Well, damn Brent Spiner’s chilling performance as Sidney, and damn this show to boot. This week’s episode of Outcast, the apparently penultimate of the season, sets its cards out for the first time in ages. This is not going to end well.
Between the unholy alliance between Mark (David Benman) and Kyle (Patrick Fugit) as they attempt to figure out what the hell is going on with Kyle’s former-but-still-wife Allison (Kate Lynn Shell), or the strange farewell of Mr and Mrs Ogden (Pete Burris & Debra Christofferson). Or even the first day of school for adorable little Amber (MVP Madeleine McGraw). This show had all the makings of a tension wracking episode.
Instead they opt to develop more character based moments, pushing forward the human element, none more so than in Anderson (Philip Glenister) and Patricia (Melinda McGraw), who share a conversation that is the stuff of classic interplay. A chat about Anderson’s past actually helps ground him in more than just Max von Sydow-style demon slaying, and paints him as an actual human being. Despite, of course, the fact that he keeps acting like he’s lost his damn mind.
But even when Anderson threatens to do that, Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey) returns to lighten the mood, be it asking why Anderson punched Sidney in the face – leading to the best line of the episode “How often do you get to hit the Devil?”, or threatening Sidney, Giles remains one of the more enjoyable characters. While the elements of Sidney being an unstoppable evil continue to promise more oncoming horror as we race towards the finale.
But what makes the episode even stranger is the fact that there is no shortage of questions trumping answers. Even when answers look to be coming on the horizon, the episode throws a curve ball, be it in the strange way that they introduce Allison’s mother without offering any more detail on what Kyle’s relationship with Allison’s family was before all this demon stuff.
On the other side of things, Wrenn Schmidt gives another stand out turn as Megan, trying to keep things together even as the world falls apart, worst of all with a mid-episode revelation that seems to be the default setting for these sort of shows. This is another well crafted episode, but one that is short of scares.
Instead, what it goes for is eerie character drama and some out and out haunting scenes. For those looking for horror, you won’t find it here, but for sinister moments, it’s here. In one scene, the episode’s most emotional, Kyle and Allison talk, while the music gives the sinister edge. The emotion is there, and some moments the camera just stays on Fugit’s face as he portrays a lifetime of emotion, of love, fear, anger and regret, just by turning his head and looking at his wife. It’s simple work, but it’s so effective.
Of course, there’s a fair few surprises left to be sprung, but to mention them here would be unfair. As Sidney would probably say, “where’s the fun in that?”