Outcast S01E07 “The Damage Done” REVIEW
Essential Plot Points:
- We open on Anderson, standing over the sink. He’s treated the wound Sydney left him with last week but it’s still bleeding, still oozing.
- He’s still a priest with a pentacle cut into his chest.
- Chief Giles comes to visit as he’s cleaning up. It turns out it’s poker night and Anderson tries to cancel it. Giles, because he’s awesome, instantly notices something is wrong and pushes his friend to let him help. Anderson changes the subject, says he will play some cards and, when he notices he’s still bleeding, put on a jacket over his shirt…
- The game passes in a blur, the chat and good natured trashtalking fading out as all Anderson can see is the place he was assaulted. He fades back in as he’s asked about Remembrance Day. It’s the next day and the fire chief has been going out of town regularly to source the materials for the monument.
- Chief Giles has had enough. He pushes the fire chief over Murder!Caravan and a fight breaks out. In the fracas, Anderson is knocked down. Giles notices blood on Anderson’s shirt as helps his friend up.
- Anderson levels with Giles who instantly wants to arrest Sydney. Anderson won’t have it, arguing that Sydney’s assault proves he’s having an effect. More, it proves he can fight back…
- At Meg’s house she wakes up to see Mark and their daughter asleep in the bed. Haunted by what she was told last week, she gets up and heads out early.
- At Allison’s house, Amber has locked herself in the closet and refuses to come out. As Allison touches the door she flashes back to the night of the possession…
- At Kyle’s house he’s making breakfast and opening the mail. He finds the local newspaper whose front page is a remembrance of the 29 victims of the disaster the monument has been built for.
- Kyle flashes back to the night before the disaster. He was chatting to a friend who, when Kyle shook his hand, jerked away in shock…
- The Chief pays Kyle a visit. He basically good-naturedly bullies Kyle into trusting him and takes him for a ride.
- In the town square the area is being set up for the remembrance service. Anderson is distracted, watching Sydney make his way through the town. As he does, Sydney turns and smiles at Anderson.
- Kyle and the Chief arrive at Murder!Caravan where the Chief basically uses Kyle like a bloodhound. The pair level with each other: Kyle can sense and hurt the things riding people but it’s never an exact science. Kyle is consumed with guilt and shame but the Chief, in one of the show’s best scenes so far, tells him that his return to Rome says he wants to wipe the stain off his soul. And, that the stain on the town is getting worse…
- Anderson follows Sydney through town and runs into Patricia. He thanks her for her help, apologises for his idiocy and kisses her. It is the most grumpily sweet the show has been so far, although Patricia’s asshole son sees everything…
- Sydney went into the local barber’s and Anderson confronts him and does not back down. The reverend, it seems, has his head screwed on at last.
- At Allison’s house, she’s looking through her daughter’s drawings but pauses on one of Amber, Kyle and her where she seems to be the only one with no face. Amber appears and Allison asks her if she wants to finish the drawing. Amber replies, “I don’t know which face to draw…”
- In the town square, Kyle arrives for the service. Chief Giles gives him the nod and he makes his way over to the fire chief who is greeting everyone. The chief shakes his hand and instead of recoiling in pain torments Kyle for not being on site when the disaster hit.
- Megan visits Donnie at the hospital. She hands him a pile of cash she’s got from all her savings and tells Donnie to leave. She all but begs him to take it and leave them alone.
- At Allison’s house, she waits for Amber to play outside and sneaks into her room. She examines the closet Amber was hiding in before and finds a drawing of herself with X-es for eyes and black clouds spewing from the mouth. She panics, flashes back to the assault on Amber. It was real, she realises.
- At the remembrance service, Giles tries to make things right with the fire chief. He does but the chief makes it clear he knows why Giles is looking sideways at him and that for both their sakes he needs to leave Murder!Caravan alone.
- Later that night, Anderson delivers his sermon. It’s pretty on-the-button stuff.
- Kyle meets up with Mark and his daughter and they chat. A lady hands them vigil candles and reocils as Kyle touches her. She makes her excuses and leaves, but Kyle follows her.
- Anderson reaches the end of his sermon and the memorial is unveiled. It’s a miner.
- And someone has spray-painted a pentacle on its chest.
- The crowd loses it as Anderson yells at them that this is exactly what hes been talking about. Anderson spills everything, finally going public with every single one of his experiences.
- He sounds, and looks, like he’s having a psychotic break.
- Especially when he points at, and names, Sydney as the devil and rips his shirt open, showing the town his speciality wound.
- Kyle drags the reverend away and drives him home. Anderson is in his own head, shut down, almost numb. Kyle tells him he’s with him, but they have to be smarter.
- Mark is brought into the Chief’s office. He’s shown the video of him beating Donnie.
- Kyle arrives home to find Amber and Allison at his house.
- At home, Mark tells Megan he’s been suspended because of the assault on Donnie. Given both that and the fact that Donnie took the money anyway, Megan goes into shock.
- Kyle puts Amber to bed wearing his miner’s helmet and talks to her about his old job, the men who died and the thing that wore Allison. He tries to console his child and she tells him she saw the black thing that was hidden inside Allison.
- Back at Mark and Megan’s, she blows up at him. They are both very very wrong, Megan accusing Mark of being an idiot and Mark accusing Megan of not letting him in. She finally blows up and admits Donnie raped her.
- At Kyle’s house, he finds Allison praying. They embrace, kiss and ultimately have sex because they can finally trust one another again or the episode needed some gratuitous breast shots. Your choice.
- The next morning, Kyle wakes up alone. He goes looking for Allison and can’t find her.
- Instead he finds a note saying TAKE CARE OF OUR LITTLE LIGHT.
That’s better. After six episodes where we’ve had variations of, “I can exorcise demons by touching them.“ “I CAN SHOUT AT THEM!”, we are finally, finally out into new territory. Kyle and Anderson’s power dynamic really seems to flip this episode as Anderson, clearly in massive shock from the assault, loses it in public.
This is the sort of thing Philip Glenister excels at and it’s a great, if troubling, scene. You’d have thought the townsfolk would have stood by him just a little given the sheer volume of “exorcism” he’s done, but still, social pressure is social pressure. More importantly, the scene absolutely succeeds in finally pushing Anderson past himself. And, interestingly, having him accept Kyle as an authority rather than a weapon. The good reverend has had a rocky first season and, at times, his intransigence has been the weakest link of the show. That’s no longer the case here and it’s a welcome and necessary change.
As is the fact that Kyle is basically a guest star in his own show this week. Reg E Cathey gets masses of screen time as Chief Giles and it’s all great. Firstly, because it’s Reg E Cathey and we’d watch the man read the phonebook. Secondly because it brings the theme of the episode to the fore: disclosure.
Anderson comes clean to the whole town, Giles levels with Kyle and encourages him to do the same, Meg levels with Donnie, Mark levels with Meg, Allison and Amber finally communicate about what really happened on the day of the assault. Everyone in Rome is finally waking up from the polite lie they’ve lived inside and not all of them are liking what they see.
There are some nice curveballs too. The fire chief not being possessed is a great double blind as is the revelation that the mining disaster may have been caused by the demons. The idea that the town has been possessed for almost a decade is terrifying and there are some lovely moments of implied threat here. Do the crowd not react to Anderson because they’re scared or because they’re all possessed? Does Allison leave Amber with Kyle because she knows she’s still possessed or is terrified she is? It’s all open to interpretation but the show is making some serious forward progress now so the implications entertain rather than annoy.
There’s still work to do: as you’ll see below the women of Rome have an… odd week this week. But this feels like a show that’s ramping up and the atmosphere this week is chilling. A strong entry in a season that’s never been weak but now, at last, definitely has momentum.
- People learn things! People talk to one another! The long nasty bout of Early-Seasons-Of Lost-flu that Rome has been suffering from may be at an end!
- Much more Chief Giles! Yay! He’s GREAT and we love the cheerful way he just bullies information out of the leads by assuming he already knows everything.
- Philip Glenister getting some chewy stuff to sink his teeth into is great. The numb little “This… or this?” where he points to his wound and his head is perfect. Anderson has no idea if he’s absolutely right or absolutely wrong. All he knows is he’s gone too far. Hopefully this means the growing unity between Kyle and Anderson will continue
- Allison does not kill herself. Given the slightly annoying way she leaves and that super prominent tree on the edge of Kyle’s property this is a massive relief.
- Anderson has been exorcising folks left right and centre for a while. So why is everyone all “Back away from Reverend Crazy Face” when he starts yelling about it. We know why. He’s acting in an immensely scary and disturbing way and even if he wasn’t, people wouldn’t want to come forward. Still an odd note though.
- Boooooo – almost “bear skin, log fire, wah wah pedal, sexy saxophone”sex scene – boooooo!
The We Honestly Don’t Know
- This is not a good episode for the women of Rome. Or it might be. It’s difficult to tell. Mark blots his copybook book spectacularly by backing Meg into admitting she was raped but the fall-out from it, with neither of them knowing what to say, feels genuine and realistic and untidy.
- Allison’s epically bad narrative luck continues though. Having sex with Kyle then dropping their daughter off could be read as her taking control of her life and protecting her family from herself. Or it could be read as a female character on a show where strong women get killed or don’t quite sleep with the reverend, being sidelined. Again. It’s too early to tell which, but we really hope both these plots pay off in ways that let Meg and Allison keep their agency.
- The title may be drawn from Neil Young’s “The Needle and the Damage Done” from his 1972 album Harvest. Alternately it could be a reference to the Sisters Of Mercy’s first single ‘The Damage Done’ which has a very odd history of multiple “fake” recordings. And was also named (probably) after the Neil Young song.