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Evil - Rose390 - Review

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1.4 - “Rose390”
Written by Davita Scarlett
Directed by Peter Sollett
Reviewed by KathM

I am a fan of the scary/possibly psychotic kid trope in pretty much any form. This week’s episode, however, didn’t bring enough scary for me to feel satisfied. Even with Rose. I saw it more as a slow burn rather than constantly harrowing, which is what I wanted. I made popcorn and everything. That being said, when it was scary, it was crazy scary.

Our main story concerns Eric, a child they were called on to investigate because his parents thought he might be possessed. He’s had all kinds of meds and therapy and even hospitalization: possession is the only thing they hadn’t crossed off of their Possibilities list. Um, okay. It would have made more sense for them to have asked for Kristen’s opinion as a Forensic Psychologist (for all the good she did) first, then called in Team Science. But hey, it’s a tv show.

From the start I had trouble connecting with Eric, his affect was very flat and I didn't get an evil vibe from him because emotionally I didn't get anything to work with. Then again, I’m using Leland and George as a measuring stick. I did get a subtle Bad Seed vibe, though.

His attachment to David surprised me, and I think David was too anxious to feel like he did some good for Eric and connected with him on some level than to actually do any good. He tells Eric to pray, while prayer doesn’t necessarily work for David (“Who’s on first?”). Pray, and you'll get anything you want. Not what I heard in Communion class. David doesn’t really take any time to talk to Eric about what he’d pray for, which in Eric’s case is the death of his younger sister.

But why? That is what's driving me nuts. Is it just sibling jealousy because he isn’t the “baby” of the family anymore? Are these seriously wrong cries for attention? Does he think his sister is evil? What about his parents? And what does his older sister think? His friends? It would have been nice to have had someone outside of Team Science to counter what our team was doing; a school psychologist or one of the doctors who treated him in the hospital. They think Eric might be a psychopath but, because they can’t definitively diagnose him at his age, the parents have moved on to exorcism. As one does.

There’s a blurry line between the scientific and metaphysical , but I’m still on Team Mental Illness, which I think explains why we truly know so little about his family life and other factors that would help us make choices about Eric's ultimate diagnosis. I think that's the point: sometimes you just don’t know.

I would have liked the episode to focus more on Eric and less on the girls. They had a good storyline themselves, one that could have been expanded into an episode if the right elements were added (Kristen actually sitting down with the girls and talking to them about the game, Kristen confronting her mother about buying them the VR without checking it out to make sure it was “safe” or checking with her, etc.).

Kids generally like scary things and being scared; to me it makes perfect sense that they wouldn’t tell their mom about the MA options they could play. But after Laura freaked out I was disappointed that Lynn, as the eldest child, didn’t tell the younger ones that they couldn’t use the MA setting anymore. Or that Kristen didn’t just flat out take the game away from them. Come on Kristen, parent! And we really need more Sheryl (and Christine Lahti) in our lives.

Still love Ben. He wasn’t in the episode very long, but he made an impression. He was funny as he told the girls he was messing with the shower head because their mom wanted to make sure they didn’t turn into psychopaths due to lead poisoning. He also sternly told Rose the Homage-To-The-Ring girl to go away when the four L’s said she was in Kristen’s bedroom. Rose didn’t listen, but what children do these days?

I’m surprised at how upset Kristen was at her children for lying to her about the game and not her mother for buying it. Says a lot about their relationship.

Despite the lack of imagination that went into her design, I loved Rose. She was just compelling enough and seemed part of the game while obviously being something else. I’m not sure what yet, though. When she appears to the older girls and uses the Ouji board to tell them that Daddy is in heaven (totally thought she’d say hell) it was wonderful. You knew she’d be back, but not exactly when. And she uses the one thing she knew would terrify the girls, that something happened to their far-away daddy. After they run into Kristen’s room and tell her they think their father is dead Kristen makes a video with them for their dad and asks him to text to say he’s all right. You get the feeling that he may not have been replying to Kristen’s texts for a while, and wonder what that means.

The thing that would have made the VR storyline for me would have been a shot of Rose standing in the doorway watching Kristen and her two eldest daughters sleeping peacefully while George smiles behind her. The two creepy creatures of Chez Bouchard hanging out, how great would that have been?

And back to Eric. I was surprised at how freaked out I was by the ending, but it was truly harrowing. I’m of three minds: his parents killed him; they tried to kill him and he escaped or; he ran away, leaving enough evidence behind to make it look like they killed him. While he is most likely dead, I would like to have him back for an episode or two (living or dead). I could see him stalking David, or becoming a new kid in school and friend of the Bouchard Four that Kristen never meets. Sooo many options.

If nothing else, now Leland has someone else to make David feel guilty about.

PS - David asked Kristen for a drink and she accepted. Huh. Interested to see what motives or expectations each of them has for such an outing.

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