HBO’s The Outsider
Episode 7: “In the Pines, In the Pines”
Directed by Daina Reid
Written by Dennis Lehane
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The One About the Yiddish Vampire” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Foxhead” – click here
The image opening this episode, of a beetle on its back flailing to turn itself right once more, cuts directly to Dt. Ralph Anderson waking up in the morning. Is Ralph the flailing beetle? And if so, what will help set him right again? Will solving this case do it? Or can Ralph truly ever be set right? He and his wife Jeannie aren’t quite seeing eye to eye, considering their differing views on Holly Gibney’s theory. Not to mention Jeannie’s the only one who seems to give a shit where Ms. Gibney is currently.
Glory Maitland’s getting back to work for the first time since Terry’s death. She has moral support from Howie Solomon. She also has to face leaving her daughters with someone else, probably unsure of how they’ll ultimately be affected by everything. Plus, once she gets back to showing off real estate she’s just another tourist attraction for people to come see. At least that’s how she feels, anyway. She makes a scene at a showing, only getting herself in trouble. This leads her to decide she’ll sue everybody from the town itself to the police department, unwilling to be run out of her home.
Poor Holly is stuck in the car listening to Ricky Nelson with Jack Hoskins, trying to make small talk like she doesn’t know something is seriously wrong with the cop. He’s busy ranting about belief in evil entities: “I very much fucking believe there‘s something else out there that‘s worse than I ever imagined. He asks more direct questions about how old the thing is, if it was around “before the Big Bang,” if there’s more than one, and all the private eye can tell him is she doesn’t know. She tries to offer help, telling Jack she can potentially stop it.
She better work fast. Ole Jacky boy’s slipping. And how long until Ralph finally realises she’s in trouble? It takes Alec Pelley to fully piece it together, then they get their asses in gear. The two men quickly understand strange, probably horrific things are happening after they discover blood all over Jack’s apartment.
Should be interesting to see what Claude Bolton gets up to, now that he’s quitting his job. Is el Cuco pulling the bouncer’s puppet strings? And to what end? We’ll surely find out. Father Gore loves how the tension with Claude has been drawn out since the first couple episodes. Not only that, Paddy Considine is a fantastic actor. So to have him playing Claude will be a gift once the bouncer’s role becomes clear.
Ralph goes to see Tamika Collins. He knows she and Hoskins are close, asking if she’d noticed anything strange about him lately. She doesn’t tell him anything about the christening willingly, though Ralph saw them arguing. Tamika doesn’t say anything about the shadowy figure she saw standing over the baby’s crib in the middle of the night. Not helpful behaviour from a cop.
On the road, Holly stops to go to the bathroom. She’s able to get her purse out with her by using her period as an excuse that keeps Jack from asking any further. She tries to open a window from inside the bathroom, but to no avail. On top of that, Jack’s kept her phone in the car, too. So Holly smashes a window, drawing Hoskins to the back of the washrooms, and makes a run to the car. She’s able to get away with a spare set of keys, avoiding the cop’s gunfire as she speeds off down the road.
While Ralph and Alec take their own drive, the latter tells a story about being young and getting lost at a lake where his family was staying. He was found at 4 am by a couple hunters from a search party. During his time out there alone, he says he heard “something call my name.” He refused to believe, and still refuses to believe, it was his imagination. It was the thing that scared him most in his whole life. One reason why Holly’s theory doesn’t feel so far fetched to a guy like Alec. Eventually, Ralph and Alec get to where Jack was left behind at the washroom, along with Holly’s smashed phone. This leaves them to assume the worst.
At the same time, Jack’s in the woods trying to kill himself.
Except the entity won’t allow it.
Thankfully, Holly makes it back to everybody safe. She goes about explaining things. She doesn’t believe she was to be used for any of the thing’s purposes: “I think it only feeds on children.” But if the entity were “hungry enough,” all bets are off. Holly thinks Jack was simply trying to eliminate her for el Cuco, seeing as how she was making trouble and alerting others to its presence. Maybe Ralph and the others will start to see there’s more to all this, like Holly told them. Yunis Sablo is most willing to believe, no matter if the answers are easy to live with, whereas a guy like Ralph is still too rigid in his belief of only the 100% explicable. Now there’s Andy Katcavage in the mix, as well. He’s turned up to try lending help to Holly and the others.
Before any more forward motion in the case can happen, Holly’s pissed when she figures out where she recognises Claude. One of the sketches looks kind of like him, and there’s the fact that the fake Terry scratched the bouncer— none of which Ms. Gibney was told. Jeannie has to urge her husband to “start getting over yourself,” now that it’s beyond clear the “unreasonable and irrational” have become the only reason. So Ralph tries harder at therapy. He’s deeply troubled, and he can’t even put that into words in the moment. What’s it going to take to unlock whatever’s eating him alive? His therapist does offer the idea that even someone like himself, whose job it is to understand the mind, recognises there are things in this world we simply don’t understand, and perhaps never will. It’s this uncertainty, partly, that’s driving Ralph to the brink of his psyche. Holly isn’t doing so hot, either. She has an awful nightmare of not making it out of Jack’s grip and getting her brains blown out in the car.
Another intense chapter. Can’t help but wonder when things will break for Ralph, and what will happen once they do. It’ll get even more interesting, and likely more intense.
“Foxhead” is next time.