Sunday, June 27, 2021

REVIEW: 'Evil' - David Trades His Pain for Meditation in Hopes of Better Understanding His Visions in 'A Is for Angel'

Paramount+'s Evil - Episode 2.02 "A Is for Angel"

The team is charged with investigating a man who claims that he is hearing an angel.

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 next episode of Paramount+'s Evil.

"A Is for Angel" was written by Davita Scarlett and directed by John Dahl

David is concerned about the evil that lurks around him and his friends. As such, he has been using pain to inspire more visions from God. This too has been a pattern for him. He receives a calling from a higher power. It's meaningful to him. And then, he is continually chasing after that same profound experience. It has put him on the path towards priesthood. He only has two months left before being ordained. Leland is trying to disrupt those plans. He invades David's life. He has done so in numerous ways as well. That personal invasion has exposed Leland too. Kristen knows how to get under his skin. And yet, David fears that something dark is happening within Kristen. Of course, the audience is fully aware that she killed Orson LeRoux. The drama is even offering flashes of that moment now. She is trying to convince herself that it was a justifiable action. It was the only way to keep her family safe. She would do anything for them. Moreover, any behavior she exhibits that seems strange can just be written off as her husband being away once more. That's a lazy excuse. But it also comes out of David and Ben not really wanting to talk with each other about their concerns. Ben suspects that Kristen actually killed LeRoux. Meanwhile, David has simply had a vision of Kristen being lured in by Leland and the Devil. The audience should question just how reliable these visions are for David. He's experiencing them more frequently too. Pain has motivated him up to this point. And now, he founds a new way to form this conversation with God. All it takes is mindful meditation. That is easier said than done. Here, all it takes is a nun downloading a metronome app on his phone. It's completely convenient. It's also motivated by the episodic assessment the team is conducting. In the premiere, they were figuring out whether Leland's condition necessitated an exorcism. They were overruled by Bishop Marx. And yet, that pivotal moment has been delayed. The priest who can perform the exorcism isn't available. That causes Leland to lash out further. David delights in not giving this psychopath exactly what he wants. It's not a solution to all the obstacles standing in his way though. Leland will continue to manipulate events to his advantage. He is quite skilled at convincing others to harm themselves or others. The team must act quickly to avoid the great cost that Leland is always planning. Their journey takes them to many different places. Moreover, this parish seems to attract plenty of people who are convinced that something devious has taken over their lives. In this case, a man believes he has become possessed by an angel. It's suppose to be a symbol of good. Instead, it's presented as him being a warrior for God. As such, he is no longer concerned with the personal details that inform his family. He kills his wife and unborn child in the end. That cannot be justified. He allows others to suffer and uses that as an example of God's divine plan. It can't be understood by the limitations of man. So much of it comes across as barbaric though. It can warp minds. People genuinely believe though. David witnesses visions of the angel too. He sees something coming. And then, he sees a news story about a plague starting in China. Now, the show has to be careful in how it ties in real-life events with its grand mythology of spirituality. The story may ascribe some deeper meaning for the pandemic as a way to evaluate who is worthy of life in the modern world. That threat remains on the horizon. Right now, the show is simply establishing that David has help in pursuing these devious concerns while Kristen looks over her shoulder after killing LeRoux. And finally, Leland and Sheryl break up. The nastiness they show each other afterwards is much more immediately thrilling than what their relationship ever was. It allows them to both have agency without one of them needlessly being in the dark about details that should be obvious to everyone. But again, any interaction with Leland can be twisted as David's hand bleeds from gripping his rosary too tightly while listening to Leland talk about persuading Julia to no longer be a burden to the loved ones who cared for her while she was ill. It may be true. It may not be. It has a personal effect regardless which motivates more of these characters into action. That's exciting even though this is mostly a piece moving episode setting the stage for more drama to come.