Outcast S01E10 “This Little Light” REVIEW
Airing in the UK on FOX, Tuesdays, 10pm
Writer: Chris Black
Director: Loni Peristere
Essential Plot Points:
- Newly-possessed and disorientated Megan pokes Mark’s dead body in the eye, picks at her own scabs and scares the living daylights out of the two little girls in the house – her own daughter, Holly, and Kyle’s daughter, Amber – before leaving the house.
- Kyle and the Rev arrive at the house and find Amber and Holly hiding in the cupboard and Mark’s dead body in the bathroom.
- Possessed Megan wanders round town, being spooked by lights and water sprinklers and running into walls. It’s actually very amusing and quite touching.
- Kyle and the Rev take Holly and Amber to Chief Giles’s house where Giles’s wife happily agrees to look after them.
- Giles, though, is appalled when Kyle and the Rev ask him not to put an arrest warrant out for Megan because she wasn’t herself at the time of the murder. “Who’s gonna believe that? A man is dead. One of mine. You show up at my house with his blood on your hands. What the f**k do you expect me to do?” he says rather reasonably. But the Rev seems to talk him round: “The law will see it however y0u want to see it.”
- Patricia’s teenage son, Aaron, breaks into Sidney’s place again. Sidney is not pleased but the kid is desperate to be on Team Sidney, even though he has no idea what Team Sidney actually wants.
- In their new secret base, Kat Ogden tends to the newly-possessed while her unpossessed husband watches in disgust and wonders if the great sex is worth all this crap.
- Kyle and the Rev drive around town hoping to find Megan. Kyle speculates that the longer someone has been possessed the less likely he’ll be able to exorcise them without causing damage to the host. That’s handy for Megan, thinks the entire audience in unison.
- The Chief finds Mark’s body and phones someone to help with the “clean-up”.
- Sidney notices that Kyle house is empty and the front door is open. He enters and finds Megan.
- The chief’s wife calls Kat Ogden for a chat, in the process revealing that she has the little girls with her, not realising how vital this info is for Kat.
- Kat is with Sidney at the time, fetching Megan from Kyle’s house. Aaron watches from Sidney’s house suspiciously.
- Aaron goes the Chief’s house where the chief’s wife opens the door. He tries to sweet talk his way in but eventually forces his way in instead.
- Kyle returns to his house to see if Megan’s gone there. He finds a note from Sidney, saying he has Amber. (That’s why Aaron barged his way into the chief’s house.)
- Kyle goes off to a rendezvous with Sidney… alone. He refuses the Rev’s offer of help.
- After putting a pillowcase over his head and locking him in the boot of a car, Sidney drives Kyle to the special secret base.
- Sidney locks Kyle in a room with Amber.
- Sidney explains, “My kind, we find our way into your world every day. We can’t stay where we’re from. So we come here.” “Where are you from?” asks Kyle. “The same place you are,” says Sidney. “That’s why we’ve around you your whole life. You’re gonna stay right where you are, where I can keep an eye on you, until we need you.” He doesn’t explain for what.
- But the Rev has secretly followed Kyle to the secret base.
- He helps free Kyle then there’s a big possessed vs Team exorcist fight.
- Kyle tries to exorcise Megan but – BIG TWIST! – Amber finishes the job. She has her father’s powers too.
- Megan survives the experience relatively intact but shellshocked. They don’t tell her what she did to Mark, just saying he had an “accident” (like she’s not going to put two and two together).
- The Reverend burns down Sidney’s house, believing Sidney to be inside (well, he sees somebody in there)…
- …Then the next day hears from Patricia that Aaron never came home, shortly before seeing Sidney leave town in a car. Whoops, that’s an embarrassing mistake, eh?
- Kyle and Amber are set to drive out of town to somewhere safe but when they stop at a gas station to fill up, the possessed approach them threateningly. Seems they don’t want the Outcast and Mini-Outcast leaving.
So Outcast finishes its first year with an episode that’s as near to a generic horror series as it’s been all season. Pacier, bloodier, more plot-led and more revelation packed (well… relatively) than normal, “This Little Light” feels nearer to The Strain than the gritty, thought-provoking “Walking Dead of exorcism shows” it’s been aiming for most of the season.
Is this a bad thing? In the main, no. There are moments of tension and horror here that make you wish the show was like this a bit more often, rather than too many episodes that tread water. Plus, in the newly-possessed Megan the episode does continue to explote its unique selling point, as once again you can’t help but feel some sympathy for whatever these beings are that are possessing the townsfolk of Rome. As the being within Megan tries to adjust to this scary new world, Wrenn Schmidt’s low-key acting and Loni Peristere’s sensitive direction combine black humour with real tension that make these scenes mesmerising to watch. The moment when she pokes dead Mark in the eye is both icky and curiously childlike.
There’s also an intriguing drip-feed of revelations as we get slightly nearer to understanding what these body-hithhikers are. The most chilling is when Sidney tells Kyle that they come from the same place; does this imply that there’s something hitching inside Kyle as well? The “outcast” presumably. Because Kyle’s “human” body cannot literally be from the same place as wherever these things come from, surely?
The fact that Amber’s a mini-outcast is a great twist, but it does raise even more questions. Has she inherited her powers? And if so, how? Does Kyle’s hitcher reproduce as well?
So there’s a lot to enjoy in this season finale, and yet somehow it also feels disappointing that the show takes such a turn for the generic. Sure, it delivers in terms of thrills and chills and action and twists, but the series seemed to be building to something more refreshingly different. It looked like it was a show about how everyday people reacted to weird and extreme circumstances, with a real flair for character-driven drama. It’s ended up as a buddy supernatural crimebusters show with a slightly hammy villain. The gritty reality has given way to fairly standard telefantasy tropes. All done really, really well, we grant you – great acting, superb cinematography, loads of tension and atmosphere – but not quite that special, unique show the pilot was promising.
- “This is the second time you’ve broken into my house.”
“Second time you know about.” – Aaron is a seriously creepy stalker in the making (or, at least, he was until he was barbecued).
- Wrenn Schmidt is genuinely sweet as the newly-possessed Megan.
- The brief shot of the Rev opening his boot and deciding whether to infiltrate the secret base armed with his exorcism kit or a car wrench is an amusing little character beat.
- The twist with Amber being a mini-Outcast was a good one, we’ll grant them that.
- There’s some lovely cinematic camerawork from director Loni Peristere. Besides the misjudged “blindfold-cam” shots, that is.
- No proper verbal showdown between Sidney and Kyle. Instead, Sidney’s little tease about “until we need you” is a shameless tease for next season.
- Um, what happened to Megan, post-exorcism? She’s just been through a traumatic experience, she now has no husband and her brother’s running out of town on her. Isn’t that a little harsh?
- The “blindfold-view-shots” are really unconvincing. It looks exactly like there’s room under that pillowcase for a camera.
- It’s embarrassingly obvious that the Rev has accidentally killed Aaron. Is it even supposed to be twist?
- Did Sidney not expect the Rev to follow Kyle to the secret base?
And The Random:
- The title of the episode comes from the the gospel song, “This Little Light Of Mine”, which plays over the end credits. You immediately assume it must refer to Amber revealing her new “superpowers” but the song has also often been taken up by various protest movements because of its lyrics about the importance of unity in the face of adversity; in that case it could be referring to the possessed.
- Before becoming a director, Loni Peristere was most famous for overseeing the special FX on Serenity, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel.
Review by Jonathan Norton