Season 1, Episode 2: “(I Remember) When She Loved Me”
Directed by Howard Deutch
Written by Jeff Vlaming
* For a review of the first episode, “A Darkness Surrounds Him” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “All Alone Now” – click here
I’ve been waiting for Friday to roll around so I could catch this next episode of Robert Kirkman’s Outcast. Excited to see how the characters and the supernatural elements all come together, flesh out. On another note, one thing I loved right off the bat about the whole show itself is the opening credits, the theme. Spooky, foreboding, and that ambient element you can tell Atticus Ross had his sweet little fingers in there. Gives each episode an ominous start that I love. Sets the atmosphere up without anything but some random images and the score.
This episode starts with a young Kyle Barnes. Everything is so light, breezy, beautiful. It feels surreal, in the tomb of memory. We see the change in his mother happen so fast, going from the nice mother to demonically possessed in the matter of minutes. Back in present day, Kyle (Patrick Fugit) is fighting back all that horror in his mind. Meanwhile, Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) preaches from the pulpit about the only thing that can “inoculate us from the darkness” – because he’s seen it. The congregation hasn’t, but he has, and Kyle, as well. Even if the latter tries to deny that at times, despite what he witnessed last episode. And all he knew as a boy at the hands of his insanely mad mother.
Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey) has some doubts about Kyle kicking around. He goes to talk with his friend Rev. Anderson and worries about how the young man affects the town. Everyone there is talking already. But Giles is only warning the reverend a little.
Other more nasty things are happening. Some animals are cut up, nailed on his property. Yikes. I can see now how this is about to play into everything else.
In the meantime, Kyle goes to sit with his mother in the hospital, in her catatonic state. He talks about the boy he and Rev. Anderson saved. Instead of feeling good about saving his mother from a demonic force, Kyle only feels guilt for putting her in that bed. Although he’s conflicted because of all the horror she put him through. “We were all we had,” he reminisces to her in pain. To see him fluctuate between the distinct memories of her being an awesome mom and those of her in that terrifying state is tough. Fugit does a fine job selling this role. I wasn’t sold right away in the pilot, though I loved the episode as a whole. Now, with this second chapter, I’m starting to understand completely why he was cast. Never should have doubted that, as I’ve enjoyed many of Fugit’s performances.
After a bit of trouble at the hospital Kyle decides to do something a little drastic: take his mother home. Norville (Willie C. Carpenter) notices and tries to offer his help, but Kyle refuses and goes to tend to his mother. Outside, a mysterious man from the church earlier lurks, watching. Awesomely enough, it’s someone played by Brent Spiner (Mr. God Damn Data to you).
Megan Holter (Wrenn Schmidt) shows up with groceries and all the necessities. When she does, Kyle has a little gift. He wants it to go to his little girl, but Megan knows there’s none of that allowed. Apparently he can’t have any type of contact whatsoever. Finally, Megan breaks down and takes the gift, advising him about everything from eating better to trying to fix his life: “Just take it slow.” He’s taking care of mother right now, though. And all those horrible memories are flashing back, more all the time. He keeps imagining her locked in that closet, the same one where she’d lock him. At this point she’s locked inside her own body.
Over at a little meeting with some of the church ladies, Rev. Anderson is preaching his ideas of growing the congregation, getting asses in the seats, all that sort of things. The ladies are a little worried about Kyle Barnes and his involvement. Anderson does his best to sell his good qualities, no matter all the bad mojo surrounding him because of his past.
Out in the woods, Chief Giles and Mark Holter (David Denman) are searching for the nailed and slashed animals. They talk about how things went down with the kid, Kyle beating him up. Mark doesn’t buy any of the exorcism bullshit. At the same time, Giles doesn’t discount it. Clearly his relationship with the preacher extends to more than just a little faith.
We get a bit more on Kyle and his ex-wife, their little girl Amber, tons of stuff. Even a brief mention of the little girl locking herself in the closet; coincidence? Either way, dig it. The thing I enjoy about these opening episodes of the series is that not everything is spelled out completely. The writing gives us bits and pieces without spoiling everything with all out exposition. That makes everything more mysterious and more fun.
Giles and Holter stumble upon the animals eventually. A bunch of them, all crucified in a row. Someone’s been doing naughty business out there in the forest. They find a dirty camper along the way, scratch marks everywhere inside and blood all over them. An eerie scene.
At the Barnes place, Anderson shows up. He knows about her being taken away and isn’t happy. He tries making Kyle realize what’s best for his mother. Regardless, they’re at odds. Kyle doesn’t know why curing his mother of the demon didn’t end like it did for the boy he helped. “What if it‘s still inside of her?” he asks the reverend. I have a feeling they’re about to start messing around with something they don’t fully understand. Unless the ole rev knows something we haven’t figured out just yet. Well, they decide to go for it. Anderson breaks out his cross, the whole deal. They lay prayers down on her. The memories come back to Kyle, all that hardship he experienced. Nothing works, and this starts to drive Kyle batty. He opens up the wound in his hand then squeezes blood onto her, in her mouth. Still, nothing happens. After things settle Anderson has Kyle’s mother brought back to the hospital where she belongs right now.
Over with Kyle’s ex-wife and little Amber, Megan sees her niece open up the gift from her father. She watches uneasily, as if feeling guilty on both sides; for helping Kyle, for not doing more. A hard position in which to find oneself.
Part of what intrigues me most so far is Kyle’s character, the guilt he feels and the overall loss of not having a mother because of a demonic influence taking over her body, her mind, her soul. Then he has his own power that isn’t something he yet understands. All this makes for a powder keg of emotions. Later after Kyle goes home, he finds a note from Megan that his daughter loved the present. This only adds that further bit of emotion to the character and his moral dilemma. We don’t yet fully know the extent of what’s happened between Kyle and his ex-wife, the daughter, but I have a few guesses.
Oh, and before the episode closes we see Brent Spiner’s character arrive to see Kyle’s mother Sarah in the hospital. He knows her well. He knows more that we’re going to see soon. Worst of all, it torments his mother even in her coma state. Then we watch a flashback to see the demonic thing exiting her back then, choking her young son Kyle by the neck, as if claiming him for its own. What an unsettling finale to this episode.
I am beyond excited now for the third chapter, “All Alone Now”, which promises more development in these rich characters. Really great start to this series. No wonder Cinemax has faith and already greenlit Season 2. More to come, so stay with me, fellow fans! This is a solid show with plenty to offer on both the dramatic and horror ends respectively.