It’s two cases for the price of one on this week’s episode of Evil.
Spoilers follow for episode 3.02…
Missed a Review? Episode 3.01
Episode 3.02 “The Demon of Memes”: David (Mike Colter), Kristen (Katja Herbers) and Ben (Aasif Mandvi) investigate a Slender-Man like internet meme that is quickly spiraling out of control and inciting teenagers to commit blasphemous acts in order to avoid death.
Case of the Week
This week’s episode is evenly divided in two. One case involves Kristen and Ben investigating an internet urban legend called “Visiting Jack” who (contrary to the official description) is more of a cross between The Ring and Slender-man. The internet creature appears on Google image searches for seven different houses, and once you’ve seen him, you have seven days to complete a series of “licks” (tasks) that begin rather tamely and escalate to things like “Sleep with a virgin.”
Overall the case is resolved a little too simplistically, to such an extent that the culprit behind the scam – two College students struggling to find housing – feels anti-climatic. You know it lacks impact when Evil doesn’t even show the outcome to us! Kristen just fills David in about off-screen revelations.
Ultimately that’s fine, though; the case provides the episode with its share of frightening imagery (the blurry figure advancing at each house is suitably creepy). Throw in a spooky late night house exploration, and a dangling plot thread suggesting that Kristen doesn’t fully know what her eldest daughter Lynn (Brooklyn Shuck) is getting up to with boys, and there’s enough here to satisfy.
The second case is woven throughout Kristen and Ben’s case and that’s David’s new side hustle. In the opening scene, David is visited by Victor LeConte (Brian d’Arcy James), a member the secret Vatican society last seen in S02E09 “U Is for U.F.O.” LeConte recruits David into their weird spy games, which here involve a Bible MacGuffin, as well as a last rites heist in the hotel of a dying foreign delegate and doorknobs marked with black tape.
The actual subterfuge goes off mostly without a hitch, though David’s inability to convincingly lie to Kristen and Ben causes them to misread his repeated absences. They both question if his sudden disappearances are tied to the growing tension between David and Kristen, though Ben (ironically) still doesn’t actually know about their season finale kiss.
While you could argue that dividing the screen time between the two cases means neither of them are fully realized, the vast majority of “The Demon of Memes” is about setting up storylines that will undoubtedly pay off throughout the season. I expect each of these plots (and possibly more) to pop back up in a few episodes.
Not a lot of Leland (Michael Emerson) or Sheryl (Christine Lahti) in this episode. They briefly appear in two scenes: the first finds Leland escorting Sheryl to her new day job working as an internet troll to keep the world’s population doom scrolling (and therefore thinking about evil). This reads like classic Michelle and Robert King and I’m here for it.
The second (shorter) scene is a reveal of sorts: the mysterious billionaire offering to buy the Bouchard’s mountain climbing business is none other than Edward Tragoren (Tim Matheson), who is being advised by Sheryl on how to manipulate Andy (Patrick Brammall) to get him out of the picture.
Obviously it’s no surprise that the “too good to be true” deal is, in fact, too good to be true. I’ll confess, however, that I was struck by how evil Sheryl’s behaviour is in this episode. Perhaps it’s naive of me, but in S1 & 2, it never seemed clear if Sheryl was fully conscious of what she was doing, to the extent that I always wondered if she was being manipulated by Leland.
Her recent activity, however, makes it pretty clear that she’s actively out to harm her own family. Which…yikes. Villain status: unlocked.
- The clogged toilet from the premiere comes back into play in a big way in this episode. Love the quick “the sink is clogged again” line early in the episode, which eventually leads to youngest child Laura (Dalya Knapp) witnessing the whole damn toilet overflowing with blood. Finally, there’s the tease at episode’s end when Andy and Kristen hear an ominous creaking, hinting at even more horrifying domestic woes to come.
- Several characters from the show’s past are implicated in this week’s episode, so in addition to LeConte, David’s secret mission is tied to the location of missing prophet Grace Ling (Li Jun Li), last seen in S01E11.
- Speaking of callbacks: surely it can’t be a coincidence that one of the houses Kristen and Ben visit is owned by the widow of Orson LeRoux, the man that Kirsten killed back in the S01 finale. That’s gotta be significant, right?
- It’s also nice to see Ben’s younger sister Karima (Sohina Sidhu) show up briefly to school him on how to use the Wayback Machine. As someone with an opposite gender sibling, I find their competitive dynamic both amusing and relatable.
- Also, the Wayback Machine is a great way to lose a bunch of time online if you ever wanna revisit dead websites.
- Finally, no Andrea Martin in this episode?! I protest.
Evil airs Sundays on Paramount+