Roush Review: ‘Evil’s Final Season Is a Deliciously Deranged Scream

Michael Emerson as Leland Townsend and Katja Herbers as Kristen Bouchard appearing in Evil episode 1, season 4,
Elizabeth Fisher / Paramount+


Matt's Rating: rating: 4.5 stars

You’ll scream till you laugh. Or is that laugh till you scream?

Works either way for Evil, my favorite supernatural thriller since the glory days of The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with an even higher amusement threshold. But here’s the scariest part: It’s ending after just four seasons (the first season aired on CBS).

The good news: With its delectable mix of humor and terror, Evil isn’t going out quietly. “Are we really on that level of crazy?” wonders Kristen (saucy Katja Herbers), the forensic psychologist and skeptic, during an upcoming case about possibly possessed pigs. Yes, we really are. Her team, including hunky priest David (Mike Colter) and wry tech expert Ben (Aasif Mandvi), are feeling it too. “Doesn’t it seem like these assignments are getting weirder?” Ben wonders.

If they are, which is arguable, that’s how we and the show’s brilliant creators, Robert and Michelle King, like it. Kristen may tell her husband Andy (Patrick Brammall), “I want to get back to normal,” but we know that’s not possible, not with her wayward mother Sheryl (the fabulous Christine Lahti), who’s banned from contact with the family, still in cahoots with devil-worshiping nemesis Leland Townsend (droll Michael Emerson).

With a new boss (Young Sheldon‘s Wallace Shawn) giving orders from the Catholic Church (and sometimes the Vatican), our heroes still regularly debunk some of their wildest assignments: A werewolf turns out to be a robot dog with questionable software. (Kristen’s rowdy daughters naturally want to adopt it.)

Yet they live in a world of actual monsters, most notably Leland, who stole one of Kristen’s eggs from a clinic and implanted it in a terrified surrogate who may be incubating the Antichrist. This macabre twist on Rosemary’s Baby is met mostly with laughter when Kristen taunts him: “Did you ever wonder why The Omen skipped the infancy? Because that’s the real horror.” Sure enough, Satan’s sidekick is no match for a wailing baby spewing bodily fluids.

No sitcom this year has made me howl harder than the sight of comedy legend Andrea Martin as a nun fending off ghoulish demons only she can see with a pair of giant garden shears. Still, I jumped during those battles, and cringed when David peered into an abyss within a particle accelerator that may have accidentally opened the gates of Hell.

Evil gleefully depicts the best and worst of all fantasy worlds, and I’m going to miss it. 

Evil, Fourth and Final Season Premiere, Thursday, May 23, Paramount+