Hello, friend. Are you feeling simultaneously blessed, stressed, and possessed? Cool, me too. Blessed because, after a year and a half, our favorite “Satan is a hairy horned beast who’s super into therapy” show, Evil, has returned to us. Stressed because, hi, uh did you hear that the truly terrifying show Evil is back? And possessed because, well, you get it. Evil is on again! And it wastes absolutely zero time getting us right back into the circumstances that left our jaws on our respective floors when season one ended in January 2020.
In case you need a refresher (I do suggest fans rewatch at least the season one finale before diving into season two): Serial killer and Leland Townsend’s henchman Orson LeRoux had been cleared of all charges and released back into the world where he promptly began to threaten Kristen Bouchard and her four daughters in increasingly creepy ways. The season-one finale heavily implies that Kristen had enough, went to Orson’s home with an ice ax, and bludgeoned the guy to death. At the very end of that episode, Kristen walks into her bathroom, pulls out a rosary, and the crucifix burns her hand. Now, both we, the audience, and Kristen know that a crucifix burning your skin is a bad sign. Like, one of the worst. To those who believe, it signals that there’s a demon inside you. All of this means that for a year and a half we were left to ponder a truly shocking twist: Could Kristen be possessed?
We’ve yet to fully explore that aspect of Kristen’s current predicament, but the season two premiere gives us a whole lot more info in regards to Kristen’s possible trip to murdertown. The episode shows us that whole crucifix-in-hand sequence again and then goes further: We watch as Kristen efficiently cleans all the blood off of her ice ax and hangs it back up in the closet. The whole thing has a very, “go back to bed girls, mommy has to cover up a murder!” vibe. She does not drink one canned margarita. She does, however, set up a session with beloved king, her therapist Dr. Boggs.
With a smirk on her face and a confirmation about doctor-patient confidentiality, Kristen tells Boggs that she killed Orson. This entire scene is such a great example of Evil at its best. Kristen is laying out how and why she killed Orson (she even made sure Orson’s wife had an alibi that night knowing she’d be the first suspect!!), and although she’s very clear about what she did and not having any regrets, she isn’t exactly matter-of-fact about it — you can see her trying very hard to hold back some, well, excitement. Meanwhile, Boggs is attempting to take in this insane confession and the fact that his patient isn’t exactly processing things in a normal way without his brain melting out of his ears (something that could probably happen on this show). Katja Herbers and Kurt Fuller are so good here, making this scene so incredibly unnerving right under the surface.
Boggs gives Kristen a prescription to help with some psychosomatic symptoms (the burn!) and he warns her that “the body has a tendency to object even when the mind doesn’t.” Later, Ben tests the rosary for Kristen and learns that the cross is made of cobalt, which is a great conductor of heat, so if it was near a curling iron or something it could have become so hot it would burn her. He remains highly suspicious of his friend, though, so watch that space!
We’ve yet to get any real clarification on what’s up with Kristen — and remember, this is the show that had a woman maybe give birth to a goblin in a field and breeze by it, so anything is possible — but we should begin preparing ourselves with whatever self-care coping mechanisms you currently have at your disposal.
There’s much more going on in “N Is for Night Terrors” than dealing with the idea that Kristen Bouchard may or may not have the devil inside her. (This! Show!) There’s work to do! Our little assessor team has been called in by Bishop Marx. David attempts to explain the team’s new theory about what’s going on with their work, Satan-wise. You know, that whole thing about how the devil is trying to corrupt an entire generation by somehow corrupting the eggs at the RSM Fertility Clinic — a theory that is very well supported by many of the events that took place in season one. Marx is pretty much like WTF that seems wild and it is truly staggering to think about what this priest will and won’t believe. Anyway, they are going to keep looking for ways to contact people who have used that clinic (aside from Kristen!!). In the meantime, Marx has a new case for them to look into, handed to them with great interest from the Cardinal.
The Cardinal has become friendly with a new parishioner who’s been donating a lot of money to the church (yes, this tracks). This parishioner, it turns out, sold his soul to the devil when he was a teenager — that’s a diabolical subjugation, if you remember your season one possession lesson — and he’d like one exorcism, please. Marx asks the team to assess and see if he warrants one. Sounds like an easy enough gig, right?
Well, the new parishioner turns out to be Leland Townsend. BECAUSE OF COURSE IT IS. What a delight it is to watch Leland face off against David, Kristen, and Ben; Ben trying to push their buttons and them pushing back. It doesn’t matter that we don’t for one second believe anything Leland is telling them about trading his soul for the devil to kill a bully of a bus driver, or that he has an eight tattooed on his ear to count down how many months he has to get this team to help him expel the devil from his soul. And it doesn’t matter that the team doesn’t for one second buy it either. The setup itself is such a hoot, and the shifting dynamics help make the changes in Kristen all the more obvious. She’s thoroughly enjoying publicly calling Leland out on his bullshit. It is interesting to note how long it takes her to divulge intel she already has on Leland — especially his real name and that he’s engaged to her mother — to the team.
Eventually, the three of them end up at Leland’s apartment, telling him that part of the process is to examine the residence for any demonic infestation before making their assessment. Leland mostly cleans out the place — although he does mess with them a bit by leaving things out like a copy of Joshua Green’s Devil’s Bargain on his nightstand. Two major things happen during this examination: First, they find a copy of the sigil map hidden behind a baseboard with Leland’s notes all over it in various languages — not only is he working with the same info they are, but Kristen now knows for sure that Sheryl was feeding Leland info. The second thing is that Ben gains access to the webcam on Leland’s computer so they can spy on him (Kristen’s idea!).
The assessment doesn’t end there. Kristen needs proof that Leland is just your run-of-the-mill raging psychopath and not a demonic one, so she heads to his office to give him her handy questionnaire of 567 true or false statements. Here Leland reveals what he is truly after: There are two months before David is ordained and Leland wants Kristen, who Leland can tell has let darkness in rather easily, to tempt David away from the priesthood. Kristen scoffs and tells the guys that her assessment of Leland as a psychopath stands. There’s no way they should give Leland exactly what he wants by way of an exorcism; he’s playing them all, including the church. Unfortunately, Bishop Marx doesn’t much care. Kristen calls him out for this all being about money and again, yes.
It doesn’t matter. Marx is going to recommend an exorcism and he wants all three of them there to act as the skeptics in the room. They can see if Leland’s just faking it for themselves. So that should be fun at some point!
Leland’s not done wreaking havoc on their lives. That night, Ben opens up Leland’s spy cam to see what he’s up to and finds Leland sitting right in front of his computer screen. It all seems pretty normal until Ben realizes that Leland is following his movements. Does he know that Ben’s watching?? Leland gets closer and closer to screen and then lets out a maniacal laugh, and aren’t you just so glad this show is finally back?
• Ben has other scary things invading his home! Forget George, who spent season one haunting Kristen’s dreams, and say hello to Ben’s night terror demon — I hope her name is Suzanne or something — who is super into nipple play. Ben is understandably shaken up, but hey, Leland did warn him.
• My Lostie heart was filled with joy watching Michael Emerson taunt a character named Ben (also: saying the name Faraday).
• Kristen went to Leland/Jake’s first wife Janie for information again and now poor Janie’s in a coma! Coincidence or demons? The eternal Evil question!
• Honestly how DARE this show try to make us feel bad for dentists. But that’s exactly what happens as Lexis’s bloody teeth saga continues: The kid is basically hemorrhaging blood from her mouth as her insanely sharp incisors (vampire teeth!) start coming in. The dentist knocks her out to perform surgery and pull them out … but an under-anesthesia Lexis straight-up bites that woman’s finger off. Well, almost off. IT’S JUST HANGING THERE!! I am forever changed as a human.
• Kristen started climbing because she had webbed feet as a kid??!!
• David is still trying to force God to talk to him, this time exhaustion and pain do the trick (after a run he puts rubbing alcohol on his stab wound and passes out). He once again has the vision of him in the field with Kristen in a white dress walking toward that Satan beast scything wheat … but this time, Leland pops up for a solo dance party. Weird!
• Only one episode in and we’re already gifted with David Acosta in a turtleneck. What a treat! Remember last season when a character coined the phrase “Fleabagging it” in reference to hooking up with Evil’s resident Hot Priest (in training)? Promise me you’ll never forget it, okay?