Kristen goes to unorthodox lengths to reinstate her confidence as the crew investigate a highway haunting.
Spoilers follow for episode 3.04…
Episode 3.04 “The Demon of the Road”: The team encounters a truck driver whose wife thinks he is possessed and explores the possibility of a demon haunting the highway.
Case of the Week
It’s a relatively straight line from the truck driver’s wife to the Double Q diner between exit 13A and 33A in this week’s case. The lack of surprises, however, are made up for by Peter Sollett‘s direction and a really effective soundtrack. Kudos to whoever came up with the 666 AM radio transmission, which features a mix of a woman’s screams, preaching and garbled staticky chatter.
Ultimately, however, this is a pretty cut and dried case that serves primarily to strand our three leads – Aasif Mandvi‘s Ben, Katja Herbers‘ Kristen and Mike Colter‘s David – in a car for some quality time together. As the person who is initially brought the case, David gets some additional time in the spotlight when he ventures out solo in the night. In an unusual sequence, he experiences both a demon attack, as well as a Saintly rescue by what appears to be an animated rendition of Saint Bernadette (referenced earlier in the episode by Andrea Martin‘s Sister Andrea).
This is interesting because as an audience we’re privy to David’s harrowing experience. We see the giant winged bat with the blood red eyes that nearly flies away with David. Similarly we see the appearance of a slit in reality, filled with shining light and Renaissance figures, that drives the demon away.
But only a few moments later, Ben uses the science of frequencies to explain not only how the transmission knows their personal details (because they’ve been hacked), but also why David’s vision might have simply been a hallucination created by the 18.9 Hz “Ghost Frequency” (a trick favoured by Hollywood horror films apparently).
As usual, this all tracks. Evil loves to play both sides of the religious vs science debate without picking a side, which means both answers are completely viable. Ultimately it simply depends on which side of the argument you align with more: are you a David or a Ben?
There are two main arcs this week: Kristen’s attempt to model female agency for her daughters and Sister Andrea’s ongoing defense against forced retirement.
Kristen’s piece is fun, if only because it reintroduces the spunky attitude that she exhibited throughout most of season two…albeit minus the possession . Here Kristen is trying to reclaim her empowerment after the girls overhear her apologizing to the man she attacked in the grocery store from S02E08 ‘B Is For Brain.’
It’s a natural storyline for the series to explore, especially given that Andy (Patrick Brammall) is absent once again and barely accessible via videocall. Still, this is a slight bit of feminism – to such an extent that I worried that the bones of the house extension that Kristen starts demolishing was going to come crashing down on top of her.
Don’t get me wrong: it’s a great “fuck yeah” kind of moment for the character. As a life lesson for her four daughters, though? This is pretty simple lesson to impart.
The Sister Andrea stuff is more satisfying. After being pressured to retire by Father Rodrigo of the Council of Heretical Prophecies (woof – that name!), Sister Andrea first recruits Dr. Kurt Boggs (Kurt Fuller) to do her psych eval, then brings in David to help.
This is an ongoing plot, so there’s a distinct lack of resolution, but it’s nice to see Sister Andrea interacting with not just Dr. Boggs again, but also standing up to Leland (Michael Emerson). In some ways, this storyline is in conversation with Kristen’s – both feature women refusing to be bullied or talked down to by men – but the stakes feel substantially higher here.
I’m intrigued to see what becomes of the trial now that the conflict has been escalated to the next level at David’s behest.
- Victor LeConte (Brian d’Arcy James) pops up to congratulate David for crossing out one of Sigil Houses on the Vaticans demon map. The fact that LeConte had the Drone Operator killed isn’t surprising, although when he casually reveals that his team has been working at eradicating the various houses (and blaming David and co. for letting the cannibal kid persevere) is a big mythology moment for the show.
- LeConte’s claim that eliminating all of the evil houses will bring about “Peace on Earth” seems like a pretty lofty goal. Then again, who had that on their BINGO card of possibilities for the show?
- Not a ton of Karmina (Sohina Sidhu) this week, though she does help Ben to reverse hack the highway frequency, which proves essential in tracking down the owner of the drone.
- There’s even less of Sheryl (Christine Lahti), who shows up briefly to act like she was mother of the year to Kristen. Sure lady.
- Best line of the episode goes to Ben, seeing Kristen in her leather jacket: “Hey, you’re…dressed tough”
Evil airs Sundays on Paramount+