Monday, June 27, 2016

Outcast, Season 1, Episode 4: A Wrath Unseen

I’ve seen this show being advertised repeatedly as being spine-tingling and terrifying. I can’t say I feel it to be honest. Maybe because they’ve really tried to build up the horror in the advertising but so far I’m not feeling it.

This episode actually did a better job with the horror to my mind with Megan’s personal horror rather than all the blood and gore.

Megan and Mark have a rather sweet relationship and are being all nice and couply when Donnie interrupts things. Donnie was an old foster child cared for by Megan’s parents – and he sexually abused her.

Mark notices Megan’s rapid change of demeanour – we see a lot of flashbacks from her point of view and it’s clear she’s being hurt by Donnie’s return. She doesn’t want to tell Mark though – mainly because she’s worried that he will decide to take matters in his own hands and end up getting in trouble/losing his job/being arrested. This is why she goes to tell Donnie to get out of town; to protect Mark from the consequences of finding out about him – not for her pain or trauma: because, as she makes clear to him, he is absolutely nothing to her. Especially when the man tries to present himself as the victim. Yes this guy is way worse than the demons. He also creepily reveals how he’s been Facebook stalking and in the one time he’s right he says how scary it is how much information we put out there now. I do like her speech firmly putting Donnie in his place but I do think this abuse storyline may focus more on Mark

This is also why she tells Kyle to back off and leave it alone (after his desperate and failed attempt to attack Donnie). Kyle was living with Megan at the time and did his best to try and help her as much as he could – unfortunately this also puts him in the perfect place to reveal all to Mark: he knew Megan had been abused but not by who and had discounted the story as a way for Megan to try and make Kyle look like a hero so Mark would stop hating her

Yeah, you think your wife made up a story about being abused as a child? Damn Mark, and I was all ready to be on your side.

Unfortunately Mark doesn’t listen to Kyle and my worry about the storyline focusing more on Mar seems to be confirmed when Mark pulls Donnie over and brutally beats him. While being recorded on his dashcam. This will not end well.

Megan engages in her own therapy by shattering glass with a hammer – I can definitely see that as cathartic.

On the demon front, we have Rev. Anderson starting well, dragging Kyle with him to visit elderly parishioners to show that part of his work isn’t just exorcising people, but helping people so they don’t let the demon in in the first place. Kyle rather takes issue with that since it kind of blames his mother and his wife for their own demonic possession – Rev. Anderson quickly backs off on that line of thinking though I do wish they would have pursued that more. There’s a whole lot of his philosophy which really needs poking.

Which leads me to my ongoing theory with this series: I think that Rev. Anderson is a failure. I think his whole philosophy and methods simply don’t work. The example this week is an old woman who Rev. Anderson once exorcised (and has been deeply traumatised by the event). Her daughter is worried because she is getting increasingly more ornery as she gets older – though Rev. Anderson is confident that this is just grumpy old age and not demonic possession. Despite Kyle touching her and causing the burny demon reaction.

Rev. Anderson denies this is any sign of demonicness… well… for a time before he finally recognises the epic sin of pride he is committing by deciding that his exorcism definitely worked despite all evidence to the contrary. He tries to go back with Kyle – but daughter Sophia is not letting them in the house. She’s heard about the last exorcism, the brutality, the starvation and general awfulness and she’s really not willing to let her elderly mother be abused by a reverend, no matter how ornery she is.

It’s a definitely failure for the reverend. And, as I said last week and the week before, it calls further question on whether Rev. Anderson’s exorcisms actually work – because we’ve seen no indication that they do. Not once. Which also calls into question the whole Christian mythology he’s applying to the show.

As an extra brewing plot, we have the Sheriff going on a hunting trip with his buddy Ogden – who owned the watch that Mark found last episode in the serial killer trailer last week. Now seeing Ogden burning down the trailer, he asks Mark to process all the evidence – now he has proof of Odgen’s guilt.