Paramount+ series Evil has the Catholic investigative trio of Kristen (Katja Herbers), David (Mike Colter) & Ben (Aasif Mandvi) looking into a potentially possessed trucker (Evan Harrington). The episode begins the unraveling arc of the Church potentially ousting Sister Andrea (Andrea Martin) for their perceived mental decline and visions. Of course, there is a process involved because narrative dictates science get involved from an outside professional. The person at the point of these accusations couldn't be more obvious than the nefarious Leland (Michael Emerson). This is your minor spoilers warning for "The Demon of the Road".
At David's church, the trucker's wife Nicole (Ciara Monique) goes to the confessional as a ruse to talk about her husband's case. Kristen is confronted by the asshole grocery customer (Stephen Dexter) she stood up to in a viral video demanding an apology from her. The simple act of humility brings shame to her daughters as she spends the rest of the episode making up for being lame. When the trio convenes at the trucker's home, they investigate the stretch of Interstate I-95 they talk about. Naturally, all the boxes get checked when it comes to what you can expect in a horror film setting with jump scares and everything else (minus an actual slasher and death).
Written by the Kings and Dewayne Darian Jones and directed by Peter Sollett, the episode plays up the roadside tropes pretty well and there are some typical X-Files vibes, from the various teases to Ben's skeptical powers of deduction. The separate arcs involving Kristen needing to be "redeemed" in her daughters' eyes gave everyone involved a purpose & something to do since the younger co-stars have nothing to drive the main narrative this week. Colter's David is also stretched further than he's been, challenged spiritually unlike ever before even while Ben's logistics are as sound as ever to move the episode along.
I guess if there's one thing I do have to scratch my head at is how much the Catholic Church is on-board with Leland and whatever scheme he's trying to work from within as a newcomer to the institution. Especially when you compare any history that Kristen, Ben, and David already share with Leland, and the history Sister Andrea already has. Assuming Leland's the sole orchestrator and whomever else he had onboard to testify on his behalf, the entire premise of the show Evil is that the Church is trying to validate any signs of "miracles" they discover. Cognitive functions can easily be tested, but the fact that Sister Andrea can see demons should be investigated by the actual trio of Ben, Kristen, and David than just whatever narrative obstacles the showrunners decide to create against Andrea. It's as if there's an attempt to force two storylines to happen when both should be more entwined.
With the trial for Andrea's job bleeding over into the next episode, it's starting to feel like they're overthinking the secretive X-Files part from Brian d'Arcy James' Victor LeConte starting to give off those "Cigarette Smoking Man" vibes. On a side note, I'm glad they finally gave Kurt Fuller's Dr. Kurt Boggs something else to do this season and hope that's a sign of better things to come down the road.