Just when you thought you had scrubbed your brain of images like a med student eating flesh cut from a cadaver or a giant winged demon licking Andrea Martin’s face, Evil is back, baby — and it’s only getting freakier with age. Season two had a tricky task to navigate since so much of it was made believing itself to be a broadcast TV show, only then to be moved over to CBS’s streaming platform Paramount+ late in the game. Now with both of its demented feet planted firmly in streaming, it feels like Evil can fully lean in to what it wants to be. You have to love a show that truly revels in itself and the world it’s created, and that’s exactly what the season three premiere does.
“The Demon of Death” picks up immediately where season two left off. We relive one of the best scenes of the entire series — the one in which Kristen confesses that she murdered Orson to freshly-ordained David, and then they start making out. It is beauty, it is grace, it is a moment I’ve been thinking about on and off since I first witnessed it. This time around, the kissing continues until the two wind up on the bed. But as soon as Kristen takes off her shirt, David gets a glimpse of those crucifixes she was burning into her stomach last season — for him, those marks are a sign that takes him out of the whole thing and he stops. God has always been the biggest cockblock, so this is not surprising. Kristen runs out of the room and David begins to pray. Then Kristen walks back in, kneels next to David, and whispers, “I’m not leaving here until you fuck me.” And friends, that’s exactly what they do.
Well, sort of. Evil is a show that loves to mess with its characters as well as its audience, and both of those things are happening here. The next night Kristen shows up in David’s room, even though they agreed that this would only happen once and they’d never talk about it, but this time when they start kissing, David realizes that Kristen — and I don’t know how else to put this but — has a snake tongue. And although Kristen offers a very convincing “I just got it done, do you like it?” this is a hallucination. They have sex anyway. It’s only after this that David decides to broach the subject of the night they slept together — but here’s the twist: According to Kristen, that was a hallucination, too. She never came back into the room after she ran out, and she has no idea what David is talking about. I have two takeaways from this: 1) Evil is such a delightful tease, and 2) I’m concerned about the possibility of David truly spiraling out this season; these hallucinations are no joke.
The premiere also reminds us that Evil has the most fun doing cases of the week. This week: Evil does its own version of the famous experiment from the early 1900s that declared the soul weighs 21 grams. Here, a group of scientists has built a chamber in an airplane hangar to measure a person’s mass at the moment of death and see if it weighs less than it did when the person was alive in an attempt to see how much consciousness weighs, or if it weighs at all. They’ve come to the church for volunteers to be subjects in the experiment, and first up is Father Frank Ignatius (guest star Wallace Shawn, once again proving that Evil finds the best supporting players), a priest on hospice after battling cancer. Father Ignatius also happens to be a dear friend of Monsignor Korecki — so dear, they call each other Frank and Matt. So dear that they have an emotional goodbye when Monsignor Korecki leaves Father Ignatius in the chamber to die. SO DEAR that when Father Ignatius gets upset right before he dies, Monsignor Korecki, on the chamber microphone, tells him he’s holding him.
Ignatius dies and weighs 24 grams less than he did before he died. But that’s not the biggest news to come out of the experiment — seconds later, Ignatius comes back to life. He’s like a whole new person! His cancer is mysteriously gone! He kisses Monsignor Korecki! He is brighter and lighter (physically and emotionally) and is no longer afraid to say and do what he wants (like kissing!). After a few days of the Monsignor avoiding Ignatius, the team learns that Ignatius is being transferred to a different parish — both men came to this decision, fearing what would happen if they stayed there together. It is so sweet and sad, and now all I want is for Frank and Matt to leave the priesthood and be happy together. I wasn’t lying about God being the biggest cock block.
On the science experiment side of things, they need another subject to try and figure out what the hell happened. They find Sister Gertrude dying of heart failure. In another twist, when she dies in the chamber, she ends up weighing 36 grams heavier than she did when she was alive. Even more curious: She now has the cancer that Father Ignatius was miraculously cured of. They need many more test subjects to make any conclusions, but David has a theory: What if that difference in mass isn’t the weight of the soul but the weight of a demon? What if Father Ignatius’s cancer was caused by a demon that left him at his moment of death and then possessed Sister Gertrude in hers? In true Evil fashion, we get no definitive answers, leaving it up to viewers to decide what they want to believe. There are hints, however, that we might revisit some of what transpired here (aside from our desperate need to see what happens to Father Ignatius and the Monsignor!): When David has his third hallucination in which Kristen visits him in his bed, they are not alone — Sister Gertrude is now standing in the corner of his room watching them. Maybe David’s onto something about that whole demon thing.
Overall, this week’s case, although compelling, takes a backseat to everybody’s personal problems. There is, of course, the David and Kristen of it all, but Kristen is also dealing with some interesting developments at home. In the finale, Kristen learned that Leland had been visiting Lexis at school — he dropped a note that read “DAFFODIL” on her lap during David’s ordination — and in the premiere we find her shutting that shit down immediately. She tells all of her daughters that Leland “declared war” on them and to immediately let her know if he approaches any of them. She also gets a restraining order against him for Lexis and gleefully delivers it to him in front of David, Ben, and the Monsignor, who pushes pause on Leland’s new gig as a supervisor to the assessor team after Kristen sarcastically notes how it’s “a good thing the Catholic Church has no issues with older men touching children.” There are so many great character pairings on this show, but scenes between Kristen and Leland are always exciting to stumble upon because they are just so unpredictable. Katja Herbers and Michael Emerson have such a delightfully antagonistic chemistry, and you can tell they’re having so much fun going at each other.
We should keep our eyes on another antagonistic pairing: Andy and Sheryl. Andy arrives home for good, ready to finally sell the business. After walking into Sheryl’s room and possibly finding a demon hanging out on her bed, Andy’s had enough of his mother-in-law. He doesn’t know what he saw, but he’s over her general vibe and he tells her she has a week to move out. If you know Sheryl, you know she will not take that well. Christine Lahti should’ve already been nominated for all the awards, she is great on this show, but seriously decorate her with whatever you can for the way she spits out “this god damn cock sucking piece of mother fucking shit” when she prays to her altar of Eddie dolls to help her get rid of Andy.
And apparently, what the Eddies suggest is that she put that shrunken head-in-a-jar Edward gave her when he named her the successor to his demon house under Andy and Kristen’s bed. When Andy comes across the jar, he tries to get rid of its contents by flushing it down the toilet. Watching him try to smash that tiny head up so that it’ll fit is as disgusting as you might imagine, but isn’t some slight nausea the sign of a successful Evil episode? Regardless, something tells me we haven’t seen the last of that horrid little head.
• Another plus of Evil moving to streaming: More cursing! I’m sorry, but if people can’t utter the phrase “what the fuck” when a night terror demon is removing her retainer before she tries to give you head, when can you? This is a show that demands the use of the f-word.
• Apparently The Pop-Up Book of Terrifying Things has a companion series, The Pop-Up Book of Contemporary Demons, and that will be our episode guide for the season.
• We get a nice callback to that bonding moment between Kristen and David in season one when David tells her about watching one of his friends die when he was a Navy SEAL. The two repeat that same verse from Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part I: “When this body contained a spirit, a kingdom was too small to hold it; now two paces of the vilest earth is room enough.”
• At least Ben is picking up on the weird vibes between his coworkers! Someone needs to!
• Score one for the Bouchard girls who find a way to bring their brand of chaos into Evil’s version of “Animal Crossing.” Leland doesn’t stand a chance!
• Oh wait, another great character pairing: Sister Andrea and Dr. Boggs are still chatting about Boggs’s demon friend who, we learn, has continued to visit him every night since he was first booped on the nose that one time. Additionally, Boggs’s back pain has gotten much worse and also Sister Andrea has no time for his foolishness. They are a dream team.
• Okay, yes, these new opening credits are really doing it for me. Give me all the bloody ice ax hurtling through the air you have, thanks.