I say this with love and adoration, but what in the actual fuck is this show? Apologies for the hard-F at the top, but I can’t use the word “hell” less it is considered a cheesy pun, and this episode deserves an expletive. It deserves so many expletives. By the end of “U Is for U.F.O.,” Leland Townsend has grown annoyed with his Horned Beast Therapist, who questions his willpower against multiple exorcisms, wonders if perhaps the con has gotten away from him, and plans to give a report on it all to the Manager. I mean, the dude hasn’t even spilled blood over this — how can Horned Beast Therapist take him seriously? So Leland does spill blood. He decapitates Horned Beast Therapist, rubs his blood all over his face as he laughs maniacally, and then while wearing an apron emblazoned with “All This and I Can Cook” (the wardrobe department has some laughs this season), he cooks the beast into a nice curry that he winds up serving to Sheryl for dinner. And that’s not even the A-storyline. Again, I must ask: What in the actual fuck is this show? I don’t think enough people appreciate the sheer, wonderful insanity happening here.
The case of the week has to do with Air Force fighter pilot Cassie Sampson having an experience with a pilotless aircraft system that has tech that seems not from this planet, which also, at one point, flies through her, leaving her with feelings of joy and peace. In short: We’re talking aliens. Evil gets compared to The X-Files a lot, but has it ever been more X-File-y than this episode? And it’s not just because we’re talking about little green men and I Want to Believe — “U Is for U.F.O.” is filled with other staples of that beloved series, including shady government cover-ups, strange shadow groups exerting power, and yes, even some major sexual tension between a skeptic and a believer. What a time!
Why is the Catholic Church interested in investigating whether or not a parishioner’s alien experience is credible or not, you ask? David, Kristen, and Ben ask that too. According to Marx and our new Brooklyn Priest, who is super into UFO stuff, “the Vatican believes in what exists.” If it turns out aliens are real, it opens up a lot of questions about original sin (the belief that all humans are born with sin — hello, Catholic Guilt). The show kind of breezes through this connection — which is wild but also tracks — and it could’ve used a little more of a thorough explanation, but there are much bigger fish to fry. Or, like, giant goat beasts to cook.
While looking into Cassie’s story, it doesn’t take long for David, Kristen, and Ben to hit some roadblocks. Ben finds another person who spotted the aircraft and had a similar experience with it at the same time as Cassie, but Asha, while delightful, is only 17 and was admittedly VERY high at the time — not the type of witness the church is looking for. On top of that, the other two pilots who were flying with Cassie at the time don’t corroborate her story. The official party line is that our old friends at CongoRun were launching a satellite, and Cassie was overreacting. Both of those things are lies, people!
When one of the pilots anonymously sends Ben a copy of a video of what they saw that day, things escalate. There’s definitely some type of craft — emblazoned with a glowing cross, perhaps? — doing some weird shit out there in the sky. Because of this video, a whole gaggle of priests arrive to question Cassie further, and by “question,” I mean hook her up to this device that replicates smells so that she can tell them which one matches the smell of the aircraft she interacted with. When the odor Cassie recognizes matches the smell that other people the church investigated after having UFO experiences noted (Marx neglected to tell the team that there have been many other cases and the Bishop remains shady AF), well that sets everyone off in a tizzy. The Vatican needs to hear about this!
But wait: Later, Kristen is accosted by a man named Edgar Loudermilk in her backyard. This whole scene, from the guy’s name to the waiting to be drowned out by the sound of the train to the camera angle changing, is such a weird delight. Loudermilk informs Kristen that she and her friends need to stop investigating this case because they are impeding a covert government operation that has to do with Russian tech. He speeds away as quickly as he arrives.
But wait!! Upon hearing about Loudermilk, Marx calls in a mysterious new character (in every sense of the word) to talk to the team. Victor LeCant (Brian d’Arcy James having a great time) is a “friend of the Vatican,” which David quickly susses out to mean he’s part of the Vatican secret service and involved in a whole host of espionage on behalf of the Church as part of an organization called The Entity. He knows all about Loudermilk, who he says is lying to Kristen, and he wants Cassie, Asha, and the team to come to Rome for further investigation. He is the perfect amount of weird — another great addition to the Evil universe. Unfortunately, he isn’t around in this episode for very long. He abruptly closes down the UFO investigation when both Cassie and Asha recant their stories, now claiming they made it all up. It’s very clear that someone paid them off, but without eye-witness testimony, Victor isn’t interested.
Victor has a much more significant role to play, though: He becomes the catalyst for what feels like will be the focus of much of the back half of this season. David notices a pamphlet for RSM Fertility in Victor’s briefcase, and it is displayed much too prominently to not be on purpose. David wants to know if the Entity is going after RSM, but Victor is cagey and tells David to drop it. David won’t. He tells the team that he’s done waiting around for the Church’s permission — he wants to go after RSM and figure out what’s happening there once and for all. Kristen and Ben are very much in.
It might end up being a lot for Kristen to take on, who is also dealing with some issues at home stemming from her Frozen French-Fry Attack. Kristen and Andy go to see Dr. Boggs together — although he isn’t entirely on board with a joint session — because Andy’s upset with Kristen’s short temper and aggression. She feels more empowered than ever. She isn’t taking shit from anyone, okay?? But when a video of the incident goes viral, and her daughters start watching it and getting in trouble at school because of it, she begins to reassess.
Instead of going to see Boggs again, however, Kristen wants to talk to David. They’ve missed these chats, we’ve missed these chats, what a welcome return! She talks about how much anger she has inside her because, through this job, she’s realized that people are not inherently good. When she asks him why he wants to become a priest, he explains that his mother led a prayerful life that he never understood until after Julia died. His mother understood that sometimes “people are bad,” and there’s really only one solution to that problem, one that he’s found steeped in the church: forgiveness. He thinks people need to apologize more but are terrified of seeming weak. He’s not sure that’s the advice Kristen was looking for, but he can tell she’s hurting. All he can really offer her is a hug. Uh, this hug could heal illness, okay? This hug could save the world. This hug is the hottest hug in town. As she leaves, she quietly tells David not to become a priest because she’d miss him. “I’ll still be here,” he reassures her. For what it’s worth, Kristen goes home after this talk and apologizes to Andy. With just a month to go before David is ordained, there might be a need for a few more of these Kristen and David chats. Kristen has much more to spill.
• A quick and alarming Sheryl update! She’s still worshipping at Eddie, My Eddie’s altar, so that’s neat and fun, and over the course of this episode, she winds up coming around to Leland’s request for her blood. He doesn’t need it — you’ll recall he took care of that problem with a scythe — but he does have a “business proposition,” and she’s willing to hear him out. This cannot be good.
• It’s been said many times but bears repeating: Nobody on TV is having more fun than Michael Emerson.
• David hears a buzzing coming from his computer, and when Ben investigates, he finds that it’s been hacked via a tiny chip with a pentagram on it. They both assume it must have been Leland’s doing and create a loop of David going about his day to stop Leland from seeing what’s really going on. The whole thing has them questioning whether or not Leland knows they hacked his computer. Surely these hacking wars will pay off later, right?
• David is still having trouble getting his visions back, and his meditation practice doesn’t seem to be getting him any closer to being able to talk to God again. It does, however, give him a series of truly terrifying thoughts: death and destruction and maggots everywhere. Tucked in between those images is one of him and Kristen in bed. David is wrestling with a few things, it seems!
• Can we bring Asha back to assist Ben? What a duo!
• UFOs smell like cotton candy, apparently. “The world is strange,” David says. He is not wrong.