Thursday, October 3, 2019

REVIEW: 'Evil' - Kristen and David Hold Onto Their Beliefs Despite Near Constant Temptation in '177 Minutes'

CBS' Evil - Episode 1.02 "177 Minutes"

Kristen, David and Ben are called to investigate a supposed miracle when Naomi Clark, a 17-year-old soccer player, comes back to life after she had been declared dead for almost two hours. Also, Kristen meets with her former boss, Lewis Cormier, at the Queens District Attorney's office where she runs into Leland Townsend.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of CBS' Evil.

"177 Minutes" was written by Robert King & Michelle King and directed by Ron Underwood

People are predisposed to believe certain things. David has a profound sense of faith and thus believes that miracles and possessions happen throughout the world. Kristen and Ben are much more cynical. They believe that there has to be a rational explanation for everything that happens. This doesn't prevent David from seeing the truth once it is readily apparent. He is the one who discredits the case here from being designated as a miracle. The show is fundamentally aware that the Catholic Church itself can be corrupted as well. People want to believe that miracles can happen and that one just took place in their own backyard. They want to feel that personal connection to some higher purpose. When people are out there looking for that specific outcome, they are more susceptible into believing it to be true. David had a vision of God. That's why his faith is so strong. It's what provides him with a sense of reassurance about the work he does and the training he is enduring to become a priest. However, he is also desperate for God to continue talking to him through these visions. He understands that temptation is much more readily available. Leland can present himself whenever that impulse is felt. He is the annoyance lurking over his shoulder who wants to rid the world of all hope. That's how David views this individual. Kristen sees him as a sociopath who will undo all of the work she did at the District Attorney's office. So much of this world can now be told through a difference of opinions. One group of people believes a certain collection of facts while others believe something else to be true. It's hard to discern what is fact and what is fiction. Kristen's old boss simply believes that she has professional animosity towards Leland. He doesn't truly believe him to be a sociopath. He has no qualms about working with him even though he was implicated in the case from the series premiere. Leland comes up with some suggestion that apparently makes sense to everyone involved. It's horrifying to see how casually he can toss out the explanation of his account being hacked. If that explains it all, then it shows just how far the systems of this world are willing to believe people - especially people who look like Leland. He may come across as unassuming and intelligent. Underneath the surface though, he is working to unnerve as many people as possible. Kristen may not believe he is an actual demon. David does though. As such, he needs the warm embrace of God's presence now more than ever before. He needs that even if he has to concoct it himself. But what he experiences isn't some vision from a higher power. It's a manmade hallucination brought on by drugs he ingests. That's what informs David's faith in this moment. But there are also elements of this case that can't be explained in a tangible way. Ben exhausts every single option about what the mysterious image can be on the security footage of the hospital room. He believes it has to have come from some other recording based on the system or the tape. It isn't though. He's not quick to assume it's the spirit of another patient who died. David may be inclined to believe that. But he's also not authorized to look into it further. It's not something of interest to his boss at the church. It was all about this story of a girl coming back to life three hours after being declared dead. And yes, there is a rational explanation even though it comes from implicit racial bias at this hospital. David can call that out. He sees that plain and simple. He also sees the possibility of something more. That offers him some hope. In a similar way, Kristen needs to believe that the demonic night terrors that have been plaguing her and her family come from them collectively watching a scary television show. It must have been implanted on them all together at some point. It's reassuring to her to know that it's simply an actor underneath a bunch of prosthetics creating a monster for the show. That gives her peace and clarity. That may be the honest truth. Or the show could be suggesting something more. Towing that line is very delicate and precise work. The show continues to do a solid job at that.