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Evil: How to Train a Dog

"Here’s to catching a werewolf.”

Any episode of television that takes the time to push back against robot dogs will earn full points from me. That Evil brings in racism, app surveillance, graveyard masses, feminism, and werewolves is just icing on the cake.

The plot of the week is as straightforward as this show can be: a security robot dog starts attacking Black people, but it turns out it’s actually just attacking Catholic people who happen to be Black, or specifically people with Catholic apps on their phones.

I hate robot dogs, but we’ve also got to assume that the guy who programmed his dog to attack Catholics has a tragic Catholic backstory, and honestly it’s not hard to guess what that might be. Laws that govern what people can do with the objects they have purchased are controversial, and in most contexts I would assume that Ben would be in favor of a person having the right to jailbreak a device that they’ve bought and paid for. That he uses an unjust law to punish the dog owner for a different crime (robot-dog assault) was a rather uncomfortable resolution for me, but Evil’s one persistent sin is that it tends to sometimes wrap things up a bit too quickly.

Maybe Ben is stressed out, though, since he’s also dealing with his own problem: a persistent jinn who warns him that “you can’t science your way out of this.” (I guess this jinn has watched The Martian.) The scene where Ben tested his vision, with the jinn always just on the edge of the frame, was a great combination of the horror movie trope of the only-partially-seen sneaking up on us and exactly the sort of sciencing that Ben would do in this situation.

Sheryl is encountering her own level of craziness, what with her demonic job also being a sexist workplace. Are we surprised that her willingness to go the extra mile to gain a promotion while defeating a misogynistic demon—not to mention Leland—backfired on her? Are we supposed to sympathize? Sheryl has done some really terrible stuff, and she literally works with demons.

David, on the other hand, might just be on the side of the angels. I’ve always assumed that his visions of Saint Monica were, for lack of a better word, real. Why not? But the idea of remote viewing is a bit of a stretch, although I can’t for the life of me explain the difference. Maybe a private vision is a quirk but an actual vision of something far away is pseudoscience?

Anyway, David’s work with The Entity (who came up with that name?!) now means that he can tap into his ability to see other people in other places. I wonder if that will come in handy any time soon.

Probably not for a while, though: when Kristin calls him out on how skittish he seemed, he didn’t come clean, so it’s not a skill that he can bring to his fulltime job. Ben refused to disclose his visions/jinn-haunting, too. Our team persists in refusing to communicate with one another. That they think visiting Dr. Boggs is a good idea just demonstrates how much they don’t know about what is going on around them.

To be clear, I'm not complaining about more Kurt Fuller. I wouldn't!

But, as Kristin says, “the world is a crazy place, and there are people trying to make it even crazier so they can control us.” She’s talking about Leland’s evil baby plot, but the line could apply to pretty much any element of the present day. It can also apply to almost every one of this episode’s many subplots: Leland messing with Andy, Leland messing with Sheryl, The Entity messing with David (if that’s what they’re doing), all these demons messing with Kristin and her family, and whatever the jinn is doing to Ben.

I’m still giving this episode four glass ceilings, because of the robot dog thing and Ben's cool science experiment. But it’s definitely an episode that works better as part of a binge than as a standalone, weekly occasion, since we don’t get much forward progress on the chaos occurring not just around, but within, our main characters.

Does it seem like these things are getting weirder?
  • I love the intro theme music so much that I’m happy to let it play through, which is good, since according to the opening credits, if I fastforward through the intro, I’ll make the skipping ghost angry.
  • I know Billie dislikes mystical pregnancies as much as I do, so I think of her every time the show mentions Kristin’s apoca-baby being due soon.
  • Recently, I was chatting with a knowledgeable friend about how terrified I am by AI robot dogs, and the best he could do to reassure me was to say that robots are still really bad at going down stairs or pouring a glass of milk, so I’m probably safe until they figure out proprioception. It was not reassuring.
  • The first time I heard of remote viewing was a movie called Suspect Zero, which I thought was extremely unconvincing and a waste of a terrible cast. Has anyone else seen it?

Four out of four glass ceilings.

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)


  1. Every scene with the dog was great, particularly the opening scene with the three of them in the graveyard. The glass ceiling thing was soooo creepy. I continue being confused about everything else that is happening but that's par for the course with me and this show.

    That thing in the intro with the skipping ghost is hilarious. Has anyone tried skipping ahead to see what would happen?

  2. I've been skipping ahead when I do my rewatches to review the episodes, and I haven't been haunted yet.

    A later credit sequence says that skipping Netflix intros is okay. :-)


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