David questions the nature of his visions as the case of the week intersects with Sister Andrea’s trial.
Spoilers follow for episode 3.05…
Episode 3.05 “The Angel of Warning”: Sister Andrea’s career and sanity are on trial as she battles Leland. Meanwhile the team investigates an alleged angel sighting.
Case of the Week
This week’s case involves the collapse of a Brooklyn apartment complex. The body count is astronomical: 134 dead and only four survivors…all of whom claim to have been guided to safety by a woman in white holding a lamb. The Monsignor (Boris McIver) asks Kristen (Katja Herbers), Ben (Aasif Mandavi) and David (Mike Colter) to investigate but things get complicated when the sole POC survivor describes her rescuer as Black.
This ruffles a few feathers: the Monsignor is visible uncomfortable and questions the validity of the claim. David, on the other hand, wonders if his own visions (which have always featured white angels and black demons) are real or simply hallucinations informed by conventional Renaissance iconography.
It’s a fascinating spiritual discussion, especially when you begin to consider how much religious art is whitewashed. And the way both the Monsignor and Sister Andrea (Andrea Martin) order David not to make different parts of his life “political” or a “race thing” is welcome on a show that only sporadically explores how David’s Blackness informs the way he is received both within and outside of the Church.
There’s a recurring joke at the beginning of the episode when David enters the makeshift hospital in his street clothes and is repeatedly mistaken for a cop. Without explicitly stating it, all of these random people expose their racial bias that a large muscular black man must be a cop, and couldn’t be a Priest. It’s a subtle, but clever way for screenwriters Rockne S. O’Bannon & Eric Larson to lay the groundwork of what’s to come.
Of course, the focus on race and David’s vision crisis means that the case is even less important than usual. There’s less resolution than last week‘s highway horror case, which arguably makes sense since there’s no way for the show to explain why a handful of people survived the tragedy without compromising Evil‘s middle ground position between science and religion.
Still, the woman with the lamb doesn’t ultimately factor into the episode’s outcome much.
Aside from a slight storyline about the girls having nightmares of a train crash and fearing for Andy’s safety because they’ve been doom scrolling (more on that in a moment), the majority of the episode is dedicated to David’s spiritual crisis, which intersects with Sister Andrea’s trial.
Following Dr. Boggs (Kurt Fuller)’s damning testimony, David tries to turn the tables on the psychiatrist, but Sister Andrea demands he abandon that line of defense. This doesn’t prevent David from trying it again, when he uses a key inquisitor’s accusation that Sister Andrea is a heretic and blasphemer to suggest Father Katagas (Anthony DeSando), who joined the Church following his own religious vision, should be painted with the same brush.
That’s still not enough to save her, so David resorts to “making things political” by aligning himself with Sister Andrea, then effectively daring the panel of Inquisitors to get fire him: one of only three Black Priests ordained the previous year. It’s a pretty bold move (David effectively weaponizes his skin colour in the name of political correctness), much to Leland (Michael Emerson)’s disgust.
It’s a slightly uncomfortable move, but it earns them the W.
It also earns David an apology from Sister Andrea, who eventually acknowledges that telling a Black man that race isn’t political was a bad move. It builds to a nice moment between Martin and Colter, though. The scene when they come clean to each other framed in close-ups by director Matthew Kregor to emphasize the intimacy of their “confession” to each other: she’s sorry and he still has doubts.
It’s a solid resolution to this chapter of their journey.
Leland & Sheryl
My favourite subplot of every episode is trying to figure out what is going on with Leland and Sheryl (Christine Lahti). This week it’s a bit easier to parse out, though it’s unclear if prompting Sheryl to stand up for herself and make a bold move was Leland’s intention all along.
Regardless, there’s something horrifying about watching Sheryl’s team spin the building’s collapse into garbage media posts that wind up terrorizing her grand daughters. That’s the thing with Sheryl – half of her storyline is usually questioning how she can be such a terrible person (example: undermining Kristen’s marriage to Andy) while also cheering her on when she bribes her way into the Manager’s office…only to discover he’s a five-eyed, weight sensitive goat demon who smells terrible.
So yes, Sheryl is moving up the evil corporate ladder. Get that promotion to “Misinformation,” girl!
- Every single one of Lahti’s facial reactions to the Manager’s smell is <chef’s kiss> perfect. We can smell it because of how hard she’s selling it.
- The fun mythology involving this character is that Sheryl’s underlings don’t see a demon: they see the equivalent of Ted Danson from The Good Place. That’s fascinating!
- One of the case of the week “survivors” is Jessica (Madeline Wise), a white woman who is eventually revealed to be not just a liar, but a former temp of Leland’s! It’s a bit role, but Wise completely sells her final lines when she tells Ben, Kristen and David: “Your team is losing. That doom you feel; it’s justified.” I kinda hope this character returns.
- I’m a really big fan of the animated visions that David is seeing now. It worked last week and it works again here, especially given the references we see in the artwork David leafing through.
- Sister Andrea’s nemesis from “The Demon of Sex” is still hanging around her armoire, baiting her with little “bloop” comments to confirm he’s still up for interfering in her and David’s lives.
- Finally, the video connection with Patrick Brammall‘s Andy remains janky, but Kristen’s quick calendar check reveals he’s due home in ~5 weeks. Still, the girls’ fears for his safety portends bad shit on the horizon, no?
Evil airs Sundays on Paramount+