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Evil: How to Fly an Airplane

“Everyone, these are the exorcist assessors.”

The true cross! Airplane ghosts! The Vatican! Awkward family conversations! Legal liability! This episode has almost everything, but also not much at all.

Life in the Bouchard household is not great. Andy has been sent to a farm hospital upstate to work on his addiction/self-harm/threat-to-others/really-just-demonic-brainwashing issues, and Kristin, despite her psychology degrees, doesn’t know what to do about her daughters’ confusion and grief. Is she using work as an escape?

(Obviously, yes. She literally flees the country to avoid processing her emotions.)

I’m tempted to draw a parallel between Kristin’s desire to compartmentalize her feelings in a little box, and the demonic chest holding an ersatz piece of the true cross. Or maybe a connection between Captain Lemire, the ghost pilot, and the way that this show rarely lets its characters trust their experiences.

But I’m most interested in how undeniably evil that box was. Turbulence, ghost pilots, magically disintegrating under holy water: even Ben can’t deny that something inexplicable was going on, right?

Along the way, we get fun glimpses into the Catholic bureaucracy, the way that it exerts pressure, and the overwhelming manliness of the organization. Ben messing with the escorts was funny; our team not getting to see any of the fun parts of Vatican city was funnier.

I enjoyed this episode completely the first time I watched it, but upon rewatching it for review, I notice a lot of filler. The flight attendants are fun (and accurate, I think: my stepmother was a career flight attendant). But did we need that much time with them? The actual victim—well, we never even see her face. There’s not a lot to grab onto here.

The scenes with the girls in the house were genuinely scary because I don’t think they’re old enough to be alone at night under those circumstances. The bats were terrifying because they’re flying rodents. Are they a remnant of the haunting and possession that plagued the house in the Season Three finale? (Did that ever get totally resolved?)

The whole sequence, though, was designed to accomplish one thing: get Sheryl back in the girls’ lives so she can introduce them to their new baby brother. She is such a toxic relative!

This Is Just Between the Five of Us:
  • I’m really glad that this episode was aware of how dangerous flight attendant uniforms can be.
  • When Father Dominic said “David said you were both very knowing,” Kristin looked pleased and Ben looked amused.
  • I’m reading Hillary Mantel’s Wolf Hall right now, and during the events of that book, in the sixteenth century, the then-pope is definitely a state of emergency. So I totally bought Father Dominic’s line about how they were in a papal escape tunnel from that era. Synchronicity!
Two out of four faux crosses.

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


  1. Josie, you pegged this one well. It was fun and scary but not in a way that got us anywhere.

    For the past few, I've been wondering if they were enhancing the baby screaming to make it sound worse, even more nails on a chalkboard than baby crying usually is. I wondered the same thing about the girls screaming about the bats.

    I really liked Kristin in the taxi singing the obscenity song from Hair to tick off the priests who wouldn't talk to them. I can be childish sometimes. :)

    FWIW, the message in the credits this time is "How to stop the haunting... watch the intro twice."

  2. I'm glad you said that about the baby! I had to mute the sound whenever the baby was crying, and I started to feel guilty for how much it put me on edge. Maybe that was the intent and not some personal failing of mine.


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