Compared to the first two episodes of the show, Outcast‘s third entry, “All Alone Now,” almost seemed tame. This certainly had nothing to do with the horrific nature of the violence perpetrated by the possessed Blake (played by Oz‘s Lee Tergesen), and everything to do with the general purpose of the episode, which was to show the ever-growing presence of the evil overtaking Rome, West Virginia, and to also give us a better idea of who and what the two main characters are looking for.
Obviously what Blake did is the single worst atrocity committed by any of the possessed characters thus far, which explains why they were (wisely) judicious in showing us the crime taking place. It also calls into question how much the human being overtaken can fight against its possession, the way Kyle’s mother apparently did. Did Blake always secretly long for his partner’s wife? Is that why his crime was far worse than anything Kyle’s mom did, because a certain amount of evil was already in him?
Is that why at the end he was able to fight against Kyle’s demon-releasing touch? Reverend Anderson told Kyle demons are as different as the people they overtake, but what exactly is the role of the preexisting person in determining what becomes of them after the fact? Kyle and the Reverend don’t have the answers, but the growing questions are intriguing. Not only is demon possession not easy to deal with, it’s impossible to figure out or understand because the rules aren’t hard or fast. That’s a far more interesting story to follow than one where each possession plays out like the others.
And while this episode may not have had the urgency of the first two, it still worked, sacrificing some excitement for meaningful character development and moving multiple plots forward–from Mark’s return to the bloody trailer and his discovery of more than just some teenagers having been there (only to be strangely blocked in pursuing it by Chief Giles), to learning that Megan was sexually assaulted and her rapist has come back to town, to Brent Spiner’s (still unnamed, but we’re calling him by his comic book name) Sidney murdering Kyle’s neighbor (though he made it look like a suicide). Throw in a car almost running down a mother and her baby, and a truck almost killing the Reverend, and this episode was full of evil, even if it wasn’t as overtly scary as the first two episodes.
Well, except for Lee Tergesen’s super creepy Blake, who was genuinely horrifying. As an old fan of Oz, I always think of Tergesen as Beecher when I see him, but it didn’t take long to forget that as he smirked his way through his failed exorcism (I wonder if I’m the only one who thought of an R-Rated Joker while watching him). Sure, the sequence was used for some much needed exposition, like why the whole thing is called “Outcast” in the first place, and how Kyle and Reverend Anderson are seemingly fighting together, but really independently of one another (Kyle has all the power but no faith, and he is working to be free and to get his family back, whereas the Reverend has all the faith but no power, and he sacrificed his family to save the souls of others), but it was also riveting (less explosive than the comic book version, but I think stronger).
I have loved Philip Glenister as the Reverend from his first scene, but watching him snap after losing his son’s photo added a whole new element to his character. While this life has been thrust on Kyle, and he is fighting against it to get everything back, the Reverend sought it out, and it cost him everything. He can claim to have all the faith in the world, but when such a sadness hangs over what he does there will always be a shred of doubt. A flawed hero is always more compelling, and it will be fascinating to watch him deal with his ever-growing knowledge that he really can’t help these people, not without Kyle. What’s the value in sacrifice when you can’t do any good as a result? If he can’t make Kyle see what is really at stake, beyond just Kyle’s own pain, is he doomed to lose the battle and himself?
So yes, this week we might have lost a little urgency, but things got a lot more interesting.
What did you think of “All Alone Now?” Tell us in the comments below.
We talked Outcast with the cast and crew!