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Evil: Genesis 1

"Well, that's too bad because I don't believe in demons."
"They believe in you."

The name of the show really says it all: Evil. In all of its forms.

The premise of Evil is fairly simple. A psychologist, an all-purpose tech wizard, and an assessor/seminarian for the Roman Catholic Church work together to determine if something is supernatural or demonic in nature, or if the cause is something more physical and mundane. In this particular case: is a serial killer possessed by a demon, or is he lying in order to secure an insanity plea. As a show, it's nothing particularly new or groundbreaking, but Evil knows what it is and so far it's doing it very well.

What Evil is is a horror show. It's scary too, which is not something I find myself saying often. There were multiple moments where my heart sped up and it was a little hard to breathe. Mostly whenever George was onscreen. What great monster design. Simple, striking, demonic, and also matched descriptions of the kinds of shadow people that pop up during sleep paralysis. And what he did and said was completely shudder worthy.

The other times I was scared had to do with Leland Townsend, who looks to be our Big Bad. Michael Emerson is so, so, so good. His first confrontation with Kristen is a very disorienting scene to watch. He simultaneously feels like a sniveling worm and like someone who does have immense, potentially demonic power behind him. The camerawork was all aimed at reinforcing this. It's fabulous.

Our three heroes are also fabulous.

I instantly liked Kristen as our main protagonist and POV character. She's a very impulsive person with quite the vindictive streak, going off of the gloating that she did with LeRoux at the end and the way she quit the DA job in front of the judge, but I also never doubted that she was a good person. She cares a lot about people and about how they're treated by the people around them.

The moment that sold me on her, though, was how she tackled the issue of George. It would have been very easy for her to just take the pills that her therapist prescribed, but she didn't. She used her own knowledge and expertise of the human mind and turned that into a strength. A weapon. And it worked. It's hard not to root for someone like that.

David acts as our co-lead, and is played by the always charismatic and awesome Mike Colter. He has such a gentleness and an earnestness and a faith that fills the screen. He's very enjoyable to watch, and I loved the dynamic that he's forming with Kristen and that he already has with Ben. The fact that he's the only one who is religious and who has any belief in supernatural phenomenon makes him the odd one out in the group. I expected that to be Kristen, but it's not. It's David.

We didn't get as much time with Ben, but he was charming and funny and clearly loyal to David. I liked him a lot and I want more with him, especially since he seems to be very grounded in the physical. David is faith. Kristen is the mind. Ben is what can physically be seen and touched. It's a nice balance, especially when so much of psychology can seem completely ridiculous and made up.

That's going to be an interesting theme to explore going forward as well. Where is that line between reality and the imagined? Is the imagined necessarily supernatural? Do any of those distinctions really matter in the long run? David and Kristen might not believe the same things, but they both were able to find a common language to describe Leland and the threat that he posed. Whether he's an actual demon or a human psychopath, he still is influencing other people to commit evil acts. The result is still the same.

I'm assuming that the show will ultimately come down on the side of the demonic and supernatural being real and the root cause of a lot of things. That's kind of genre standard. Mulder and Scully basically always found aliens. Sam and Dean basically always found monsters. David, Kristen, and Ben are probably going to find demons. But this first episode did a very good job at walking the line of uncertainty. Actually, if anything it came down pretty firmly on the side of "everything has a rational explanation." I'm just expecting things to be supernatural. For George to be an incubus instead of just a night terror. I'll be curious if that continues as we move along.

Either way, I'm hooked.

Random Thoughts

The title reference is pretty obvious. Genesis is the first book in the Bible and the first chapter deals with the creation of Earth and everything in it. What better way to start a show that looks like it's going to deal very heavily with demons and matters of faith?

Gotta admit, I've never seen the "I'm training to be a priest" excuse used before to act as a roadblock between two characters that clearly are going to end up in some kind of romantic relationship by the end of all this.

The opening credits are lovely. Short and stark. I love them.

Kristen has four daughters and has a good relationship with her mother. Her husband is off in Nepal guiding people up Mount Everest.

David was a journalist before he decided to join the priesthood.

We didn't really get anything on Ben's past.

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An Honest Fangirl loves video games, horror movies, and superheroes, and occasionally manages to put words together in a coherent and pleasing manner.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for covering Evil for us, Fangirl. This show creeps me the hell out. I'm not a horror fan, but Evil is so good (or bad) that I can't stop watching.

    George in particular makes me shudder. And Michael Emerson is just amazing; he makes my skin crawl.

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  2. I love this show. Billie got me into it.

    I can't say I remember all of season one perfectly, but I completely agree with you about each of the three characters.

    Ben is really my favorite, though. There's some great Ben stuff.

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  3. Loved the show.
    My only gripe is that they went annoyingly hard later with The Atheist who is A Raging Jerk and gets Proven Wrong. Bad cliche, lacking nuance. Frustrating in this show that does a lot so well.

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