TV Recap: EVIL (Episode 104) – Would You Like To Play A Game?

Evil
“Rose390” (Episode 104)
October 17, 2019

Last week on EVIL, the God Squad investigated a case of possible diabolical obsession (check out our recap for all of the forms of possession). The subject was a renowned Broadway producer and it turned out, he was being pranked. Also, he was a massive douchebag. But, in the end, maybe he wasn’t being pranked and he killed himself. The same force that maybe was really haunting the dick producer also tapped into Ben’s family’s life and exposed some hidden secrets which may have tremendous consequences. David worked on deciphering his trippy vision and Kristen finally beat Leland at his own game. Catch up on the technology induced scare with our deep dive recap and review here.

Ready to see what a (potential) psychopathic 9-year old has in store for the God Squad? Well, read on for our recap of tonight’s all new EVILBEWARE OF SPOILERS!!!

Photo: Jeff Neumann/CBS

Tonight’s episode opens with video game prompts, asking if the player is aged 17 or older. Also, is the user pregnant or have a heart condition? It looks like an interactive virtual reality type game. The user is prompted to turn out the lights to start.  More on this later … 

Photo: ELIZABETH FISHER/CBS

The God Squad heads to a house in the suburbs to perform psychological and spiritual assessments on a 9-year old boy, Eric McCrystal. After being greeted at the door by Eric’s sister, Olive (Audrey Bennett), Eric’s dad (with a baby in his arms), Tom (Michael Stahl-David), and mom, Sarah (Heather Lind), thank them for coming. Tom offers the team a variety of refreshments and Ben can’t resist the allure of the fruit snacks.  I feel ya, Ben.

They pass through the kitchen and we notice that there is some heavy duty hardware on all the cabinets and appliances; barring access unless you have a padlock key. [Ed. Note: If my weight loss plan was like this, I’d be skinny as fuck].

Photo: ELIZABETH FISHER/CBS

As they make their way to Eric’s bedroom, Tom points to another bedroom where an extra Twin bed has been squeezed inside. Tom explains that, sometimes, all the McCrystal’s (other than Eric) have to sleep in the same room with the door locked.

Photo: ELIZABETH FISHER/CBS

They get to Eric’s room and his door is padlocked from the outside.  Mom and Dad explain that they’ll wait in the hallway because Eric gets “agitated” when he sees the baby. Ben echoes all of our feelings by giving David the biggest, “What.The.Fuck?” look with his eyes. Word, Ben. Word. 

Inside, the bedroom is very, very basic. There is just the bed and a chest of drawers. No toys, no chairs, nothing that makes this room look like a kid’s bedroom. It looks more like a cell. I’ve seen inmates under less lock and key than this kid.

Seriously, what the Hell is happening here?

David, Ben and Kristen finally meet Eric (Luke Judy). The boy thinks they are there to talk to him because he bit his older sister the day before. She was annoying him by laughing too loudly at Steven Universe.

[Ed. Note: I watch Steven Universe and that shit is funny, Eric needs to chill.]

Eric explains that you don’t laugh when you’re in pain, ergo, he bit her to shut her up. He’s a lot of shrugs when Kristen asks if he liked hurting his sister but eventually he admits that he did. What about hurting did he enjoy, you ask?

“It’s kind of like watching a story I made on my own.”

Wow. This kid is super creepy. Excellent acting here by young Mr. Judy. He’s completely devoid of emotion as he responds to Kristen’s examination. 

As Kristen and David conduct the interview, Ben notices a crack in the wall and makes his way into Eric’s bathroom to continue his investigation. He starts scraping some rust from around the shower head.

Eric tells a story about convincing a kid that annoyed him to jump onto train tracks at Grand Central Station. The rules of this “Dare or Dare” game were that the boy couldn’t get off the tracks until he counted to 42. Eric’s only disappointment comes in the form of a teacher saving the kid before a train came through. If you were wondering, Eric was totes cool about the boy maybe getting seriously hurt or even killed.

David interrupts Kristen’s flow, complementing Eric on his taste in comic books. David asks Eric if he’s ever read the “Ochre 7” collection? The scenario Eric just described comes straight out of an issue of that series, even the counting to 42 business.  Eric allows that maybe he did read that comic but forgot. 

Back in the kitchen, the God Squad interview Mom and Dad McCrystal. The parents say was a good boy until 2 years ago when everything changed. It started out as stuff they dismissed as typical “kid stuff.” A tantrum here, a fib there. But then, it got way worse. Explaining the locks around the appliances and cabinets, Sarah explains that Eric tried to poison them.

Say what now?

It seems that Eric was conducting an experiment to see how long it would take for his family to detect liquid bleach in their milk. Bill Nye the Science Guy would NOT be impressed with this type of science experiment, Eric. 

This is the reaction from the God Squad …

CBS

Sarah continues that they’ve had Eric psychologically evaluated 12 times but were never given a consistent, conclusive answer or any kind of fix. Eric was even rejected by federal institutions that are supposed to take everyone. These parents are completely desperate. Sarah tells the team she believes there is a demon in her son and that it wants to kill them.

Outside, the God Squad debriefs. David tells Kristen and Ben that they will need to conduct their own psychological evaluation before the Church will act. Ben said he noticed the older daughter had a greenish tint to her hair and thinks it could be environmental. He shows them the scrapings and says that overexposure to copper piping could be causing the psychiatric symptoms in Eric. Kristen think it’s possible. On the side, Kristen asks Ben to check her pipes for copper piping. Ben agrees but wonders … 

“Yeah, your kids psychos?”

Bouchard House.  The Bouchard girls arrive home from school and Grandma Sheryl is playing online poker. As a way to buy herself some more gambling time, and because she can’t remember any of their birthdays, she’s purchased them two sets of augmented reality goggles, complete with pre-loaded games. The menu screen has several games that run the gamut, from the kid-friendly and benign sounding, “Bunny Hopp,” to the obviously not intended for children game, “The Haunted Girl.” Obviously, the four Bouchard girls opt for “The Haunted Girl.”

Side Note: A quick primer on Augmented Reality if you’re not familiar. Whereas Virtual Reality (or VR) games take place in a closed system, realistic, 3D-rendered play area, AR games use your real-word environment as part of the game. When using the goggles or through our phone’s camera (which is how most of us experience AR games today), images from the game appear to actually be in your real space. For instance, in Pokemon GO, the grandfather of modern AR games, the game makes it seem as if wild Pokemon are actually in your living room or on your bed or in the park with you. Your reality is “augmented” by the placement of the game’s images in that real world. In addition to Pokemon GO, Harry Potter’s Wizards United and Ghostbusters World are other recent examples of AR games.  They’re fun, check them out.

CBS

Up in their room, the two oldest sisters, Lynn and Lila, try on the goggles first. They see the same prompts as from the beginning of the episode.

FYI, this game is freaky and definitely not for little kids.

Once the game prompts the girls to turn off the lights, the real show starts. A giant spider and a butcher with a bloody apron in their bathroom holding a severed head (the butcher is Scott Ian from Anthrax! You gotta look close to see, but it’s him!) are enough to make them pull off the goggles. 

The little ones, Laura and Lexis, try them on next. This will not end well. Laura, the youngest, doesn’t see anything at first and accuses the older girls of lying about what they saw. Then, she sees a ghoulish character appear; he chases her down the stairs and he attacks her!

Virtual reality blood and all! Laura is laying on the floor at the foot of the stairs, on her back with her legs and arms flying. She looks like a beetle that’s been flipped on its back.

Kristen, having just arrived home, comes to Laura’s rescue (Grandma Sheryl takes her time coming in the room) and takes the goggles off of her. The older sisters, in impressive quick thinking, switch the game to something sweet as Kristen tries to understand what just happened. Also, where this toy came from? Sheryl explains she got them a communal gift.

Photo: Jeff Neumann/CBS

Kristen puts them on herself and sees little AR bunnies hopping around everywhere.  You would think Kristen would push harder on the question of why THIS made her daughter scream as if she was being murdered (which, to Laura’s POV, she was), but the daughters just say Laura is a baby and Kristen accepts that. They file out of the room for dinner but Laura hangs back. She holds the goggles up to her face and sees the ghoul staring down at her. Even when she takes them off, the ghoul’s orange eyes linger in midair. 

WTF is that about, AR goggles?!? That’s not supposed to happen.

CBS

Opening Credits.

David’s Apartment. Kristen is performing an official psych evaluation on Eric. Eric reluctantly answers a few of her questions but would rather talk comic books with David. David wants him to focus on Kristen. Kristen asks Eric a series of questions to get a score on different psychological evaluation scales.

Photo: Jeff Neumann/CBS ©2019

David jumps in with his own component to the evaluation. He asks Eric to pick up a blessed rosary. I think David thought something visceral was going to happen, but nothing did. Womp womp. David prays the “Our Father” prayer with Eric. After, Eric asks David if he likes him ?

“I don’t think I’ve decided.”

Photo: Jeff Neumann/CBS

David has the same response when Eric asks if David thinks there is a demon in him.

Afterwards, Kristen tells David that Eric scores high on both the callous-unemotional factor and the grandiose-manipulative factor, based on the tests she performed.

**These are two dimensions of diagnosing child psychopathy, or a child’s tendencies toward psychopathic behavior. According to the quick research I did and a lot of time listening to and watching all things True Crime for years, technically children cannot be diagnosed as psychopaths, although absolutely psychopathic tendencies are sown in childhood.**

To continue my sidebar, I have not heard Eric’s parents list many of the “common” traits among future serial killers and known psychopaths: bed wetting, animal cruelty, arson.

The response and treatment to these scores in young children is to mitigate the further development of these traits by teaching remorse and empathy. And neither is easy to teach. David asks how you even begin and Kristen replies that the child has to be shown what remorse looks like and explain what they seek to gain from imitating it. David is confused. 

“So, in the end they’re really not remorseful, they’re just faking it?

Yes, but hopefully what starts as imitation becomes learned behavior. The old “fake it until you make it” idea. 

Kristen asks about the results of the tests David performed. David thinks there may be some demonic oppression, but he admits it is hard to have a definitive outcome in a 9-year old. Kristen spells out her conclusion for David: this family needs their determination to be supernatural, they are done with the conventional methods. Kristen, never missing a chance to needle David on God’s mysterious ways, asks him if God would create a 9-year old psychopath?

David doesn’t think so and they agree there should always be hope in redemption. How do you teach a child to want redemption, Kristen gives back to him?

“Fake it until you make it.”

It’s a really useful phrase.

David is talking further with Eric, who tells David he doesn’t trust Kristen. Eric tells David he wants to be a comic book artist when he grow up. David uses this as an in to talk to Eric about the fake it until you make it idea. David tells Eric in order to work as a comic book artist, he has to learn to play by the rules and work in the emotional constructs of others. Things like laughing when others laugh and crying when others cry. After doing this for a while, David explains, Eric won’t mind the rules so much. David adds that praying helps him follow the rules. Eric kind of recoils from this, so David amends his approach.

“Don’t call it prayer. Just tell God what you want.”

Eric appears excited at this suggestion, thinking God will give him what he wants. David corrects him, that God will give it to him if he has faith.  The twitch smile Eric gives here is super super creepy.

CBS

Bouchard House. Ben is at Kristen’s home taking a sample from her water pipes when the kids come home from school. They ask him if the shower is broken. He reassures them the shower is fine, it’s just that their mother asked him to check the pipes to be sure they don’t “turn into psychopaths.” The girls all start stalking at once and Ben shouts over them to not all talk at once. I think these girls are physically incapable of not all talking at the same time. 

This scene is only remarkable because Ben introduces himself as “Ben the Magnificent” and that is funny. 

The girls leave Ben and go off in search of the AR goggles. They activate the web enabled mode, resume “The Haunted Girl,” and encounter a gamer with the handle “Rose390.” She asks to join their game and of course the Bouchard Girls agree. Rose390 gives me the heebee jeebees. She looks like something out of a horror movie, like a cousin to the creepy girl from The Ring. And her voice, call me paranoid, but it sounds a lot like Eric McCrystal.

CBS

Rose390 activates a Ouija board within the game. Rose390 tells them to spell “HELLO” and chant “Hail, Hail, Hail” in order to make it to the next level in the game. If you guessed doing this summons a skeletal demon monster from the Ouija Board, you’ve seen a horror movie before. 

“Now we can really play.”

Photo: Jeff Neumann/CBS

Excuse me, I need to change my pants.

Commercials.

Photo: Jeff Neumann/CBS

Ben finds the girls in the bedroom chanting, “Hail, Hail, Hail, Here he comes.” Totes normal, amiright? He asks to see the goggles and understands immediately that this is not appropriate for them. He sees this is an MA rated game. Just then, Kristen comes home and the girls run off, leaving Ben with the goggles. 

Downstairs, the girls come clean and tell her they were playing a game they shouldn’t have. Kristen is upset when she is talking to Ben about the game because they lied to her about it the first time. Ben tries to give the kids credit for telling the truth eventually and raises the good point that it couldn’t have been an easy thing to do. Kristen doesn’t buy it. She makes the equally valid point that her kids did the calculus and knew it would be worse if Ben ratted them out. She equates letting them off the hook with this lie to the McCrystals excusing Eric’s earlier behavior as just a normal kid fib. 

Ben tells her he can activate the child protection setting on the AR goggles. Kristen threatens to throw them away but Ben doesn’t think this is a good idea. When he was a kid and his parents threw away his video games, he just played them at his friend’s house. In other news, Ben tells Kristen that her water pipes show no evidence of psychopathic causing agents. His test of the McCrystal’s pipes, however, is not complete yet. Kristen thanks him and leaves him to child proof the googles. Rose390 asks what he is doing and Ben has no time for creepy girl.

“You are a pedophile with a voice modifier.”

He attempts to alter the settings but it’s glitchy. Rose390 warns Ben that it changing the settings won’t work, and for now, it seems she’s right. 

McCrystal Home. Sarah wakes up in the middle of the night, she hears something and quietly tiptoes past the rest of her family asleep in her bedroom. She opens Eric’s padlocked door and finds him praying.  The following day, Eric is mowing the grass without being asked and doing his homework. Eric tells his mom he likes David and that David told him he should talk to God if he wants something. His mom asks what he wants and he responds a tutor to teach him to draw comics.

Sarah calls David to tell him that Eric responded to the notion of prayer and about his desire to learn how to draw comics. David volunteers to show him some of the basics and can put Eric in touch with other comic book artists.

David heads to the McCrystal’s house with his comic drawings and finds Eric sitting by the pool, deep in prayer. David wants to go inside because it’s too bright outside to work but Eric wants to stay outside. Eric is just staring at David, so David tries to redirect the conversation by asking what Eric was praying for? Eric corrects David that he was not praying but rather, asking God for something. David begins to ask what Eric was asking for but stops mid-sentence, he looks into the water and sees the McCrystal’s baby sinking to the bottom of the pool.

CBS

David dives in and gets the baby out. He performs infant CPR and the baby starts to cry. Eric’s parents rush out, Mom to the baby and Dad calls 911 to report a drowning.

The look of disappointment on Eric’s face as the baby is safe and sound is, in a word, disturbing. David, dripping from the pool, asks Eric what he was doing? Asking God for?

“I was asking to take her away.”

There you have it folks, the MOST disturbing scene you will see on television this year. EVIL … taking it to the next level.

Commercials.

The Church. David goes to Father Amara, who we met last episode. He does the actual exorcisms. David requests an emergency exorcism because Eric attempted to kill his sister and David doesn’t think it was altogether of his own free will. Father Amara asks what Kristen’s opinion is and she replies that she does not know why the boy is “driven to kill.” David adds that the family has gone to several lengths with no success and they think there is a demon in him. She tells Father Amara the family wants an exorcism. Father Amara is skeptical, inquiring if she thinks psychology has nothing more to offer? 

“Psychology always thinks there’s more to do, but this family will be murdered before we find results.”

Father Amara tells David and Kristen to prep the family for the exorcism the following day. Downstairs, David thanks Kristen and she responds that everything she just said, she believes. As Kristen walks away, David asks her out for “a drink sometime.”  Not surprisingly, Kristen is all smiles and totally down to clown have a drink sometime.

Bouchard House. In the middle of the night, the AR goggles power up on their own. Lynn, the oldest daughter, puts them on. It’s the bunny game that Ben limited them to but creepy Rose390 is back. Lila, the next oldest daughter wakes up and puts on the other set of goggles. Rose390 wants to continue with their game. Because Rose390 is a mean bitch on top of being creepy, she tells the girls that she has bad news for them about their Dad and challenging them on where he is. Lynn tells Rose390 he is on Mount Everest but Rose390 proposes they consult the Ouija Board. They do, of course, and the board spells out “HEAVEN.” Rose390 laughs and tells them they’ll like being orphans.

CBS

Commercials.

We come back to the girls in bed with Kristen. They’re asking asking about their Dad and Kristen reassures them that she hears from him everyday. Kristen asks where this is coming from and they ‘fess up that the girl in the game found them in the bunny game. Kristen bans the further use of the AR goggles and offers they send a video message to their Dad. She sends off the message and the girls snuggle in bed with her. Why isn’t their Dad home, they ask, and Kristen reminds them that climbing mountains is what he does. She reassures them , he works on Everest and that he is coming home in a couple of weeks.

Photo: Jeff Neumann/CBS

McCrystal Home. Father Amara packs his demon exorcising utility belt and they the God Squad heads out for the McCrystal home. As a newbie to exorcisms, Father Amara warns Kristen that the process involves, “long stretches of tedium interrupted by seconds of sheer terror.”

Father Amara and the God Squad arrive at the McCrystal’s doorstep and they see police cars out front and cops inside, talking to Eric’s father. Sarah stops them at the entrance and she tells them there has been an “incident.” They mention the exorcism and Sarah is confused, thinking the cause of Eric’s disturbance was the corrosion in the pipes? Ben replies that it wasn’t enough to be concerned about.

Sarah tells them that Eric is missing, that he ran away. As Sarah says this, the cop talking to Tom asks about a blood stain on the wall and asks whose blood it is? Tom is emphatic that is not Eric’s blood. Sarah asks if David can tell the police about the attempted drowning of their daughter? Sarah is clearly upset but there is also something very off about how she is acting. Kristen is piercing Sarah with her eyes and she can’t hold back her truth, her confession any longer.

“I love all my children equally, but when one of them is in danger, I have to act.”

Sarah hands David a comic Eric asked her to give him and requests they pray for her son and to pray for her family. She shuts the door. The whole team is in shock but David voices the reality of the situation.

“They killed him.”

CBS

David’s Apartment. David is praying for God to forgive Eric’s parents and Eric. He looks at the comic Eric returned to him. It’s from the Ochre 7 collection David mentioned in the beginning, about immortal kids and the train track. The issue was called, “The Final Revival.”

Bouchard House. Kristen and her daughters are watching TV that night. Lila asks Kristen if they can have the AR goggles back to complete a task in the game because she heard at school she needs to do this to say goodbye to the game or else it will keep haunting them. Kristen tells them she’ll think about it. Kristen’s nose and face start to twitch in that way people have when they’re trying to hold back tears.  She gets up and goes into the kitchen. She turns on the water to mask her sobs as she sinks to the floor.

CBS

End Scene.

*** 

Thoughts.

This episode was the most disturbing to me thus far and it’s definitely the darkest so far. Good for the writers and producers for going pretty there with this plot line, but good grief. This episode ripped me apart.

I’m a Mom and I think I would run for the hills if this was my kid. But to kill your own child? How could you even think it, let alone do it? I was so horrified by the end scene at the McCrystals that I had to go back and watch it a few times to let the depth of that scene and the dawning realization sink into each character’s face. They all knew it before David said it. The horror registers for different reasons: Kristen is a mother and can’t comprehend this situation or being separated from one of her children that way and Ben has the unresolved situation with his sister from the last episode where the hacker mentioned her baby. Pass the fricking tissues.

I’m trying to work out what Eric’s deal is, as I’m sure everyone else who watched this episode is. He knew what he was doing at every turn. He knew that mowing the grass and doing his homework will please his parents, and raise his status in their eyes. Maybe elevate him back to a favored status. His baby sister is younger than 2, so maybe it was the advent of the pregnancy that started his spiral. That time frame fits when his symptoms started.

The augmented reality game, Rose390, and its social, intrusive nature reminds me of that false, yet somewhat self-fulfilling prophecy around the ‘Momo challenge’ that ran rampant last year.  The voice in the video game of Rose390 sounds a lot like Eric to me. The demon that comes out of the Ouija Board is credited as the same actor who was George, demon from other episodes that terrorized Kristen. I’m a child of the 1980s and I saw that horrible movie, Witchboard. I will never touch a Ouija Board, even if that movie was beyond terrible. That seemingly innocuous spirit communication turned bad and Tawny Kitaen scarred me for life.

When David asks Kristen for a drink, the look of joy on her face just further complicates their relationship. It appears from this episode and the NY Comic Con panel discussion I attended a few weeks ago, Mr. Bouchard is coming home soon. Kristen is definitely attracted to David and the chemistry between them is more and more evident. And David is in a relationship of sorts with God. Shit is going to get “Status: Complicated” real fast. 

Fun Easter egg! The butcher in the AR game the girls encounter in the bathroom holding the severed head is Scott Ian of Anthrax fame.

Thank you, Ben, for calling out Kristen’s daughters for being annoying. This is my one gripe with the show. They’re literally just there and don’t add much, in my opinion. The youngest, Laura, through these first 4 episodes is the only one that’s had anything substantive to add to the show. Then, whenever they’re all onscreen it’s a cacophonous wall of sound. [Ed. Note: I disagree on this point. I think these girls are fantastic, hyper-realistic, and I have a gut feeling that they are going to be very much a part of Kristen’s and Leland’s end game confrontation.]

***

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! 

***

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. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *