‘Evil’ Bosses & Stars on Kristen & David’s ‘Love’ and Leland’s ‘Defeat’ in Season 3 Premiere

Mike Colter as David Acosta, Katja Herbers as Kristen Bouchard, Aasif Mandvi as Ben Shakir, Michael Emerson as Leland Townsend in Evil
Spoiler Alert
Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Evil Season 3 premiere “The Demon of Death.”]

Evil doesn’t waste any time in showing what happens following Kristen (Katja Herbers) and David’s (Mike Colter) kiss after her confession… or does it? Not everything is as it seems in the Season 3 premiere, at least for one of the pair.

At first, they begin falling into bed together, losing clothes, until she leaves, only to return — and no, it’s not just once. The next night, David’s in bed when Kristen returns to him — but her long tongue clues him in on the fact that this is not Kristen. It’s not until he talks to Kristen that he finds out that they did actually stop before having sex and she never returned to his room. They agree not to be awkward… but they’re totally going to be awkward, especially since not-Kristen pays him another nightly visit at the end of the episode.

“You’re going to see some uncomfortableness as they try to recalibrate what’s appropriate,” co-creator Michelle King tells TV Insider. Adds co-creator Robert King, “It’s like two friends who push back friendship and suddenly it’s romance, how do you pull back? There’s an added complication here because Kristen isn’t sure when he says, ‘I thought we had sex,’ what a priest thinks of with sex. Does he call sex the very fact that we just kissed and almost moved to the bed and I was pulling off my sweater? That misunderstanding is part of I think what they have to dig through as they get to something copacetic between them.”

That doesn’t erase the feelings between the two, though Kristen is “going to really, really try her best [to stay away] because they know each other really well and she really respects him and it’s not just lust,” Herbers says. “She loves him and she respects his life path. I think he would start to hate her probably if they would be together.”

Katja Herbers as Kristen Bouchard and Mike Colter as David Acosta in Evil

Elizabeth Fisher/CBS

She then recalls the conversation Kristen and David had in Season 2’s “D Is for Doll.” If things were different and they’d met each other before everything, “would we be in love?” he asked, and she nodded but told him to “go get ordained.” Herbers loves that moment. “It’s clear they would be [in love],” she says. “And so this tenderness between them and the respect of each other’s boundaries, although they were crossed for that moment, I think is quite caring and probably will make their love stronger and who knows what’ll happen in the future, but for now, he’s gonna marry God.”

So how’s David handling all of this, considering he thought it was Kristen in his bed at first? “It’s a state of confusion and utter just sort of feeling what can he trust?” explains Colter. “I love what the Kings did. In Season 1, we were introduced to George and the night terrors and Kristen was experiencing all those. Then you had Ben [with his] night terrors [in Season 2], and this is a play on that in some way because most of what we see in any given episode can be in someone’s imagination. I think this was a clever and very unique way of introducing yet another figment of one’s imagination — we think, we don’t necessarily know, but that’s what it feels like.”

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Even while David may be struggling with what he’s seeing, for Colter, “I always have to rationalize this thing in my head about what’s really happening. Even the way David dresses, I explained away what he wears and how he’s able to afford it. Everything has to be explained in my head so I understand how to play it, but I don’t think that David understands what’s happening and once he realizes that was not exactly Kristen in there and he sort of completely, 100 percent thought that it was, he doesn’t know what that means. It definitely makes it interesting how he works around her day-to-day and what he thinks about in those moments when he’s not thinking about work and how he functions around her at any given moment. Now she has to also understand, why is David acting weird and what’s David’s whole purpose and what’s he talking about? It just changes the shape of our relationship quite a bit.”

Michael Emerson as Leland Townsend in Evil

Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+

Elsewhere in the episode, Kristen takes a restraining order out against Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson) after he approached her daughter, Lexis (Maddy Crocco), at school, and so he tries to get to Lexis by posing as a kid on the game Bumblebee Valley. But she knows who he really is, and her sisters join her in bombarding him with questions on the game, to the point that it drives him to throw his phone down, breaking it. “F**king kids,” he says. (Evil really does work better with swearing, just one of many reasons why the Paramount+ move was so good for the series.)

For Leland, who “has a couple of reasons to be interested in Lexis,” what happens with Bumblebee Valley is “just an ignominious defeat, that he has been outwitted by a gaggle of chattering girls, and it doesn’t reflect well on him so he’s going to put that humiliation in a vest pocket somewhere and then drag it out later when he needs to put somebody down,” according to Emerson.

Evil

Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+

Meanwhile, Kristen’s husband Andy (Patrick Brammall) returns home to quite the welcome, including seeing a demon (pictured above) in the garage with Sheryl (Christine Lahti) and finding a jar under the bed with a head inside. He flushes the head down the toilet, blue stuff comes out, and it’s gross. “That is not good for anybody’s plumbing,” Michelle King laughs.

“As someone who did additions to our house, they say one of the worst things for a marriage is going on vacation together or doing work on your kitchen. I think this is the version of doing work on your house with a demonic head flushed down a toilet,” Robert King says. “A toilet bleeding is one of those things you really have to call the contractor about. It is all this idea that sometimes evil comes from what’s inside not outside. That’s the metaphor at work there.”

Evil, Sundays, Paramount+