Evil Season 2 Brings a Case Worthy of The X-Files – Den of Geek

The Church’s concern with the incident is itself fascinating enough for an episode. Hearing priests talk about keeping up with science is validating, incongruous as it may seem with their policy. But then a priest, who specializes in extraterrestrial testimony, pulls out some kind of olfactory EMF monitor like he’s an exorcist turning his kit into an altar. We know this is seriously arcane stuff. He doesn’t even need special dispensation from the Pope. 

While there must really be a higher authority, the Catholic Church’s interest in alien life lies mainly in what they can bring to the collection box. Were they born without original sin? Have they heard the good word? Humans are leaving the church in droves, and someone has to put asses in the pews. While Bishop Thomas Marx (Peter Scolari) is perfectly serious about interstellar evangelical travels, it also has a tone of humor, even without the irony.

Michael Emerson gives a tour de force performance tonight. Leland Townsend is as convincing as he is conniving, and lethal to boot. Everyone but David buys that he’s a scared man who believes he is being chased by winged creatures. It actually comes as a surprise when he vaguely confesses to faking it. It also feels phony. We really don’t know who he’s lying to, if he believes what he’s saying, or jockeying for a better position during eternal damnation. Fans of the Goat Therapist, beware. Leland is hiding more than the truth from the malevolent middleman, but it has a tasty payoff.

The good news is Kristen’s husband is going away for another month. He’s pretty useless, almost clichéd in his inefficiency. Not only did he not say a word to a man who was openly harassing his wife, a member of his family at the very least, he’s got the nerve to be judgmental about it? She is the main character of a show called Evil and he’s getting holier than thou on her? Half the audience is probably hoping he takes the kids with him. That might include Kristen. Listen to how she tells the assembled family meeting she’s going to answer the door. If she had a packet of frozen french fries, no one in that room would stand a chance.

It has always been easy to compare Evil with The X-Files, but “U Is for U.F.O.” is begging for it. The team gets veiled threats from shadowy government figures, Naval officers look like aliens, and pilots explain how Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) are more of a hazard than alien craft. When the object gets religious and demons start taking notes it feels like a subliminal homage to the episode “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space.”

“U Is for U.F.O.” is also the most human of episodes. Kristen tells David the reason she’s been suppressing anger is because she hates people. She loves her kids, likes David, and tolerates Ben, but everyone else gets on her nerves. Kristen tells her therapist that the new job invigorates and empowers her, but every sentence is really subtext about her feelings for David. She even tells him not to become a priest. He’s only a month away from ordination. But she’ll miss him. It’s Mulder and Scully. It took a close encounter with a third kind to bring it out.

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