This Stan Against Evil review contains spoilers.
Stan Against Evil Season 2 Episode 5
“You could even say, ‘She’s a dead ringer.’”
Stan Against Evil is a television show that doesn’t try to hide its skewed gender dynamics. In fact, it often likes to rub them in its audience’s face. Stan’s set-in-his-ways demeanor positions him as a natural obstacle to Evie’s beliefs and views. This of course doesn’t mean that Stan is right, but boy does he have a lot of fun telling everyone that he is. “The Eyes of Evie Barret” makes this gender divide more of a focus than usual. It’s just unfortunate that the results aren’t very memorable.
It’s actually a smart idea for Stan Against Evil to deliver an installment that spends most of its time with Evie, as it highlights the sexual harassment and frustrations that she regularly faces. The episode begins with a strong point of view (one that feels particularly relevant as of late) that pairs Evie’s gender-based hostilities with the supernatural disturbance of the week. Evie decides to purchase an antique wedding ring so she can trick the lecherous men that she encounters into believing that she’s unavailable. Evie’s plan isn’t half bad, but how much would you bet that there’s something sinister and cursed about Evie’s new piece of jewelry?
Evie’s situation begins to complicate once she starts to have vivid dreams where she murders people. This in itself would be disturbing business, but Evie’s luck takes a considerable nosedive when she learns that the people she kills in her dreams all wind up dead in real life. It’s comforting to see that rather than stay in passive denial over all of this, Evie instead wrestles with the more difficult decision of what she needs to do with herself and whether she’s a danger to society. It’s behavior that speaks wonderfully to Evie’s resolve and dedication as a protector of the law. If Stan were to find himself in this situation, he’d just blame the dreams on bad nachos and pop an Ambien. Thank God for Evie.
Evie tries to figure out what exactly is happening, but she hits a troubling impasse when her dreams begin to show Stan in danger. This results in a delightful juxtaposition of extremes where Evie is a wreck over Stan’s safety while Stan is obliviously unshaken over the whole ordeal. Suddenly Evie can’t trust herself anymore and she requires a watch at night to make sure that she’s not doing what she fears that she is. Denise volunteers as Evie’s de facto “babysitter,” and while the development might not result in much, it at least gives Denise a purpose.
Along these lines, “The Eyes of Evie Barret” also finds something for Leon to do and it comes not a moment too late for the character. Leon is definitely the most unnecessary member of Stan’s cast. The dopey character works fine to punctuate a scene or build on a laugh, but the show often struggles to give him something to do. This episode thankfully keeps Leon busy, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense. Much like Evie, Leon also gravitates towards murder…only his victim is already dead. And so is his new girlfriend. Yeah, Andy goes through a real whirlwind in this one, but it’s never exactly clear why he’s involved with all of this. It seems like Evie needs a partner for her investigation, so why not put Leon in a similar pickle?
Evie eventually figures out that she’s not a killer, but rather just seeing through the eyes of one. This might not be a huge reveal for the viewers who have seen stories about evil eyes before, but it still holds up. The final act explores the history of both Evie’s new ring and the witch that used to own it. Back in the 1800s, this witch is told that if she kills a sheriff then she’ll be blessed with eternal youth. This is all just a vicious lie in the end that cheats this witch out of her life. The old gal is still mighty bitter—in spite of being dead—and takes this aggression out on Evie because she does have a future.
This vendetta is more than a little misguided and it’s rather messy that an evil witch tortures a fellow woman in order to perpetuate her crimes on men. It would have been a better direction if this witch had made an appeal to Evie and tried to coerce her into evil. Evie deals with enough situations where men are chauvinistic pigs. She definitely has the necessary rage inside of her and so it makes sense for this witch to play into that rather than just manipulate Evie without her consent. Is that no different from what men have done to this witch in the first place?
“The Eyes of Evie Barrett” knows how to have a lot of fun, but it still succumbs to the usual pratfalls that hold this show back. The episode’s mystery is decent and the script’s full of laughs (as well as a beautiful Blue Velvet non sequitur), but it also feels like the least fully formed installment of the season. Once again, the episode’s ending just kind of sneaks up on itself and things are over before you even realize what’s happened. In this case, Stan simply stumbles into the danger and then easily disposes of the threat. This final sequence makes for a great gag and it’s certainly funny how much it undercuts a typical action-packed finale, but it’s a Stan joke that the show indulges in all the time. It works, but it’s nothing new. It might be antithetical to the show’s structure, but an ending that prioritizes Evie instead of turning her into a damsel in distress—yet again—makes a lot more sense for this one.
Then again, Stan would probably just say, “Who needs sense when you’ve got a shotgun?”