Sunday, July 11, 2021

REVIEW: 'Evil' - An Elevator Mystery Sends Everyone Plummeting to Creepy, Horrifying Lows in 'E Is for Elevator'

Paramount+'s Evil - Episode 2.04 "E Is for Elevator"

The team is sent to investigate the disappearance of a teenage boy, Wyatt.

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.

"E Is for Elevator" was written by Robert King & Michelle King and directed by Alethea Jones

David, Kristen and Ben are employed by the Catholic Church. Kristen and Ben are always hesitant to disclose that fact because of the assumptions that comes attached to it. They don't believe in the church's teachings like David does. They believe in rational explanations for everything they encounter in the field. They support their friend as well though. They respect David's devotion to his faith and his commitment to the seminary. When he delivers his first sermon, Kristen is in the audience to cheer him on. It's exciting. But again, it plays to the overall themes of good versus evil that defines so much of the core storytelling. The world is never as binary as that. People want to believe in that simple understanding of life though because it can provide more clarity to everything that concerns them. These cases are never as simple as saying someone has been possessed by a demon. Psychological conditions are also at play. They infect the lives of the assessors as well. It's terrifying for them when they are in the grips of those demonic assaults too. They fear for their lives. The show teases whether or not those experiences are actually happening to them. In the moment, it feels real. That's all that matters. Kristen is the only person who encounters the ghost who is seemingly haunting this building after the elevator cut her in half. The same fate almost occurs to Kristen. She is trying to solve the puzzle as to what happened to a teenage boy and his girlfriend who disappeared in the elevator while playing a game. A symbol drawn on the floor is the only indication that this has something to do with demons. The parents have mostly resigned themselves to never finding their son alive. They just want answers as to what happened to him. That's the job of the police. The people in charge though don't have the awareness of knowing what to look for. They see nothing of importance with the elevator even though Wyatt never gets off it. The entire story happens within that enclosed space. The clues are written down at his desk. Moreover, a video exists online that explains what people are trying to do. It's all convenient. But it has profound personal consequences as well. These people may have simply unlocked a code programmed into an elevator in pursuit of breaking the wall between life and the afterlife. It's a story meant to provoke action. It is positioned with authority on the subject. The show itself details a fine line between this world and the outside forces trying to corrupt it. And yet, Kristen can deduce so many rational explanations for everything as well. Sure, she was burned by the cross. That isn't concerning to her any longer. She is dealing with PTSD after killing Orson LeRoux. That has presented very visceral hallucinations for her. All of that operates as a known quantity. One that she can address through the help of her therapist. Similarly, it's baffling to think that an exorcism will create a new person altogether within Leland. He makes fun of the entire process. Of course, that moment is also anticlimactic. The premiere positioned it as further confrontation between the protagonists with the man trying to expose their hypocrisy. He wishes to corrupt David. He can just be a psychopath delighting in the torture of others. David is the person he has latched onto. These symbols mean something to him. As such, Leland invests in them as well. Of course, he can also be seen in a demonic context. That invades the narrative too. Ben pleads to not be alone once he is trapped in the secret basement with the two rotting bodies. He didn't want Abby, the demon who has haunted his dreams. He is ultimately saved from this bleak fate. The whole episode is devoted to the team trying to solve this mystery. Ben did so by himself. That's his speciality within the team. However, David and Kristen are capable of doing so as well. They test their theories too. None of this connects to the supernatural. That perception still propels people into action. It serves as a connection to something greater than what the world is. It's also stories meant to entertain. That dichotomy is always present within this narrative. Some people are afraid to speak the truth. The church wants to dictate what is acceptable for David to say. He has his own agency though. He has his own standing in the world that comes with unique experiences. He is more than a prop meant to make the church look good. He is trying his best to do what's right for the world. He can be confused and conflicted along that journey. His experience is valid too though. The corrosive elements are so prevalent. The team confronts this misinformation to expose the truth. It's still fairly ugly in the end with people who delight in seeing the chaos they have brought. It's entertaining to Leland. Meanwhile, Kristen and Ben both fear for their lives in an effectively chilling way this week.