Cinemax’s Outcast Close to Home TV Show Review. Outcast, Season 1, Episode 9: ‘Close to Home,’ should’ve given the game away with its title, alone (and the running theme to the Occupations); but in the event that wasn’t enough, the episode opened with some post catharsis cleanup leaving Megan (Wrenn Schmidt) with a new perspective. Well, that’s what we were meant to think, anyway. Most of the episode played it off as another red herring – red herrings having been established as the new normal, behind most of the show’s developments.
Still, nothing says calm before the storm (fingers crossed) like an effort at normalcy. Somehow, Patricia (Melinda McGraw) thought that meant cohabitating with Anderson (Philip Glenister); Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey) thought it meant giving Ogden (Pete Burris) & Kat (Debra Christofferson) a head-start, out of town; while Kyle (Patrick Fugit) thought it best to introduce Amber (Madeleine McGraw) into his foster sister’s school population, before setting out to retrieve his family unit’s missing piece. When the Amber effort turns out to be best idea of the lot (at first), you know they just don’t make new normal the way they used to.
Of course, normal – for small town, USA – often comes with a heap of contagious scorn, when you make a spectacle of yourself, like Anderson did; so I suppose some effort at redemption was warranted, on his part.
Well, A for intention; C for effort; F for execution.
Apparently, there was still some bottom left for him to hit. Ordinarily, I’d give points to Sidney (Brent Spiner), for committing to the kind of scheme he had set up for the Reverend; but Anderson took the bait way too easy. So easy, in fact, that he took Ginger Spite’s bait just as readily. So did Patricia. So, so much for Patricia’s new normal.
Side note: local stick-up-the-butt, Tansy (Andrea Powell), has really been making her presence known, since her second string days with Mildred, and kinda cosying up to Sid. Maybe a little too much, with the presence making – so I’m hoping for more red herring I can kvetch about, later (dammit).
While Anderson’s spiral arced further, Kyle & Mark (David Denman) have buddied up, some, taking their side team on an Allison (Kate Lyn Sheil) hunt. Unless creepy atmosphere counts (kind of the meat to the series, so far), it only resulted in Kyle getting some unwanted closure. Maybe. With Anderson being a kind of useless, I should appreciate a side-gig for Kyle; but only Giles has provided any satisfactory company, outside the Team Bad Touch duo (sorry, Mark).
Besides being a better silent partner than Anderson has been deserving, lately, Giles has been a pivotal figure stretched thin, by the show’s occasionally winding plots. I don’t know if this was always the intent; but at least one of his loose strings seems on track to snag a useful place, as Ogden & Kat pulled a semi-full-circle.
The pair returned to town to facilitate a key role in the “something wonderful” to come. Besides an early resumption, of the promise behind Ogden’s earlier farewell warning to Giles, the couple’s scene restored an air of menace to the Occupation, and re-framed the Merge as something akin to the colonization mythology of the X-Files (still Outcast’s Spirit Animal, IMO – black goo & all).
As needlessly frustrating as the Reverend spiral has been, ‘Close to Home’ did give me reason to think the bottom has finally been reached, that Team Bad Touch was finally getting its act together, and that a corner had finally been turned (again). Most importantly, it justified its title, as expected. A new perspective for Megan promises a new new normal for her domestic troubles arc – and it’s about damned time (sorry, Mark).
Something else that the episode’s Kyle-Megan dealings should’ve made clear: the new new normal brought new meaning to the phrase ‘Amber alert’ – so I’m expecting more ties to the family bind.
Finale on notice.
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