Evil Season 2 Episode 3 Review: F Is for Fire

First, Sister Andrea wants nothing to do with David’s sigil map, because he’s not supposed to be in possession of it. He was told to look into it, but not have a physical, visual aid for reference. The nun will not break the rules of the church, even if they are not official commandments. However, when David begins to explain the background, and how it all leads to something more sinister at RSM Fertility, we can see her interest grow. By the time she’s separating alphabets from language to language, letter by letter, Sister Andrea projects her entire process. Even better than this, she leaves the audience with a thousand questions about her past. Why is she such an expert on so many things? She is like Deep Throat, the Well-Manicured Man and X on The X-Files combined, but with far better grounding in reality.

Once Sister Andrea gets to the clue of the coded message, she quickly deciphers the letters of a name, and surprisingly, the family has been wondering why it took so long for the church to get there. David’s backlog of cases is a subtle running joke, but it’s become contagious. But so does the demon at the center of the episode’s mystery. The thing haunting the little girl is called an Ifrit, in Islamic mythology, it is neither good nor evil, just very moody, and often burns very hot.

The subject of the investigation is a girl named Mathilda Maubrey, played by Matilda Lawler, who also played Brenda, the little girl in the mask who took Kristen’s children grave-digging in season 1. Mathilda is the foster child Brian and Jane Castle are thinking of adopting, but mysterious fires keep starting whenever the kid is left alone. The biological mother was arrested for arson. Kristen thinks the daughter might be replicating her mom’s behavior. Ben Shakir (Aasif Mandvi) is open to the idea the mother might have been put away for crimes Mathilda committed. Or the answer might be found behind door number 3.

Mathilda is very bright, and Lawler plays her intelligently but with a desperate edge. She sweetly tells Kristen she doesn’t need to give examples of the things she’s being questioned about. But she’s really saying she’s at the end of her patience and doesn’t like to be patronized. She is not an angry child. She says she only gets mad after talking to her mom because she misses her. Her parents probably should have led with the nanny-cam tape, though. It is the reason they called in the church, they say. Why make the team linger over this without that information? Kristen throws out a perfectly good tea set. It comes back, but still.

Even though we believe Mathilda, what is she doing with chlorine tablets and brake fluid? Her father has a point. Besides the invading entity, the family also has to endure religious intolerance from the clergy itself. The spiritual workers from the two faiths don’t wrestle the spirit as a tag-team, the priest and the sheikh face off against each other in a pious preliminary.

Poor Ben is forced into defending a mythology he doesn’t buy into because of some form of nationalistic pride. Watching how the priest treats the sheikh before the exorcism rites begin, the audience tends to side with Muslim-raised skeptic. Not only does Ben have to contend with the holier rollers doing wheelies on his family’s faith, Kristen pushes his agnostic buttons with all the guilt of a lapsed Catholic. It’s a good thing he’s got a dream demoness waiting up for him at home.

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