Evil: 177 Minutes
October 4, 2019 9:59 AM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Kristen, David, and Ben are called to investigate a supposed miracle when Naomi Clark, a 17-year-old soccer player comes back to life after she had been declared dead for almost two hours. Also, Kristen meets with her former boss at the Queens District Attorney's office, where she runs into Leland Townsend.
posted by oh yeah! (10 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm still not sure if I like this show - if the Kings really are going to make there be a rational/scientific explanation for everything (per the recap), I don't think I'm going to be happy ultimately. No matter how much Michael Emerson gets to show off his creepster skills.
posted by oh yeah! at 10:07 AM on October 4, 2019

I'm enjoying the show. They seem to be balancing science with I dunno I guess the mystical? The mystery this week was both science AND mysticism. The revival wasn't the REAL mystery, but the church isn't interested that. Which is disappointing and ultimately leads to me to question where that is going. But it's only the second so I'm allowing that this is just laying the groundwork and I'll enjoy demon George and Michael Emerson in the meantime.
posted by miss-lapin at 3:20 PM on October 4, 2019

Yeah, same. I'm enjoying the characters enough to carry it along, but the rational explanations are preeeeeetty frickin' thin, and there were at least two things in this episode that made me go "oh, ok, they're just going to assume we're idiots. OK." IIRC "this memory card was re-used!" because everybody knows SD cards are like rolls of film?!? and ... something else.

I mean, there's a lot of interesting stuff surrounding the sort of wafer-thin excuse for plot motivators, I just can't tell if they're going to acknowledge that t he plot motivators _are_ super thin and launch into the possibly more interesting good v. evil story or not.
posted by Kyol at 3:30 PM on October 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

I agree that the tech explanations were ridiculous and a concern wrt how good this show will be. I will assume the medical stuff is just as bad, but the tech stuff was like asking us to accept "he almost died of that paper cut!" as a medical explanation.

Did anyone else catch the the following dialog:

Kristen's therapist: "I did a cultural tour of Bali. Alternative cultures often use spiritual images in their psychological work." Ugh. So easy to fix if it weren't the subconscious expression of the American worldview.

I want this show to jump out of its just-good-enough formulaic aspects, and it's trying. Kristen's monologue about her daughter's heart problem was good. As I looked for that dialog line I noticed how much of the time Kristen was being "explained to", which is not unexpected. I assume there's a gendered Trope for this. She's an investigator, so it makes sense that people would be Telling Her Stuff. But there are numerous contexts for this and they're all men: the therapist, David, David's assistant, etc. On the other hand, she's new to the particular work she's now part of, and she is an investigator. Her own moments of expression are largely with/about her daughters. One would hope that as she gains confidence in her role, she delivers I-Found-the-Problem dialog like David's with Hospital CEO.

It ends with Mike David taking drugs, which is unexpected and open-ended. I'm going to give it a few more episodes.
posted by sylvanshine at 7:10 PM on October 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oh right, the "ground loop" excuse, I think it was, felt pretty silly to me. I mean, it's a thing, sure, but it doesn't work like they explained it.

And yeah, Ok, so the dead girl had some mysterious inflexible alveoli COPD blah bwah wotsit going on so she stopped breathing.

For 177 minutes.

And... Uh. Her heart was stopped all that time, too? Or did I miss something that suggested that she died merely long enough to code out and be declared dead, then somehow self-revived to a just barely conscious state in the ME's slab and woke up when she was cut?

I mean the ultimate story that the ER only worked half as long on the black patient as the white patient, sure, that's a good straightforward, non-miraculous answer. But it feels like they're kind of skipping right on past the core conceit of the show for... Other reasons.
posted by Kyol at 7:49 PM on October 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Came to post that I had just watched this video about security camera ghosts (on Disney properties) that did turn out to be from a previous recording on video tape, which makes a lot more sense.

I thought that when Acosta got angry looking at the time codes that there was going to be some explanation about there being a mix-up with how long she had supposedly been dead. The actual explanation doesn't address the fact that her brain had been oxygen deprived for hours. They also mentioned post-mortem markers like lividity, but didn't say whether or not she had showed them.

Also, they really aggressively hand-waved Townsend not having been brought up on charges for his actions in the previous episode. The theft of medical records in particular seemed like an open-and-shut case. And what is worse is that they could have wrenched some drama out of that, and gotten to the same conclusion, if they showed us how he got himself out of it. Instead of making him look more dangerous they made the DA look like a moron.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 7:51 AM on October 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

I think it's possible we're looking at a much larger conspiracy involving Townsend. Kristen gets a job offer from the place that just axed her? Her therapy notes are stolen?The set up here seems pretty clearly that there is more than just George trying to derail Kristen. And I wouldn't be surprised to discover that both the therapist, the DA, and her former employer are colluding with Townsend.

This would explain the ease of getting the notes, the lack of prosecution, and the job offer. The theft of the notes in particular was striking to me because I know how far most therapists go to protect that kind of information. That her file was so easily located and removed without detection by a new patient is beyond belief.
posted by miss-lapin at 8:21 AM on October 6, 2019

I think they are stupendously lazy and/or hold their audience in contempt. The single thing they are being careful about is George's visitations but pretty much everything else is the equivalent of Star Trek techno babble, except instead of assuming their audience doesn't know anything about antimatter they're assuming the audience doesn't know what lividity is or how long before brain death is inevitable at room temperature or that police investigating a suspected serial killer won't bother to take his wife's laptop into evidence or that a defendant in a recorded interview who quotes a psychologist's therapy notes that were missing from her therapist's files wouldn't cause an investigation or...

If basically every commenter in these two threads have complained about difficulty suspending disbelief regarding the details of crucial plot events over the course of two episodes, that's pretty revealing.

It's infuriating to me because it's easily avoidable and so much else about the show has promise.

Personally, my preference is that the show never takes a position on the paramormal because I think that's most frightening. But given that they are lazy and walking that very fine line would require enormous care, I don't think they could manage it. If I had to choose going one direction or the other, I'd prefer that the audience learns the paranormal is real but the main characters struggle with telling the difference.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:20 AM on October 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

I don't think I've ever been happy with a show that doesn't commit to being either skeptic or paranormal. Like, not the characters, but the show. I remember being so annoyed at 'Numb3rs' and 'The Mentalist' where pro-science and no-such-thing-as-psychics was baked into the very premise, but both of them had episodes where some guest-star psychic did something that the regular characters couldn't find a way to debunk in-show. Commit to your universe, dammit!

Since I fall into the skeptic camp when it comes to belief in ghosts/demons/psychics/supernatural whatevers, for fiction to work on me the supernatural elements have to be established as real-within-the-show. I will suspend my disbelief and buy into whatever that universe's laws are from superheroes to murder-mermaids, but, I can't just yo-yo back and forth between my real-world-view mode and my tv-watching-view mode.
posted by oh yeah! at 11:58 AM on October 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yeah, since I don't believe in the supernatural/paranormal, I just can't get that scared at fiction that posits it. On the other hand, this show demonstrates its ability to remind us of those fears when we were young enough to fully believe, so a full-on skeptic stance would undermine that for me. Where I'm still capable of being scared by the supernatural is when I'm reminded I don't actually know with certainty that this stuff isn't real. I have a mental list of three or so unexplained spooky experiences of mine, which I remind myself of occasionally as a good empiricist, and so fiction that can get me right to that knife's edge of it maybe, just maybe, might be real actually hits me in that place where that scared little kid of my childhood lives.

I read and watch a huge amount of fantastical material -- I'm the kind of hard-core skeptic who finds these genres very enjoyable because, well, it's fiction. All fiction is false. Expecting me to believe it about the world I actually live in is a very different matter, but I like being reminded of that terror I experienced as a child, when I really thought there was someone in my closet.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:16 PM on October 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

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