Outcast: season 1 episode 9 review – Close To Home
This week’s penultimate episode of Outcast sets up the finale in a major way and is aptly titled “Close to Home”. Initially, the season was presented in an episodic format, focusing on possession of the week for a time before slowly progressing into a more serialized style. While this has often forced viewers to be patient with the narrative, altogether it’s proven to be an effective way of storytelling by building the overall mythology of the series before delving into the complexities, and eventually culminating into the final moments of this episode. Fans are left with a chilling cliffhanger that leaves us eagerly anticipating the finale and more than curious about the mysterious “great merge” that Sidney and his minions keep eluding to. Below is our detailed and spoiler-heavy review.
Megan’s opening scene is both unsettling and heartbreaking as we see her self harm while she struggles to cope with her past trauma, as well as the stressful state her life is currently in. She’s proven to be one of the more complex characters of the series, and easily one of the most likeable. It’s effortless to empathise with her as a person, and to wish for better for her and her family. Unfortunately this scene also heavily foreshadows the final moments of the episode, which deliver the biggest blow of the season.
Just when it seems Reverend Anderson is reigning himself in, he proves yet again that he can’t keep his cool. After Patricia asks him to move in with her, he returns to the church to plead his case for getting reinstated. This all goes to hell when he finds Sidney there and the two come to blows. The Devil gets the better of him yet again, allowing himself to be beaten bloody by Anderson and then insisting on pressing charges. Chief Giles, being one of the few people left in town to maintain any faith in The Reverend, brings him in and then allows him to go free. Not a great plan. Anderson is as determined as ever and heads straight to Sidney’s place. There’s no telling what his intentions were, as he’s interrupted by Patricia’s son arriving. Later in the episode he and Patricia confront the teenager, hoping to get answers. Naturally, they’re met with resistance and Anderson becomes aggressive. This gets him kicked out of their home, as it’s revealed that Patricia’s late husband had been abusive. Aaron meets The Reverend out in the driveway to gloat, proving that he manipulated the situation to his advantage. He then passes on a ominous message from Sidney, telling Anderson that he’s too late to stop what’s coming.
Kyle is determined to make a stable life for his daughter, and turns to Megan to aid in getting her enrolled into school. Amber is hesitant about being away from him at first, but after reassuring her that everything will be alright she settles in and he begins to search for his wife. He seeks advice from Mark, who not only looks the other way on the restraining order but offers to go to her house with him. They find the home empty, and after receiving a phone call informing him that his wife is sick, Mark leaves Kyle to his own devices. He gathers some of his daughter’s personal effects, and on his way out has an awkward run in with his mother in law. She threatens to call the police, but it’s soon revealed that she knows Allison left their daughter with him andalso knows of Allison’s whereabouts. Kyle later visits his wife in the institution she’s checked herself into, and desperately pleads with her to come home. After trying to explain what really happened with his mother and the night he attacked them, it’s clear his efforts are in vain. Although she doesn’t seem to disbelieve him, she insists that he needs to be the one to raise their daughter and walks away, leaving him devastated. This was a very emotionally charged moment, and despite having very few scenes together the actors do a fantastic job and have great chemistry.
Meanwhile, the Ogden’s have been kicked out of town by Chief Giles, and when he sees them off he’s giving a warning that what’s to come can not be stopped. This has been a running theme, and viewers can only assume to finally learn it’s true meaning in the finale. The couple doesn’t make it very far before being intercepted at a gas station by Sidney and recruited for a bigger purpose. They end up returning to town and take up residence in an empty warehouse full of creepy mannequins. Lenny is reluctant with stay and pleads with his wife to leave town, but Kat insists that they have to remain in town to help.
Back at the Holter residence, Megan delivers some surprising news when she informs Mark that she was sick because she’s pregnant. She’s clearly overwhelmed with the notion of having another baby with all that they’re going through, but he reassures her by telling her that he has a job lined up and that he’s due for some good luck. While this is effective for the time being and the two share a heartwarming moment, these words come back to haunt the couple in the final scenes of the episode. Megan is seen taking a shower, during which she abruptly begins screaming and trembling. As she steps out of the shower and in front of a mirror, it’s evident that she’s no longer herself. Mark comes running to her aid, catching his newly possessed wife by surprise. As we learned in previous episodes, this is a dangerous time for the afflicted and especially for those around them. We learn all too well how true this is when Megan slams Mark violently into the mirror and he falls to the floor with a shard of glass piercing his jugular. As he pleads with his wife for help, she is engrossed by the blood spilling from him and plays in it in a childlike manner as he slowly bleeds to death.
Wrenn Schmidt’s performance in this scene is absolutely stellar and the best of the series so far. It’s easily the most shocking and terrifying moment to date and certainly holds the most gravity. Mark had more character development than most, and it was engaging to watch him grow as a person into someone both loveable and relatable. The first main character to die in the series, his loss is profound and will have a major impact on the story going forward.
The final scene of the episode is a desperate call from Amber to her father, telling Kyle that Aunt Megan is “sick like mommy”, followed by screams being heard in the background as the screen cuts to black. This is a horrifying notion, and the last few minutes of the episode are a devastating pay off after weeks of meticulous storytelling. Outcast may have been a tedious viewing experience at times, however, it’s finally living up to it’s potential and the finale will undoubtedly be a worthwhile viewing experience. While fans will get many questions answered, it’s worth mentioning that the series has already been renewed for a second season, so several questions will likely remain.
Image credits: Cinemax, FOX TV