hacked the device to torment the producer… but are unable to figure out how “Joe” the demon hacked into Ben’s personal assistant at home. After turning a corner from his mental breakdown and seemingly getting back to normal, the Broadway producer gets an email stating “Hell is only half full…” and subsequently commits suicide by jumping out of his NYC office window.
On the Leland front (which is only getting more bizarre), Kristen finds out he is overturning her ruling on an old case, which could send an innocent young boy to prison for life. She secretly records him admitting all these heinous things about himself, how he’s evil and wants the boy to go to prison, but the recording is corrupted. Ben (yay, Ben!) uses deepfake technology to remake the recording, nailing Leland and getting him fired from the case.
Okay. By episode three, things are really heating up. The subplots are rolling forward, the monster of the week was increasingly bizarre – like why was Ben being pulled into it? Who emailed the producer about Hell? Why did he kill himself when he seemed to be getting better?? And David started taking drugs to see God again, and he’s now convinced God is pointing him toward a random neighborhood in Queens. Also, I was like 100% sure by this point that Leland is a demon. I mean, come on. He’s totally creepy, admitted to wanting to watch the world burn, and the recording of his voice was all screwed up because of his demonic weirdness. Ben said he might have had some type of scrambling device on him at the time of the recording… but I blame the demon.
Also by this point it’s pretty clear that there’s some type of bigger picture at play. Sure, each “monster of the week” is either demonic or miraculous, but the undercurrent of the show is that EVERYTHING could be demonic or miraculous. And, if that’s true, then EVERYTHING is connected. We just don’t know how… yet.
EPISODE FOUR: “Rose390“
The assessors are assigned to help the McCrystal family determine if their young son Eric is possessed by a demon. Kristen, being a forensic psychologist still, officially declares Eric a budding psychopath. Eric bonds with David, and despite Kristen’s evaluation of psychopathy, David tells Eric to pray to God, and ask God for the things he wants most in life. Eric shows improvement, but upon David’s next visit, Eric has attempted to drown his infant sister. David saves the infant just in time. The Church orders an emergency exorcism (is that a real thing?) but, when the assessors arrive, Eric is “missing”. It’s heavily implied that his parents killed him, having had enough of his demonic ways.
Meanwhile (see what I mean about subplots?), Kristen’s mom Sheryl bought Kristen’s kids VR headsets. There’s a game already downloaded into them about a possessed little girl. In the game, they meet an online player named Rose390. Ben (whom the girls call Ben the Magnificent, which is adorable) tries to remove the game, but is unable to do so. Kristen throws the VR headsets away as a result.
FINALLY, a scary episode! Something about the VR game was totally terrifying to me. Especially that creepy little girl calling herself Rose390, trying to get Kristen’s kids to open up some portal in a Ouija Board. Even Ben the tech genius couldn’t figure out why he couldn’t un-download the creepy game (and the game was CREEPY – spiders and demonic images and monsters). And he couldn’t figure out who Rose390 was, though he assumed it was a predator (real or demonic, who can say?).
And don’t even get me started on the McCrystals. Sure, it’s *technically* an ambiguous ending, and you don’t know for certain if they killed Eric or not… but it’s implied. In the background of the scene when David and Kristen and the exorcist arrive at the home, you can hear Mr. McCrystal arguing with a cop about there being blood on the floor, and they didn’t hurt Eric, he’s just missing. Mrs. McCrystal tearfully tells Kristen that she had to do what she had to do to protect her family and infant daughter, and Kristen would do the same. Would she though?
This was the first episode to truly marry the terrifying and the heartbreaking, bringing an ounce of humanity into the weirdness of demonic possession. Ben and Kristen’s skepticism is in stark contrast to David’s belief that Eric needed to seek guidance from God, and it’s really tragic that they’re saddled with the guilt of being unable to save Eric from whatever fate he suffered – whether through God or otherwise.
EPISODE FIVE: “October 31st”
The assessment team is called to investigate and perform an exorcism on a possessed (or schizophrenic) woman named Caroline. David and Kristen butt heads because David believes Caroline can be cured via God’s love and an exorcism, while Kristen believes Caroline is being tortured and needs medical care (aka not an exorcism but a real doctor). David’s exorcism eventually cures Caroline and she expels the demon from her body (or does she?). Meanwhile, Ben is a guest star on a Ghost Adventures type show and it’s absolutely hilarious to watch him debunk every scary thing that happens.
Kristen’s daughters are celebrating Halloween with a sleepover party. A girl named Brenda is invited, despite no one at the sleepover liking her. Brenda is wearing a mask and doesn’t take it off during the duration of the sleepover. Brenda coaxes the girls to the nearby graveyard, where they begin to bury Kristen’s youngest daughter alive. Kristen arrives before anyone is hurt, and it is revealed that the real Brenda stayed home – and no one knows the identity of the little girl in the mask who disappears into the night.
And last but not least (subplots, oh my!) Leland seduces Kristen’s mom!
Another scary episode! This one was bursting with Halloween creeps – especially in the scenes involving Kristen’s daughters and that spooky little freak, Brenda. The kids hold up flashlights and tell scary stories and it’s endlessly charming – and endlessly creepy. Especially because in the end, we never find out who “Brenda” really was. It was such a campy ghost story for the kids that left me scared and wanting more. I’d watch a Brenda spinoff.
Ben’s appearance on the ghost hunting show was absolutely hilarious. Much needed between the scenes of Caroline’s gruesome exorcism and David and Kristen arguing about the dangers of demons and schizophrenia. This is the first episode where David’s faith and Kristen’s lack thereof have come to a head, and it was actually quiet disturbing to watch them argue after several episodes of being great teammates despite their differences in beliefs. And Leland seducing Sheryl left my jaw hanging open. Does he know who she is? She doesn’t know who he is, and she certainly doesn’t know that he’s evil (and in my opinion, demonic).
EPISODE SIX: “Let x = 9”
A Chinese daycare worker named Grace is allegedly a prophet, speaking of things only outlined by a 500 year old codex describing the end of the world. The Church pressures David into pronouncing Grace a false prophet, because it the codex and her predictions are correct, the world will come to a burning end. Grace is eventually deported by ICE, but not before giving David a final drawing of the missing piece of the codex.
Sheryl invites Leland over for dinner at Kristen’s house. Kristen takes him into the backyard and slices into his throat, demanding he leave and never return. She tries to convince her mother that Leland is evil, but Sheryl writes Kristen’s warning off as anger and jealousy.
It’s weird, because this episode is critical and pivotal to multiple plots, but it was probably my least favorite of them all. The thing about the codex is cool, and it’s revealing more of that major conspiracy/underlying demons that I mentioned before. But it was rather anti-climactic with Grace being deported and David and team wondering what the codex actually represents – besides the end of the world, that is. It’s a giant map of shapes and illustrations in connected circles, and apparently no one has ever been able to decode it. So, we’ll see. Overall, it was pretty boring compared to the insanity of last week. Kristen slicing Leland’s throat was totally badass, though.
And the whole Sheryl and Leland thing is so crazy! Sheryl is definitely a loose cannon, but I found it so ridiculous that she didn’t listen to her daughter’s warnings. Even when Kristen played Sheryl the deepfaked recording of Leland saying horrible things about being evil, Sheryl didn’t care. I think Leland’s demonic energy is drawing her in.
EPISODE SEVEN: “Vatican III”
Leland is mentoring a young man named Sebastian, an incel (involuntary celibate) that’s angry at women and the world in general. Leland is convincing Sebastian to take physical and violent action against women, and women-centered organizations. Meanwhile, a woman named Bridget confesses to multiple murders of young men during her exorcism. David and Kristen are at odds once more as they try to determine whether Bridget is a possessed killer or a victim of a mental illness.
It is eventually revealed that Bridget is not the killer – her doting husband is. The exorcism and possession were an elaborate ruse conducted by the pair to cover up for the fact that the husband has been on a killing spree, collecting trophies from each of his young victims and hiding them within the home. David discovers the trophies and apprehends the husband.
The team is granted access by the Vatican to view the entire 500 year old codex. They sneak pictures with Kristen’s cell phone and discover it is a hierarchy if demons on Earth, each with their own sigil. David recognizes one as an artistic signature used by his father.
More politics. Honestly, the portrayal of the incel culture on the internet was one of the most terrifying aspects of this episode. As always, the exorcism was gruesome (think vomit, demonic voices, bodily harm, broken bones, etc.) and the tension between David and Kristen was palpable.
But, you’re telling me that this codex has been around for 500 years and only just now, a wannabe priest, a skeptic, and a psychologist randomly solve it? I mean, I’m glad they did, and I’m not surprised it was something to do with demons (where’s Leland’s picture on there??) but I just think it’s convenient that it took them all of 15 minutes to discover something 500 years of study couldn’t do. There’s a total atmospheric dread though – dread of what Leland is grooming Sebastian into, dread about the codex and end of the world, and dread about this new hierarchy of demons… and if that means demons *are* real, after all.
EPISODE EIGHT: “2 Fathers”
David and Kristen visit David’s father’s farm/art studio/compound in upstate New York, only to find that he’s remarried a young bride and has a baby on the way. David confronts his father, Leon, about using the demon sigil in his artwork and his father claims it grants him clarity. While at a party at Leon’s home, David and Kristen both drink punch laced with hallucinogenics, giving them visions. Kristen watches Leon’s young wife give birth to a ghoul in a cornfield, while David meets the ghost of a slave. The sigil Leon uses in his artwork is the brand of a slave owner. This enrages David, but he makes peace with the fact that he and his father must endure the pain of their family’s history in their own ways.
DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THE GHOUL IN THE CORNFIELD! I was shocked, I was disgusted, I was dismayed. I was horrified. And I was totally into it. The absolute absurdity of a woman giving birth to this being (way bigger than a baby, mind you) that looks like a mix of Benjamin Button and Predator right before Kristen’s eyes, then Kristen goes home and laughs it off because she was “hallucinating” is just so disturbing and hilarious. And it’s ambiguous – was it a ghoul? Did it actually happen? What the actual Hell?
And once again, the show gracefully includes racial discussions and the pain of David’s family heritage. Likening a slave owner’s brand to a demonic sigil is fitting and poignant. Sometimes, demons are right before our eyes. It’s also a welcome shift in pace to watch David go through something so profoundly emotional and personal. Week after week, he and the team watch people go through the worst time in their life (I mean, demonic possession would probably be close to my worst day ever) and we don’t get constant insight into their own battles with good and evil. My favorite episode, by far. Not just because the show has officially begun it’s bizarre descent into demonic madness, but because we’re learning more about the characters and their own personal Hell.
EPISODE NINE: “Exorcism Part 2”
David and the Church are being sued by Caroline (remember her from episode Five?) for botching her exorcism. A Church lawyer, sister of David’s deceased girlfriend, defends David as the prosecution reveals his history of drug-related legal offenses and arrests. Kristen convinces both parties that the medical care Caroline received after her exorcism is the real reason for her failing health, not the exorcism itself.
Meanwhile, Leland continues to coach Sebastian and introduce him to other members of the incel community. They are planning to execute an act of gun violence upon an all-women’s gym, and then a prayer group at a local church – the church where David leads a prayer group on that very night. Sebastian accidentally shoots himself while posing in the mirror with the guns Leland provided him with.
Kind of a boring recap, but not a boring episode. It’s a fascinating legal and moral argument about the negative effects an exorcism can have on the body – even if it worked at expelling the “demon”. The exorcisms have always been portrayed as gruesome, bloody affairs for all involved, taxing both physically and mentally. I wasn’t surprised when Caroline wanted to sue the church for the exorcism. Kristen setting aside her differences to make good with David and blame the medicine Caroline received afterward for the woman’s failing mental health was an interesting take. It’s clear that Kristen and David’s relationship is more important to both of them than their individual beliefs. It does, however, make me wonder how far Kristen is willing to blur the lines between truth and a lie.
Sebastian shooting himself in the head accidentally was another jaw-dropping moment. Right at the end of the episode, and the credits play in silence as his blood spreads across the floor. It’s gut-wrenching, because he was becoming the worst of the worst – a violent man, hateful of women, and easily manipulated by others (like Leland) who shared his disgusting beliefs. To watch him get his brains blown out by his own hand was… almost satisfying, if only to know that he wouldn’t be able to shoot up the gym or the church. That being said, the horror only continues when the camera cuts to Leland, at first upset at the loss of his protege, then comforted by the influx of incel videos he was able to watch afterward. An unnerving, sinking feeling that there will always be another mind for Leland to manipulate. There will always be evil.
EPISODE TEN: “7 Swans A Singin'”
A group of girls at a Catholic school can’t stop singing or humming a particular melody. Ben and Kristen discover the song is originally from an internet cartoon about Santa being high on marijuana, and was later used in the background of a popular influencer’s viral video. Ben determines the song transmits a secret message to those under the age of 16, telling them to commit suicide. The team confronts the influencer and she blames her producer. She later goes to her producer for help, who is none other than – DUN DUN DUN – Leland Townsend!
Meanwhile, Sheryl tells one of Kristen’s daughter’s to deal with a school bully with violence, perpetuating Leland’s beliefs. David goes to confession at church and is stabbed in the chest on his way out, his phone just out of reach.
This show really finds such interesting ways to interject the current world – and current evils – into this realm of demons and miracles. I never would have thought they would be uncovering demonic messaging in an influencer’s viral makeup tutorial, but they did (actually, Ben the Magnificent did). On top of the demonic messaging is the general horror of influencers in general, and how negatively they impact the minds and body image of young people (young women and girls in particular).
This episode in particular confirms my idea that Leland is behind all of this! I don’t know how, but I think I know why – serving the Devil, obviously. He’s using every tactic he can to watch the world burn… even it it’s including subliminal messaging in a random video jingle. And I can’t imagine waiting for next week to see what happens to David. I mean, obviously the show wasn’t going to kill him off, but what happens? Does he go to Heaven? Does he finally see God again? Or… does he go to Hell?
Luckily, I watched this on Netflix, so I didn’t have to wait.
EPISODE ELEVEN: “Room 320”
David is in the hospital following his attack. He learns from his roommate that the attending nurse, Nurse Bloch, is an angel of death that targets black patients and collects their hospital wristbands as trophies. David tries several times to escape, but fails. He sees horrifying visions of patients being killed and dragged away through the halls of the hospital. In a dream (or was it?) he receives a warning from the prophet Grace (from episode six) to remember Matthew 13:25 (“But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and left”).
Meanwhile, Kristen and Ben work together to find out who stabbed David. They come to the conclusion that it is a man named Ghana, who David once performed an exorcism on. Ghana also happens to be Rose390 from the VR headset game. Ben creates an avatar in the game and goes head-to-head with Ghana (or, Rose390) until they can triangulate his location and send the police to apprehend him.
Kristen visits David in the hospital and outsmarts Nurse Bloch to save him. They are not able to catch Nurse Bloch in time and she disappears, leaving behind a locker full of hospital wristbands.
Holy crap. This episode is so terrifying, especially if you’re into medical horror/hospital horror, etc. I’m actually not a fan of medical horror, like when patients are drugged and at the mercy of evil hospital personnel, but this episode scared me to my core. Watching David be tortured physically and mentally by this Nurse Ratched wannabe was absolutely jarring – he’s the large, tall, strong and sensible man that we’ve seen throughout the season, reduced to dragging his beaten and bloody body across the hospital floor in a desperate attempt to survive.
What’s the significance of Matthew 13:25? Well, I think Grace said this to David to get him to realize that while he was drugged and unconscious, Nurse Bloch was torturing and killing other black patients. And, in general, don’t sleep on evil and the Devil, because they’re everywhere. Even when you should feel most safe.
The reveal of Rose390 being a former exorcism client of David’s is fascinating, and yet again makes me think Leland is involved in this, somehow. He’s connected to everyone who’s getting exorcised or exhibiting demonic behavior… I just don’t know HOW yet, but I know it’s true.
EPISODE TWELVE: “Justice x 2”
The DA calls Kristen back to court in an attempt to stop Leland from overturning LeRoux’s conviction, freeing the killer back into society. When Kristen is called to the stand, she is forced to admit that she taunted LeRoux during her psychological assessment of him, and his conviction is then overturned. When Leland approaches Kristen to gloat, she confronts him with all the research she has done about him – he is not the Devil, he is a loser who moved from his small town and changed his name and left behind an unsatisfied ex-wife and nothing else. He is nothing but a loser, and he will never be stronger than she is.
Meanwhile, David responds to a call from a woman pleading for spiritual guidance, only to be taken prisoner by her. She is also holding an African comedian captive, claiming he had something to do with the brutal slaughter of her friends and family back in Africa. The woman kills the comedian but lets David go after she turns herself in to the police, claiming she did it for justice, and she’d do it again.
At the end of the episode, Leland is meeting with his demon therapist, discussing their plans on how to deal with Kristen.
The episode features David and the comedian being held captive pretty heavily, as that’s this episode’s “monster of the week”, so to speak. I wish there was more about LeRoux’s case, and the reality of his conviction being overturned and what that means for his wife and Kristen and everyone else who helped put him behind bars. I do have to say, though, Kristen’s confrontation of Leland was absolutely badass. It was so satisfying to watch him flounder as she ripped into him, calling him a loser (though it did give me flashbacks to the kids in It defeating Pennywise. “You’re just a clown!”).
That being said, David’s captivity is brutal and terrifying. The woman is at the brink of a full psychotic break as she’s convinced herself the comedian was involved in the slaughter of her friends and family. Eventually, the comedian admits to what the woman is accusing him of – but we don’t know if he really did it, or he’s just admitting to it to try and get away. The woman kills him anyway, and that’s the most terrifying part of all. She begged him to admit it, and when he did, she shot him in the head.
It definitely feels like we’re winding up to the end of the season with this episode, especially in regard to Kristen and Leland’s showdown. Something big is looming on the horizon as all of these demons are being unearthed along with the hierarchy of the codex. And I was just DYING to find out what.
EPISODE THIRTEEN: “Book 27”
LeRoux uses his freedom to harass Kristen and threaten her daughters. Leland proposes to Sheryl. When Sheryl announces the new to Kristen, Kristen forbids her mother from being in her house, or around the kids, until she breaks it off with Leland and realizes he is no good.
David and the assessors are called to review a pregnant woman’s fear that one of her babies is possessed in utero. When the second twin mysteriously vanishes in the womb, David suggests an exorcism be performed, but the surviving baby is born before they have the chance. The children were conceived at RSM Fertility. David and the team dig into the fertility clinic and discover links to families they worked with previously (remember Eric? Yeah, he was an RSM baby). They also discover that the clinic is a front for the demonic hierarchy, and whoever is involved is corrupting the fetuses to create a generation of humans easily influenced by the Devil. One of Kristen’s daughters was conceived with the help of the fertility clinic.
At the end of the episode, Kristen holds a crucifix in her hand. It burns her. Oh, yeah, and she gets a call that LeRoux was bludgeoned to death.
Season finales are hard. You want the loose ends to be tied up, but you also want new loose ends to be created so there’s something to look forward to in Season 2. This finale didn’t tie up ANYTHING. It created a whole slew of mysteries for the assessors to tackle: what’s going on at the fertility clinic? Why is Leland trying to corrupt a generation of people? And is Kristen a demon, now? What the actual Hell? You can tell there was already a Season 2 approved, because if there wasn’t, this would be the worst cliffhanger a show has ever ended on, ever. Did Kristen kill LeRoux??
The idea of the fertility clinic being used to create a generation of humans extra-susceptible to sin and evil is actually terrifying. To use eugenics for such a nefarious purpose (eugenics is already nefarious, but you know what I mean) is such a genius plan on the part of Leland and the people (or demons?) he’s working for. So what does that mean for Kristen’s daughter? I wonder how she’ll be influenced by demons, and evil in general.
Overall, I think the finale was a beautiful culmination of the evil we have seen across the whole of the series. It’s pretty clear that the demons and mysteries have had effects on all three of the assessors, but profoundly Kristen – she’s become more tough, headstrong, and she’s being burned by the crucifix. I think she caught Leland’s demon… or, something like that. I don’t know if possession is contagious.
Well, if you stuck around until the end of this article… thanks. I’m hoping to have my recap and review of Season 2 up next week! So, stick around for that, too.
Reader beware, you’re in for a scare! Or, not. Trick-or-treat, after all.
Images are used Pursuant to 17 U.S. Code § 107 under the “fair use” defense. All images are copyrighted by show creators Robert King & Michael King and CBS Studios.