Thursday, October 24, 2019

REVIEW: 'Evil' - Kristen Experiences Her First Exorcism While Ben Debunks Mysteries for Reality TV in 'October 31'

CBS' Evil - Episode 1.05 "October 31"

On Halloween night, Kristen and David are sent to assess an exorcism. Once the pair analyzes the situation, they are at odds while trying to determine whether it is a supernatural demonic possession, or severe mental disease escalated by physical and mental distress. Ben goes on his favorite show, "Demon Hunters," where he debunks their supernatural finds with fellow unbeliever Vanessa.

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.

"October 31" was written by Dewayne Darian Jones and directed by Tess Malone

The drama waited until Halloween to produce its first episode built around an exorcism. The previous episode suggested that calling in a priest to perform that ritual was necessary. It just didn't happen. The story ultimately took a different twist. This hour features David and Kristen in the room witnessing an exorcism being done. It is the result of a prior assessment that David and Ben made together. Ben is unavailable because he is appearing on a television show designed around the supernatural. He is determined to prove that all of it is fake. In this specific atmosphere, he is right because it's a genre prone to hacks driven by special effects and shaky camerawork. Cameras rarely record the truly unexplainable of this world. He understands that. He may not be able to explain everything that he has witnessed. He is still plagued by the video from the miracle case. Everything must have a scientific explanation. If it doesn't, then he doesn't know what to believe in anymore. However, his skepticism does allow him to form a new friendship that could easily develop into something more. Meanwhile, the actual exorcism is plagued with teases that some dark narrative may be swelling around the protagonists. David believes that he is experiencing visions from God. What he sees is important somehow. He just hasn't figured out all of the clues just yet. It's actually very credible when it's suggested his visions come from the devil. He self-medicates to force these visions into happening. He may have seen something special once. He is continually chasing after that again. As such, he may be projecting importance onto something that simply doesn't merit it. However, he believes the woman possessed by a demon has seen the same images. All he has to do is reach out with compassion to say that God's loving embrace can save her from what currently plagues her. That appears to work in the end. It produces a conclusion to this case that isn't easy to understand. The psychiatrists clash with the priests here. Kristen is called in after the exorcism has already been going on for several days. David doesn't think it is working and needs a new assessment to see if the same underlying diagnosis remains the truth. This is Kristen's first exposure to the case. She views herself as an objective individual. However, she sees this trauma as a major psychosis designed around the belief that she is possessed by a demon. That means she has all the typical reactions to what has long been made famous about the ritual. The Church believes they are saving a soul in its time of need. However, Kristen calls in Kurt for back-up. He too believes that science can explain everything this woman is experiencing right now. The Church can support their claims as well. As such, it feels like a stalemate where a woman's fate hangs in the balance. Kristen has to leave because her children are in danger once more. Kurt stays behind and witnesses the immediate healing of this woman when David takes over. That may fundamentally change him. The interactions people have in life essentially form our basis for beliefs. Kurt has never experienced something he couldn't explain. This may challenge his beliefs. Meanwhile, Sheryl is excited about Leland's blatant honesty and his deadly sense of humor. Of course, her grandchildren really do end up in a cemetery playing with a ghost who was wormed its way into the proceedings. It's a terrifying thought. Kristen is forever concerned about her girls - especially Laura with her uncertain medical condition. Everyone remains safe. And yet, it's clear that the influences of evil are creeping in on this family. They don't even have to be aware of it. Kristen hopes that everything can be explained away. And yet, she is still worried for her daughter. She doesn't even know that her mother has befriended her new professional rival. This world may only have momentary glimpses of relief and safety. The rest of the time is scary and full of uncertainty. That's the bargain Kristen has signed up for. She may not witness the miraculous or the demonic but her life is influx at the moment and she is going to need help before the season is over.