Outcast: season 1 episode 6 review – From the Shadows It Watches
This week’s episode of Outcast delivers a slower pace and steps away from the more stylized episodes, making much of the episode feel somewhat underwhelming. They do, however, focus heavily on character development and begin to move the plot forward to some degree. Below you will find our spoiler-heavy review.
The opening scene is one of the best of the episode, revealing a rather stressed Reverend Anderson who is seen reviewing a backlog of VHS footage, of which there appears to be well over a dozen, from his previous attempts at exorcisms. This is one of the few highly stylized scenes within the episode, the videos having a found-footage horror feel to them, and the afflicted individuals being utterly terrifying. Despite being a gripping scene, it again raises the question of how many possessions can possibly occur in one area, which is hopefully something that the series will address in the future.
Anderson and his love interest, Patricia, have several scenes together in this episode. While this certainly isn’t the most compelling storyline in the series, it does offer some growth for the Reverend. His lady friend confronts him about his seeming lack of interest in taking their romance further, declaring that she’d rather stop now if he isn’t committed. Anderson is initially dismissive, but has a change of heart that leads to him opening up to her. This also leads to the introduction of Patricia’s son, Aaron, who comes across as an ungrateful teenager who expresses some rather negative opinions about his mother’s love life. He appears again late in the episode, and will likely play a significant role.
While Anderson continues to battle demons, both literally and figuratively, we get a brief glimpse of Kyle in a more stable place than we’ve seen him so far. He’s been holding down a steady job for several weeks, even earning the praise of his generally disapproving foster sister, Megan, who asserts that she’s proud of him for making better choices getting his life together.
Megan’s story takes a darker turn when she learns of her husband’s attack on Donnie, the man who assaulted her in her youth and recently resurfaced in town. Donnie attempts to make a deal with her, threatening to report her husband if she doesn’t cooperate. Megan ignores his demand, but later turns cold toward Mark without communicating the interaction with Donnie. Although Megan only has a few scenes in this episode, she continues to be one of the more layered and interesting characters of the series.
We are given a very ominous scene with the elderly woman, Mildred, who was recently determined to still be possessed. She attacks Kyle in his home one evening, knocking him unconscious and proceeding to suck the lifeforce from him. This incident is abruptly thwarted from an unseen force. Later in the episode it is revealed that it was the enigmatic Sidney who halted the attack. He is exasperated with his protégé, conveying “Do you know how many you might have sacrificed if I hadn’t stopped you?” This is a rather weighty statement, and seems to indicate that Kyle may be a sort of portal for their kind to gain entrance through. However, this information raises more questions than it answers.
Following his attack, Kyle pays a visit to Mildred, approaching her as she’s sitting on her porch. When he approaches, he suddenly realizes her body is lifeless and that she’s departed. One can only assume that Sydney was somehow the cause of her demise, given his disapproval of her recent behavior. This is a rather unfortunate turn of events and seems a rather odd choice for the series, given that Mildred was a deeply fascinating character and actress Grace Zabriskie’s portrayal of her was quite riveting.
This episode also shows Kyle returning to Reverend Anderson, our protagonist deciding he wants to help with the exorcisms afterall. Anderson doesn’t take kindly to this due to some of the harsh views that Kyle expressed previously. The two have an altercation, during which Caleb, who serves as the possession of the week, escapes the room he’s been barricaded in and charges at them. As we’ve seen recently, Kyle’s touch provokes the demon into leaving the man’s body. The inky-black demon briefly closes in on Kyle in a challenging manner before ascending and then disappearing altogether. This causes Kyle to insist that he can’t run away from this, and he demands that they do things on his terms or not at all. Hopefully Kyle will learn to balance the stable life he’s built with his new found responsibility, and we eventually learn what specifically happened with his family and see the beginning a reconciliation.
The final scene is easily the best of the episode, and is done in the stylized fashion that viewers have come to appreciate. We find Reverend Anderson in his home, apparently struggling with his faith and ruining an altar he has displayed. This action entices a sinister laugh from the shadows of the room, and it is revealed that Sydney is present with the Reverend. A stunned Anderson asks the mysterious stranger how he came to be there, to which Sidney replies “It’s easy for me to go wherever I please.” The Reverend proceeds to ask who he is, and is told ” I saw the way you looked at me, that day in your church. You knew. Didn’t you? But you were just afraid to tell anybody. They’d think you lost your mind.” Again, this seems to insinuate that Sydney is the physical manifestation of the devil. Anderson commands him to leave, but Sidney ignores the request, shoving him against a wall and pulling a knife on him while proclaiming “I’ve seen what you’ve been doing, you and Kyle Barnes, to my compatriots. It has to stop.” Sidney then uses the knife to carve into the Reverend’s chest, which is revealed in the final shot to be a pentagram.
While Sidney is certainly an enthralling character, it’s curious that the series chose to use a corporeal threat as opposed to one of an otherworldly nature that would likely have impacted the Reverend just as profoundly. Hopefully the series will continue to delve into the characters and story in an absorbing fashion for the few remaining episodes of the season, as the past few have often been somewhat disenchanting. The series had a powerful start for the first few episodes, and it would be satisfying to see it reach that potential once again.
Image credits: FOX TV/CINEMAX