|Actor Burt Lancaster depicted Evan in the webseries era|
|First Appearance||Chapter Two, Book One|
|Cause of Death||N/A|
|Spouse/Partner|| Marnie Blake
|“||Everybody blamed me. Her family blamed me, this whole damn town blamed me…I even blamed myself. I still do, actually. There are a lot of regrets. And those…Those can make a person crazy after a while, so if I get crazy sometimes, you're just gonna have to overlook me.||”|
— Evan Blake, Book Two
Evan's early life has never been touched upon in the books, but one thing that is well known is that Francine was his first love. He was married to her for seven years, until her tragic death in 1955, and by all accounts, theirs was a very happy, if childless, marriage. To celebrate their anniversary, Evan whisked his wife off to a romantic vacation on the east coast, and while they took in an afternoon on the water in a rented yacht, Francine unexpectedly took her own life by stepping off of the boat.
Evan was never able to reconcile Francine's suicide, and for years, he withdrew into himself to escape the scrutiny such a mysterious death put him under. His home became a shrine to the love of his life, and photographs of her lined every single wall. Many speculated that Evan had something to do with his wife's death, and he has blamed himself for years, though it's still not entirely clear why.
For years, Evan isolated himself from Haven Park as a whole, but slowly began to come out of his shell when he started dating beautiful Marnie Adams. A social butterfly, Marnie was able to coax her reluctant boyfriend to accompany her places he never could have dreamed of going before. Their romance was a slow build, one that Evan kept very quiet, because he was afraid of what kind of backlash there would be within the community. When he and Marnie finally wed on June 10, 1966, they did so in secret -- only her mother and grandmother were present at the ceremony, and they didn't tell anyone about it beforehand. Such secrecy is a hallmark of Evan's personality, one that becomes evident throughout the books.
Descent into madness:
As the eleventh anniversary of Francine's tragic death loomed closer, Evan's grip on reality became more and more precarious. On the night of July 5, the same day that news of Carol Mathison's tragic murder flooded the town with panic, Marnie came home to find her husband heavily inebriated and surrounded by photos of his late wife. For a moment, he thought Marnie was Francine, but soon came to his senses, apologizing profusely. Marnie did her best to handle the situation graciously, even after Evan confessed to her that she was looking at a murderer.
The next evening, Evan's strange behavior continued. He confided in his wife that he feared he was losing his mind, and for a brief moment, Marnie wondered if perhaps he'd been involved in Carol's demise. She wrote it off quickly, however, focusing instead on how to help him cope with such a devastating anniversary -- and how to help him move forward in the process.
That night, Evan had a nightmare in which he relived Francine's suicide once more and awoke in a cold sweat, lamenting everything that he should have done differently. It was here that it was first alluded to the colossal secret he was keeping from his wife; the same secret that he was now adamant his new wife never learn, lest she meet the same fate.
A few nights later, the situation repeated itself, with Marnie coming home to find Evan drunk and believing she was Francine. This time, though, he raised the stakes when he vowed that he needed to "take care of something" for the both of them and abruptly left the house. For most of the night, Marnie stayed up waiting for him, terrified that he would end up getting himself in trouble. The next morning, she found him asleep in the car, heavily battered and with dried blood on his clothing. However, he refused to discuss where he'd gone the night before, or how he'd gotten that way. Marnie fiercely berated him for what he put her through.
A few days later, as news of Lance Englund's murder saturated the town, Evan brought the mail to the church, along with flowers for his wife. He told her he'd been doing a lot of thinking, about death and dying and about their relationship. She encouraged him to sit down and revealed that she'd thought of a few things that might improve their marriage. She wanted him to: stop drinking, agree to see a counselor about his multitude of issues, be more honest with her and dismantle the shrine to Francine that he kept in his home. Evan surprised her by being open minded to the first three, but he adamantly refused the last. He even went so far as to say he would prefer it if she asked him to cut off a limb. Marnie attempted to reason with him that the pictures were only reminding him of a terrible time in his life, but Evan refused to hear of it. However, when she came home, she found that Evan had taken her advice to heart. Emotionally, he confessed that he was scared to love her for a long time, because he was convinced that doing so meant that he no longer loved Francine. In the end, though, he knew what he had to do to save his marriage -- he asked Marnie to take the photos and put them in the attic, and told her not to tell him where they were.
Harold, and Evan's secret finally revealed:
For a little while, Evan seemed to be taking Marnie's advice seriously. He stopped drinking and was the responsive and attentive husband that she'd always wanted. On the 12th, when she arrived home early from work, she found him making dinner and they shared a heartfelt conversation about how others had taken advantage of her trust, then the phone rang. It was a man named Harold, who spoke with a distinct British accent, and asked to speak with Evan. Evan took the phone and tore into this Harold, accusing him of threatening him and other things. Surprised, Marnie asked what that was all about, and Evan told her that Harold was incredibly unstable, and that if he called again, Marnie was to tell him she was calling the police. She wanted to ask what in the world could have happened between the two, but knew that Evan would not give her a straight answer, so she left it alone.
The next morning, Evan made his stop at the Chester Bourne Library much earlier than usual, for the sole purpose on confronting Harold Sutton, a man who worked there. Evan attempted to buy Harold off, but he balked at the very idea, saying that he was pushing for the truth. Evan warned him against threatening his wife, and they were interrupted by Mrs. Crawford, the older woman at the information desk, who told them both to keep their voices down. Evan left, before any further suspicion could be aroused, but vowed to keep Harold away from his wife, no matter what he had to do.
Marnie continued to marvel at Evan's progress, but he began to slowly unravel in the middle of book three. He stayed up all night, lamenting a decision he made to "find that man at his door" (which, incidentally, coincided with the evening that Brett Woodward was stabbed outside of his home). Marnie's mother Helen called to tell Marnie about the incident, and Evan showed little reaction at all.
The next night, Marnie awoke in the wee hours of the morning, surprised to find that Evan was not beside her. She found him outside, in what she presumed was a moment of quiet with Francine. For just a moment, she debated on whether to intrude or not, before deciding it was best that he know they were in this together. However, it was not a private moment with Francine she was interrupting -- it was a compromising situation with Harold. Horrified, Marnie asked what she'd just stumbled into, and Evan did his best to keep Harold from answering her, even resorting to physical violence. In the end, though, Harold sadly revealed the secret Evan had fought so hard to keep from both of his wives: he and Harold were lovers, and had been for more than a decade.
In the days following the big reveal, Marnie moved out of the home she'd once shared with Evan, and he retreated back into his familiar refuge of alcohol and photos of Francine to dull the ache. During a routine stop at the Chester Bourne Library, Evan entertained walking in and opening fire, because he could sense the judgment of those inside. He managed to quell the urge, and even resisted temptation to attack Harold, when he approached to talk about the way things transpired. Harold insisted that he'd never wanted things to happen the way they did, but Evan wanted no part of it, blaming him for the breakup of his marriage.
The next morning, Harold came out of his home to find that all the tires in his car had been slashed...but that wasn't all. There were also bloody handprints on his windshield, along with a message: it's on your hands. Shaken, Harold went to the police and confessed to Detective Michael Goldman that he believed Evan might've been responsible for Francine's death -- and that he might have plans to do the same thing to Harold, given how unhinged he had become. Michael found it difficult to take the story seriously, but still made notes of the information that Harold provided.
Later that day, as Evan delivered her mail, Helen accosted him with some friendly advice: don't take Marnie coming back home personally, despite the fact they'd reconciled, because Marnie was a very stubborn girl. Surprised, Evan got out of the situation as quickly as possible, realizing that Helen believed they'd reconciled because Marnie failed to come home the night before. Evan deduced that she must have replaced him with another man and stewed over the idea, vowing that he would find the son of a bitch and put a bullet between his eyes. Evan vowed to talk to Marnie about this, because he wanted to make sure she understood how sorry he was, and vowed to win her back, no matter what he had to do.
The next morning, Michael paid Evan a visit, intent on getting to the bottom of Harold's accusations. At first, Evan did not appear receptive, but he did let him in after Michael confided that Harold had told him quite a bit about him. Michael was surprised by how drunk and disheveled Evan was, as well as by his array of photographs of Francine, but tried to make a personal connection with Evan by referencing his own wife's passing, five years ago. For a moment, Evan was lucid enough to sympathize, before launching into a tirade about how Harold had taken everything he loved away from him, and would do the same to Michael if he wasn't careful. Again, Michael did not take the words seriously.
Later, Evan dropped by the church, intent on pleading his case to Marnie. Again, he encountered Michael there and accused the detective of following him before begging Marnie to forgive him. Evan emotionally declared that he couldn't live without her, and told her repeatedly how sorry he was. He even told her that he forgave her for "sleeping with that cop", a revelation that shocked Marnie to the core, as she'd not told Evan about her dalliance with Shane. Marnie told Evan that she could not trust him, because he'd lied to her, and Evan only grew even more upset, reminding her angrily that she'd said she wanted to help him. Around that time, Shane and Brett emerged from Brett's office and told Evan to leave. At first, Evan was contrite, but when Brett reached out to pull Evan out of his wife's face, Evan spat back at him that he certainly talked tough for someone who could barely walk and added, "It's too damn bad they didn't finish the job." Shane attacked before Evan could say much more, and he left without incident shortly thereafter -- but not before vowing to Marnie that no one else could have her, because he was not giving up that easily.
Character conception and representation:
In the original version of the story, Evan was no less of an alcoholic, but he was a much angrier person than he is today. He often lashed out at Marnie, for reasons that could never entirely be determined. In addition, his late wife did not figure as prominently into the story then as it does now. It was merely mentioned that he'd had a wife who passed away some years ago, but no time was really spent delving into her life, nor Evan's life after her death.
In this version of the story, Evan is a deeply disturbed man, who is haunted by his wife's suicide, and the idea that he could have caused it all with his affairs with other men. It is clear that Evan is not comfortable with this aspect of himself, which is why he tries so hard to keep it hidden, and that he did love Francine very much, despite it all. He also loves Marnie a great deal, even if he hasn't been very good about showing it.
During Independence Day's webseries era, actor Burt Lancaster served as Evan's visual representation.
Of all the characters, Evan is the hardest one to write for. Any scene featuring him is guaranteed to have been revised at least 10 times, because I am never sure of the correct vibe for the character. I want it to be quite clear that the man is not altogether, but I often struggle with how much is "too much."
Evan is also the only character that does not interact with any other character, other than his wife and now Harold. He is very removed from the rest of the canvas, which ties into how reclusive he became after Francine's death.