Evil Season 3 Takes Candy from Rosemary’s Baby

Kristen and David’s relationship is tested, defined, and left undefined during the episode. He is doing double duty as a semi-reluctant spy, while her problems come home to haunt her whole family. Kristen is absolutely right to doubt David, regardless of any reasonable excuse he has. And yes, the mystic Grace Ling (Li Jun Li), whose name can be spelled out by counting every twelfth letter following any mention of a Honkey Tonk, is perfectly reasonable.

Kristen has an agonizing arc, and by the time the unexpected happens, Herbers gives a tour-de-force through every character in every apartment in Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby, never letting us forget she may have already lived out the final scenario. The only thing she never says is, “he has his father’s eyes,” as one dream foreshadows monsters in the bassinet. The chase for Kristen’s missing egg ultimately cracks it wide open, and it feels like it does the same for the forensic psychiatrist’s psyche.

Because of the stakes in the RMS malfeasance case, Kristen goes from adversary to empathetic accessory before the facts come out. All the clues play out in front of Kristen during her nightmares. The dance her daughter Lexis (Maddy Crocco) does with the demon, George, is creepy in its robotic pace, and both mothers connect emotionally. The horrific conclusion doubles as a silent scream to mourn the demise of legalized abortion. The artfulness of the mix is the most frightening part of it. The rhythms of the scenes blur the terror through cognitive dissonance, and when it reconnects, it comes back twice as frightening.

Dr. Boggs (Kurt Fuller) is doubling down on his fears, with the help of Dr. Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson), always a pleasure to kick around. The addiction to creation is a very relatable offense, and when the devil’s advocate starts whispering Gonzo journalism into the budding author’s ears, it is understandably irresistible. If you want to write about the Hell’s Angels you have to ride with them. If you want to collaborate with demon chrome wheelers, you gotta get ridden. Everyone is rooting for the devil to chop Dr. Boggs into little pieces on the “Frère Jacques” record player by the time the song ends.

The monster of the week is a haunted toy store, and it is deceptively important to the underlying case, but crucial to the fun. It is really left to Ben, on his own, to figure out what makes the toys so creepy, and he pantomimes a horrifically comic monologue to solve it. The jump scares are comically timed, the comedy pops out of nowhere, and Mandvi’s eyes toss off silent one-liners you can hear in the back row. The final gag is the riddle in the middle of the knockoff toys is sad enough to make you gag because it is an all-too real and commonplace event.

It would be tidy if “The Demon of Parenthood” could be summed up by David’s observation that a spy sees everything as a conspiracy because it is his job. But the cleanup left in the ultimate solution to the fertilized egg problem is a psychological wound which reverberates long after the hopeful note at the end. Evil not only toys with genre, but form, which plays with the audience’s mind, if at least for being forced to use it.


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