The premise of Paramount Plus’s series Evil sounds like the setup to a lame joke: a priest, a psychologist, and a handyman investigate strange occurrences on behalf of the Catholic church. At first glance, it seems like just another procedural show where psychology goes head-to-head with religion. Instead, it’s a mind-blowing hybrid of genres that rivals The X-Files at its peak.
But Evil’s most important character might come as a surprise. It’s not David the Priest, or Kristen the Doctor, or Ben the Magnificent. (Though Ben is, without a doubt, my favorite character.)
No, if there’s one character acting as a lynchpin for this story, it Kristen’s mother, Sheryl Luria. She’s one of the show’s most dynamic characters and, after that Season 3 finale, she might be the key to the way everything in the show plays out. We’ve got questions about Sheryl, and Evil Season 4 is riding on the answers.
What did Sheryl and Leland do to Andy?
Sheryl has never liked her son-in-law, but during Season 3, things come to a head. When Andy tries to kick her out of the house, Sheryl fights back—and now that she’s got some incredibly dangerous friends, she packs a punch. Andy was expecting curse words and a few mean comments, not to be held hostage while his mother-in-law faked his death.
Of course, things don’t go according to plan. Sheryl’s incredibly inventive granddaughters are onto Leland’s plot before he has a chance to kill Andy, so he and Sheryl pivot. Instead of killing Andy, they wipe his memory and send him back home. But the question remains: what exactly happened to him?
The first clue that we get is his changed attitude toward Sheryl. He’s more than happy to let her stay with them, and ever-so-grateful for all her help with the girls. Even Kristen seems weirded out by the new buddy-buddy turn in their relationship. The second clue is the final scene of the season, where Andy walks out of the house to find a congregation of demons in his yard—and he can see each and every one of them.
Now, seeing demons isn’t necessarily a bad sign. Most of the protagonists have seen a demon or two at this point, whether or not they believed in it. On Evil, it seems to indicate a connection to the supernatural more than anything else. Andy might have been on the sidelines before, but he’s been thrown into the thick of it now.
As for his newfound respect for Sheryl, that’s also something we’ve seen before—with Sheryl. In Evil Season 2, she’s also paralyzed by Leland and Edward, then pumped full of mysterious liquids from his storage room. The next time we see her, she’s happier than ever and scatting with Edward as she skips out of the apartment. We’re never told what is actually in the IV, but Sheryl continues to get infusions as she walks down the path to the demonic.
Sheryl appears to be a willing participant now, even if she wasn’t at the start, but Andy doesn’t seem to react the same. His sleepwalking and resurfacing memories make him seem more trapped than turned, but it’s still a comparison worth making. Could Sheryl’s new plan for Andy in Evil Season 4 involve turning him into an ally? Or is Sheryl herself still brainwashed by the infusions Leland gave her?
What about the sigil head?
This question has been driving me nuts all season, and I’m so mad we have to wait until Evil Season 4 for answers.
When Sheryl “graduated” as Edward’s demonic successor, he gifted her a jar with a shrunken head.
“This is the head of my great grandfather. Our family always wanted to keep a piece of our patriarch close to us. This heirloom has been passed down through generations. And now you are my successor. This is your sigil.”Edward Tragoran, Evil 2.12 “D is for Doll”
It seems like Sheryl was taking pretty good care of that heirloom for a while. She put it at the head of her altar, along with two of the Eddie dolls she prays to for guidance. However, when she starts plotting Andy’s demise, the jar ends up in a strange place: under Kristen and Andy’s bed.
Putting something under your bed or under your pillow is a pretty powerful superstition. It looks like Sheryl planted the jar there like a curse, something to ensure that Andy would get pulled into her plan. What doesn’t seem like part of the plan is Andy finding the jar, smashing the head, and flushing it down the toilet. So much for an heirloom passed down through generations.
We see some repercussions from this in the house’s groaning pipes and haunted toilet, but Sheryl never addresses the jar situation again. Does she even know that it’s missing, or does she think it’s still tucked away under her daughter’s bed? If it’s so important, wouldn’t she go back to check on it every now and then? And most importantly, now that Sheryl doesn’t have her sigil, what does that mean for her demonic future?
What happened to the third Eddie doll?
This question has been driving me nuts for a season and a half, and I can only pray that they address it in Evil Season 4.
One of the strangest parts of Evil Season 2 is the porcelain doll that Sheryl keeps next to her bed. His name is Eddie, she makes small sacrifices to him in exchange for guidance and gifts, and we never find out where she got him. Then in Evil 2.12 “D is for Doll,” we’re introduced to two other dolls named Eddie who require sacrifices from their owners. All three dolls look exactly the same, but with different outfits: Sweater Eddie, Clown Eddie, and Sailor Eddie.
Sweater Eddie is already in Sheryl’s possession in Season 2, wherever he comes from. Clown Eddie is a child’s toy, which Kristen’s daughter Lynn finds while she’s babysitting. Somehow she ends up taking Clown Eddie home—either because the boy she was watching put it in her bag, or because Eddie has a mind of his own. When Lexis finally sees the doll, she recognizes it as the doll Sheryl has in her room, steals it, and mistakenly returns it to her grandmother.
It doesn’t seem to be a coincidence that the dolls have the same name as Sheryl’s demonic mentor: Edward. When Sheryl returns home to find she now has two Eddie dolls, she does something very peculiar. She takes a piece of chalk and draws a cross on the floor. In the center, she places the jar with the shrunken head, and on each side of it, one of the dolls. She refers to them as “the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,” then begins to pray.
But what about the third doll? Sailor Eddie crops up during an assessment that David, Kristen, and Ben are working. It belonged to their client’s late wife, who used to give Eddie gifts to prevent bad things from happening until her husband made her get rid of it. The team finds the doll in the attic, locked away and covered in some kind of disgusting goop that—not for nothing—looks a lot like the goop that Sheryl’s been taking through an IV.
Ben initially takes the doll for some chemical testing, but at the end of the episode, the client pleads for him to give the doll back. That’s the last time Sailor Eddie is mentioned. It’s unclear if Ben returned the doll, kept it, or tossed it out with the garbage. So what happened to the third doll in the set? Are there more? And can Sheryl’s journey continue if she doesn’t collect them all?
How much does Sheryl really know?
This has been a key question in each and every season of the show, and it will be just as important in Evil Season 4.
For the longest time, it was unclear if Sheryl really knew about the supernatural, or if she thought the whole thing was figurative. Season 2 teased us a couple times, having Sheryl talk about how she’d dated demons, her serial murder montage at the beginning of 2.11 “I is for IRS,” Leland openly asking for her blood. The whole time, I truly believed Sheryl was just going along with it.
There’s no denying that Sheryl knows the truth now. She knows she’s working for Lucifer and has seen demonic creatures with her own eyes…but that doesn’t mean she knows everything. One of the most important questions leading up to Evil Season 4 is this: does Sheryl know the truth about the fertility clinic and Kristen’s missing egg?
In the Season 3 finale, Kristen is shaken to her core to find out that her missing egg has been implanted in another woman, and fertilized by none other than Leland Townsend. She happens upon her mother’s office right in the middle of an office party celebrating the pregnancy. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that Sheryl isn’t surprised by this news at all. In fact, she has gifts all wrapped up and is ready to party with the rest of her coworkers. Sheryl does tell Kristen to stay in her office, and seems worried when Kristen comes out to see the party, but that could easily just be because Sheryl neglected to mention she’s been working with Leland.
Sheryl has to know that her family is involved in the demons’ plans. Leland’s told her about Lexis and her potential to be…something. The Antichrist? Who’s to say? So Sheryl knows about Lexis and she knows about the plan for Leland to father a demonic baby, but does she know that baby is her grandchild? Or is Leland keeping her in the dark on that little fun fact?
What does Sheryl want?
This is the question of the hour; the question of the whole show, even. With Sheryl’s power and delicate position, her motivations dictate everything that’s coming in Evil Season 4. Even though she’s working for the Devil, what she wants isn’t as cut and dry as it seems.
There’s one thing we can be sure of with Sheryl: she loves her family. She might love them in a twisted and extremely toxic way, but staying close to them seems to be one of her core motivations. In Season 1, she has every intention of dumping Leland and choosing her family over him. In Season 2, she moves into the back room at Kristen’s house so she can help take care of the girls. And in the Season 2 finale, she threatens Leland with…uh…some extremely personal violence if he ever hurts one of her granddaughters.
Even as Sheryl’s plotting the death of her son-in-law, she seems to be working with the girls’ well-being in mind. She tells a mute, paralyzed Andy that she doesn’t want to hurt Kristen or the girls. She’s considered the plan carefully and has factored in a way to give her family enough money to take care of them for a very long time. With her own portion of the money, she’s hoping to buy her own house, so she can move out of the back room but still stay close to Kristen.
What’s still up for debate is if “grooming one of my granddaughters to be the Antichrist” counts as hurting her. Sheryl tries to test Lexis by introducing her to the Manager, but where Sheryl sees a five-eyed demon, Lexis only sees an office manager. When Lexis tells Sheryl that the manager only has two eyes, Sheryl seems more relieved than disappointed. So what is she hoping for Lexis? Does she want her granddaughter to be Princess of Hell? Or is she ultimately hoping that Lexis can lead a normal life?
What’s to Come in Evil Season 4
One of the best parts about Evil as a show is that it tackles questions of morals and religion. Can you do bad things and still be a good person? Can you love your family and actively work against them at the same time? At what point does a person become irredeemably evil?
While all the characters in the show have their own variations of this struggle, Sheryl is by far the best example. Like it or not, she holds all the cards for Evil Season 4, and I can’t wait to see what happens.
All three seasons of Evil are available to stream on Paramount Plus.