We made it y’all! The series (or first season???) of The Outsider has wrapped, and my determination in the face of utter impatience with the show can finally subside now that it’s all over. Let’s discuss how things ended, what worked, and what ultimately led to the show’s meh review from me.
1. The shootout we were thrust into at the end of the show’s ninth episode picks up where it left off
Jack Hoskins is drunk & missing plenty of shots, but his sharpshooter skills result in him still picking off half our group in the process. By the time it’s all said and done, the only characters left standing are Ralph, Holly, Yunis, and Claude. I would normally be floored by this number of characters going down, but I feel any character not named Ralph or Holly have not had much development across the series. So, the deaths of everyone else (Alec, Seale, Andy, Howard, Jack) seem a bit hollow.
2. For a contrasting, more positive opinion on the show and its character development, I would look to Vulture
On their Episode 9 recap, which I looked at while doing a little research for this recap, I found a passage by Vulture contributor Brian Tallerico that I think for the most part is on point:
“What’s been interesting to watch in the first season has been how much Richard Price and his incredible ensemble have developed characters who could have easily been little more than plot devices in a lesser creator’s hands. Stephen King adaptations have a tendency to be plot-heavy, largely because the adapters don’t have ten hours to tell their story and often have hundreds of pages of narrative, but The Outsider is relatively light on plot if you think about it. It’s about the people trapped in this nightmare, and every single one of them has been memorably delineated and performed. There’s not some stew of supporting characters who merely serve to push the story forward. Howie, Yunis, Claude, Andy, and Holly are distinctly different, three-dimensional roles, and that’s what has made this show work.”
I agree that the acting throughout the show is great and it serves the distinctive personas of each character well. I also agree that none of the characters were there to simply drive the plot forward. However, the fact that The Outsider IS light on plot is a huge sticking point for me in the show, and I don’t think it empowered flourishing character development, largely based on the fact that I didn’t care about any of the characters as we were reaching the minimalist plot’s climax. Even by the end, it seemed the inner demons Ralph would have to face became a fairly straight-forward confrontation/resolution, so even our chief protagonist’s arc left me wanting more. I am very plot-focused when I watch a show or movie, so a lack thereof in The Outsider is where a lot of my negative opinions stem from.
3. Speaking of demons, who were those people with pitch black eyes that Ralph could see in the cave?
This was another creepy-ass moment that was pretty well done for being a pseudo-horror TV show. We only saw two individuals, but my guess is they were two of the many people who died in the cave, their spirits approaching the Boogeyman to give him more life force. I’m not sure why only Ralph could see them and not Holly, but it’s Ralph’s realization of what’s he’s seeing that forces him to go back and crush the Boogeyman’s skull, ending the monster’s reign of terror and leading to the elaborate process of the group “getting their story straight” in order to exonerate Terry Maitland. It’s a hopeful wrap up for Glory and the Maitland girls that their lives can get back on track, but the dramatic irony is that The Boogeyman has left so much more destruction in its wake that can’t be so easily fixed.
4. The Post-credits scene shows us there is more to this world and the supernatural tendencies it chooses to display
It’s a good thing I didn’t jump out of the show immediately upon it’s conclusion, because we do get a post-credits scene that leaves the door open for more Outsider narratives. Holly is looking in the mirror and she sees a vision of Jack staring back at her. A decent jump scare, but it end up being nothing… UNTIL Holly is back on her bed listening to the radio. After a couple songs, “Washington Square” by The Village Stompers is played as an off-beat selection but a favorite of the radio DJ, and we close out with this music. I alluded to this in my episode 8 recap: the song that plays at the end of this scene is the same song that plays in Ralph’s ‘supernatural/coincidence’ story about his mother’s death that Holly dismisses and the two laugh about, chalking it up to coincidence. Ralph had only heard the song twice in his entire life, and now Holly hears it? Sounds to me like the dead have some real connection with this song, but will Holly ever realize it?
I can’t say right now whether I really want a follow up season to The Outsider based on what I’ve seen thus far, but if the show follows Holly with an atmosphere that still maintains a dark, spooky mood through its visuals/score, and if the plot lines answers more questions than it asks, I’ll feel more inclined to tune in.
I hope you enjoyed these episode recaps, and if you have any follow up questions for me, please reach out on Twitter and I’ll be happy to talk shop! In regards to TV, I’ll be talking about Westworld in some capacity next, so stay tuned for what I have in store…