Evil Season 3 Review: Still A Terrifying And Silly Delight

Three seasons in, "Evil" is starting to feel a bit repetitive, with its weekly cases treading familiar ground, while the overarching plot is moving at a snail's pace — or to be thematically appropriate, at god's pace — but is that really a bad thing when the episodes are this much fun? In the case of "Evil," more of the same is still more of the show's delightful mix of scary and silly, but with enough changes to the dynamic between characters to keep things from stagnating.

The new season picks up right where season two ended, with Kristen (Katja Herbers) confessing the murder of serial killer Orson LeRoux to the newly anointed Father David (Mike Colter) as their sexual tension came to a boiling point with a kiss. This changes their relationship, especially once Kristen's husband Andy moves back home permanently. Meanwhile, Magnificent Ben is not doing too great, with all the science versus supernatural talk finally getting to him, shaking his grasp of reality. But after so many unexplained events, who can blame him? And even at his psychological worst, Aasif Mandvi remains the show's MVP when it comes to comic relief with just a quick remark or joke.

Trolls and horny demons

Robert and Michelle King have found a great balance between episodic and serialized storytelling, and this season's cases are a hoot and a half, even if they continue to play coy with whether there is actually anything supernatural going on. Season 3 includes a machine that should determine what the soul weighs but possibly malfunctions and steals someone's "soul" instead; a sex demon hellbent on ruining a newlywed couple's intimacy; a demon haunting a road; and much more. Even when the case of the week starts to feel too similar to past episodes, the show throws a new element that makes it different, like yet another take on internet legends and killer memes, like Slenderman, and haunting Street View cars. One great addition this year is Andrea Martin's Sister Andrea having a bigger role to play, and an all-out war between her and Michael Emerson's Leland that serves as showcases for the two incredible performers.

"Evil" is always at its best when it uses supernatural horror and religion to comment on the real horrors of our world, with demons and ghouls being just a cooler and more elaborate way to present regular evil people. This season continues that trend, with Leland leading a whole company dedicated to spreading the word of Satan via everything from cryptocurrency as a means to scam the masses, to doomscrolling and trolling keeping people devoid of hope. These storylines have never really reached the heights of the mass shooter plotline from season 1, but they remain poignant and scary. Likewise, the show uses bizarre imagery for laughs like a very, very horny (in every way imaginable), hairy blue demon catcalling Sister Andrea before his jaw quite literally falls to the ground.

The Exorcist successor

As for the overarching plot, this new season kicks things up a notch in terms of stakes, even if it continues to move quite slowly. "Evil" takes up the mantle from the underseen "The Exorcist" TV show both in terms of scares, but also in terms of global stakes, with David getting drafted into service to be a spy for the Vatican in a secret war against unseen demonic forces. Those who lament the loss of "The Exorcist" and its plot of trying to get the Pope possessed by a demon.

"Evil" remains one of the smartest, scariest TV shows around. The Kings crafted a show that nails the ratio of case-of-the-week and overarching mysteries, and even after a move to streaming only, "Evil" feels like a rarity in the era of binge-watching and TV shows that should be movies. The most noticeable change since the show moved to Paramount+ is a bigger emphasis on profanity and sexuality, but it never feels forced or excessive, but a natural response to the horrors the characters experience on a daily basis.

"Evil" season 3 premieres on June 12, 2022 on Paramount+.