Father Mulvehill might be succumbing to Leland’s manipulation, and Lila realizes that her best friend’s dad could be a zombie. That’s what we’re dealing with in Evil Season 2, Episode 5, “Z is for Zombies,” which feels like one of the weaker episodes of this season. That said, it does expand on Sister Andrea’s character and purpose.
Let’s start with the zombie storyline since that is the episode’s namesake. Lila and her friend Alex are obsessed with watching zombie movies, which isn’t surprising considering we’ve seen how much Kristen’s daughters enjoy all things horror. Given their mother’s job, that seems inevitable.
Moments after watching a Korean zombie film from separate rooms (they’re neighbors), the girls look outside and notice two men lumbering through the alley between their adjoining units. When they go outside to investigate, they notice blood left behind on the ground. The scares don’t end there. The next night they camp in a yard outside and spy someone creeping around Alex’s bedroom. Lila and Alex realize the “zombie” that’s been creeping around is Alex’s dad, Brandon (Francois Battiste).
It gets weirder when Alex notices he has a bloody mark on his arm that looks suspiciously like a zombie bite, and he appears dead behind the eyes. They realize the connection is CongoRun, Evil‘s version of Amazon, an evil corporation with horrific factory conditions that often result in employees turning zombie-like.
Many of them even get injured from the distribution machines, which explains the wound on Brandon’s hand. Plus, they’re often on their feet for so long that it’s not unheard of for their feet to start bleeding through their shoes, explaining the blood from the episode’s beginning.
Desperate for help, the two girls research and find a local woman in town who specializes in zombies and other supernatural afflictions. The woman tells them how in the era of slavery, the slave drivers would use the zombie myth to keep slaves from committing suicide. If they did, they would be doomed to work the fields for eternity in a zombified state. As such, she gives the girls two solutions, one to sprinkle on Brandon’s food and one to give to the CongoRun slave driver, who she ensures will make himself known soon.
That night, Alex and Lila use the first solution on Brandon’s dinner. The next day, he oversleeps and misses work. It turns out to be fortuitous, as that very day, a gas leak at the factory resulted in 40 employees being sent to the hospital. Brandon was lucky to avoid it.
But because these employees are now unable to work and are not unionized, CongoRun isn’t planning to give them severance pay. Brandon and some of the other people who work there meet together at his house to discuss the possibility of unionizing. Alex and Lila watch the entire meeting from the stairway.
Eventually, their boss, Mr. Hamlin, shows up uninvited. He threatens to fire Brandon (since he did miss work that day which is a fireable offense) if he doesn’t end his talk of unionizing. Lila and Alex realize his boss is the “slave driver” in this situation and sneak downstairs to add the second solution to a few sticks of gum in his coat pocket.
The following day, Mr. Hamlin is fired for coming to work inebriated. Brandon is offered Hamlin’s job. He’s no longer exhibiting zombie-like symptoms, and the best part of his new position of power is he can work from home, meaning he can spend more time with his family.
However, the happiness is short-lived as Alex and Lila watch how Brandon oversees his workers from the camera footage on his laptop. He forbids them from bathroom breaks and yells at them to work faster. While Brandon might no longer be a “zombie,” the people working for him are very much still working in terrible conditions. Only now, Brandon has become the “slave driver.”
It’s a brutal realization for the two girls. And of course, there’s no way of knowing 100% if the “solutions” they were given actually did anything or not, but Alex and Lila certainly think they worked and that they perpetuated the horror.
Evil Season 2, Episode 5 recap: Father Mulvehill worries he is falling prey to evil
Ben, Kristen, and David must contend with a case from within the church this week. David notices something might be wrong with Father Mulvehill when his back randomly starts bleeding through his shirt while teaching a class.
During the assessment phase, Mulvehill admits to Kristen that he has fallen back into old habits. He used to have a gambling addiction before he entered the priesthood and has started to do it again.
But Mulvehill doesn’t reveal the whole truth. Ben learns more by getting access to his laptop. First, he says that gambling isn’t from a demonic or psychological source. It’s just targeted social media marketing. The ads all over the father’s laptop are about gambling (just like the ones on Kristen’s laptop are about having an affair!).
Once Ben is given full reign over Mulvehill’s laptop, he reveals to David and Kristen that the advertisements aren’t the whole truth. He notices that the priest had erased all of his emails. Why would he do that if he wasn’t hiding something?
Using some of his technical skills, Ben finds out that Mulvehill was emailing his bookie. He sets a meeting in an alleyway and learns Mulvehill has $40,000 in gambling debts. Ben manages to get him another week, but if the priest doesn’t follow through, he’s in trouble.
Well, things get even more suspicious when Ben accesses his feed into Leland’s computer. Mulvehill is in cahoots with Leland and lets him know they “found out about the bookie.” We’ve seen Leland coax people into doing horrible things before, so it’s likely he encouraged Mulvehill to get back into gambling. Ben witnesses a conversation between the two men about Leland’s next exorcism. They want to make it “look real.”
That’s when David turns to Sister Andrea and asks her to be present this time. She tells him that everything about Mulvehill is a fraud. He sands down his leathered exorcism kit each night to make it look more worn. He cares more about the dramatics of performing an exorcism than doing good, and so does Leland. Obviously, nothing the father is doing affects Leland, but he loves to play along.
Then Sister Andrea steps in and hands David a vial of holy water. She tells him to take over. When David flicks holy water on Leland, it burns his skin, causing it to smoke and sizzle. Wait, did David actually channel God!? Is this proof of the supernatural? It convinces Kristen, Leland, and David (although I will note Ben had stepped out of the room at this point, and I wonder if he would have sensed something was amiss had he been present). The incident seriously spooks Leland, sending him running for the hills.
In the final moments of the episode, we find out that Sister Andrea had swapped the vials. The one she was using was full of ammonia, so no wonder it caused Leland’s skin to burn. So, no, it wasn’t a supernatural incident. But that one little sleight of hand might have helped boost David’s confidence as a priest, and it definitely left Leland shaken up. Sister Andrea is proving to be an integral character this season.
New episodes of Evil Season 2 air Sundays on Paramount+.