Devil in Ohio Season 1 Review – Cults, trauma… and formulaic teen drama

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 3/5


Devil In Ohio is one of those polarizing shows that’s caught in two minds about what sort of series it wants to be. On the one hand, this is a thought provoking deep dive into the word of satanic rituals and the dangers of cults, along with the mental trauma that can come with that.

And then, bizarrely, it’s also a soapy teen drama. It’s a weird blend of genres and in many ways, is instrumental to the show’s own mediocrity.

A good hook is always key to a story like this, and boy does Devil In Ohio have a juicy one. A mysterious girl rushes through a cornfield with a knife and is eventually picked up and taken to the hospital. There, she receives treatment from Suzanne Mathis, who immediately bonds with the mysterious girl.

After learning her name is Mae, and her parents haven’t bothered to take her home, Suzanne allows her to stay with her for the time being. Only, it soon becomes apparent that all is not well with this girl. Suzanne’s perfect family, complete with three kids and husband, find their world turned upside down as Mae’s weird behaviour threatens to tear them all apart. But is she really just a troubled young woman or is there a darker truth to what’s happening?

This ultimately forms the crux of Devil In Ohio, and for those who have seen Servant on AppleTV, the parallels will be immediately apparent. While there’s no disappearing babies or crazy aunts and uncles showing up, there is the underlying sense of uneasiness and dread that comes with Mae’s presence.

All of this is nicely integrated into the story… but also feels starkly in contrast with the teen drama, which undermines the tension. As Mae becomes closer to Jules, the middle child in all this with an estranged relationship to Helen, her older sister, we get all the usual clichés pop up. I won’t go into specifics but everything from bullying, parties, drinking and the inevitable jealousy, rear their tropey heads.

In essence, this is a story that’s both intriguing and hopelessly cliched, depending on what part of the narrative this one is focusing on. It’s a shame too because, as mentioned, there’s an underlying theme about trauma that’s nicely mirrored in both Mae and Suzanne’s past. Out of everything in this show, understanding the history of these characters is easily the stand out.

As a personal note, the ending is equally appealing too. It’s a deliciously ambiguous way to close things out, although it may not be to everyone’s taste (not to mention the ride there being mired with contrivances and logical holes!)

This one’s not bad for a rainy weekend but it’s also not a particularly trying or memorable watch either. There’s definitely potential here but the story is torn between two states that really don’t blend – like slathering yoghurt on marmite. Individually they may be nice but together they’re really not! And that, sadly, sums up Devil In Ohio.

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  • Verdict - 5.5/10

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