Thursday, October 10, 2019

REVIEW: 'Evil' - The Behavioral Changes in a Broadway Producer Prompt Concerning Questions from the Team in '3 Stars'

CBS' Evil - Episode 1.03 "3 Stars"

After a high-strung theater producer's behavior turns from demanding to what is believed to be demonic, Kristen, David and Ben are called in to assess the situation. Also, Kristen discredits her DA office successor and nemesis, Leland Townsend, before he can ruin a boy's life.

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.

"3 Stars" was written by Rockne O'Bannon and directed by Gloria Muzio

David begins this hour by explaining the many different types of demonic possessions. Many of them aren't typically seen and discussed in a meaningful way that contributions to the understanding of good versus evil in the world. It's much more complex than the way movies and television shows usually depict them. He needs Kristen's expertise because she understands that the psychology of the human mind could easily explain all of the underlying conditions. The main characters have yet to face a threat that completely baffles them. They have always been able to find a rational explanation. Sure, there may be a few details that don't totally line up in the end. But it's easier to believe that science and technology have an answer than thinking the devil has something to do with all of this. Their actions still have major consequences though. They are asked to consult on the case of a Broadway producer having a change in behavior that makes him much more violent and angry. It feels as if there are easy answers to the case. His bloody sweat comes from his hair plugs being infected. His physical interactions with someone who isn't there can simply be part of his narcissistic personality that needed to personify his anger. Once Kristen knows where to look, she can find any evidence online that would seem to back up her claims. Sure, the stranglehold this guy is in doesn't come from the advice Kristen sees online. Instead, it's his delusional take on reacting to his personal assistant being hacked. That too inspires Ben to act. He sees all of this as simply a disgruntled employee taking his revenge on the boss that took something vital from him. In this case, it's a tech support staffer who was withheld pay because the producer wanted to be sure everything worked first. The evidence is left behind in the office. All of this can come together for a simple conclusion. There is nothing demonic at play here. David is reporting to his bosses. They may be preparing for exorcisms. However, they also trust that David needs to pace himself at this job. He can't burn out quickly because he needs to read into all of the clues. To him, every detail needs to support the final conclusion. If not, then he believes something from his faith could be playing a role. Sure, he also props himself up as someone receiving visions from God. He even believes that the symbols he saw following his drug trip can line up to create some kind of mystery that needs to be solved. It points to famous pictures and coordinates that line up perfectly with New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C. He thinks Leland Townsend is personally haunting him. And yet, he too could simply be the personification of temptation. Kristen questions David about his devotion to the church given everything he knows about the institution and the sacrifices he'll have to make. He views himself as the good guy the church needs right now to act with moral clarity. It's a vital service. But again, he is being deceptive and propping himself up with importance he may not actually have. Instead, it's Kristen's responsibility to push back to stop the evil of the world from destroying life for the innocent. Sure, the kid in the case Leland is testifying in may be guilty of his crime. The debate is if he should be tried as an adult. Leland sees it as what's necessary to mold him into yet another vicious man in the world. That's what he wants. Kristen simply has to use technology to prove Leland's underlying impulse for chaos. Technology may fail her at certain points but she has a good friend in Ben who is more than willing to create a fake to prove the point in the end. It's a fairly accurate read out of what Leland and Kristen's conversation was as well. He can't dispute it when he's on the stand. It plays as a victory. He is vulnerable in that regard though. He may be cunning and crafty. He may be more than he seems. But he is still fallible to the realities of this world. Everyone is. That humanity constantly being on display helps the viewer buy into the various decisions made in each episode. Sure, the main case concludes with an act of suicide. That is suspicious and may tease that something more was actually going on. But again, insanity is so expansive at the moment that it's hard to clarify what's real and what's not. Every person's struggle is different.