This Evil feature contains spoilers.
“I saw that your serial killer’s dead,” Ben Shakir (Aasif Mandvi) informs partner Dr. Kristen Bouchard (Katja Herbers) in an early scene in the opening episode of Evil season 2. “Is there anything I should be worried about there?” The first thing he learns is not to be concerned about any possessive feelings Kristen may harbor towards Orson LeRoux (Darren Pettie), the man Ben says was “bludgeoned.” And while the audience is already pretty sure what happened, that’s about all he gets.
Evil fans deliciously tortured themselves with lingering questions over the death of Orson ever since Kristen took off into the night with a sharp climbing tool and no mountain in sight. They deepened after she dabbed a drop of blood off her leg, and scarred the flesh of her palm with a touch of a crucifix. But the circumstantial evidence seemed too obvious to be true. Production delays, caused by the pandemic, boiled the anticipation to unbearable degrees. So, it is a relief when season 2 opens with the answer.
But with knowledge comes consequences. Now the concern is whether Kristen can get away with it. When Detective Byrd calls Kristen to tell her the news about LeRoux, she believes Orson’s wife killed the former serial killer. But Kristen made sure the wife had a solid alibi. It can’t be long before the clues lead back to Kristen. As a forensics expert for the District Attorney’s office, she fought very hard to keep Orson in prison, but his conviction was overturned. He shows up outside her home as Kristen is walking her daughters to the school bus. She dials 911, but he files a police complaint. We asked Katja Herbers what happens if somebody needs an umbrella and gets rained on by a snow axe.
“I think it’s going to be quite intensive,” Katja tells Den of Geek. “If not for the police looking for whoever killed him, but also just internally in Kristen’s mind, because she did that, and now what?”
Kristen’s therapist is able to determine the crime was clearly premeditated, and her training for assistance to the District Attorney tells her that’s going to be problematic at best. We wondered whether Kristen would have done the same thing if it was someone else’s family.
“I don’t think so,” Katja says. “No. I think she would have gone to the police. I think this was a very emotional act, and I think that kind of emotionality only comes if you’re protecting your own.”
The authorities aren’t the only ones who might have suspicions. David Acosta (Mike Colter), the ex-journalist, pre-ordained priest who brews up hallucinogen cocktails for mystical visions sees Kristen blithely walk towards the devil’s sickle as it separates wheat from chaff in a field of dreams. According to Herbers, Kristen may believe David’s overthinking it a bit. Kristen has a family and there was a clear and present danger.
“I think she’s not lying awake, pondering if she did the right thing, because I do think that she did the right thing and she thinks that,” Katja says. “It was him or her children, that was very clear to her. So, what mother wouldn’t want to protect their children? But she is now a murderer, and I think it has changed her and she’s become somebody who is way more willing to go to the edge of things.”
During Evil’s first season, Kristen and David danced towards the brink of vow-breaking with a subtle chemistry reminiscent of the will-they-won’t-they sexual tension of The X-Files’ Dana Scully and Fox Mulder. David is weeks from priestly ordination, and Kristin is on the prowl in more secular scenarios. But Herbers says it’s got nothing to do with anyone’s vows.
“No, I think it just is because Kristen murdered someone and she’s now looking for some kind of a calmness in herself and needs to find that anywhere, and that might be with any guy in any bar,” Katja says. “She’s trying medication, she’s trying it all. I think the will-they-or-won’t-they will continue because I do think they have a very genuine connection, both intellectually and also there’s a physical attraction and I don’t think that’s going to go away.”
Ben’s also not going away, and he can’t be made to unsee what he thinks he’s seen. Last season when Ben noticed the blood on Kristen’s leg, creators Robert and Michelle King, who also made the political parody series Braindead, pulled a routine from Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer. “I don’t have blood on my leg,” Kristen says with the flourish of a Jedi mind trick. She employs this psychological superpower twice in the first episode. The first time is when she tells her kids her hands aren’t dirty from the aborted attempt to bury a hatchet.
The second comes when Kristen attempts to wipe Ben’s mind clean of any lingering questions about bandaged hands or bloody legs. There is a childlike play behind the instinctual maternal rebuke. While she didn’t exactly cite Boris Karloff, who played the killer in the 1949 suspense comedy, she admits the bit is in there for the laughs. “Yes. Exactly. I thought that was very funny,” Herbers says.
Evil continues to plumb the ambiguities of divine tragedies and human comedy. Kristen may very well be possessed, though she hasn’t shown signs during the exorcisms she’s attended. She may be able to throw enough reasonable doubt on an investigation as the series does on the supernatural.
Evil airs Sundays on Paramount+.