Outcast S01E03 “All Alone Now” REVIEW
Airing in the UK on FOX, Tuesdays, 10pm
Writer: Chris Black
Director: Howard Deutch
Essential Plot Points:
- Blake Morrow and Luke Masters are cops. Blake’s a likeable schlub and Luke is happily married. Out bowling one night on a blind date for Blake, he is taken ill. Suddenly, he verbally crushes his date and begins to feel sick.
- Harry and his wife, who view his partner as basically a lodger, take him home. Harry goes out to get some supplies and Brent is left alone with his wife. Brent is clearly attracted to her but has never acted on it.
- Then he does and savagely attacks her.
- Kyle and Anderson are driving. The blind on Anderson’s side drops and a photo flies out of the window. Distraught, Anderson pulls over to look for it. It’s a picture of his son and, it’s implied, the only one he has.
- At Meg’s house she and Mark are having sex which is going about as well as it tends to for two hard working people with a kid. Their daughter walks in and asks what they were doing. There is awkwardness.
- Kyle and Anderson arrive where they were heading: a prison. They’re met by Luke Masters, clearly a little older and a lot more horrified. The three enter the prison and Anderson is disgusted when he’s told he can’t take his crucifix and bible in. Masters smooths it over and the three head in.
- At the police station, Mark wants to go process the world’s most terrifying murder caravan but the Chief shuts him down, hard. Mark stands up to him and is finally handed an evidence collection kit and told to get to it
- At the prison, the men are let through to see Brent. They’re horrified to essentially be told they can do whatever they want to Blake. They find him chained to a table but chatty and avuncular.
- Until he starts cheerfully recalling how he murdered Luke’s wife and tore her apart with his bare hands.
- Luke loses it and then leaves, reminding them to watch themselves.
- Back in the world, Meg is grabbing a coffee. She comes to a screeching halt when she sees a man she recognises packing groceries. Clearly traumatised, she drives off.
- At the prison they begin the exorcism. Blake is worryingly chatty and relaxed, enthusiastic about the whole process and seemingly responsive until he stops mid spasm and screams with laughter.
- Anderson packs up, convinced that Blake is evil naturally rather than through supernatural means.
- Kyle is less convinced, repeatedly asking if Blake knows him before grabbing him by the head. The thing riding in the cop recoils, screams in pain and utters one word: “Outcast!”
- At school, Meg is working as a guidance counsellor when she sees a mother drop her child off, and begins to freak out, seeing the same car the man got into earlier outside the school.
- Back at the prison, Morrow recalls basically every pivotal moment in Kyle’s life. Anderson is still adamant he’s a garden variety psychopath but Kyle won’t have it. Blake pushes, Kyle decks him and Anderson drags him away. Kyle screams at him that Anderson may have sacrificed his own family for the crusade but he wants his back.
- Meg finds the car again, outside a motel. She goes in and bluffs the name of the owner out of the desk clerk: Donnie Hammill. She then charms the room number out of her too and heads over to confront him.
- In town, the man in black is shaving with an old-fashioned cut throat razor…
- Back in the prison, Blake is bargaining. He offers to get the demons off Kyle’s back and that it’ll only take “a few years”. Anderson drags him back on message and starts the exorcism. Blake heckles him, and when Anderson asks him to help Kyle leaves. He feels that leaving the demon alone will mean they can bargain with it. Anderson just wants it destroyed.
- On the way out Kyle runs into Luke who begs him for help. He explains that he’s desperate for something to explain how his best friend did what he did and this is all he has.
- At the motel, Meg sneaks into Donnie’s room.
- At the murder caravan Mark finds what seems to be a fingernail and blood.
- The show cuts between the two processing their very different scenes. Meg finds a computer open to her Facebook page and, terrified and angry, sits on the bed and waits for Donnie to come back.
- At the caravan, Mark steps out and is confronted by a furious dog.
- In the motel, Donnie approaches the room.
- Mark, thinking quickly, throws the dog his lunch.
- Donnie arrives at the room, Meg’s gone.
- The Man in Black gets dressed and suddenly doubles over coughing. He dabs at his mouth with a handkerchief. It comes away black…
- At the prison, the exorcism continues and continues to go very badly. Blake finally gets an honest, angry response out of Anderson
- Anderson goes for Blake who rips his hand free from a cuff and threatens to stab Anderson in the throat with his crucifix. Luke and Kyle rush in and Kyle proceeds to beat on Blake.
- Covered in blood, he stands up as Blake smiles through black oil-stained teeth and says
- Mark arrives back at the station with a lot of evidence including an old-fashioned watch. He even contacted a lab which will test the DNA. The chief is impressed. And immediately takes the case off him…
- Kyle and Anderson are leaving the prison. Anderson is convinced he can still be saved.
- Kyle isn’t. He believes whatever is squatting inside Blake is there to stay.
- Back at home, Meg and Mark are in bed and start having drowsy, good-humoured sex. As things escalate, Meg gazes up at her husband and, for a second, sees Donnie. She freaks out and shuts him down.
- At home, Kyle sits on his porch, nursing the day’s wounds. He sees something across the way…
- Luke returns to the prison. His partner, strapped down, thanks him for the visit earlier and then begins laying into him over his lust for Terri and how much it turned Luke on. Luke almost chokes him to death but changes his mind at the last second, to Blake’s disgust.
- Anderson drives out to the prison in the middle of the night and a rainstorm still looking for the photo. He breaks down, weeps and then drives home in disgust.
- Kyle heads over to his neighbour’s house (who is finally named on screen as Norville). He lets himself in and finds Norville dead in a chair, his wrists slashed by an old-fashioned razor. The same one the Man in Black was using…
And this is where the brakes really come off. Outcast rolls out the heavyweight guest stars this week as we dive into the consequences of longform possession and battle lines are drawn, of a sort, between Kyle and Anderson.
Those longform consequences first. The show is starting to give off a distinct Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers vibe as Kyle and Anderson discover just how long some demons have been here. It’s an interesting idea and one that bakes a delicious amount of uncertainty into both the episode and the show. For a while you’re genuinely unsure if Blake really is just a tragically broken human. So are Kyle and Anderson. Then he says it.
The show has been noticeably coyer than the comics so far about what that means but with a 10-episode season they can afford to be. What matters is that this episode we get confirmation that demons can sit in hosts for extended periods of time quite comfortably. Kyle’s mom was endlessly degraded by her “passenger”; Blake Morrow is simply a play thing. He’s lonely, desperate, a cat with nothing to murder. A smile with nothing behind the eyes. A monster. Just like the one that destroyed Kyle’s life.
That leads to those battle lines we mentioned. Anderson is a clenched fist of a man, perennially convinced he’s a soldier of God and holding onto his faith like a shield to both protect him and to hide behind. There are two moments this episode that put the lie to that. The first is him panicking over losing the single photo of his son. The second is Blake pointing out just how worthless his faith is. If Anderson is a fist, that fist is starting to shake and open up. He’s being weakened in exactly the way Kyle is drawing increasingly fanatical strength from his abilities. So it makes perfect sense that Kyle wants to stay when Anderson wants to quit and even more that Luke, a man caught between their two worlds, should take action.
The guest stars this week are exemplary. Lee Tergesen is one of the greatest character actors of all time and his avuncular charm and seething, barely contained feral rage make Blake an unforgettable monster. But it’s JR Bourne as Luke Masters who turns in the more impressive work. He’s a good man in Hell, the one thing Anderson and Kyle aren’t. Luke had a life outside this and has, a little reluctantly, completely accepted that the war he’s stumbled into is real. Kyle may have his abilities and Anderson may think he has his faith but Luke has something much more dangerous: perspective.
Another confident, measured episode in the story of the worst town in the world to live in, “All Alone Now” sees Outcast break stride. Whether it will hit full speed is dependent on how the potentially disastrous Meg story will play out. And for that, we’re going to have to wait…
- “You traded your happiness for a bunch of false promises and your TOUCH! DOES! NOTHING!” We would listen to Lee Tergeson read the phone book. He’s got this incredible ability to shift emotional gear mid line and this is a great example.
- “Personal space is IMPORTANT here!”
“Don’t F**K with me.”
“Heaven forbid.” Demons, pun masters. Why are we not surprised.
- “Process the scene! Again with that CSI shit!” Can’t go wrong with a good, meat and potatoes small town law man with no time for due process.
- “What turned my stomach wasn’t the sin, it was the forgiveness.” And he’s sincere. That’s the chilling thing.
- Appropriately we suppose, Outcast relies a lot on the faith of its viewers. The Mark plot does absolutely nothing this episode but will obviously pay off later. Regardless, it’s a little hard to sit through.
- We are now 100% on main female characters in this show being abuse victims. Kyle’s mom, Kyle’s wife, Kyle’s daughter, Meg being raped by Donnie. That’s not a good look for any show, but Outcast is holding the line for now thanks to the fact that it’s equally horrible to its male characters.
- Lee Tergesen, who does stunning work as Blake this week is a genre mainstay. His career tends to be one of extremes, either playing likeable every men or monsters in human form. His work as Rahm Tak on Defiance, Andrew Larrick on The Americans, Evan Wright on Generation Kill and his epochal, tragic turn as Beecher on Oz all speak to his versatility.
- Likewise, JR Bourne as Luke. He’s been seen most recently as Chris Argent on Teen Wolf but also has appearances on Suits, Unreal, Revenge, Fringe, NCIS, Andromeda and many more on his CV.