All through its first season, CBS’ Evil has played with notions of separating the natural from the supernatural, and ordinary human evil from demonic evil (not that ordinary human evil isn’t horrific on its own). The season finale, Book 27, airing Thursday, ups the devilish ante.
Be Warned: Some Spoilers for Earlier Episodes Ahead
Take a look:
EVIL: The Story So Far
Created by the husband-and-wife team of Robert King (a Catholic) and Michelle King (an agnostic Jew), Evil follows Catholic seminarian David Acosta (Mike Colter), lapsed Catholic psychologist Kristen Bouchard (Katja Herbers), and skeptical non-practicing-Muslim contractor Ben Shakir (Aasif Mandvi) as they investigate hauntings, possessions and other strange happenings at the behest of the Catholic Church.
As the season has gone on, we’ve learned that David, in seeking to repeat an ecstatic vision of God, occasionally turns to pharmaceuticals (and allowed himself to be seduced, which he confessed); Kristen, a mother of four lively daughters, hovers between belief and unbelief, as her finally-returned adventurer husband (Patrick Brammall) dabbles in Buddhism … and perhaps a bit more; and Ben has endured the appearance of a few cracks in his stoutly skeptical facade.
The team and Church officials have also been poring over something the show calls the Poveglia Codex, an ancient and incomplete collection of monastic prophecies, which also includes a hierarchy of 60 demons (called The Sixty) and a lot of strange symbols, called sigils — and which could hold the secret to the end of the Church — or worse.
Meanwhile, Kristen’s mother (Christine Lahti) is carrying on a secret romance with Leland (Michael Emerson), a nefarious and probably psychopathic psychologist (and Kristen’s nemesis), who may or may not be in therapy with the actual Beelzebub (it sure looked like it in an earlier episode, but it’s sometimes hard to tell what’s real and what’s fantasy in this show).
What’s Coming in Book 27
In the season-one finale, called Book 27, airing Jan. 30 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, CBS says:
David, Kristen and Ben assess whether a pregnant woman is possessed when she claims one of the twins she’s carrying is evil. Their investigation leads to a fertility clinic where they discover a connection to all of their encounters throughout the season. Also, Kristen questions one of her daughters’ capacity for evil upon realizing that she also used that fertility clinic.
What the Creators and Cast Have to Say about the Codex, Skepticism vs. Belief and the Drug Thing
The cast and producers were on hand at the recent TV Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena, California, and here’s some highlights:
Robert King on what inspired the Poveglia Codex:
It’s based on two documents. One ‑‑ oh, my gosh ‑‑ I am going to forget the name. One is a document that was found I thought in the 18th century. And it was in the Vatican Library, that has no translation [it’s the Voynich manuscript, still apparently a mystery]. And the other is the Fatima prophecies, which were ‑‑ there was one that was left unprophesied because it was supposed to be so dangerous to the Church [here’s what the Vatican has to say on that]. So, it was a combination of two that we brought together. And we have a great writers’ room that are obsessed with symbols and sigils, and so they brought together some of that information.
Mandvi on Ben’s struggles:
Ben’s milieu is his own certainty, in terms of what he knows and what he can quantify. He is a true empiricist in that way. There have been a couple of challenges to that, especially with his sister and stuff that happened. But I think he’s still in that place where he believes that he can solve the thing; he can find the answer. He’s sort of almost the direct opposite sometimes of Leland. Where Leland wants to sow chaos, Ben always needs to find order and meaning in things, and I think he’s still in that place. Well, we’ll see. We’ll see where that goes.
Hebers on Kristen’s evolution:
At the beginning of the season, I’m definitely only science‑based and very skeptical about anything supernatural, but I think, as the season progresses, I become maybe a little bit more in the middle of Mike and Aasif’s characters, and I allow doubt. And I think I’m still probably more science‑based. But there are things that I can’t explain, and it becomes pretty scary, so yeah.
Robert King on the evils of technology, often explored in the show:
I’m a Catholic who believes in original sin, who believes there is a corrupt factor and evil in all of us which, life seems to fulfill. So, yeah, it’s a belief, but it’s also empirically held. And so, to me, I think there’s a demonic presence in the world. I think there’s something that has infected people on the Internet. They make communities, but the communities can be infected with something, for lack of a better word, demonic or evil.
Colter on why David dabbles in hallucinogens:
A lot of people want to have a relationship with God that is so intimate and close that they are closer to God than anyone else, and that’s how I feel like David feels. He wants to be closer to God than anyone else. He gets jealous when he hears people talk about a relationship or conversation with God that is more intimate or more direct and available than his own.
I don’t think he shows it all the time, but I think it drives him to find out, A, is this necessarily true, and how did they accomplish this? And, B, can he also achieve this? Because he’s had this vision once at least, and so I think he’s chasing it. You can call it chasing a high. You can call it chasing this moment again of: “Can I get that same feeling or access to God so I can ask questions or see things?”
And in response to my question about when the team isn’t going to just investigate evil but actually fight back, Robert King said:
The Codex. The Codex. They’re going out on the attack. What they’re trying to do is find a way to be proactive, and it ‑‑ actually, what’s great about the Codex ‑‑ that’s that thing with all the 60 sigils to it ‑‑ is it takes you into arenas that are outside the world of possession, because Michelle and I in the writers’ room are always trying to find ways where we’re not trapped in the exorcist paradigm. But this whole of different institutions being corrupted by some kernel of evil inside. And I think that’s what we did. And you’re going to see more of that next season.
Here’s one more peek at Book 27, in which Kristen confronts the serial killer (Darren Pettie) she helped send to jail in the season premiere, who’s now out because someone else confessed to his crimes — and Kristen’s not buying his innocence.
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