“177 Minutes” (Episode 102)
October 3, 2019
Last week’s pilot episode of EVIL introduced us to Kristen Bouchard, a forensic psychologist and consultant to the Queens County District Attorney’s Office. She leaves that job to join a team within the Catholic Church that is tasked with determining with whether people have experienced religious-based phenomena (e.g., possessions; miracles) or if they’re just faking it. Last week saw the Faith v. Science Team investigate whether a serial killer was possessed by demons or just a psychopath (there is a thin line between the two states). Kristen’s subconscious takes some work home in the form of a demon named George that visits her nightly in her dreams (nightmares?) expressing her deepest darkest fears including her attraction to David. On the other side of #TeamGod is Dr. Leland Townsend, another forensic psychologist, devoted to spreading evil.
Check out the deep dive recap and review from the series premiere here. All caught up? Good! Grab a choir of angels and dive into this week’s episode of EVIL … BEWARE OF SPOILERS!!!
David’s Apartment. Tonight’s episode opens with a montage of David praying throughout his day. Praying before bed, kneeling in prayer, in church and while running. As he jogs he recites the Hail Mary prayer aloud. He stops jogging in front of a club. I really hope the name of the club is Temptation or Eve or something really punny. David stares at the Club with mixed emotions. More on that later.
Back at his bedside, David is kneeling in prayer and reciting the Hail Mary, almost angry, like he is fighting to keep control. Dr. Leland Townsend appears behind him (a vision? a manifestation?) talking about what he likes best about sex is knowing when a woman wants you, adding that Kristen wants David. David continues to pray as Leland portrays the scene it would be to have sex with Kristen, imagining that she’d be screaming like a demon … not a saint. Leland taunts David for reciting the same old crap over and over again and challenges him to come up with something on his own. Randomly, Leland starts reciting Abbott & Costello’s legendary Who’s on First skit (see below).
Kristen’s Office. We are picking up where the last episode left off with Kristen, Ben and David discussing the miracle they are tasked with investigating. The person in question is Naomi Clark, an 18 year college soccer player in perfect health who mysteriously died from cardiac arrest. The God Team views CCTV footage from the hospital morgue to witness the “miracle.” Naomi (Hannah Hodson) is lying on the table. Her parents come in and are openly grieving. They are followed by a priest, Father Augustus (Dakin Matthews), who whispers in Naomi’s ear for an extended amount of time. The pathologist begins the autopsy, nearly three hours after the time of death, he makes an incision at her jawline. Naomi wakes up in a start, in complete panic mode and grabbing her jaw in pain. Blood spurting everywhere. Kristen looks horrified but intrigued. She manages a, “Wow.”
Hanover Hospital. The God Team interviews a hospital executive in his office. David asks how a person can be declared dead and wake up 177 minutes later (episode title mention – drink!). The hospital executive has a grasping at straws attitude and is all over the place in utter deflection mode. Let’s follow his list of excuses, shall we?
Excuse #1: Medicine is not all knowing and has its limits. “We’re not God.”
Excuse #2: Everyone’s physiology is different and young people tend to bounce back sooner from medical interventions.
Excuse #3: Naomi has a condition called “hyperinflation” which gives the appearance of unresponsiveness due to her lungs lacking elasticity, trapping the air from CPR and preventing free breathing. Kristen thinks it could also be COPD.
Excuse #4: The EMT’s who first treated Naomi did a bad job on the CPR because they were inexperienced.
Cut to the God Team interviewing the EMT accused by the executive as being incompetent. EMT Guy says the CPR was done textbook and anyone saying anything else is bullshit. It wasn’t hyperinflation. Naomi was dying when rapid response took over at the hospital. And that girl died, he says. Was dead a long time. Ben asks if he could see the operating room camera footage of the hospital’s efforts to save Naomi? The EMT tells them the hospital erases all the footage after a week. (Bruh, this is not how the world works. An EMT works for FDNY and has nothing to do with the inner workings of a hospital beyond the Emergency Department and a bathroom; he’d have zero knowledge of when a hospital erases footage. See my rant below.) Kristen knows where to get the footage.
Outside the Courthouse. Kristen meets Darryl Croce (Tom Riis Farrell), Naomi’s attorney. Kristen knows him from her DA work. She offers him a quid pro quo, asking him for the surveillance footage from the hospital, knowing he would have it for the case. She offers to feed him info in the hospital’s defense so abundantly outlined above.
DA Lewis Cormier (Danny Burstein), Kristen’s former boss, passes them on the way to court and asks for a word with Kristen. This guy is the reason lawyers have such a bad reputation – his smarm factor makes you want to take a shower. Cormier asks Kristen to consider coming back for a short stint to carry on the couple of cases she started. She tells him she wants more certainty than what he has offered thus far.
Kristen’s Office. The God Team meet up at her office with the hospital video footage. We see the medical team performing CPR. Then there’s a quick white flash across the screen and they wonder what it is. Ben, our man of science, proposes it was a power surge? They resume watching the video intently and it happens again. Ben slows the video down to frame by frame. He freezes it. It’s the ghostly form of a woman, her hair flowing all around floating over Naomi on the table. Ben believes this is faked, that it is from a reused digital card that picked up some artifacts from a previous recording.
Later, Kristen asks David if he believes in miracles? He does. Kristen is incredulous.
“So you think that if you just pray hard enough God’s gonna grant you miracles?”
David explains that God has designs unknown to us. Kristen explains her position: her youngest daughter had a genetic heart valve problem. There’s a 50% chance she’ll be dead by the time she is 20. If she thought that prayer would have any impact, she’d be a boss at it but she just doesn’t see the benefit.
Kristen ends her rant by questioning the “worth of prayer” if it doesn’t work and only a few are privy to miracles? What she deems the “problem with miracles” … not that they happen but that they happen to some and not others. David doesn’t have a good answer, but does tell her he’ll pray for her daughter. David pauses and asks if she wants to recuse herself from this case. Kristen insists she wants to stay on the case. Switching gears, she mentions that the DA offered her her old job back with a 2 year contract. David tells her he’ll see what he can do.
That night, Kristen lays in bed when her youngest daughter, Laura, begins to scream. The other daughters start freaking out and wanting to help (they obviously are protective of Laura). Kristen takes Laura to her bed for the rest of the night. Laura is upset because her bed is wet and tries to assure her Mom it wasn’t her that did it. Laura tells Kristen it was a man, basically describing George the Demon from last week. Complete with the big knife and finger chopping. Kristen looks like she might poop herself.
Dr. Fuller’s Office. Kristen sees her therapist, Dr. Fuller. We join them mid-session and Kristen is talking about Laura seeing the same exact images from her own dreams. Kristen never shared with her kids anything about George. He asks if it’s possible her daughter is reacting to something they’ve both seen, like a billboard or drawing? There is some nice continuity when Kristen gives Fuller stink eye as he begins to take notes (recall: her entire file was stolen by Leland last week).
Church. David asks his boss, Monsignor Matthew Korecki (Boris McGiver) for a 2 year commitment for Kristen. He’s not focused too much on her as much as their investigation into the miracle. The Monsignor is disgusted that Father Augustus is involved in the miracle and disparages his involvement because he’s an alcoholic. He doesn’t think God would involve someone like that in miracles. David has some snark.
“He used Moses.”
Monsignor High and Mighty wants an honest assessment without any church embarrassment and assures David he’ll procure the money for Kristen. Ah, the Church and its limitless resources.
Hanover Hospital. Ben is at the hospital talking to some security about their video protocols. He’s told they do not reuse any digital cards. Then, Ben asks the two security guards to tell him what they see in the video where the white flash appears? One of the security guards pauses and Ben knows something is up. The second security guard knows exactly who the ghostly figure is.
“Bernadette May.” Ben meets David and Kristen outside and gives them the lowdown on the figure in white. She had been admitted three days prior to Naomi with a migraine. She died an hour before Naomi did on the same table from a brain aneurysm. Kristen’s incredulity kicks up a notch.
“This is starting to sound like a ghost story.”
Ben talks about deep fakes and how pixels need to be manipulated to change the picture to whatever reason. He storms off and Kristen is wondering if he’s mad at her? David says Ben is mad at the unsolved.
Father Augustus’s Church. Father Augustus is in his church, lots of people looking to meet the Miracle Priest. He greets David and Kristen and tells David the “Naomi situation” was a matter of divine intervention. David leans in and tells the father he can smell the whiskey on his breath. This play gets them cooperation and the truth.
In his chambers, Father Augustus says he felt God using him for good. Father Augustus continues telling David that he doesn’t have visions like David does. He quips that God is the “quietest roommate in the world” despite all his prayers for intercession. David asked what it was that he whispered to Naomi in the more. Father Augustus says it was a basic plead for her to not go, for God to let her stay.
Father Augustus continues that he had given last rights only an hour before to another woman, Bernadette May. She had grabbed his hand because she knew she was dying yet there was a look of peace on her face. It was like she knew what was coming. He tells David that his hand was still warm from where she had touched him when he touched Naomi.
Later, Kristen asks David about his visions. David tells her it was after his friend Julia died that he saw things like dreams. He dismisses it as a stressful time and it was very long ago. He does add that it was hope when he needed it. But he doesn’t get them anymore. He looks both sad and disappointed at this admission.
That night, Ben is home and analyzing more of the video. His sister, Karima (Sohina Sidhu), comes in and heckles him about working for a priest. She seems intrigued and amused by his job. She’s wearing a hijab and mentions that their dad wants Ben to come in for prayers. Ben ignores this and shows her the video he’s dissecting. Karima is as big a tech geek as Ben if not more and he knows she won’t be able to resist the intrigue. She starts clicking away and insist that, “if it’s a fake it’s a good one.”
Queens County Courthouse. Kristen meets with DA Cormier about the two cases she has outstanding. She declines his offer for the two-year contract but the DA tells her that he has come into her replacement literally overnight. Cormier would like Kristen to bring the new guy up to speed on her cases. To no one’s surprise, the new guy is Leland Townsend! And he’s there to greet her!
“it’s good to see you again.”
Cue the creep factor and tonight’s nightmare fodder.
We come back and Kristen is trying to convince Cormier that Townsend is a psychopath but Cormier isn’t buying it. Cormier is pretty sure that Kristen is just upset that Leland got the best of her in court.
Kristen hightails it out of there but Leland catches her on the courthouse stairs. He tells her that he just wants to talk. Her contempt for him is high. She lashes out that he’s only going to overturn what she did on those two cases. Free the guilty and imprison the innocent. He doesn’t deny it.
“But not because I’m bad, but because you’re easily persuaded.”
He quotes more of her therapy notes to jar her. Then he asks about David, cautioning her that David is not what he presents himself to be. He wants Kristen to ask David about the “second time he saw God” and offered her insincere luck on her investigation into the miracle. She’s very uncomfortable around him.
Bouchard House. Kristen steals herself before entering her house. She finds her daughters in a cushion fort in the living room watching something scary on a laptop. Grandma is with them and immediately knows something is up with Kristen. She deflects telling her anything substantive. Grandma leaves but not before (playfully) telling her grand-babies to rebel against Kristen’s authoritarian rule.
“Hey kids, listen up. Misbehave, okay? Do not listen to your mother. She is too strict.”
Such a grandma thing to say. Kristen joins the girls in the fort after her mother leaves. The kids tell Kristen they’re watching something they’ve watched before and its scary! So we join the show already in progress. It’s a haunted house where Dad is reading to the kids before bed. After he turns off the lights, there’s a knock at the door in the kid’s room. The little girl goes to open the door and creeping up behind her is… George?
Kristen looks horrified at what she just saw on the laptop and announces it’s bedtime. She pulls Laura aside and asks if the thing in the movie is what was in her nightmare? Laura just shrugs. Kristen admits to her that she thought she saw the same creature in her dream because a lot of that stuff we seen in dreams comes from stuff that we see during the day. But, now that they know it comes from a TV show, they don’t have to be afraid of it.
Is she trying to convince herself or convince her kid?
Kristen’s Office. Later that night, Kristen is in her office when there’s a knock at her door (just like in the show). She looks in the hallway but there’s nothing there. She locks the door and walks back to her desk when a more insistent, jump-out-of-your-skin knock at the door sounds. Kristen opens the door very cautiously. She see something go in her back door of the house. It has a demon hand. She chases it into her kitchen and up to her girls’ room. There is screaming and stabbing sounds.
Kristen wakes up in her bed and her kids are fine. George is there, advising she count sheep. Laura is in the bed next to her, asleep. George wields the knife In front of the sleeping Laura, taunting Kristen. He asks why they should wait until Laura is 20 when he can take care of it right? Which valve is it again, mitral? Kristen is willing herself to wake up.
Cut to Laura shaking her mom awake from the nightmare.
The next day, Kristen tells David about Leland and how DA Cormier dismissed her concerns as simply “professional jealousy.” She relays that Leland knew that they were looking into a miracle. David looks disconcerted. David says that Leland is coming for them and Kristen wants to understand why. David tells her it’s not a language that she believes. But, in short, Leland “wants to kill hope.”
Kristen then asks Leland’s question about the second time David saw God? David’s face is one of disbelief and then understanding. He knows Leland seeks to divide the team. David tells Kristen that he had a vision at one time but no longer gets them. He knows Leland is playing on David’s doubt as well as Kristen’s.
College Soccer Field. David and Kristen talk to Naomi. She has a large scar on her cheek from chin to ear as shown in the video from the hospital. She tells them that she didn’t see a light or a tunnel or anything like that. She saw her coach yelling from the sideline, her face smushed on the ground and a swirling black hole opening up. Naomi said people are coming out of it, 60 of them coming for her (the 60! A reference from last week). Naomi continues that a woman took her by the hand. Then Naomi felt the incision on her cheek and woke up. David asked Naomi if it was a miracle what happened to her?
“I don’t know. All I know is I was dead. Now I’m not, and that everything has changed for me.”
Ben’s Tech Garage. Ben is still trying to figure out how the video was faked. He can’t find evidence of pixel manipulation or how they did it. Kristen asks who “they” is. Ben stammers that it’s a “figurative they.” One of the other options is ground-looping, which is a transmittal from the camera to the security station then thinks that there may have been some cross over. David is looking at the videos and he’s looking back-and-forth at the times on the videos. He announces that he knows what happened and it’s not a miracle. He walks away without further explanation.
Don’t leave us hanging, bruh!
Hanover Hospital. David is back with the obnoxious hospital executive. David tells the executive that, in Naomi’s case, it was hyperinflation and undiagnosed COPD. David continues that it was not the fault of the paramedics, either. David has a stack of medical records in each arm. Documents of the emergency life-saving efforts done on white and black patients in the last year at that hospital. David outlines that there are 176 cases he reviewed and found that the hospital performs an average of 58 minutes of life saving efforts on Caucasian patients (such as Bernadette May), compared to only 23 minutes on average for African American patients (such as Naomi Clark). The hospital executive states the hospital’s official position that they do not discriminate. David says the ED staff called Naomi’s time of death too soon.
“That’s why this isn’t a miracle. It’s implicit racism.”
The executive dismisses David from his office rudely but not before saying this was reviewed by the ethics board and the malpractice case was already settled. David told him to recheck that as he makes a call walking out of the office like a boss. Mic drop.
Queens County Courthouse. Kristen finds Naomi‘s attorney still onthe courthouse steps, still eating, and offers him a stack of medical records worth about $15 million in compensation for civil rights lawsuit. The lawyer looks like Christmas came early.
The Church. Monsignor Korecki gets an update from David about the not miracle. David tells the Monsignor it was a combination of gross incompetence and an undiagnosed condition that caused Naomi‘s lungs to not absorb oxygen normally. David tells the Monsignor about the presence of Bernadette May’s likeness in the video they can’t definitively explain and even shows a still photo of the image. Monsignor Korecki quickly dismisses this news telling David that he has another potential possession he’d like investigated. David looks confused at this reception to the angel sighting.
Bouchard House. Kristen finds her daughters watching the scary show with George the Demon. She shows them a different video, this one is a “making of” that shows the actor that plays George getting made up. It also features an interview with the actor and his voice is very high-pitched. The girls laugh at how silly he sounds. It’s the complete opposite to the gravelly and raspy voice of George. This is to show the scary things we see are actually not so scary.
That night, David is out running and praying aloud. Just like in the cold open. He stops outside the club again but he looks odd. He goes in and goes upstairs. He meets an old acquaintance who has quite a pharmacy to offer. The dealer asks about David’s girlfriend and David simply replies that she’s gone. Back at home, David mixes the herbal support into some tea. Nina Simone’s “Feelin’ Good” is playing as David lays down on his bed.
“Where are you God?”
A small light opens before him, widening. He looks so serene and happy as he starts to levitate taking it all in. There is a yellow light swirling in front of him. The camera zooms in on the swirling and we see that it’s a lot of souls floating. David has a dawning realization.
The screen flashes white and, End Scene.
Rant! Naomi is fully clothed! If this was cardiac arrest IRL her clothes would have been cut away to administer CPR and the use of the defibrillator. For the autopsy, she would be naked except for a sheet so the autopsy that will examine all her organs can happen unfettered. She still has her shin guards on for crying out loud.
Rant #2: When the team interviews Naomi, its about three weeks after her cardiac arrest and her scar from the jaw incision looks over a year old. It would still be red and angry looking.
Rant #3: A FDNY EMT would never see the inside of an OR unless he or she was a patient. They bring patients to the Emergency Department and that’s it. A majority of EMTs work for entities not affiliated with the hospital. For example, in NYC where this show is portrayed, the FDNY are the main EMTs. In many other communities, there are volunteer EMTs. Many of the hospitals in NYC lease space to the FDNY for ambulance battalions to maintain their personnel to be local to the hospital and local to the community and to keep the ambulances close. But, they are separate and apart from the hospital. And certainly an EMT would have zero knowledge about security cameras in the hospital or how long they maintain surveillance videos for. (And there are no cameras, to my knowledge inside patient care areas. There would be too many patient privacy laws broken). Have you figured out yet I work in healthcare?
End of Rants. Despite the medical gaffes tonight, I am loving this show. It’s tackling a lot of concepts that are frustrating and indefensible, and at the heart of many religious debates I’ve been a witness or a participant in. The whole discussion between David and Kristen about prayer is at the core of so many religious arguments. David has no good explanation for why a miracle would happen for some and not others. Kristen is right, millions of people pray for miracles for millions of reasons and those miracles are few and far between for that level of faith. How is that fair for those who devoutly pray? Therein lies the rub.
So far, the first two episodes have great scientific explanations for just about everything. The possession in Episode 1 was debunked as a psychopath feeding information to a serial killer from stolen therapy notes and a desire to evade prosecution by faking insanity by possession. Now, the miracle was debunked as racism and an undiagnosed medical condition.
We didn’t get definitive explanation on what the image of Bernadette really was, if it was in fact the last thing Ben mentioned, about ground looping. I do feel like David’s faith might be tested at some point with all the science swirling around him. I’m a little disappointed that he resorted to drugs to see God again, but I do hope that seeing Julia brings him closure and peace.
Related to the unresolved image of Bernadette, I also hope we get more backstory on the Monsignor quickly squashing David’s interest in pursuing that possible miracle. An image of an angel seems like the exact kind of thing this part of the Church would be delving into. More Church intrigue, please and thank you!
EVIL airs Thursday nights on CBS at 10pm (ET/PT). We’ll be live tweeting from time to time so check us out on Twitter!
Thank you for reading along! Leave a comment below for discussion. Follow us on social media for up to the minute updates on EVIL, including recaps and lots of other pop culture news you need to know on Twitter @popcultureview and Instagram @pop_culture_review. You can follow me on Twitter @SheilsMcGangsta. See you next week for the next chapter and verse with the investigation of a miracle!