‘Evil’: Leland Townsend’s Latest Move Could Mean Serious Trouble for Kristen (RECAP)

177 Minutes
Spoiler Alert
Elizabeth Fisher/CBS

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 1, Episode 5 of Evil, “October 31.”]

What better way to get into the Halloween spirit than with the scariest new show on television? And it’s hard to tell what’s more terrifying in Evil‘s episode for the spooky holiday: the woman who may or may not be possessed; the mysterious girl in the mask who impersonates a neighbor, takes Kristen’s (Katja Herbers) kids to a cemetery, and has one of them get in a grave; or Leland (Michael Emerson), clearly maneuvering the pieces to charm Sheryl (Christine Lahti).

The last two have the strongest implications for what may happen moving forward, and there is a very real possibility that Leland is behind the avatar young girl in Episode 4’s game and the masked girl asking them how they’d kill their mothers. But what we do know for certain is he’s inserting himself into Kristen’s life at home now, as well as at work. (He originally showed up as an expert witness on one of her cases when she worked for the D.A.’s office.)

Sheryl’s at dinner with a man she met on a dating site when his hiccups drive him to the bathroom. Leland, sitting at the table behind her, asks if he’s okay — and then casually comments that he knew a man who had hiccups, had a heart attack, and died. “It’s all right,” he continues. “He was suicidal anyway.” Rather than scare Sheryl away, however, it seems his honesty draws her in.

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“About three years ago, I realized I was too worried about offending anyone for anything,” Leland says. “I was constantly saying ‘sorry, sorry, sorry,’ and then I stopped. It just lifted like a black fog and now I say whatever I think or feel. I don’t look back. And do you know why? Because kindness is hypocrisy.”

After Kristen calls her home to babysit, Leland tells Sheryl his date stood him up — and asks her to leave with him. “I know I should feel bad about your date hiccupping to death but I don’t, and I don’t feel bad about my date, either. She was in a car accident,” he says. “I think that life is created by happy accidents. This is a happy accident.” She hesitates but does join him outside, and he immediately kisses her.

(Jeff Neumann/CBS)

When she gets home, she’s happy, and she confirms to her daughter that she met someone. “He was a complete gentleman,” she says. “You would approve.” (No, Kristen would not.)

And later, Leland tries to keep Sheryl from answering a call on the other line, telling her he wants to set a date for dinner and that he may have to go. Fortunately, she doesn’t listen, because it’s the call from the neighbor apologizing for not explaining sooner why her kid didn’t show up. Sheryl immediately goes to look for the kids since she thought the kid was there, and she and Kristen find them in the cemetery, the stranger gone and her mask left behind.

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It can’t be a coincidence that Leland was on the phone with Sheryl as the kids were off with this scary little girl, right? After all, Emerson did tell TV Insider, “You should worry about [Kristen’s] family.”

Evil, Thursdays, 10/9c, CBS