There are a couple of moments in Evil 3×07 “The Demon of Cults” where we see Kristen’s foot, hovering over a line. She’s been told, in the course of the latest investigation, that the line is there to keep her from getting too close to Owen Venegas, this assessors’ latest subject. But seeing that line — one she can hover over but not cross without consequences — really gets at the heart of this episode.
On one side, there’s something dark and dangerous; on the opposite, you’re safe. Even if you get right up to the line, as Kristen’s boot does, it’s ok. Any further, and something awful gets to you.
But it’s not just about Owen or the weird circumstances of his deprogramming-turned-possession. It’s not even about the way he’s freed by his girlfriend, not the Church’s antics. Evil 3×07 “The Demon of Cults” is about the lines we dare to cross and the ones we absolutely won’t. For the record: No, we’re not at all surprised by David’s line.
Dr. Boggs does that
When we interviewed Kurt Fuller about Evil Season 3, he teased us about what was coming later in the season. Well, “The Demon of Cults” finds us in that “later.”
And it is so fascinating. No wonder Fuller was excited.
In the first place, whatever it is that Dr. Boggs gets from Leland and his demon rituals, it’s worth pointing out that he tried getting it from Sister Andrea first. But when she just gives him a bunch of literature to read, says it’s all the things she’d tell him anyway…It’s like…
That sends him to a very desperate, therefore vulnerable, place.
“I need to understand what you understand.”
He just needed answers and didn’t even know how to ask for them. But instead of the easy way out, she gives him the type of help that doesn’t really feel like help at all. There’s got to be at least some small part of Dr. Boggs that feels like Sister Andrea has refused him, or abandoned him, or just made the whole situation more difficult.
It’s the perfect place for Leland to show up, to take advantage. So, of course, he does. It’s what he’s best at, after all.
But Leland’s ritual is bizarre enough that, even facing writer’s block, Dr. Boggs doesn’t quite jump on it. He’s still hesitant, especially the singing along to “Alouette” part. Right up until the Demon of Writer’s Block (now there’s an episode title Evil could easily go with at any time, royalty-free) makes him give in. And Leland’s advice “cures” the ailment — until it doesn’t. So, of course, he goes and asks Leland for more.
Which, honestly, if lighting a candle, dropping some blood on the monitor, and singing a little song would make writing magically work, we’d sell our souls to whatever demon we had to. Cut Sister Andrea’s hair next time, even though we love and appreciate her? Sure!
Writer’s block is…not fun. And, honestly, writing is its own sort of demonic torture. Actually, between Dr. Boggs’ experience in Evil 3×07 and pretty much they entirety of Starz’s Shining Vale, we’re happy to see TV is finally getting the word out.
The line David won’t cross
Despite every bit of discomfort he’s shown so far, David willingly meets with Victor Leconte in the opening moments of Evil 3×07. In fact, he shows up early. But the second Leconte mentions Kristen, David’s demeanor goes from a little bit snarky, yet still in this…to basically, “I’m going full Luke Cage on you if you mention her or her daughter one more time.” Or, maybe since we’re in the Kings’ world, we should say it’s, “I’m going full Lemond Bishop on you.”
Either way. Mike Colter can give “I’m going to fuck you up” with barely a glance, and he definitely did that in David’s meetings with Leconte. And David was very deliberate about putting that toy back down. It’s him, making his limits known.
And then…family time
Of course Lexis is the killer during the family get-together. And it doesn’t even matter whether or not some part of her knows David’s got his suspicions. Maddy Crocco’s intense stare and demonic smirk when the game comes down to just those two is absolutely everything.
But that changes nothing. Because what does David do the second he finds out that the girls were forced out of their room by sketchy-sounding plumbers? He excuses himself to the restroom, as Leconte wanted him to do, and he goes snooping in the girls’ room. And the visuals of David snooping around up there are gloriously suspenseful, on a level that they have no business reaching.
But instead of leaving that toy behind to violate the kids’ privacy, he takes it to protect them. Because the one line he won’t cross is hurting Kristen. It’s going after the one thing he knows Kristen values the most: Her family.
He refuses to betray her. No ifs, ands, or buts. Someone’s grooming Lexis to take over some big, important demonic sigil? Sounds bad. But…Nope. Not hurting House Bouchard.
She’s in on it now, too.
Later, when Leconte and his goons confront David, it’s…It’s almost too easy. All it takes is a little bit of whispering through the door, and suddenly, they’re telling Kristen “everything.” Which is pretty weird, considering even after David’s refusal to help Leconte spy on Lexis, he was given express instructions not to discuss this with Kristen.
So, yeah. Too easy.
Considering how much they know, and how David seems like he’s just their pawn in so many ways, we almost wonder if getting Kristen involved was their plan all along. Leconte could not have been stupid enough to think Kristen wouldn’t catch on to David’s weird behavior, right? So, is everything that happened to Ben the result of Leconte getting him conveniently out of the way, knowing damned well David and Kristen would be fine abandoning him Upstate…but wouldn’t abandon each other?
Or was it just a matter of Leconte giving in and playing the cards he was dealt when Kristen was right outside that door and refusing to back down?
“Are you sure you want me to have a thought?
“…I’m a woman. I’m a mother. I had an embryo implanted in me from RSM Fertility, and I’m pretty sure you know that. And you think I’m biased in some way.”
Regardless, it was yet another opportunity for this series to deliver on a few things. First, a warning: Don’t fuck with whatever-this-is between Kristen and David. You’ll lose. Second, Kristen Bouchard remains a many-layered, feminist queen of a mama bear. And finally, it was another chance for Katja Herbers to outright end us.
“Do you have kids?”
“Then, shut the fuck up. I’m going to hug my daughter.”
For Kristen, hearing all of this about her baby…Let’s just say the way it broke her, bit by bit, broke me. The scene in David’s room was intense enough, but then that pure agony at the end, with Kristen crawling into bed to hold Lexis? Hearts were destroyed. Souls were emptied.
…and something about smelling like blood.
Science vs…That Stuff.
So, when the trio first visits to the cult in Evil 3×07, it’s like: Ok. These are really weird, out there people…but they’re kind of harmless. Sure, the random hugging is uncomfortable AF, but aside from figuring out what to happened to Owen, it’s almost like there’s no point in bothering these people.
“…reality is never just one thing.”
Ben even runs into a fellow Science League person, who actually beat Ben and Karima in one of the contests there. Renee, in her weird culty way, makes the point that science and faith may seem at odds, but they’re really hopelessly entangled. It all makes sense, really — right up until the point when the shit hits the fan.
Whether it’s a bigger orchestration by The Entity, some evil forces at work, or whatever, Ben winds up left behind for some one-on-one time with Renee. Again, despite the fight Kristen has about it with other cult members before she and David peace out, the alone time still, at least, starts out as harmless.
But then, there’s some girl beating the shit out of herself over her guilt (my inner monologue)…And folks have Ben restrained. Also, Renee knows all about what makes Ben feel guilty. Which is kind of weird because I never exactly saw Karima as the type to share something so personal, especially when it’s someone else’s damage.
Ben’s not here for crossing the whole “crawl on the ground and beat myself” line…But apparently, he’s ok with other rituals.
“They killed a goat, and they poured his blood over me.”
By the end of Evil 3×07, he’s covered in blood…yet…kinda gleeful? Do we have any idea where this is going? Nope. Are we probably unprepared to find out, yet still looking forward to it? Obviously.
More on Evil 3×07
- First “Happy Together,” now “Alouette.” Evil is coming for The X-Files‘ reputation for “ruining” upbeat-sounding songs.
- That blank screen and blinking cursor. A nightmare. My nightmare, specifically. Anyone who blames Dr. Boggs for taking Leland’s advice has not known this hell.
- “Who said writing was going to be easy?” Absolutely no one, Leland. No one.
- “Now, children. It’s time to write!” Literally the most terrifying thing ever said on this show.
- Do these Friends of the Vatican (or whatever) not know about Sheryl? Or do they not care.
- “They’re all pedophiles. Every single one of them.” The way the cut went right from the Leconte stuff — to demanding surveillance on a child…four of them, actually, since Lexis shares a room with her sisters — to this. We get you, Evil. We. Get. You.
- “Deprogramming. It has gotten harder in the last half decade, mostly because religious cults have been joined by political ones.” That part.
- The algorithm really got Kristen with that Pop Rocks margarita, huh?
- “I don’t, but I believe the evidence of my own eyes.” Ben Shakir, Kristen Bouchard, and Dana Scully all found dead.
- “What are you guys doing tonight?” “I have a very busy life! …nothing.” I am Ben. Ben is me.
- Yes, Sheryl. We know Lexis got her great killing skills from your side. How’s Andy, by the way? Dead yet?
- “You two are the most beautiful people I’ve ever seen.” I mean. Me at all my faves, especially the ones I ship together. So true.
- “Oh, my god. Why is it that when women point out male inadequacy, men think they’re flirting?” Tea.
- “I would say that’s not how that works.” Ben on Quantum Entanglement and Renee’s cult-speak? Or me, whenever someone on twitter dot com tries to explain Mathematics and can’t even use the right words. No, partial derivatives aren’t basic algebra. And no, you don’t “solve” a derivative, whether partial or ordinary. You take it. Or compute it. Or find it.
- “And I was telling her that she can go fuck herself!” Kristen Bouchard, unhinged queen. Always.
- “David has great faith in you.” I howled.
- And then their looks at each other. More screaming.
- “Keep her in line.“ “She’s a mother. You need to stay in line.” What was that I said about David and being supportive? Yeah. That, but on a billion more levels.
- “Childbirth mortality is always a danger.” Someone please explain this to the anti-science assholes making all the laws.
Thoughts on Evil 3×07 “The Demon of Cults”? Drop us a comment!
Evil Season 3 is now streaming on Paramount+, with new episodes releasing every Sunday.
I’m just REALLY worried about Ben.
Seriously. Nothing good can come of…whatever just happened. Right?