It’s getting hot in here, so take off all your turtlenecks. OK, that needs some workshopping, but the sentiment in regards to Evil‘s “Exorcism Part 2” rings true. First, let’s talk turtlenecks: Kristen Bouchard (Katja Herbers) has been rocking a tight t-neck all season long, so that’s no big deal, but then David Acosta (Mike Colter) shows up neck deep in a thick sweater t-neck, and it is, I cannot stress this enough, CAMEL. This is the biggest of deals. Is this because he’s been hanging out with Kristen so long and has feelings? Is this like the psychological transference mentioned elsewhere in this episode? Wow, science is cool.
If that development isn’t enough for you, the heat index in this episode is really turned up by the arrival of Renée Harris (Renée Elise Goldsberry), an archdiocesan lawyer who is described as more of a “fixer” than a litigator (the new boss in town and Flannery O’Connor stan Bishop Marx [Peter Scolari] is fond of her because “she keeps our abuse victim lawsuits reasonable,” a line that gives me the creeps more than any goblin baby could). She’s here to take on a very pertinent case to our cause: Caroline Hopkins (Karen Pittman) — she of first Evil exorcism fame — has decided to sue the church, David, and Father Amara (Clark Johnson) for botching her exorcism. Renée volunteers for this job for one very specific reason: She knows David. She is Julia’s sister. They seem very happy to see one another. And by “happy” I mean boiling over with sexual tension. So this is fun!
We still know very little about Julia, the late love of David’s life, but Renée brings with her a few more details: Apparently, on her deathbed, Julia told both David and Renée that the Church needs them, which is what led David to the priesthood and Julia to take her badass lawyering to the Catholic Church. Renée is pretty confident she’ll get the case settled during the deposition — which is a big chunk of the episode. Fear not, ye of little faith, Robert and Michelle King have been making depositions exciting since 2009.
Another great talent the Kings have is that every character we meet is imbued with such a tangible personality. That’s of course true for Renée Harris, a straight shooter to an incredibly quirky extent, but equally true for the prosecution’s lawyer, Judith Lemonhead (Jennifer Ferrin). Yes, Lemonhead.
While giving Kristen some quick pointers for the deposition — Kristen and Dr. Boggs (Kurt Fuller), you’ll remember, completely disagreed with David and Father Amara proceeding with Caroline’s exorcism, instead diagnosing her with dissociative identity disorder — Renée informs her that Lemonhead is a tough prosecutor, and also she’s angry about her ridiculous name and takes that anger out on the world. Renée isn’t wrong. Lemonhead (I will only refer to her by her last name because it is a gift) isn’t messing around with this depo. Caroline’s psychiatrist, Dr. Lynch-Giles (Jeremy Shamos), testifies that his patient suffers from dissociative identity disorder, delusions, suicidal ideation, and malnutrition to boot, all because of this reckless exorcism, and he, A DOCTOR, has administered anti-psychotics to help her. Not a great start for David Acosta, priest-in-training!
Kristen is up next, and in a difficult spot since she wants to help David but is also under oath. She sticks to the concise truth: Yes, she and Dr. Boggs diagnosed Caroline with dissociative identity disorder and wanted to stop the exorcism, no she doesn’t believe in possession, and yes, Renée told her that Lemonhead is pissed about her name. The questioning goes as well as it can. It’s when Lemonhead begins to question David that things go south. I’m not going to say this downturn is because David’s not wearing a camel turtleneck sweater, but I’m not not going to say that either, you know?
Lemonhead’s strategy with David is simple: She gets him to admit that he decided to become a priest three years ago after two arrests — one for possession of cocaine and one for assault, in which he punched a guy unconscious — and multiple stays in rehab for substance abuse and sex addiction. Her point is that if David had disclosed his past, Caroline wouldn’t have agreed to have him perform an exorcism in the first place. Lemonhead informs them that Caroline will settle for $8 million, as well as agreeing to remove Father Amara from the priesthood and not allowing David to ever be ordained. Just, like, those few little things.
When Renée goes to see her client in his room, she’s not there to commiserate over their bad day or talk strategy going forward; she’s there to inform him that she’s always had a crush on him. I don’t know which law school Renée attended, but I’d be interested in looking at their course catalog. Furthermore, she cannot freaking believe that her obstacle in regards to her feelings used to be her sister and now it’s God. Terrible cards to pull, indeed! But not all hope is lost for her: When she asks David if he’s ever thought about her that way, he nods. Still, when she walks over and gets so close she could kiss him (so! much! heat!), he tells her he needs to study. Truly, the nerdiest form of a cold shower there is.
In the end, it is Kristen Bouchard who figures out how to beat Lemonhead, which, honestly, is a feat since the woman has a lot going on at the moment: Her husband Andy (Patrick Brammall) is back and immediately shaves his sherpa beard before they can have sex while it still adorns his face (v. rude); a possible demon cat has appeared at their house to attach itself to the sweatshirt David gave Kristen during their ghost rave with his dad; and after hearing about Kristen’s new job chasing demons, Andy thinks it just means she is craving the adventure of mountain climbing and tells her he’ll stay home with the girls so she can go to Everest. Not to mention: She hasn’t even had a chance to unload on someone, anyone, about watching one of David’s step-mothers deliver a goblin in a cornfield while being on a hallucinogenic drug trip. But sure, she also has time to figure out that Dr. Lynch-Giles was prescribing Caroline antipsychotics that are known to cause suicidal thoughts because the pharmaceutical company was wining and dining (and cruising) him. She is a true hero.
Back at the deposition, Renée is able to use this info to get Boggs and Kristen to testify that Caroline’s ill health could have easily been due to the antipsychotics she was prescribed. Renée is also able to say the phrase, “sounding a little bitter there, Miss Lemonhead,” which is a blessing for all of us. The deposition devolves until Lemonhead calls Renée out for probably having a relationship with David, because Lemonhead is both a stellar prosecutor and a human sexual tension detector. Eventually, she shows up to inform the church that Caroline has changed her tune and just wants her medical bills covered. Those bishops and priests are like, yes, this is super cool, we can do that. Anyway, justice for Lemonhead someday!
David returns to his room to find Renée putting to practice some of the lessons she must have learned in her advanced courses: She’s sitting in the dark, draped over a chair, and tells him that she’s not going anywhere until he touches her. You’d think nothing could temper that heat, but it’s as if David hears that challenge and is like “hold my consecrated wine.” “I have to lead a prayer group,” he tells her. Oh boy, the coldest of cold showers with this dude. Still, David does not leave the room, so perhaps he can’t turn down Renée for a second time. You guys, if Renée turns out to be a demon sent to tempt David, I’m going to be so mad!!
Elsewhere in this episode, our Demon-in-Command is making some headway with his plans. I’ve been avoiding getting into Leland’s (Michael Emerson) storyline this week because I’m still in a bit of shock. Honestly: Did you guys see that?
Leland’s “therapy sessions” with his little incel-in-training Sebastian (Noah Robbins) are still going strong, and now Leland is having Sebastian turn his focus on a women-only gym. He wants Sebastian to go there and pretend to shoot the women there with his finger. OK, so that sound ridiculous when typed out, but trust me, when Sebastian finally goes there and performs this exercise, it is deeply unsettling.
Once Sebastian completes that task, Leland, a proud demon therapist, wants Sebastian to move on to the next stage in his healing process: doing it for real. Sebastian is in the process of buying an entire arsenal of guns, and Leland introduces him to Adam (Graham Rowat). Adam is an expert marksman, one of the 59 people Leland trusts in the world, and yes, the ICE Detention Center guard who threw out our prophetess’ drawings of the demon hierarchy map. After spending time with Adam at the gun range, Leland deems Sebastian ready to carry out his mission — only he doesn’t want his target to be the gym anymore. He wants him to go to a local prayer group… led by David Acosta.
While Sebastian waits for his signal from Leland, he starts getting geared up and practicing with his guns. And then he accidentally shoots himself in the head. He’s found dead with his arsenal of guns, a bigger tragedy mercifully avoided. Once again, this show reminds us that sometimes the scariest thing isn’t a ghost or goblin; it’s a human being’s capacity for evil.
Sebastian may be dead, but Leland’s not calling it quits. Of course, initially he’s enraged. Like, flipping desks enraged. But then he calms himself and sets off to find the next person he can manipulate into doing truly evil deeds.
Ugh, remember when we started this thing talking about people rocking turtlenecks? Things were much more fun back then.
Evil airs Thursdays at 10/9c on CBS.
Previously on Evil…
Evil Season 1, Episode 1 Recap: “Pilot” |Evil Season 1, Episode 2 Recap: “177 Minutes” |Evil Season 1, Episode 3 Recap: “3 Stars” |Evil Season 1, Episode 4 Recap: “Rose390” | Evil Season 1, Episode 5 Recap: “October 31” | Evil Season 1, Episode 6 Recap: “Let x = 9” | Evil Season 1, Episode 7 Recap: “Vatican III” | Evil Season 1, Episode 8 Recap: “2 Fathers”
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