Cinemax’s Outcast From the Shadows It Watches TV Show Review. Outcast, Season 1, Episode 6: ‘From the Shadows It Watches,’ shed a bit more light on what ‘It’ is, exactly, that’s been watching from the shadows; but I’m not entirely sure if that teaser of an answer was enough to alleviate just how tedious some of the questions have become.
To date, Outcast has taken an interesting question of a premise (where DO the possessors go, after an exorcism, and could there be a point to the possessions, in the first place) and made for some intriguing possibilities, as far as answers go. The problem is that so many additional mysteries have been added that I’ve found myself feeling distracted from that core premise.
Atmosphere has been the cornerstone of the series – you get that just from the title sequence & the setting – so I understand the need to give as many characters as possible their creepy moment(s). When such moments become tangents, which in turn become red-herrings, however, then you get the feeling some filler’s being added.
There were important developments coming out of this episode. Sidney (Brent Spiner) was forced to come out of the shadows (where he’s been watching) ahead of schedule; but made the most of it. Kyle (Patrick Fugit) was once again motivated to be more useful to the story, than to his own personal life. Rev. Anderson (Philip Glenister) may have finally caught on to his having fallen prey to pride, while that painful-to-watch courtship, with Patricia (Melinda McGraw), was finally addressed. Allison (Kate Lyn Sheil) finally took a real interest in why everybody hates Kyle.
So about the bad news. As essential as Kyle & Megan’s (Wrenn Schmidt) history has been to the story, the thread involving Donnie (Scott Porter) is starting to feel like a drag. More discouraging: the drawn-out mystery, involving the torched camper, has had a domestic drama spin added to it, which (if you’ve been paying attention) is clearly a red-herring – so you get the sense more filler just keeps being added. Most discouraging of all: the why of Kyle got some solid miles behind it, this ep, only to be steered off the road by Kyle, himself. It jibes with his whole protective ethos – I get that – but I also couldn’t help but feel strung along.
Robert Kirkman has been on something of a Midas run, since The Walking Dead became the king of scripted TV, leaving many wondering what the freedom of premium cable could mean for one of his projects. While Cinemax has not been an excuse for rampant F-bombs, nudity, sex, and ultra-violence (which I only partially lament), I fear Outcast’s Showrunners – much like Rev. Anderson – have been running more on faith & old glory, than on convincing, current product. Not having to keep sponsors happy, on a weekly basis, has to count as a perk; but it seems the degree of job security that comes with it might’ve been taken for granted.
Outcast has been running at a pace I think only justifiable for a streaming service binge, like a Netflix series. There, lingering threads, and meandering questions come with the understanding that answers (or lack thereof) are as far away as the viewer’s pacing choice, and that commitment to a series can be decided in a single sitting. True Detective seemed to prove that premium channel offerings can’t take viewership for granted.
So about the good news. With Sidney both coming out of the shadows & getting his hands dirty, Outcast may have turned a corner, regarding its larger conflict. He may have also given Rev. Anderson a reason to get over himself – putting him back on the same page as Kyle, so we can get back to the exorcist buddy procedural, already. Having Anderson’s tipping point hit very close to home was also a useful way to deliver some critically bad news to him, regarding the nature of what he has been up against (frankly, I’ve had enough of his hard-wired stubbornness). The finality to the Mildred (Grace Zabriskie) situation – while not making up for episode 3’s open ending – seemed to prove that not every thread is going to be milked for more than its worth. If the ‘sleeper’ element could somehow justify various loose threads, then Mildred’s contribution to the series has provided a reason to pay attention to the rest of the background noise.
If too much of that noise turns out to be nothing but noise, however, all that good could go bad pretty easy.
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