Evil Season 3 Review: Another Doomscrolling Delight

A kiss and a confession bring heat to the tension as Evil gives in to temptation for season 3.

Kristen Bouchard (Katja Herbers) and Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson) in Evil season 3
Photo: Paramount+

This Evil review is based on the first three episodes of season 3. It contains no spoilers but does allude to upcoming cases and plots.

Evil season 3 exchanges the Pop-Up Book of Terrifying Things MMXXI for The Pop-Up Book of Contemporary Demons but continues the same old story. Newly ordained Father David Acosta (Mike Colter) and his skeptical colleagues, Dr. Kristen Bouchard (Katja Herbers), and Ben Shakir (Aasif Mandvi), weigh proof against belief to measure miraculous delusions.

Season 3 picks up in the aftermath of the season 2 finale, when Kristen confessed to David that she murdered Orson LeRoux (Darren Pettie), the serial killer who was threatening her family, and got away with it. She and David share a kiss for absolution. What happens next is anyone’s guess, as reality is not always what it seems on Evil. The series has a knack for painting itself into a corner with season closures, and is all too happy to dance on a ceiling to wriggle away.

The new season will explore the repercussions of the kiss between the married woman and the ordained priest, occasionally in quite the tongue-in-cheek way. In season 2, audiences may have noticed a distinct change in Kristen, and not only when she was getting drunk on monastery Chablis. During her more amorous moments, Kristen gave into arousal with her both eyes closed and her tongue on double duty. The snake-like fork is no mere cosmetic touchup, and it was not to accommodate an actor’s surgical enhancement. “I just want to clarify: I did not get that done for the show,” Katja Herbers assures Den of Geek.

Ad – content continues below

The forked-tongue will slither out again in season 3, adding flavor to the supernatural soup of the series. “This is a bit of a spoiler,” Herbers warns. “But she is two different people.” While this may feel like a bit revealing, the identification is still open to interpretation, as the actor adds to the confusion while clarifying the devilish details. “There’s this demon character, who’s in David’s mind or an actual demon, like George was a demon, and she takes the shape of Kristen. She can’t stand this bitch, Kristen, that David seems to be in love with, and she tries to be her, and be better than her, and she can’t figure it out.”

You can see a clip here:

You can’t blame David for his restlessness. Now that he’s a priest, daily life is a little boring. His days are filled with 6 a.m. masses, banal confessions, and the slurping sound of old priests sipping broth in meditative repast. This works for the viewer because the growing tedium takes on an effective comic rhythm, which accentuates the monotony without losing the pace, or the impatience. So, when Holy Roman intrigue comes knocking, the audience is ready for David’s distraction because we get several new sources of suspense simultaneously. David gets something to do, and something else to hide from his team.

In the midst of the new priest’s growing ecclesiastical ennui, he is approached by Victor LeConte (Brian d’Arcy James) to become a friend of the Vatican. The openly solicitous way he asks, however, makes it sound like Lalo Salamanca, on Better Call Saul, asking whether “Slipping Jimmy” McGill wants to be a friend of the cartel. We asked whether this is a dangerous extra duty for David. “He has signed on to complete the assignments that the Entity, on behalf of the Vatican, thinks are important for its continued safety,” Michelle King says.

Liability is a cross many of the characters have to bear. Dr. Leland Townsend’s (Michael Emerson) accountability enjoyed a tremendous slide after he took out his own demon. “I think he graduated in that bloody act,” Emerson tells us. “He made a statement, which was that he’s moving on, and he’s moving up. He’ll decide who helps him and who doesn’t. Because there didn’t seem to be any repercussions from that. It was just fine. He was actually in a much better place.”

Townsend has been put in charge of protecting the public face of the parish Father David and his team work out of, as his influence there grows. Evil hasn’t properly explained why Townsend is given so much latitude, beyond whatever donations he’s made to the passing plate, it always feels like he’s got something else on the church. Leland is still making bad investments in Kristen’s mother, Sheryl Luria (Christine Lahti), because of the deliciously diabolical dividends, and it comes as an unexpected relief when some oversight is imposed. Leland has gotten away with far too much for far too long with Kristen’s family, and she puts a serious limitation on his statutes.

Ad – content continues below

It will be interesting to see how Leland buys his way out of this:

The buck, however, stops at the nun with the mop. Season 2 introduced one of the most mysterious characters of the series. Sister Andrea (Andrea Martin) is an enigma wrapped in a habit. The audience doesn’t know the extent of her powers or her role in the eternal conflict. Sister Andrea may be a true mystic, but she also occasionally replaces Holy Water with ammonia to clean out demonic rot. “Sister Andrea, unlike all the other characters, has no doubts,” Michelle King says. “She is absolutely steadfast in her beliefs, and that sets her apart from everybody else on the show.”

Sister Andrea scolded the pre-ordained David for trying to reach God through heavenly chemistry, back in the days when he was still taking mushrooms for a trip to the light fantastic. He’s come to respect that, and trust her intuition, which he sees as a divine extra. “She sees demons,” Colter says. “She sees things that he doesn’t see in the third season, which is going to be interesting because it is indicative of his state of mind. She’s sort of like his Yoda. She’s all-knowing and wise, and capable beyond her years and physicality.”

The new season will also see the introduction of some new, possibly recurring, characters. Ben, at a mental crossroad, lets his sister Karima (Sohina Sidhu) drive him through an off-ramp. She introduces him to some science geeks, who may turn out to be Evil’s equivalent of the Lone Gunman on The X-Files. “I hope we see more of them,” Mandvi tells us. “It’s an interesting place where Ben ends up. He needs to find some kind of sanity. He needs to find people who are like-minded with him. I think that he goes to this place where he can make sense of things, and be around people who understand him.”

Over the course of its 10 episodes, Evil season 3 also continues to explore increasingly compelling monsters-of-the-week, some of which are extremely contemporary, and more treacherous in the post-pandemic world. The creative team has been doomscrolling, which is another word for falling down an internet rabbit hole of despair at the deluge of modern catastrophes to be found online. At least they find some fun games to play, with Creepypasta thrills, and Slenderman style. Just don’t let them talk you into investing in bitcoin.

Since shifting to the streaming Paramount+ from network’s CBS, Evil has been growing supernaturally into its new freedoms. Judging from the first three episodes, this suits season 3 perfectly. The themes continue to grow darker and more absurd, as the show not only parses the dividing line between supernatural and mundane, but between the gasps of horror and the relief of insidious comedy.  

Ad – content continues below

Evil season 3 premieres on June 12 on Paramount+.


5 out of 5