Sunday, July 4, 2021

REVIEW: 'Evil' - Two Religions Clash Over the Best Way to Help a Young Girl Seemingly Influenced by a Jinn in 'F Is for Fire'

Paramount+'s Evil - Episode 2.03 "F Is for Fire"

The team encounters a nine-year-old girl, Mathilda, who is seemingly haunted by a Jinn, a spirit in the Islamic faith.

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.

"F Is for Fire" was written by Dewayne Darian Jones and directed by Frederick E.O. Toye

What is going on with Kristen? That is a pressing question for this season. It's a conversation that extends from her burning her hand with a rosary at the end of the prior season finale. That inferred that something demonic was happening within her. As such, the audience should be very concerned about her. And now, this season has amplified the stakes even further. She is a killer. She is almost mischievous when she talks about that as well. It's always at the front of her mind. The camera always calls attention to the ice pick hanging on the wall whenever someone enters that room. It's significant. It looms over Kristen's life. If she is possessed though, she still seems to have full control of her facilities. She details so much of the strange occurrences in her life during her therapy sessions with Kurt. It's not as if she blacks out these details. They define what life is like for her at the moment. She takes her job seriously. She hasn't been compromised in the field. And yet, demonic spirits always seem to be targeting her. When the team begins working on a new case, it always seems to reflect back onto her. The evil force then plagues her life. In dealing with a young girl seemingly possessed by a jinn, it's not long before Kristen starts seeing the figure in her life as well. It appears to have been transferred to her at several moments. The spirit never leaves Mathilda for good. It extends its influence to Kristen too though. It may grow and strengthen because of the fire burning deeply within Kristen. With Mathilda, it's all about the physical act of starting fires. That's the way mischief and chaos is caused. As it burns, the spirit and delight grows stronger. With Kristen though, it's all about lust and sexual desire. Andy has been gone for much longer than the family expected. That's not a huge disappointment. That void isn't all that apparent. Kristen can function well in this show without him. She did so for a long time after all. Plus, so much of the narrative is fueled by the mystery surrounding her. She yearns for clarity. She so rarely obtains it. She still makes progress in her journey and work. She believes that she helps people. She isn't passive in this story. It can sometimes be difficult to tell which actions stem from her and which are from a corrosive element that can be rationally explained. It's clear when she goes out in the middle of the night to flirt with a stranger. That fulfills a desire that has been missing. She craves it. It's exciting. And yet, she can't escape the foreboding darkness within her home either. It may all be connected to her third daughter, Lexis. But again, that's all channeled through the visuals of the story. That is the most effective element of the overall series. It's terrifying to see the jinn. It's eery to know Kristen can't escape the tea set that serves as a connection between her home and her work. Meanwhile, Sheryl figures out how to get back into her family's lives. She simply does so by manipulating Kurt. Again, it's ambiguous whether or not Sheryl actually wants therapy. It's presented as a convenient tool for her. She knows how to manipulate others to get what she wants. Kristen loves her because she is her mom. She drew a line with her though. Sheryl crossed that and dealt with the consequences. Now, she is welcomed back. That may be good. It's also too early to tell given all the overall suggestions of doom. That's prevalent throughout every story beat. Ben is plagued with night terrors now. He is determined to produce the physical evidence of what's happening to him while he sleeps. His are much more of a sexual nature as well. In the midst of all of this though, a dialogue occurs about the differences within faiths. So many operate within the same guiding principles. And yet, both the Catholic priest and Islamic sheikh do more to profess themselves as the true saviors instead of trying to be of service to the situation. David can diffuse it so the work can happen. Nothing fundamentally changes with Mathilda though. It's all the same with her delighting in watching fire burn. She has the tools to make that happen. Ben figured that out quickly. The case may not be any more serious or mysterious than that. One video is enough to suggest more. Outside influences come in with their opinions and beliefs hoping to do good. They can do a fair amount of harm too. It can corrupt souls over time. Kristen is experiencing that evolution in her behavior. It may have a simple explanation. It may not. The show calls attention to every single beat. As such, it's playing at something larger. Hopefully, it can address all of this in a more significant way shortly instead of just teasing something more is going on with her.