Evil 3×06 “The Demon of Algorithms” feels like an episode we’ve seen before. Kristen, David, and Ben are asked to look into whether or not a young girl needs an exorcist. And then, all hell breaks loose. That’s it. It’s the earliest iteration of the series’ formula — its algorithm, if you will — down to a T. With that in mind, the episode should feel formulaic at best, a bunch of olds waggling their fingers at the youths about the dangers of social media at worst.
And yet…Somehow, it works. Against all odds, it just works.
The natural question, then, is exactly why or how an hour of television about the dangers of mindlessly scrolling through videos manages to be worth watching at all. The answers, likely, will be a little bit different for each viewer. But, at least for this one, it all boils down to the presentation.
In the first place, Evil 3×06 ties so many of this season’s threads together at once. So, it almost feels like a conclusion, rather than the kickoff to the season’s second half. David’s late-night visitor makes her reappearance, as does Leland’s Bumblebee Valley game. There’s also the obvious tie-in with Sheryl’s doomscrolling gig, even though it’s neither specifically mentioned nor the point here. The actual point, as far as Sheryl’s role in this story goes, is finding out about Andy’s fate — another loose end, mended. Oh! And we even get more insight into Ben’s ongoing scientific journey and David’s top secret side hustle.
It probably shouldn’t be such a pleasant surprise to see a series leave no stone left unturned and put all the odds and ends together in a way that makes each individual piece stronger. But, considering the way some shows, with more than twice as many episodes, do exactly the opposite? It’s just nice to see writing with a clear purpose and a real focus.
Then, there’s the other obvious reason why “The Demon of Algorithms” gets the job done: This cast is everything. Whether it’s Katja Herbers playing about 30 layers of a single character, plus her demon/evil manifestation, or Christine Lahti’s devious glee as Sheryl explains her plans to a paralyzed Andy, or even Michael Emerson’s pure rage at being one-upped by the Bouchard daughters, there’s just not enough praise in the world to describe how well done every split second is.
Last, but not least, we’re also treated to…some kind of big reveals. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some highlights from Evil 3×06.
The algorithm gets David…fantasizing, apparently
I don’t know about anyone else, but most apps’ algorithms do the opposite of understanding me. This VidTap thing in Evil 3×06, though…It’s scarily good at figuring people out. If Ben hadn’t known someone working for the company, I would’ve assumed there was an actual demon involved.
All season, Ben has been plagued by the not knowing — not being able to explain what he sees. So, of course, he’s subjected to increasingly-hostile comments from people who don’t believe the science. And it all gives him exactly what he needs. Namely, repeated opportunities to keep providing answers. In fact, knowing someone from his Super Top Secret Nerd Group (or whatever it’s called) is what cracks even the most realistic haunting wide open. And tragically so.
Back at the Bouchard household, it’s drinking moms, moms who are irritated with their kids, and suspicious wives. That last one is the most important because, well. We’ll talk about that a bit later, but Kristen is a brilliant woman. She has to have picked up on Andy’s video calls all being…well, basically the same. Right? I mean, I know the man has no personality, but the seeds have been there all along. Something is rotten in
the state of Denmark the Himalayas.
The app manages to root out something in each character’s subconscious…
…which, of course, brings us to David. David, who is lonely and doubting everything about the faith that has made him lonely in the first place. But VidTap shows him he’s not as alone as he thinks. Somewhere, buried in the real warning “The Demon of Algorithms” gives us, there’s a clear nod to how, for some of us, the need to make a connection is exactly why we keep coming back to our social media. Even when we’re well aware of its negative side effects. Maybe that’s a big part of why this episode works, actually. It’s not all scolding; there’s understanding there, too.
David knows VidTap has caused people to hop on possession trends. And he recognizes how his feed is becoming increasingly toxic. At the same time, though, there’s something comforting about hearing from other lonely priests. Whether he’s willing to admit it to himself or not.
After all, he can’t share his concerns about The Entity, even though he knows something’s not quite right there. Evil 3×06 basically hits us over the head with how much David wants to be able to talk to Kristen, specifically, about that problem. Or about anything, really. In her absence, he has the demon version of her — and she’s even wrapped up as a gift for him, Catholic schoolgirl uniform and all.
…but then, we find out through Sister Andrea that this isn’t just some manifestation of David’s desires. The demon is, in reality, a hideous thing that’s attached itself to our hero and is sucking…something out of him. His soul? His sense? Who knows? And really, who cares? All that matters at this point is that it’s scary and kinda gross. Oh, and it’s a pretty huge reminder that not everything is as it seems on this series. And reality certainly gets manipulated online, too.
Yeah. Everything ties together.
One demon is just covering for another, or maybe it’s that David’s imagination is keeping him busy while the other attacks. Piggy567 isn’t a little girl; it’s Leland. And MarieT’s kids aren’t being haunted. She’s abusing them. Evil 3×06 never quite answers whether she’s just another clout chaser or truly in need of help, but given the trio’s reactions to her final act of “possession,” it’s probably safe to say there’s a little bit of both.
And while we’re talking about mothers who either don’t realize or don’t care that they’re hurting their kids…
One of the fun things about Evil is how you can absolutely be right about where it’s going while still having exactly zero clue. Case in point: Andy.
Like I hinted at above, every time Kristen has tried to reach out to him, his responses have been completely generic. So, the series has been dropping hints left and right that he’s been removed from the equation. Disappeared, if you will. The logical conclusion has always been that Sheryl got him out of the way. I figured he was dead already and, for better or worse, couldn’t quite find it in me to care too much.
Instead, Leland and Sheryl are holding Andy hostage just long enough to make it look good before permanently disappearing him. Again, I can’t completely find it in me to care…except for one, not-so-insignificant reason: the rest of his family.
“Don’t worry. I don’t want to hurt Kristen.”
Sheryl seems to think she can kill her daughter’s husband — kill her granddaughters’ father even — without hurting any of them. But that’s not how loving someone, even someone who is boring AF and barely ever there, works. Kristen’s already suffering from Andy’s absence. Herbers absolutely gutted us with her “being a single mom really sucks” line back in Evil 3×02. And while Sheryl wasn’t there for that, there’s no way she hasn’t witnessed any of her daughter’s pain since Andy “went to Nepal.”
She’s willfully blind here, or maybe it has something to do with her demon stuff infusions. Either way, she’s a mom, happily hurting her loved ones just to meet an end goal, whether she realizes or not. And that is exactly what we see with MarieT, VidTap, and those traumatized little boys.
So, yes. Everything. Fits. Together.
Seeing Andy laid out like that in Evil 3×06 might not necessarily make us care about him. But it certainly makes us hurt for Kristen and the girls. You know who else it makes us feel for, though? Sheryl. Because it’s very clear, if she heard Leland’s line about making “four little girls four little orphans” and didn’t have a visceral reaction, that she’s not ok. She is not herself.
And, honestly, she clearly doesn’t remember how terrifying it was to be paralyzed like that either. If so, how could she do the same to Andy? And again, we actually agree that Kristen’s better off without him. Just…not like this. At all. No, thank you.
More thoughts on Evil 3×06
- At least someone at Evil realizes that we can take care of ourselves online. Kristen’s daughters have Leland’s fake persona handled, thank you very much. In fact, it is spot on that the kids were less likely to fall victim to the algorithm than the adults.
- Calm, empathetic Dr. Bouchard makes us love unhinged, smashing-shit Kristen even more. A woman with layers!
- The awkward pause when Ben asks the Monsignor if he understands TikTok…This series is a comedy, isn’t it?
- “God, I feel old.” Big mood.
- The Church “found no impropriety” with Leland harassing Lexis at school. Insert “Oprah shrug” gif here.
- But the look Kristen gives that man before she storms out…Wish looks could kill!
- All four of these kids want to kill a man to help their mom. 10/10, no notes.
- “So, this is my first VidTap video and…hopefully my last.” Oh, Ben. Sweet summer child…
- “Don’t copy assholes” is actually the best advice ever.
- The hair twirl while Kristen watches the margarita videos. Art.
- “Polly the Pig is a pedophile.” I actually shrieked.
- And the way Leland was shook.
- “I just want someone to take me seriously.” No, but stuff like this is how Evil 3×06 nails it.
- The kids in this staged haunting video look like they’re gonna crawl under the bed…Me: It’s ok. They’re just going to see Maurice.
- “Oh, my God. Are you fucking kidding me?” If you don’t say that at least hourly when you’re on social media, are you even ok?
- It’s the furious way Kristen erases that board for me. “NOPE” indeed.
- And the way she melts over the kids’ “Sorry Love You Mom” reply.
- “I mean, you’re using my weakness against me.” We been knew she was your weakness, sweetie.
- The way he gets up in Little Miss Temptation’s face…kinda got hot in here.
- Not the COVID “cure.” Anything but that.
- “It’s addictive, isn’t it? I sat down to watch one video and was there for an hour.” This show decided to @ all of us at once, huh?
- “Well, it’s the American way. When in doubt, go with violence and sex.”
- No, but Kristen’s pain when “Andy” didn’t remember that anniversary.
- “Our algorithm has one goal in mind: keeping you engaged, not making you a better person. That’s your job, not mine.” Tech bros (sisses?) are forever allergic to accountability.
- Those reaction shots of Leland when the Monsignor kicks him out over the Bouchard kids exposing him. Again, Evil has A. CAST.
- “It’s a rare day when I’m not sorry.” Me.
- “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” Ouch?
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