For a terrific episode that was incredibly unsettling, creepy, and downright scary, tonight’s second episode of Outcast, titled “(I Remember) When She Loved Me,” was most notable and powerful for being so heartbreaking and sad.
Unlike the pilot, which mostly stayed true to the comics, this episode was far more independent, though the introduction to the sinister Sidney (played by Brent Spiner) was mostly as it is in the comic book series. The first episode didn’t suffer from staying mostly faithful to the source material, but neither did this episode for telling the story in its own way, which is a good sign going forward that this can work as a true adaptation.
And the main focus of tonight’s story was on the history of Kyle’s mother’s demonic possession, which took a good woman and made her an actual monster, one who made Kyle’s upbringing literal Hell on Earth. However, rather than hold any animosity towards her, Kyle remembers it wasn’t always that way, and he knows the woman who beat him up and locked him up in the pantry wasn’t the mother who loved him, and that his mother wasn’t really responsible at all (and he doesn’t even know how hard she fought against it to protect him, making it even worse for everyone–including us).
Kyle loves the woman his mother was, and despite having every reason not to blame himself for how she is now, in an apparent vegetative state, he feels as though somehow he failed her. It was horrible, as it would be for any child who blamed themselves for the sins of their parents.
The parallels to real life issues such as alcoholism, drug abuse, or domestic violence are easy to see, but the show doesn’t shy away from the fact this isn’t a clear parable, this is the most realistic look at what demonic possession would really be like. Lives are ruined, but souls are at stake.
Patrick Fugit was incredible in this episode, a broken man so damaged from what has happened to him, still holding on to a hope and sense of duty. The premiere didn’t give him as much to do, but Robert Kirkman more than made up for it here (he also wrote this episode).
There were other things of note, including the raccoon sacrifice pathway to the trailer of death, a look at Kyle’s tiny connection to his estranged wife and daughter (everything about that gift and how his daughter loved it was just another difficult thing for any viewer with a heart to watch), Reverend Anderson’s totally new-possibly-maybe love interest (a real departure from the books, and not one I’m sure I wanted, but one that will probably be very interesting to watch), and of course, Brent Spiner’s introduction to the show.
I, like most, love Brent Spiner, but wasn’t enthusiastic about him in the role of Sidney. In the comics Sidney is the smoothest, evilest, coolest villain in the world, and I tend to think of Spiner as a little more geeky. Nevermind those worries. That scene with him and Kyle’s mom at the end, which completely finished off any emotional strength I had left (which was tough task, since it’s one of my favorites from the comic book) showed the role is in good hands.
Two episodes in and it’s fair to say the show is genuinely scary, maybe the scariest possession show or movie I’ve seen due to its realism. It has the intensity of the comic book, but with a real horror factor.
Now we know it will also have heart. Telling a story that revolves around literal demonic possession could be so easy to screw up and make silly, but instead the show has treated it as what it really would be, a terrifying, unimaginable horror, one that would leave people totally destroyed.
If the show can match how powerful tonight’s episode was, it’s going to be a real good one.
What did you think of tonight’s episode? Let’s talk about it in the comments below.
We spoke to the cast and crew of Outcast at SXSW. Have a look!