Evil 3×09 is, in a word, wild. There’s so much going on, and so many pieces bringing everyone together. But then, there’s that ending.
With the way so many things suddenly make a lot of sense here, it’s almost odd that “The Demon of Money” isn’t actually the third season finale. But, at the risk of being too repetitive: Then, there’s that ending.
David’s work with — never for — LeConte has come full circle in a big way. We know what Dr. Boggs’ book is about. Just about everyone is getting to a point where, if they continue to live in denial about some of the forces at play, they won’t be believable anymore. And all of this is happening, in the middle of a single assessment that actually sucks more people in than we bargained for.
So, yeah. This episode has finale energy, which makes it kind of terrifying to think about what might occur when we get, well, to an actual finale. Maybe Grace Ling can pray for us? But, in the meantime, let’s try to break it down.
Yes, since Victor won’t say so, we need David.
Admittedly, it took us way too long to have this “aha” moment, but Evil 3×09 really drives home this idea of David figuring out that the people in charge…don’t have the power they think they do. Because he’s actually the important one here.
For most of this season, David’s been kind of blindly following LeConte’s cryptic orders and being told not to ask questions. It’s been frustrating to watch since it’s felt like he’s been taken away from the “real” work, where he’s the “real” leader…But, joke’s on us. Because, for as much as LeConte didn’t always share the big picture and didn’t always seem to tell the truth, he was honest about working to save Grace Ling.
It’s when David finally pushed back, in “The Demon of Parenthood,” that Grace finally made it back to safety, back home (in whatever sense we can use the word in this case). Without David’s willingness to speak up, to keep pushing for someone to listen when he was sure he was right, and also without all his smaller tasks, that wouldn’t have happened.
Sometimes, you have to see all the puzzle pieces come together to know what the final image is going to be. And what we get, at least as of now, for David’s final image is the advice he gives to Grace:
“Ask for what you need. You’ll get it. They need you more than you need them.”
But this isn’t just about David giving advice to Grace. It’s also about him, acknowledging what he’s learned about his own purpose. The Church absolutely needs him more than he needs the institution. His faith, certainly, is something he needs very much — and it doesn’t need him at all. It’s a huge part of who he is.
But the Church (capital C), as an institution, is a different story. And it goes beyond the image issue he exploited when he stood up for Sister Andrea earlier this season.
“The prophetess has asked for this priest specifically.”
Read that again: She asked for David, specifically. This woman who has all these important visions, who even made a connection with this week’s assessment out of thin air, asked for David. Specifically.
And LeConte, who sent him on what felt like a constant series of wild goose chases?
Would he and guys like Father Diego even have Grace there to bombard with questions without David’s help? Not likely. Would they be able to get her talking again, once she stopped, without David’s advice to make sure she could be around children? Definitely not.
It’s pretty telling that LeConte can’t even answer the simple question of “you still need me” with an equally simple “yes.” It had to be “no. Grace does.”
Because…well…There’s a transitive property to apply here: If The Entity needs Grace, and Grace needs David, then, actually, The Entity does still need David.
Grudgingly, LeConte seems to accept that. He, at bare minimum, supports David when he uses his voice to make sure Grace gets the break she needs yet won’t ask for. But it’s wild — and not in the good way that Evil 3×09 is wild — that LeConte can’t just say it.
Because, at the end of the day, without him pulling all those puzzle pieces together, there is no big picture. It’s just clutter.
“I can do it.”
So, Dr. Boggs’ demon therapy has made him a successful author of…not a book about his own spiritual journey. Isn’t that what he originally wanted to write? The demon muse doesn’t care.
That’s how writing works. You sit down, you can’t say shit, you sell your soul, and then words appear. Most of the time, they’re not even the words you set out to write. True story.
Evil 3×09 is the place where, first off all, Kristen notices that something is very, very wrong with her therapist. She witnesses the possessed typing, and the “Alouette,” and the cuts on his hand that he can’t tell a good lie about. Then, there’s the issue of his current draft. On first glance, it’s kind of terrible. Then, you get to using Google Translate and find out that all those languages are saying “I can do it” over and over again.
And, if you’re Lila, you also notice that all you need to do to read rest of the story is hold the pages up to a mirror. It’s actually about “a lonely mother who lived in a mansion with her four beautiful daughters.” As we learn when Laura screens her mom’s calls (and is a bossy little gatekeeper while she’s at it), there’s also a message about a little girl killing her mom in it.
Four little girls? Lonely mom? Sounds familiar. So, unfortunately, does a daughter killing her mom. If we go back to Bumblebee Valley, this is the kind of thing Leland was trying to manipulate Lexis into doing in the first place. Remember Polly the Pig talking about poisoning “her” mom? While Leland failed spectacularly there, it looks like getting Dr. Boggs to write the story has the potential to work. Maybe it already has worked because Laura is demanding to know how it all ends — aren’t we all? — and her sisters love it, too.
Relating it all back to just how accurate this is with writing in general, Dr. Boggs gets encouragement from Laura just as he’s about to quit. (See also: “Fuck you, Satan. I’m done.”) That’s generally when breakthroughs seem to happen.
And, as always, if a little demon possession and a little bit of blood is a way to get to the whole “I’m good” thing? Sign me up.
Happy…is not the word we’d use for this birthday.
So, here’s the thing about Kristen’s surprise party in Evil 3×09: The real surprise is, naturally, for all of us as viewers. And there are tons of places to be surprised.
Where do we even begin? There’s Ben and Karima’s conversation, in which Karima admits she’s invested in the stock at the center of this episode’s assessment. This, of course, gives us Ben’s chance to get stalked by “The Demon of Money.” And, as always, it’s an opportunity to see Aasif Mandvi deliver this certain type of performance that just works. It’s like he plays Ben’s shock and fear up, to the point where it could almost become overacting but doesn’t quite — it’s just right on the right side of that line. That’s so hard to do, but it ends up really showing just how much whatever Ben sees in that alley really scares the shit out of him.
And then, he is out of his mind when he describes it all to David and Kristen because he’s really looking for any rational, scientific answer. But his own experience tells him it’s…not there.
So, again with everything coming together in this episode, though…Because we had both Ben and Karima at the party. And they both became personally involved in the case of the week beyond just searching for answers. Even with all their scientific knowledge, all the work they’ve done together so far to make everything make sense, they still struggle here. That’s not something we should discount.
And then, to get the DF stock demon off of Ben’s back, Kristen took the tip…and pawned it off on that guy whose ass she kicked in the store that one time. Again. It’s all coming together.
But wait! There’s more!
Evil 3×09 is also a reckoning, of sorts, for Sheryl. Or, at least, it’s the moment where she realizes the good guys aren’t exactly defenseless.
Sheryl really does a horrible job at plastering on that big, fake smile when she first meets Grace. There’s something like denial here, but in the back of her mind, you can tell she feels there’s something happening…right up until the point where she gets proof that Grace is something else.
During the awkward conversation itself, I really had the feeling that Grace’s “I won’t blame you” line was, you know, about what Sheryl’s got planned for Andy. After all, as viewers, we know at least that one key part of her journey in Season 2 happened without her explicit consent. She’s also searching for power in a world where she traditionally hasn’t, and wouldn’t, have it…so, yeah. I was thinking empathy.
When Sheryl overhears Kristen’s conversation with the prophet and sees that drawing of Andy’s exact location…
First of all, that reaction from Christine Lahti is everything — from the second she sees the drawing and throughout Sheryl’s entire interaction with Leland. She’s gained all this power, has done so much on her “own” to claw closer to the top, and she is still panicking now. Also of note here: After working so hard to brown nose her way up and get rid of Leland as her boss, where does she run for help? Right to Leland.
Ok, second. Um. Oh, my God?
The chain of events that comes as the result, with that absolute slasher flick of a final scene, complete with Michael Emerson playing the creepiest, most gleeful stalker yet, is just…
It is, as we called Evil 3×09 is at the top of this review, wild. It’s also incredibly thought provoking. Should we think about the Monsignor’s arrival, just in time to save Grace (and then die), as divine intervention? She was, after all, praying instead of finding a way to hide or physically fight back. Or was it just a good coincidence? Should we even care, when the build-up was so good, only to end with that twist?
And without David being so essential to freeing Grace, none of it ever would’ve happened. We went from all those seemingly mindless, frustrating tasks, to this. This is what we call outstanding writing that takes you to all sorts of shocking places — but always to endpoints that are believable in the context of the mythology.
And there’s still more to come? Ok then.
More on Evil 3×09
- Never realized how much I needed to see “Mike Colter kicks giant beachball back and forth with Li Jun Li” until “The Demon of Money” gave it me. But my life is now complete, at least.
- Actually, going back to the bit about David using his voice to get Grace that beachball break: David is usually on the quieter side, and he almost never makes anything resembling demands. But he didn’t just use his voice for Grace here — he raised it. And demands were most certainly made. This is so small, yet so important. It’s really interesting to see when, where, and how Colter projects outward with David — in a huge way here — when the character usually has to stay more “priest-like,” for lack of a way of putting it. (Again, give me one of those special knives and a song to sing, Leland. Help me to make the words.)
- “One thing I’ve learned about the Church: You have to set limits.” Please tell that to the U.S. government, David. I’m actually begging.
- Them: It’s called DF. Me: Y’all are blaming the Despair Faction? AFI’s street team???? Rude.
- “She’s special. But you have to adapt yourself to her. Not the other way around.” The way this applies in so many places, with so many people, outside of this series…
- That opening therapy scene was stunning work from Katja Herbers. And beautifully done, in terms of all the right pauses and places to let silence do the talking in general.
- Buuuuut I also maybe snorted when Kristen said she sometimes thinks Andy might never return.
- “It’s just that sometimes I think I’m wishing for things…and they’re coming true.” “No. You’re looking for ways to blame yourself.” @ me next time, Doc.
- “I guess I’m cured.” If all I have to do to heal my back is invite a demon in…
- It’s the soft “hey, you ok” on the phone for me.
- “Sorry. When I’m in a groove, it’s hard to stop.” Same, bestie. Same.
- It’s just that I can’t bring myself to feel bad for “boo hoo, I drink my $11000 bottle of wine by myself on my yacht” dude. Eat the rich. Go for it, dark shadow/money demon thingy.
- …the suspense with the footage of the demon (or whatever) was fantastic, though.
- And Ben’s alley confrontation with it was giving that one scene in Interview with the Vampire where Louis meets Santiago.
- “We know inflating things helps you talk to God.” I can’t.
- Can’t decide whose reaction to the uncle’s nose was best, probably because they were all priceless.
- “If you keep asking me for help with your cases, I’m going start charging you.” She should.
- “It’s candy salad. My girls make believe it’s healthy, and I make believe I’m a good mother.” Doing amazing, sweetie.
- “A demon? I think I can handle that.” Make her President.
- The whiplash from the party to…that, though. Ok!
- “Father Ignatius. Tell him that I love…” WAIT WHAT.
Thoughts on Evil 3×09? Got theories for what’s next? Leave us a comment.
Evil Season 3 is now streaming on Paramount+, with new episodes streaming each Sunday.