Sunday, June 20, 2021

REVIEW: 'Evil' - Kristen, David & Ben Are Skeptical About Leland's Latest Move to Invade Their Lives in 'N Is for Night Terrors'

Paramount+'s Evil - Episode 2.01 "N Is for Night Terrors"

The team is given the task of evaluating the likelihood of Leland being possessed, which if decided true, would require them to exorcise him.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season premiere of Paramount+'s Evil.

"N Is for Night Terrors" was written by Rockne S. O'Bannon and directed by Nelson McCormick

Leland goes to the church in search of an exorcism. He doesn't genuinely want to be rid of his demons though. He is mostly doing it to further invade Kristen and David's worlds. He wants to prove just how easy it is to corrupt the institutions that they hold sacred. He has already successfully invaded Kristen's world. He is engaged to Sheryl. He also replaced Kristen at the DA's office with the intention of overturning all of her previous findings. He is an agent of chaos. He is working a larger plan though. He may only view Kristen as a stepping stone to get to David. His corruption is of more interest. He only has a short window to further compromise him though. This premiere establishes that David is only two months away from ordination. He will become a full priest at that point. A lot can happen before that though. He was previously told that there is more than one way to serve the Church. He feels a calling for the priesthood because of the visions from God he has received. The season finale closed with him receiving another without the assistance of hallucinogens. As such, it is a little more trustworthy. But again, this show loves reading into symbols and visions as some proof of a higher power. It wants to treat such things incredulously too though. Ben offers an explanation as to how Kristen's hand was burned when touching the cross on a rosary. It's a sensible explanation in his mind. It's easy for him to see the appeal of assessing Leland's life as well. The team knows that he is just trying to con them. Because they are aware of that, they can treat everything he says as a lie. This will also afford them the opportunity to better invade his life. Leland is exposed in this pursuit as well. Through searching his house, the team learns Sheryl has already provided information to Leland. He too is trying his best to decode the codex. His observations are noted and documented. The bulk of this premiere though is debunking the various examples he provides of his demonic possession. None of it is real. And yet, the exorcism is still ordered. Bishop Marx doesn't listen to the team's assessment. He also values their opinions as people skeptical in this endeavor. An exorcism of Leland should be revealing as to what's truly going on within his soul. It may reveal new power within him. Or it may confirm his own psychopathy. So much information has been witnessed about how he has corrupted others in order to kill and destroy the world around him. He certainly holds a personal vendetta against David and Kristen. And now, his influence invades Ben's life as well. Ben is now the person experiencing night terrors. His are different than Kristen's. And yet, they have the same effect on the overall story. They are a personal burden. The team relies on each other in numerous ways. They work well together because of the various skills they bring to the job. But they also carry personal details that could leave a foreboding warning to everyone involved about the evil at play here. Kristen confesses to Dr. Boggs that she killed Orson LeRoux. She bludgeoned him to death with an ice axe. She is not broken up about the action she took. Parts of it were certainly premeditated. The situation escalated once she arrived as well. Of course, that's the story she is willing to tell to her therapist. It's perhaps the truth. However, the show has also conditioned the audience into believing the stories at play even though they may not be the full truth. These characters may not always have the benefit of honest answers in every endeavor. That's unfortunate for them while producing ominous and visceral images for the audience. It's certainly terrifying to see Lexis bite her dentist's finger while under anesthesia. This show is more than just the power of those visuals. It's also invested in these characters who are committed to this work despite the peril it seemingly throws their lives into. Leland is at the center of that. His exorcism doesn't occur here. And yet, that's something that looms over the narrative that will likely shift its ambitions even further. That's exciting. Leland's villainy is well documented at this point. Most of it has been a corruption of other people through manipulation with heinous ideas. He could be possessed. He could be a psychopath. He is still accountable for everything he has done. The same is also true of Kristen. She killed a man. David knows to be worried about her falling into the Devil's grasp. He doesn't quite know how to interpret his vision yet though. He is simply unnerved by it - just like Ben is when it appears Leland is watching him through his computer screen instead of the other way around.