Monday, July 11, 2016

Outcast, Season 1, Episode 5: The Road Before Us

So, last episode it was pretty much confirmed that Rev Anderson’s exorcisms were pretty much a theatre that achieved next to nothing.

Anderson is all about his pride, determined to drag Kyle around all his previous “successes” not to check up on them – but to prove to Kyle that his godly powers work. Surprise – they don’t.

I think it’s really interesting to see this portrayed – and it’s not just Anderson’s arrogance (which he clearly has in spades), it’s not even the fact he doesn’t seem overly concerned about the victims he’s supposed to be saving (though it has to be said their wellbeing doesn’t seem to be his priority). We know from past snippets that Anderson has given up a lot, perhaps even his family, for his path. To face the fact he’s failing time and again, that he apparently has zero success rate is going to be hard if not impossible for anyone to swallow. But in light of what success means to him, there is a definite hint that the victims are less people to be saved so much as a score to keep. This crusade as much to prove himself right as not – when he chews out Kyle for insensitivity it’s not the father of the missing girl he demands an apology for – he demands it for himself. For his wounded pride. For suggesting he has failed – despite all the evidence that he IS a failure.

We see more of this when he drags Kyle to find one of his previous exorcisms – a teenager now living on the streets. She’s clearly still possessed, hurt by Kyle’s touch (and ominously calling him “the key” and needing “his light”). Kyle is hesitant to hurt her - but Anderson yells at him to hit her. And when she’s exorcised and the demon gone, the girl is left comatose

Anderson calls it a win – again showing a complete disregard for the actual victims. Kyle calls him out and it excellently builds on what I’ve been saying all season. What evidence do we have that Anderson’s narrative is correct? That the possessions are demons? That there are souls being saved? All we see – all Kyle sees – is terrible violence often dished out (to his wife, to a child) and, in the end, both his mother and this girl being left in comas. Who is saved by this? It’s only Anderson and a faith he refuses to challenge despite mounting evidence of his own errors, that insists they’re actually doing a good thing. Sure none of the people they come across are doing WELL in possession – but how many of them are doing well when exorcised as well? I think we have one child and then we have no idea of long term effects

Perhaps one example we have of long term doing well after exorcism is Allison – Kyle’s ex-wife. Not that she’s doing well – she’s struggling desperately after what happened to her, after being brutally attacked by her husband. She’s on medication, she’s clearly struggling and it doesn’t help that their child, Amber, doesn’t understand and is blaming Allison for everything. Even then her anger and frustration seem to be normal, human stress in the face of the awful she’s been through

Kyle worrying about her being possessed still, stalking her house and forcing a meeting, no matter how well intentioned, certainly isn’t helping her at all. Her pain and struggle feels very real.

When she comes to his house to talk to him we get another insight into her… because she doesn’t remember the attack she, at least in part, doesn’t really believe Kyle did it. He admits it – but he’s made no attempt to apologise or explain (though she comments on him generally being a person who apologises even when he’s not at fault – a pet hate of hers). Their lives were, ultimately, perfect before the possession… and she kisses him

Well, that proves she’s not demonic since she can stand his touch. But oh the can of worms this will open. Kyle is hugely relieved that they can touch and she’s safe. She still needs an explanation – demands one so she can explain her life. He won’t…. he can’t.

Also can I poke this show for the fake out implying Allison is possessed? No-one brushes their teeth like that! No-one!

Personally I’m more worried about the demon child since she plays with dolls and talks about “drinking black poison” which is what the demons spout when exorcised. Either that or the girl is deeply traumatised from watching Kyle exorcise Allison…

In other news, chief Giles keeps circling round his best friend Ogden and why he burned down his suspicious serial-killer trailer… but still has no proof actual serial killing happened. There’s a lot of bristling and passive aggressive circling going on

And Ominous Man (now known as Sidney) visits Mildred, the possessed old woman – and this is a fascinating scene – not for the fact he has a job or how she is worried about surviving to the “merge”. Sure they’re interesting plot points – but I liked seeing Demon!Mildred collecting the miniatures and ornaments she has – this demon has a hobby. Not maintaining appearances or inheriting a life – she is actively passionate and interested in something. It’s a level of humanisation which further complicates Anderson’s actions