TV Recap: EVIL (Episode 103) – Hell Is Only Half Full …

Evil
“3 Stars” (Episode 103)
October 10, 2019

In last week’s EVIL, the team investigated a possible miracle where an 18 year old dropped dead of cardiac arrest during a soccer practice only to regain consciousness almost three hours later during her autopsy. In the battle of science or divine intervention, science one out and the answer turned on a case of “implicit racism” in the hospital’s procedures. on the personal side of life, Kristen had more visits from George, her mind demon, as did her youngest daughter. Kristen saw that he was the main baddie from a TV show she had watched with her daughters. Simple explanation for everything, right? But … we never did get a solid explanation on what the appearance of the deceased patient in the video was.  Also, David trips hard on hallucinogenics in order to see God … so that’s probably not going to be a problem, right? Catch up on our full recap here.

Ready to dive into the different forms of possession? Great, then read on for our deep dive recap and review of EVILBEWARE OF SPOILERS!!!

Photo: Jeff Neumann /CBS

David is talking to Ben and Kristen about the 6 types of possession:

  • Demonic Possession (this the version common seen in movies)
  • Physical Pain (doesn’t affect the soul, only hurts the body)
  • Diabolic Oppression (demon tortures a person, causing traumatic events and suffering; the Story of Job essentially)
  • Diabolical Infestation (demonic entities take over a house, an object or an animal)
  • Diabolical Subjugation (person invites the demon into their life, through game play or pledging your soul)
  • Diabolical Obsession (constant overwhelming and irrational thoughts, which makes the person act in perverse ways).

Ben looks at Kristen who is typing furiously on her phone.

I’m taking notes.”

Photo: Jeff Neumann /CBS

David continues, Diabolical Obsession is what they are tasked with this week, investigating a case at the behest of Monsignor Korecki on behalf of a dedicated parishioner.

**My cynical, jaded, former Catholic status thinks this is code for wealthy parishioner who donates a lot of money to the church.**

Diabolical Obsession is the hardest to detect because it’s typically seen in highly functional people. Untreated, it can lead to suicidal or homicidal ideations. Kristen is skeptical and thinks that there would almost always be a psychological explanation for any of those types of possessions. David doesn’t disagree and reminds Kristen, that’s why she’s there. 

David, Kristen and Ben meet with Patti Hitchens (Dascha Polanco, Orange Is The New Black) in the presence of Monsignor Korecki (you’ll remember him as David’s boss). Patti tells the team that her boss, Byron Duke (John Glover) – a renowned Broadway producer -lost a Tony award 6 months ago and that’s when he started changing.

Cut to quick shots of Byron throwing exaggerated tantrums and physically assaulting staff over devices not being charged, fine point pens brought to him to use (versus medium heavy), and the wrong muffin being served.

I think we all know people that act EXACTLY like Byron Duke.

Photo: Jeff Neumann /CBS

Patti continues that he’s fired 67 assistants in the last 6 months. David is skeptical that this is a form of possession, sounds more like an HR issue. Ben, incredulous, asks why she doesn’t just quit? Patti responds that she believes in the work because Byron is a genius and also, she feels responsible because she was the one who hired the assistants. In addition to the anger changes, she shows them a video she has of Byron yelling on the phone. He appears to be sweating blood. Patti continues that when Byron enters the office, the temperature in the room drops about 10 degrees, yet the thermostat is unchanged. And, it gets warmer when he leaves.

Kristen gets a phone call in the middle of the Patti interview from the frantic mother (Fiona Plemmons) of a 15-year old boy Kristen interviewed as part of her work in the DA’s office. Kristen had deemed that the kid should be tried as a minor but Kristen’s replacement, Dr. Leland Townsend, reversed her decision.

Kristen returns to the discussion already in progress between the Monsignor and David. David deduces that this is a case of anger management and not in their purview. The Monsignor is insistent that David help Patti.

“You said yourself, the Church keeps focusing on Evil with a capital “E”, and not everyday evils. Well here’s everyday evil. Help her.”

Queens County Court. Dr. Leland Townsend is on the stand testifying in the case of Adam Plemmons, the defendant Kristen was called about earlier. Kristen enters the courtroom to hear Dr. Townsend refute her findings about the defendant by slandering her professional capacity as being swayed emotionally because of her connection to the defendant’s mother.

Kristen flies out of the courtroom to find the defense attorney, Marianne Jacobs (Laura Kai Chen), offering her help as a rebuttal witness to testify about Dr. Townsend’s capacity.

Byron Duke’s office.  The team interviews Byron in his office. Byron says that he agreed to 20 minutes to appease Patti. If you guess that Byron is the kind of guy who makes an inappropriate #MeToo joke, you would be 100% correct. Byron is a straight up asshole. 

On the possession concern, Byron is dismissive of Patti’s worries and mocks that he just wants her “church people” to get on with the praying and holy water sprinkling.

“Come on, get going!”

Byron admits he’s a perfectionist and there is a degree of anger that comes with that. He further qualifies the anger as justified because he is dealing with Millennials. David questions Byron about losing the Tony Award and his change afterwards. Byron tells David he didn’t change, rather he chose to embrace Rule #14 which stipulates, “Be volatile and  torture your underlings.”

Rule #14?

Kristen fills in David’s blindspot and explains that Byron is referring to “The 53 Rules of Dominance” from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Caring (which thankfully, doesn’t seem to actually exist). Byron is impressed with Kristen’s knowledge base.

Byron continues to be condescending about Patti and “her sweet little religious heart.” Ben walks behind Byron and gives David a knowing Ben eyebrow. Byron acknowledges Ben for the first time.

“You’re kind of making me nervous back here. “

Ben sees blood on Byron’s collar and deduces that Byron is going bald, giving his best laugh as he figures that out. This gets Byron’s anger up, the accusation that he’s going bald, not the fact that the team and his office think he’s possessed (you know, priorities), and throws them out of his office.

Photo: Jeff Neumann /CBS

Later, The God Squad talk with Patti about Byron’s hair plugs becoming infected as the cause of the sweating blood and, for everything else, Kristen believes Byron has narcissistic personality disorder. Patti becomes distracted by something on her computer screen and shows the team a live feed from Byron’s office. He’s yelling at someone named Joe, but no one is in the office with him and then he appears to be choking on something.

Photo: Jeff Neumann /CBS

Opening Credits.

David meets another priest, Father Amara (Clark Johnson), and tells him about the case he’s working on.

**This is the priest who does the exorcisms! In fact, he’s got three scheduled in the next two weeks!  I need more on Father Amara’s work!**

David tells Father Amara what he observed on Byron’s webcam and from the interview. The priest knows David well enough to know that there is something else on his mind and David tells him about the recent vision he had. David is uncomfortable but tells the Priest how “The 60” has been coming up in assessments. David believes that it is Evil coordinating and becoming organized.

Father Amara recommends David keep a notebook about the visions because symbols matter. They are fighting the worst enemy on Earth and the only vulnerability Evil has is that it reveals itself “in symbols and numbers.” 

“God draws in straight lines. The Devil draws in puzzles and anagrams.”

Later, David is in his apartment, thinking of different parts of vision. We see flashes of his memory, including the swirl of souls and this interesting headstone. We see it first in close up and then pulled back on it. 

Vision in Closeup. CBS

Thoughts on the top translation? You would think the Roman numeral below, DCVL, would be equal to the number 645 but this is a wrong formulation for 645 (it should properly be DCXLV). But in the closer up shot, you can see there is an X at the very end of the bottom line so maybe this is an abstract concept of a slight mutation of a memory? I don’t know what this means.

Vision pulled back. CBS

Leland appears behind him (or is he merely a vision manifesting from David’s mind?), distracting David. He’s singing a catchy, yet lewd, earworm about a tattooed woman’s torso (Lydia is her name). David switches from drawing the swirl to drawing a woman in his vision. Leland is coaching David to draw larger the breasts of the woman he is currently picturing. Leland says the same thing to David that Byron said to Kristen earlier.

“Ah, now we’re getting somewhere.”

Before cutting away, Leland objects to Father Amara’s comment about how Evil talks in puzzles and anagrams and asks David is they can just straight talk.

Queens County Courthouse. Kristen is watching a Ted talk-like presentation about the personification of anger as a means of controlling it and getting a handle on it. Kristen heads into the courtroom to observe Dr. Townsend be further questioned by D.A. Cormier on Leland’s previous claim that Kristen’s findings on the young defendant were unreliable and her judgment is questionable. To support this, Leland presents notes from Kristen’s therapy session. He claims he was given the notes by a “Good Samaritan.”  Despite the defense attorney’s objection, the judge is open to hearing the evidence before ruling on its admissibility. 

The entire purpose of the exchange between Cormier and Townsend is to discredit Kristen and invalidate her findings in the most vicious way possible.

**The implication that someone going to therapy calling into question their ethics or capacity is erroneous and frankly boils my blood. Most mental health professionals as part of their work have to seek mental health care and to keep adding a stigma to it just makes it harder to get help. Okay. End of rant.**

Afterwards, the defense attorney is angry that Kristen has been burned and is unusable to her case now. Kristen goes to her car and is very upset, hitting the steering wheel.

Byron’s Office. Byron is at it again, yelling at Patti when David, Kristen and Ben walk in. David asks Byron who “Joe” is and Byron has no idea what he’s talking about, accusing David of trying to gaslight him. Kristen explains that Byron is personifying his anger and she calls him out for “being a bit of a dick.”

Preach Sister.

Byron starts shouting they’re all soooo dead.  Then … Joe is mentioned by Byron, telling Joe to tell the team something. A sinister male voice chimes in from the Alexa-like device on Byron’s desk.

“I am the buyer of souls. And yours only cost a Tony.”

CBS

Ben looks at the device and says, “Joe?’ and the disembodied voice responds, “Hello.”

WTF!!

Commercials

Ben says Byron is being hacked and the hacker has gotten into his Alexa-like virtual assistant and is engaged in an interactive broadcast from the outside. Ben says that the thermostat could be controlled similarly as it has smart home technology (controlled by the virtual assistant). Narrowing down a list of enemies is going to be tricky because it’s a long list, starting with 67 recently fired assistants.  Ben’s mind is racing. He believes the hacker is using WiFi to control the device and tells David to keep “Joe” busy so he can trace the signal.

Photo: Jeff Neumann /CBS

David talks to the device, asking what it wants of Byron and “Joe” childishly repeats everything David says until David tells it he’s going to turn it off. This gets a different response from “Joe.” 

“It won’t matter, we don’t need an On button.”

Photo: Jeff Neumann /CBS

Ben figures the signal is coming from close by, like the coffee shop downstairs. He tells Kristen he’ll wait until she gets down there and then he’ll pump a high-pitched tone through the device – this should elicit a response from the hacker. As Ben makes this plan with Kristen, David and “Joe” are still conversing. “Joe” has moved on to calling David by his name, telling David it doesn’t think Byron is Diabolically Obsessed (how did it know that? They weren’t talking about that here). “Joe” thinks David is Diabolically Obsessed. 

Kristen arrives at the coffee shop downstairs. Ben cues the high pitched signal and Kristen reports that no one reacted in the coffee shop. For his part, “Joe” is amused at Ben’s attempt.

“Ah, 105 Decibels. I’m terrified … Ben.”

Ben is perplexed.

Back in Byron’s office, David challenges the voice on the speaker asking if he’s been investigating them? Ben cuts the WiFi to the office. There is screaming like a band of well, demons, coming out of the speaker that resolves into Demon-like chuckles.  A different voice, a more classic, Siri/Alexa-like voice, comes on the line:

“Hell is 3,400 miles from NY. There are tolls on these routes.”

The Church. Cut to David playing a recording of the last bit of screeching and Demon laughter. He’s debriefing Father Amara and Monsignor Korecki about his findings on Byron Duke. He’s uneasy because The God Squad  can’t explain how Duke’s being hacked and there are lots of enemies.

David’s Apartment. Kristen and Ben are waiting in David’s room in the church rectory. Kristen thinks it’s odd that he lives there. David enters, announcing that the Church wants them to keep investigating. Ben is excited at this news. Ben hypothesizes the hacker is using Bluetooth since his WiFi tests yielded no results.

With a pointed look to David, scoffing at the idea that this is anything other than a science/tech issue, Ben heads out to pursue his theory. Alone, Kristen asks David about the sketches from David’s vision which he has hung up. David explains he’s trying to decipher what they mean.

NOTE: That the archway (previously headstone) vision from above has changed once David put it down on Paper …

The finished sketches on paper. CBS

These are move classical Roman Numeral presentations here with the top line converting to 73 * 48 and the descending column on the right translating to 40 and 75. DCVX still doesn’t properly translate to a number and there is the middle line which looks like MT  ROA … M represents 1,000 but no idea yet on the rest.

Up close of the archway sketch. CBS

Quickly moving on, Kristen questions David on the woes of the church, namely the sex scandals, the church’s treatment of gays, and why David would want to be part of a beleaguered institution.

David thinks it’s God’s plan for him and that he can do good. In a glorious return of their easy chemistry and sexual tension, Kristen pointedly asks David about all the things the church requires him to give up.  David laughs. HE explains that he minds but thinks, “the most important things in life are the hardest to obtain.” He tells Kristen he didn’t like himself very much before he made the decision to join the church, adding he ran away from commitment and from being an honorable man.

As Kristen leaves, she points to one of his sketches and says she thinks it looks like Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of Salvator Mundi.

salvator-mundi-wikiart.org

Later, David is in his room, googling the Salvator Mundi painting and working on aspects of his sketch. Leland is there whispering in his ear all kinds of tempting things about being with a woman. Importantly from this, David zooms in on three dots that are seen in the globe being held by Mundi in da Vinci’s painting.

Photo: Jeff Neumann /CBS

Shakir Family Home. Ben is with his sister, Karima (Sohina Sindhu), in their family home, picking her brain about the device and how it could be tampered with. Ben asks about the ways to broadcast from the Alexa-like device besides WiFi and they go through the list: Bluetooth or cellular. Ben tells her he scanned it for Bluetooth, nothing, and it’s not enabled for cellular. She tells Ben it can be adapted. Ben is curious as to how and Karima mock-angers that she hates being dragged into his stupid things … but clearly she loves it.

Queens County Courthouse. Kristen waits for Leland outside the courthouse. She questions why he would reverse her decision on the young boy. Leland is calm yet sinister saying that prison will harden him and “mold the man he is to become.” Make him more “susceptible” but to what he doesn’t answer. Kristen demands he return her therapy notes. Leland tells Kristen they are great bedtime reading. Leland isn’t giving in one inch to Kristen’s demands, mocking her for trying to appeals to his better nature. Frustrated, Kristen implores that he’s just a kid.

“His second prison rape and he won’t be.”

Harsh dude. Leland tells Kristen that if she knew what she was getting involved with, she’d be at home protecting her daughters. With that vague threat, Leland walks away. Kristen takes out her phone and presses end on her recording of their conversation. Boom!

Shakir Family Home.  Ben’s sister is still tinkering with the Alexa-like device and doesn’t see anything that would indicate it was tampered with. They’re chatting about possible next moves when the device crackles to life. It’s “Joe” and he’s cackling. But this is not coming from the device Ben brought from the office, no, this is coming from Ben’s father’s device.

I say again, WTF, as I grab my Alexa and throw her out. 

Commercials.

When we come back, “Joe” starts spewing more random facts and correcting Ben’s grammar. Ben and his sister step out of earshot of the device and are whispering how that just happened?!? They think the hacker used Bryon’s Alexa-like device to scan for nearby cell signals and hacked that, latching on to Ben’s. Ben asks if his sister can reverse the hack? She believes she can and notes that this hacker is good.

David’s apartment. David, still focusing on the three points from the painting, starts to put some clues together. Remember above, how we were talking about the Roman numerals on the archway? David has the idea that the numbers might represent longitude and latitude coordinates.

Inputting the numbers into Google maps, the coordinates show David New York City. Using some hidden Photoshop skills we didn’t know David possessed, he takes the three points from the Salvator Mundi painting and layers them over the map. With NYC representing one point, the other two points fall perfectly on top of Chicago and Washington DC. Hmmm.

Kristen’s Office. Ben pops over to Kristen’s office at her request. She plays him the tape of her conversation with Leland. The recording has a lot of static interference on all of Leland’s responses, making it difficult to make out what he is saying. Kristen asks if Ben can clean the recording? Ben thinks someone used a jamming device and thinks he can work with it.

When I hear someone has been jammed, I think of Spaceballs. Anyone else? No? Okay, moving on.

Byron’s Office. Byron is in an undershirt and underwear, sweating, listening to “Before the Parade Passes By” form the original Broadway cast recording of Hello, Dolly! (a classic), and looking quite despondent. The God Squad informs Byron that they believe he is being hacked as a prank and not suffering from a case of diabolical obsession. David asks if there’s anyone he’s aware of who would want to prank him. Byron is so out of it, it’s not even clear that he can understand them. As David turns the volume down on Carol Channing, he notices a sticker on the bottom of Byron’s keyboard. On the flip side is an ad for IT services by Sebastian Lewin.

David asks Patti about Sebastian Lewin and Kristen asks if there’s any way he would have a grudge against Byron? It should not surprise you to learn that Byron withheld Lewin’s pay to ensure good work.  

“That part didn’t go over well.”

They really should just let Duke suffer, no?

Up on the rooftop, David and Kristen catch Ben up on the Sebastian Lewin development. Tit for tat, Ben updates them on his sister’s plan to route the hack to the NSA so Lewin gets in trouble. I like this! And Ben’s delivery is perfect.  David and Kristen just look amused.

Photo: Elizabeth Fisher /CBS

Ben pulls Kristen aside and says he was unable to clean up the recording she sent him … but he does have a less ethical alternative. Stay with me here: Ben can use a sample of Leland’s voice on the recording and use that to recreate the conversation, a deepfake. Kristen would have to tell him what she remembers of the conversation on Leland’s end and he’ll be able to produce the words. 

Sounds shady, but Kristen is totally in because, when it comes to Leland, the ends justify the means, amiright?

Byron’s Office. Sebastian Lewin is called into Byron’s office under the pretense of repairing something. David confirms his name is Sebastian Lewin. This guy looks like he still uses Clearasil on his zits, he’s so young.

Commercials.

Photo: Elizabeth Fisher /CBS

Sebastian is questioned by the team as to why he did this to Byron? Sebastian, very nonchalantly, responds that he  wanted to teach Byron a lesson. Sebastian is very pleased with himself and amused at how he did it, that he was able to manipulate Byron’s cell phone to use that to kind of leapfrog onto the Alexa device and got Byron to believe him.

“What a moron.”

Ben asks how Sebastian hacked his virtual assistant at home and Sebastian is all, “whhaaaa?” He has no idea what Ben is talking about.

Ruh-Roh.

Shakir Family Home. Ben finds Karima conversing with “Joe,” who is speaking to her in Urdu. “Joe” switches to English long enough to tell us that Iblis (aka Islamic name for the Devil) has her baby, and then reverts to Urdu.

What’s that now? About a baby? Ben agrees with me and asks his sister what this means. A baby’s crying comes over the monitor and Karima, totally freaked out, runs from the room.

Ben takes the Alexa device outside and throws it into a passing garbage truck.

Byron’s Office. Byron seems to be kinder and gentler since the hack. He is accepting of a previously offensive lemon poppy seed muffin and claims to be “expanding” his horizons. He even says “please.”

Once alone, Bryon’s face falls when he gets an instant message from an Unknown sender. The message says Hi and then tells Byron that “Hell is only half full.” It comes complete with a smiling Devil emoji. Warren Zevon’s “Monkey Wash Donkey Rinse” cues up on the soundtrack as Byron looks off into the distance.

Outside by her desk, Patti calls David to tell him how greatly things have improved since the hacking incident. Behind her, we see Byron get up and walk out to the balcony and jump over the side. RIP Byron, you sucked.

Queen’s County Courthouse. Leland enters the courtroom and the judge calls him back to the stand. When he sees a smirking Kristen in the audience, a look of … discomfort crosses his face. He doesn’t know what’s happening but he’s sure he doesn’t like it. 

On the stand, the defense attorney plays back the taped conversation between him and Kristen. The part about prison molding Adam into a real man doesn’t go over great. The comment about Adam being raped repeatedly goes over even worse. The DA objects on the grounds that this is a secret recording but Ms. Jacobs (the defense attorney) reminds him that when it comes to recording conversations, New York is a one-party consent state (which is true). To boot, the judge backs the tape’s admissibility, using the same “pre-trial hearing” logic that she applied to Kristen’s examination earlier. Tit for Tat, yo. 

Outside the courtroom, Mrs. Plemmons and Kristen hug and talk about giving Adam a fighting chance. When she’s alone, Leland storms at Kristen about using a deepfake. Kristen was ready for this and quotes some Shakespeare at him. 

“To do a great right, do a little wrong.”

She adds that “technology is a bitch” as pure icing on her sweet revenge cake. Leland reminds Kristen of the next line from The Merchant of Venice, “and curb this cruel devil of his will.” Kristen keeps walking. In the last line of the episode, Leland hollers after her that “there are forces in play.” 

We’re going to need more specificity on that, Leland. But alas, not tonight.

End scene.

***

Thoughts.

I am liking the show’s platform of having a scientific explanation for the main quandary of the plot and then having the side plot be something not quite explainable. No resolution, it’s just left hanging out there. For instance, in the last episode we never did get an explanation as to what the floating image in the hospital video that looked like the deceased patient? In this episode, we don’t get an answer as to who sent Byron the instant message at the end or who was hacking Ben’s family’s Alexa?

Sooooo, did Sebastian have an accomplice? Who is the real “Joe” then? Is Karima pregnant? Ben doesn’t seem to be very religious, but the family does seem traditional and conservative. Karima having a secret baby or an unwed pregnancy would just be very stressful for her. Now that her secret may be outed, how does Ben proceed? With his scientific mind or does the conservative upbringing kick in?  What was “Joe” saying to her in Urdu?

On Hell and its distance to New York. There are multiple Hells. Like, Hell, Michigan, which is only 636 miles to New York. But Hell, Norway is about 3,400 miles to New York. I should visit these places based on the amount of times I tell people to go to Hell. Also, “Joe” references a Hell which is “3,400 miles from NY,” are we headed to Norway at some point? 

When David is searching for the Salvator Mundi painting, it is already in his Google search history …. is that an editing gaffe? Alright I’m being nitpicky. 

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Side Note: If you’re looking to get into the EVIL fandom and interact with like-minded members, PCR’s official recommendation is to join the EVIL Fans (CBS) FaceBook group! It features Top Notch Admins and a respectful and engaged community. **PCR is not an admin in this group, just a happy member.

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! 

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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. 

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