Ahead of the Evil Season 3 premiere, we had a chance to talk to Michael Emerson about his role as one of our favorite evil entities of all time, Leland Townsend. And the thing is, when we think about Leland, we’re just constantly wondering…What on Earth (or down below) is he up to this time?
The answer to that question is kind of complicated and definitely not straightforward. Which, of course, is to be expected. After all, we’re talking about a character who gives off the most sinister of vibes, who is “capable of hubris” and “capable of overestimating what control he has over a given situation,” as Emerson told us. And yet, he does it all while fooling (almost) everybody by hiding behind the most unintimidating, if flimsy, mask.
We’ve tried to avoid anything too specific, but here’s your warning: This post may contain spoilers for Evil Season 3.
So, what’s Leland up to season? According to Emerson, “he’s busy with the usual stuff—his usual business. His agenda of, you know, defeating and disgracing David and Kristen. And the Catholic Church. And good people everywhere. But now, he’s diversifying a little bit. The Kings are giving him more latitude. He seems to have his fingers in more pies. He has other businesses, other pursuits…comrades, colleagues…There seems to be no shortage of operatives on the Dark side where he lives.”
And Leland basically has fun with it all. Whether he’s coming at our heroes head-on or doing seemingly meaningless things that might or might not contribute to society’s downfall, “it’s all good for him. In every situation, I think he’s making a study of it. And he’s trying to figure out: ‘Where can I set fire? Where can I make mayhem here?’ And it’s not always going to be the same kind of mayhem. It’s not always going to be about destroying someone’s faith. It might just be a gag or a trick.”
Part of that mayhem might even involve Kristen Bouchard’s daughters. We saw Leland approach Lexis at the end of last season. So, viewers might be wondering, going into Evil Season 3 what, exactly, Leland’s plans have to do with her. After all, she’s just a kid.
Our questioning around this one got us…more questions than answers, actually. While Emerson “wouldn’t hold out for the daughters as being the salvation of good in the world,” we should still be on the lookout for some interesting happenings. “There’s a couple of issues between Leland and Kristen’s daughters. One of them…appears to be…genetic. But! That’ll be pursued as we go along.”
Does this somehow relate back to last season’s “O is for Ovaphobia” or something else? We seriously have no idea. Wouldn’t have it any other way, either. Regardless, we’re sure no theory we can come up with will come even close to whatever the Kings’ minds created.
If that’s not enough to puzzle over as you await Evil Season 3, we’ve got one more little tidbit for you. The one, obvious, member of Kristen’s family with a connection to Leland is Sheryl. After all, Kristen’s mom and her nemesis had a thing, and then they didn’t, so then they were enemies, and then it got really weird, and then they were kind of allies…
…but if you’re here, you already know that whole story. Or, at least, you know it about as well as anyone who’s seen those scenes from season 2 can know it.
So, now what?
This season, Emerson says, Leland and Sheryl are “working together in a more business-like way. Friends, comrades, whatever you want to call it. But I think…they need each other—in a kind of terrible way. Because Leland needs help sometimes, and Sheryl needs a leg up in the dark underground, where she seems to want to spend her time. So, they’re useful to one another. Not even, maybe, liking each other that much—but knowing each other…which is most important.”