Evil Premiere Recap: Duck, Ben! and Other Advice Not Heeded — Plus, Grade It!

After a very long absence, Evil returns to Paramount+ today for its final season. And in Episode 1, “How to Split an Atom,” we get a callback to an early ep, a terrifying creepy-crawly and an explanation of that ridiculous chihuahua toy in Leland’s apartment. It’s an embarrassment of supernatural riches!

In a moment, we’ll want to know what you thought of the premiere. But first, read on for the highlights:

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‘I WANT TO GO BACK TO NORMAL’ | We pick up exactly where Season 3 left off, with Leland informing Kristen, “We’re going to be parents.” She ignores Sheryl’s attempts to explain, and while she’s waiting for the elevator to leave, Leland can’t help but follow her out to the lobby to rub his violation in her face. “Your eggs and my sperm, destined for each other from the beginning,” he purrs, informing her that the unholy event is set to take place in 38 days and that she is “the mother of the living antichrist.” But she just laughs, which irks him. “Do you know why I’m laughing, Leland? Because I can’t think of any greater torture I could devise for you than to give you a baby. A crying, sh—ting baby. I giggle at the thought of you waking up at 3 am because the antichrist needs changing?! Or dealing with Diaper Genies and bottles at 4 am?! And that’s just the beginning. I mean, have you thought about the terrible 2s? In your apartment?!” She can’t stop chuckling. “Did you ever wonder why The Omen skipped the infancy? Because that’s the real horror.” Then she congratulates him (“you just f—ked yourself more than you know”) and goes home to rip down every piece of even tangentially religious paraphernalia in her house.

Sheryl swings by to talk, but Kristen isn’t having it. She emotionally and physically bans her mother from her family’s life, then stomps inside to find Andy prepping dinner in the kitchen. She hugs him from behind, kissing his neck and reaching underneath his apron to undo his pants (hilarious knife work from Patrick Brammall there), and pretty soon they’re going at it on the chopping block. In the afterglow, she announces “I want to go back to normal,” and they cuddle for a minute before the girls’ arrival home from school sends Mom and Dad scrambling for their clothes.

‘WOE TO BABYLON, 38 DAYS’| David thinks about his angelic vision from the Season 3 finale and, with the help of some Internet searching, realizes the phrase is related to the arrival of the biblically foretold antichrist. But he’s pulled away by Father Ignatius, who’s filling in for the late monsignor and who has a job for David, Ben and Kristen: Go out to a particle accelerator on Long Island and prove that it’s not opening the gates of Hell so that local parishes can calm down and stop protesting the scientific work done there. What’s not helping this is a video, shot at the accelerator, that makes it seem like a demonic cult sacrificed a woman on the premises.

So they go to the facility, don clean suits and radiation detectors, and take a very long elevator ride down to the deeply buried accelerator. But things are weird from the start. Someone is leaving graffiti of little demons on the walls. Though the scientists at the accelerator say the video was a prank, the woman in it conveniently no longer works there. And when David has his back turned, a member of the accelerator’s cleaning crew leaves him a note that says, “They’re lying” and offers a street address “if you want the truth.”

They connect with the note-leaver that night. He tells them the “gates of Hell” are located at the far end of the accelerator’s loop, where there’s a sinkhole through the concrete and “weird things happen there.” Then he shows them a video of some otherworldly fog ominously creeping toward him from the hole.

In the car, Kristen asks Ben to tell her how the video was faked, and he pulls up an app that can insert angels and ghosts into footage — a fun callback to Season 1, Episode 2. She’s satisfied, but David isn’t, so the trio plans to return the next night.


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DEEPER AND DEEPER| The next day, Andy bristles at Kristen’s plan to be away that evening “with David.” And after she leaves, he gets a call from Leland, who plays the Feliz Navidad dog’s song for him. That trigger sends him right back to Leland’s place, where Townsend and Sheryl put him into a trance state and plant this suggestion: “Why is your wife f—king a priest?” We’ll come back to this in a moment.

The Vatican sends a priest who tells David, Ben and Kristen that he is concerned about the particle accelerator’s potential ability to create black holes. Ben assures him that, even though it’s possible that could happen, it’s highly improbable.  And when Ben asks the chief scientist at the accelerator, he offers to take Ben into the tube where the particle acceleration happens, and Ben happily agrees.

Meanwhile, David goes to see the sinkhole, which is just kinda covered with a blue tarp? And when he yanks it back, all the lights go out and some big centipede-looking creature crawls out of the crevice with the head of a human woman in its mouth. Pincers? Mouth-pincers. David, smartly, runs.

At the same time, elsewhere, Kristen realizes her radiation badge has changed colors and yells for Ben and the scientist to get out of the accelerator tube. But he doesn’t duck in time, and so the beam shoots straight through his left cheekbone!

ANDY TAKES ACTION | Doctors examine Ben immediately, and he claims he’s fine — “There’s no black hole growing inside my head,” he assures Kristen, who doesn’t think he’s OK — and the trio leaves. David doesn’t share what he saw with Kristen or Ben, but he does confer with Sister Andrea back at the rectory. And when he goes back to his room, Andy is waiting for him. “What can I do for you?” David asks. “You can stop f—king my wife,” Andy says, clearly upset. He doesn’t believe David’s denials (good thing he can’t see Demon Kristen lying on the bed, wrapped only in the mosquito netting and waggling her forked tongue), and after Andy leaves, David meets Kristen near her house to let her know what transpired.

She’s livid. “We are fine. We’ve been good!” she says of her friendship with David. “Do I have feelings for you? Yeah! But my husband, he needs to shut the f—k up.” Then she stomps off, and the next morning, she wakes Andy, warning him never to sabotage her job. He counters that David only told her because he wanted the Bouchards to argue. She denies sleeping with David, which is true, and also kissing him, which is not. Then she angrily tells him to get his stuff together: “Shape up, or go back to your mountains!” Will he listen? Is it wrong for me to kinda hope not?

DJINN IN A BOTTLE | Ben is, indeed, doing OK… until that evening, when he starts seeing something in his periphery. And though he’s convinced it’s all in his head, that changes when he reaches out to the side — and touches a scaly appendage. Ultimately, he realizes, there’s a djinn in his apartment… or his head. It’s not clear which.

UH, CONGRATS? | Kristen, Ben and David get called back to the accelerator because the cleaning crew member that showed them his video allegedly was trying to blackmail the facility. They see real-time security footage of him near the sinkhole, but then something happens and he’s gone. They race to the spot and there’s no evidence of him at all, but David notices that there are new claw marks — and blood — at the lip of the sinkhole.

Back at the rectory, the trio report that they’re not quite sure what’s up at the accelerator, but the facility has some big safety issues it needs to work out. Father Ignatius says the place better get a move on, because it’s slated to open in “38 days” — which makes David visibly agitated.

He, Kristen and Ben move to his room, where they ask him about his reaction. He says he had a dream about Revelation. “An angel told me the world would end in 38 days, starting the reign of the antichrist,” he says, which makes Kristen laugh in a loud and unhinged way. At Ben’s befuddlement, she says, “It’s just, I’m having a son. In 38 days!” And, scene!

ALSO OF NOTE | Kristen and Andy’s eldest daughter, Lynn, has been sneaking out to see Sister Andrea about maybe becoming a nun — but when the sister finds out that the teen isn’t being forthright with her parents, she says she won’t work with her unless Lynn comes clean. But when Kristen catches Lynn tiptoeing into the house past curfew, courtesy of an evening visit to the rectory, Lynn lets her mom think that she was hanging out with her boyfriend, Ren, instead of telling her the truth.

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Grade it via the poll below, then hit the comments!

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