This Stan Against Evil review contains spoilers.
Stan Against Evil Season Episode 8
Let’s just kick things off by making something super clear: Evie Barret is the true protagonist of this show, not Stan Miller. The show might feature the character’s name in its title and Stan is certainly front and center in all of the marketing, but it’s all just clever misdirection. Evie Barret is the real savior of Willard’s Mill, and if anyone ever has doubts about such a claim, it should all become painfully obvious after “A Hard Day’s Night,” the second season finale of Stan Against Evil.
“A Hard Day’s Night” has a lot to say on the topic of predestination. In fact, it’s kind of the key to the whole episode. Stan Against Evil doesn’t try to be any deeper than it knows that it is, but this finale does pose some worthwhile questions in regard to whether people have a say in what they do. The age-old debate of free will versus debate plays out through this episode, and as much as Stan might hate the idea of acknowledging something like “predestination,” the episode turns his hand pretty hard.
The half-hour even goes so far to prove its point that it erases Stan from existence. The universe is quick to establish that nobody gets to push it around. Stan might get away with bringing his wife, Claire, back to life, but it comes at the expense of losing his own life. Yada yada yada, something about the eternal scales of balance.
Stan’s actions result in Evie leading this finale while stuck in a contorted reality where Claire’s alive, but Stan’s dead. As Evie frantically scrambles to undo Stan’s actions, but not undo them at the same time, she begins to lose her grip on what’s real. Evie’s strong call to action here also makes for a welcome moment of symmetry between Stan Against Evil’stwo seasons. Both finales deal with Evie stuck in an alternate timeline while she tries to save Stan. Last year’s “Level Boss” might have more fun with Evie’s existential predicament, but “A Hard Day’s Night” feels like the more rounded episode overall.
This is also another impressive showpiece for what Janet Varney brings to the character, and these final two episodes really emphasize the bond between Evie and Stan. The moment where Evie believes she’s saying goodbye to Stan is genuinely moving, but the show understands how to properly turn up Stan’s sarcastic nature just when it begins to get too melodramatic. This is likewise the most fully realized that their relationship has felt to date.
Evie’s mission comes down to needing to take down a particularly problematic witch. This witch makes for a strong opponent for Evie, but she’s also just plainly terrifying. It’s encouraging to see Stan Against Evil give a threat of this magnitude the proper attention it deserves. A lot of Evie’s quest would fall flat if this witch was less frightening than the previous threats of the season. On top of Evie’s witch frustrations, “A Hard Day’s Night” plays around with the concept that it’s never a good idea to muck around with time travel. Time, more or less, can’t be changed, and predestination once again rears its intimidating head.
This isn’t exactly the most original opinion for the episode to take, but it at least does justice to the butterfly effect trope and doesn’t cop out on the matter. Anyone that’s even vaguely heard of DC Comics’ “Flashpoint” storyline (or, you know, seen any story about time travel, ever) knows that playing with the past and “fixing” time is a rigged game that cannot be won.
Accordingly, the final moments of this episode deserve a lot of credit. It’s a bold conclusion that ends the season on an ambitious, grandiose scale that should help make fans excited for a hypothetical third season. Stan and Evie may succeed in their mission on the smaller scale of things, but they don’t stop the doom blossoms from blooming, which effectively bring Hell to Earth in the process.
The world seems to be in pretty rough shape when the season ends, but this apocalyptic makeover for the series actually feels like it could lead to a more streamlined, constructive version of the show. For the first time ever, Stan is now in a situation where he can’t just shrug off the evils around him. He and Evie are right in the thick of it, which should lead to some very interesting character development if the show decides to stick with this angle. Stan Against Evil’ssecond season proves that the horror comedy is in no danger of running out of ideas or classic tropes to attack. This season has been full of surprising, unique moments, but if the show pushes these characters out of their comfort zones even more, the next season could be really special.
Even if Stan does hate that word.
The overall Season Grade is a three out of five, but this episode? Well…