Outcast: To the Sea Review
Cinemax’s Outcast, season 2, episode 10, ‘To the Sea,’ could have been a decent ending. Oddly enough, it could have made for an even better beginning. What it did amount to, however, was a little bit of neither. The good news was that a whole lot got covered, moved, and put together in remarkably short order. The bad news… I don’t know if any of that will ever mean anything.
With all the Body Snatcher hi-jinx that’s been about, Megan (Wrenn Schmidt) seemed to finally realize that toning down the panic, and playing it cool might actually be a useful alternative to how she’s been dealing. Maybe it was maternal survival instinct kicking in; maybe she actually got smarter; but her situation boiled down to who could get the fake charm over the other the farthest, before the knives come out – her or a Holly (Callie Brook McClincy) hovering Blake (Lee Tergesen). Blake having Holly as an unwitting hostage might’ve played a role in Megan’s revision; but it was the right play, all the same.
Of course, Blake’s ‘experience’ placed him well out of her league; but it was still nice to see the plot color outside the lines.
All that said, I was left hoping that her concern for her embryonic Sleeper was part of that confidence game – not just because it made for a convincing ploy, but because I just needed her to not be a freaking liability, every time family matters get hairy. Holly’s a next gen problem.
Ultimately, it was Blake that made the decisive move. The throwing-the-emperor-down-the-shaft moment came on a little sudden; but it was still an oddly satisfying turn. It also facilitated some poetic justice. Physician heal thyself, indeed; but who’s going to live up to Dr. Frankenstein’s Monster, going forward?
On the subject of going forward… no, that comes later. ‘To the Sea’ had a whole lot of ducks in a row; so I’ll get into their set up, before getting into how things knocked down.
It looks like Anderson (Philip Glenister) finally got the message – but maybe not quite the message that was delivered. His new, post-Team Bad Touch take on taking biblical matters into your own hands: take matters into your own hands without the constraints of the Bible. I’m not sure how this was meant to be anything but a foreshadowing moment; but I guess talk of raising an (untethered) army was the part we were supposed to fixate on.
The Anderson army formed quicker than I expected; though I suspect Giles (Reg E. Cathey) getting on board had something to do with it. With his Rose Rage as the driving force, a new Team Bad Touch splinter group was set on full Team Final Solution.
The army already in place – just waiting for orders – handled their business differently, of course. The state of Dakota (Madelyn Deutch) was left more troubling than ever, now that Simon (C. Thomas Howell) had turned the Liberated Legion’s cards face up. Simon wasn’t entirely the cad that Kyle (Patrick Fugit) had imagined; but he wasn’t quite the messianic figure that Dakota had been carrying water for, either.
In the event her change of heart seemed too sudden, for some, we had the evolution of the Reverend to fall back on. As plot timing would have it, the resurrection of Simon just happened to leave her on the exact same page as Anderson. Leave it at that.
Simon wasn’t just Kyle’s returning prodigal dad, either. No, he was the last Jedi – out to ensure the current & future generation of Beacons learn how to draw Light Saviors.
Never mind speeding up the plot, and fast-tracking the best equipped army of the bunch to the battlefield, this was most useful in not having Kyle going around looking for missing family members, again. That turned out to be a non-issue, anyway (the show can afford throwaway drama at this point, right?).
He also provided a quick answer, to the recent question, about the mass grave he had previously left behind. Add the reveal of the benefactor, behind Dr. Park’s (Hoon Lee) Road to Wellness play, and some decent stakes were being laid down. Essentially, all sides seemed set to go all in, on the exact same gamble.
Everybody wanted a Merge – and somebody will be getting it. The question had gone from whether a Merge was going to take place, to whose merge will it be… and will we get to see it.
The answer was yes… and no.
Everything Blake foresaw came to pass. The Occupiers came through, the Beacons made them pay for it, and the Liberated Legion passed out the Flavor-Aid. What that all amounted to, however, was a Merge; but not the Merge.
Without getting into too much detail (like what the Flavor-Aid was made of – yeesh), what we were left with was a deeper divide, between father & son Beacons, the two Home teams seemingly at war with each other, and the Visitors being re-enforced without even making it to the field. Throw in the fact that a key player was now ready to play – after spending the entire game on the bench – and this finale would count as a pretty decent primer for season 3, instead of a fall-short-by-a-hair wrap to season 2.
That would be the rub, right there.
There has yet to be any definitive word on there being a season 3. After a fever-dream sleepy first season, season 2 literally ended with a wake-up; and for all the good that represented, it would be a pretty lousy place to leave things.
There’s been a long, shameful history of shows ending with loose ends – or worse: cliffhangers – but there’s something particularly bothersome about shows that end at the point of piquing interest. I’ll live without an Outcast, season 3 (I know – duh); but do I really want it added to my long list of what if? Firefly‘s on that list – I can’t have Outcast occupying such upscale brain-space!
The bottom line is that the only thing worse than a show with nothing to show, is a show that amounts to a lot of wasted prospects.
‘To the Sea’ brought Outcast its best prospects, to date. It just might have also left it stranded at that point.
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