Is anyone else having more fun on TV than Katja Herbers is? Furthermore, are you having more fun watching anyone else on TV than you are watching her as Kristen Bouchard? This week, in the name of being a strong role model for her daughters, Kristen dons a leather jacket, deals with her prick of a contractor by taking a sledgehammer to his work until he stops dicking her around, chases down a demon drone, and gets to say (with such joie de vivre!) the line, “Mama’s gonna hunt a demon on the ghost highway!” My favorite Kristen moment is still when she took a high heel to Leland’s head last season, but watching her go wild on a construction site is a close second.
Mama wasn’t lying about hunting demons on the ghost highway, either. A congregant named Jaclyn goes around the red tape to ask David and his team to help her trucker husband Jason, who thinks he’s possessed, or at the very least was followed by a demon on a stretch of highway on I-95 believed to be haunted. The last time he was on it, he saw someone in the back of his truck and blacked out for 500 miles. Kristen thinks it could be a little bit of magical thinking mixed with anxiety and exhaustion, not all that dissimilar to Ben pointing out that they think they see those sigils everywhere because they want to. Like how a sticker on the back of Jason’s truck looks like one of the sigils on their map … but could also just be a circuitry diagram.
Ben, you’ll remember, is on a science-based explanation kick for the weird phenomena they’ve been encountering in their cases. He’s a new man since Karima took him to that underground science club — even Kristen and David notice the mood shift. And Karima’s making good on her promise to help Ben in his search for concrete answers. The science club helped them figure out that the angel that showed up in the video of the woman who died and then came back to life in season one could’ve been done with an app. Ben is pumped, David not so much. You can see the disappointment cross his face. He wanted to believe it unequivocally. I’m surprised we’ve made it this far into the series without Ben and David having a deeper argument about their belief systems. Although Kristen takes a lot of convincing in most cases, her skepticism is much less potent than it used to be. Maybe it’s because of her focus on psychology — there are many inexplicable things regarding how the human mind works, so maybe it’s easier for her not to feel so unsettled by a lack of answers. It’s Ben and David who are the opposite poles here. What a complicated holy trinity we have!
Ben uses science and tech to once again crack the case of the week. Our three assessors take a little road trip and experience the ghost highway for themselves. There’s something following them in the sky with two beady red eyes, the radio switches to station 666, there’s screaming and static and someone says Ben’s name. But with the help of his sister, Ben figures out that if someone was nearby and had the right equipment, they could be controlling the radio and the drone that was following them. During their second outing on I-95, Ben confirms that whoever is doing this is even using the ghost frequency — a frequency humans can’t hear but is said to cause feelings of fear and anxiety and can even trick your eyes into seeing something that isn’t there. It’s another disappointment for David, who, unbeknownst to his two cohorts, was out on the road by himself after getting a panicked call from Jaclyn that Jason was missing. The same freaky things started happening again, but this time with the added bonus of that disgusting winged demon that chased David through the abandoned medical school last season. And then something even stranger happens: A tear opens up in the air in front of David and an angel or a saint, maybe, stands there in front of him holding a long sword, like a painting come to life. It sends the demon away. David thought it was a new vision from God, but with Ben’s theory about the ghost frequency, he’s questioning everything.
While the supernatural stuff might be up in the air, thanks to our favorite Friend of the Vatican, David’s reminded that there are those pesky corporeal bad guys that seem like very real, irrefutable evil. It’s actually quite a surprise to see Victor LeConte pop up in this episode. Once the three assessors lock into the location of the person creating these ghost highway shenanigans, they find his hideout, and Kristen, in her leather jacket and hyped up from dealing with that contractor at this point, doesn’t hesitate to smash all of his equipment. When the guy reveals himself, they threaten him to make sure he doesn’t get any ideas to keep his game up, and then they’re on their way — but not before noticing an actual sigil on the guy’s truck; there’s no mistaking this one for a circuitry diagram.
Victor’s appearance both on the ghost highway waiting for the assessors to leave so he can send one of his goons in to take care of the guy and later in David’s room confirm that this is a real sigil. He willingly admits to David that they’ve been following him and his friends since they let Mitch cannibalize that cadaver and thus take over that demonic house. He also heavily implies that they killed the ghost highway guy (Victor says the guy shot himself but … we know). Victor explains that they had to get rid of the body before his successor could cannibalize him and keep the house going. Because of their efforts, that demonic house has been eliminated. He has a few demonic houses he can cross off David’s sigil map and hopefully there will be more to come. David asks the obvious question: “What happens when you stop all of them?” “Peace on Earth,” Victor replies. That guy is hilarious.
David might have to put the sigil hunting on hold for a hot minute since he’s just taken on yet another role within the church: Sister Andrea’s representation at her ecclesiastical tribunal. That’s right, baby, Evil is taking us to church court! Surprising no one, Leland’s accusations against Sister Andrea have yet to be dropped. When she refuses to resign and instead demands a full investigation, as is her nun right, the first step is for her to get a full psychological evaluation. She chooses to have Dr. Boggs do it since he’s been chatting with her about his demon run-ins. She figures he’d be able to take her seriously — but Dr. Boggs is doubling-down on lying to himself about what he’s seeing.
When asked to give his formal opinion as to whether or not Sister Andrea is exhibiting signs of dementia, he agrees. Sister Andrea doesn’t seem to fault him too much, but she does give him a little boop on the nose just to remind him that she knows his little secret. It is the ultimate power move. David attends this meeting, led by the Council of Heretical Practices, and is confused as to how a nun seeing visions of angels or demons is heretical. Well, apparently, she made it known that she’s seen a demon conferring with the Cardinal and accusing the Cardinal of that is heretical. It’s all bull and David won’t stand for it, so he tells the group he’ll be representing Sister Andrea in front of the three-person tribunal.
And then David promptly walks into his room and screams into his pillow with frustration over Leland still having so much power over these priests, patriarchal bullshit, the absurdity of the church, probably so many things. And you know what? I get that urge to scream. I get every single second of it.
• The reason Kristen gets all amped up and remembers that she doesn’t take shit from people is because that jerk from the grocery store who she hit with a bag of frozen fries shows up on her doorstep with his camera phone and demands an apology. She gives him one to get rid of him (very happy we don’t actually see this low moment!), but her daughters are disappointed. “Why can boys do whatever they want but girls can’t?” Lexis asks her mother. WHY INDEED. Kristen knows that preteen girls often begin deferring to boys. She wants her girls to remain as independent and confident as they are right now. Inspired by a video about a woman channeling Beyoncé and her alter ego, Sasha Fierce, Kristen starts leading her daughters by example.
• I cannot overstate how much I love a horror show willing to take a break for a group sing-along to Ben’s mom’s favorite song, “So Happy Together.” For what is a road trip if there’s no singing?
• Will Andy make it back from Nepal alive? Will he make it back alive and not possessed?
• The Demon Kristen tongue is back! Only in a quick David fantasy, but wildly disturbing nonetheless.