Ever since its premiere in 2019, Evil has gone deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole of the war between good and evil. David (Mike Colter), Kristen (Katja Herbers), and Ben (Aasif Mandvi) have investigated the possibility of hellish activity on behalf of the Church throughout, but we've long since moved beyond just exorcisms and secret societies. Increasingly, the Paramount+ series from Good Wife/Good Fight creators Robert and Michelle King has found pure wickedness at the root of the little things that make up our plugged-in, media-obsessed everyday lives, asking one simple question over and over again: is modern life, at its core, evil?
The show's third season, which wraps this ten-episode run weekend, has covered a lot of ground. Leland (Michael Emerson) and Sheryl (Christine Lahti) continued to call together the leaders of the demonic houses to ready for whatever comes next in the battle against God. Meanwhile, David has taken up with a shadowy consulate of Friends of the Vatican in order to ultimately free his friend Grace the prophetess. And of course Kristen has been dealing with the mounting dread that her daughter, Lexis, might be something potentially evil herself. In short, there's been a lot going on.
All the while, though, the cases of the week have brought up those little markers of modern life that just might be gateways to hell on Earth. What were they and how well did Evil do at dramatizing these demonic daily horrors?
The season's second episode ("The Demon of Memes") focused on a Slender Man-esque viral horror sensation known as "Visiting Jack." No surprise: Kristen's daughters got caught up in this one, only this time it was the usually low-drama Lynn, whose boyfriend has seen Visiting Jack and is maybe on borrowed time. How Evil Is It? Well, this one turned out to be a hoax, as so many online horror fads do, but let's not let the internet off the hook so quickly...
With Sheryl and her formaldehyde transfusions now fully on the side of Leland and Team Hell, it only makes sense that she'd get a job at what appears to be corporate headquarters for making all our lives miserable. One of the first assignments Sheryl is put in charge of? The doomscrolling initiative. Yep, it's Sheryl's job to make sure that our social media feeds are as inundated with bad news, bad takes, trolls, misinformation, and despair 24/7. This is easily one of the best ideas Evil had this season, and it was basically just an aside. But making it so that the daily misery of experiencing the world through a neverending scroll of the worst information has been Satan's plan for us all along? Perfect. How Evil Is It? Evil enough that Sheryl's big boss in this initiative is a stinky, slovenly, five-eyed goat demon.
Reliably one of Evil's biggest targets over its three seasons thus far has been clout-chasers: people who do extreme, fraudulent, and, yes, evil things on social media purely for the engagement. Beauty vlogger Melindaz (Taylor Louderman) has been one of the show's recurring bugaboos over the years (more on her momentarily), but this season also saw a Munchausen-esque mom played by Lena Hall who fakes demonic attacks on her sons just for the TikTok (or, sorry, "VidTap") fame of it all. But even in its less horrifying guises, clout-chasing and influencer culture creep into the team's lives. Ben got sucked into a vortex of correcting misinformed VidTappers with his own videos, which earns him likes from some at first and then a torrent of grief from others, and before long he's arguing with strangers all day. For her part, Kristen got caught up in Mommy VidTappers, which led to maybe the most horrifying thing of all: a Pop Rocks margarita recipe. How Evil Is It? It makes sense that this show about Satanic acolytes looking to darkly influence humanity would find its most fertile ground in online influencer culture. The evil is real.
Speaking of our favorite beauty vlogger... Sheryl wisely recruits Melindaz to promote the cryptocurrency that this demonic hedge fund or whatever is promoting. The plot doesn't really get any further than that, but it makes perfect sense that Evil would nod towards crypto as one more item in Evil, Inc.'s portfolio. How Evil Is It? It's impossible to know how evil crypto is or isn't when you can't tell what it does or doesn't do, so honestly who knows?
This is one that goes around every once in a while, posing as a faux-intellectual head-scratcher: if you had access to a time machine, would your ethics allow you to murder baby Hitler in order to prevent the Holocaust? The Evil version of this had Victor LeConte (Brian D'Arcy James) recruit David to spy on young Lexis Bouchard, who we all know is being groomed for something evil, even if up to this point all she's done has been to grow a (secret) tail. David is conflicted, as ever, between his religion and his friendships. But what Evil ends up saying about this entire philosophical prompt is clarifying: yes, Lexis is being groomed for evil, but she can also be guided towards the good. This is what Grace Ling ends up telling Kristen, and it's a ray of hope in what was starting to seem like a grim destiny. How Evil Is It? It's the kind of evil that seemingly good people convince themselves is necessary, which is still evil.
Poor Dr. Boggs (Kurt Fuller). He just wants to escape his humdrum life as a psychiatrist and become something glamorous like an author. So of course he succumbs to Leland's temptation, sells his soul to Satan, and must now play a demonic music box with the tune to "Allouette" in order to be able to write his masterpiece. How Evil Is It? Kurt, this is going nowhere good for you, buddy.
Evil 's Season 3 finale drops on Paramount+ this Sunday, August 14..
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Joe Reid is the Managing Editor at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.