HBO’s The Outsider
Episode 8: “Foxhead”
Directed by J.D. Dillard
Written by Richard Price

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “In the Pines, In the Pines” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Tigers and Bears” – click here
Father Son Holy Gore - The Outsider - Paddy Considine as Claude BoltonJack calls in a fake report to get cops out of his apartment long enough for him to get weapons and a few things. Definitely not a good sign. In the meantime, Claude is in Tennessee visiting his brother, and back home the gang are putting their heads together to figure out what to do. Holly wants to find him and “isolate him” so she can protect him from whatever el Cuco’s going to do next with Claude’s identity. She thinks if she can screw up the entity’s cycle it’ll “expose itself to the world.” Everyone is pretty well on board. Yunis and Andy offer to go with Ms. Gibney, and even Ralph does. Although Ralph offers to go with a very reluctant energy.

In Cecil, Tennessee, Claude talks to his brother Seale (Max Beesley) about his troubles as of late. He says he keeps waking up a dozen times a night, paranoid, as if someone’s trying to get into his place. Or, maybe his head. Either way, he felt it was best to get out of town before something “bad happened.” What about his brother? He’s up to some shady shit with his foreman, too. Must run in the Bolton blood.
Father Son Holy Gore - The Outsider - Cynthia Erivo as Holly GibneyOne good bit of news? Ralph’s one of the few people not being sued by Glory in her coming lawsuits. Howie comes to tell him. And it’s because Glory feels that if anybody can actually vindicate her husband’s name, it’s Ralph who can do it. This also puts undue pressure on Dt. Anderson. He’s now dealing with a lot of volatile, sensitive things, like a juggler holding a handful of grenades. If he doesn’t get on the same track as Holly, and some of the others, will he only fail Mrs. Maitland?

While everyone gets on the road, Jack’s been found out by the cops and an APB goes out for him + his vehicle. Elsewhere, Ralph and Holly are driving together. They get chatting about Jack, leading into a talk about el Cuco. Ralph wonders what it wants, and Holly thinks it’s simply looking to “survive at all costs.” He needs something to rationally explain it. He can’t make a leap of faith. Holly does admit she feels most grounded around Ralph, in spite of his disbelief. She likes that he challenges her.
They get to know each other better, particularly when Holly mentions Ralph’s son. He tells her a story about the night his boy was born, involving “Washington Square” by the Village Stompers, which he played for his mother the night she died. The song connects the birth of his son and the death of his mother. He heard it on the radio the night Derek was born, at the same time he was talking to his mother in his head. Ralph’s hoping for some kind of philosophical statement from Holly about it, but she’d rather chalk it up to coincidence. At least they both get a laugh out of it. A sweet moment between the two.

Claude’s stopped by the cops in Cecil, unsure of why. He’s brought to a cell and locked up, given no real explanations. He’s able to get his phone call, that’s about it. He then gets chatting up a couple officers, making them laugh over a few strip club stories. It’s all relatively okay until Seale arrives, getting highly aggressive. This just results in Seale being tasered and cuffed.
Father Son Holy Gore - The Outsider - Claude in Jail

“It’s not a criminal. It’s not even human.”

Father Son Holy Gore - The Outsider - Animal MaskIn the woods somewhere, Jack’s helping el Cuco feed by shooting a random man.
Things are going to get a whole lot worse before they’re better.

Yunis and the rest arrive in Cecil to take custody of Claude. The police aren’t prepared to let him go, though Yunis takes care of that quickly with a single call to one of his connections. Claude won’t go without his brother, so Seale’s going along, too. At the same time, the fake Claude is becoming stronger each time el Cuco feeds, and it’ll use Jack until there’s nothing left to him.
At Seale’s place, the crew talk with Claude. He says he’s felt like someone has been trying to get inside his head lately. He thinks the whole thing is “wack shit” his brother setup, like he’s getting Punk’d. He soon realises the cops wouldn’t have come to get him if it were a fake out. Meanwhile, Ralph hasn’t quite yet gotten on board and Holly tells him he’s hindering things. She wants him to “come to it faster,” rather than take too much time. Who knows what might happen before then.

A big festival would be one of the worst places for a fake, murderous Claude to be roaming around— all those kids!And, yes, this is exactly what’s poised to happen. Fake Claude in a mask starts chatting up a young boy about bear caves, convincing the kid to go with him to take a look at one. Well, things don’t go quite as planned when the sister alerts everyone a man is taking her brother. They stop him, revealing Claude’s face. But the fake Claude runs as people snap pictures and call the police.

In the middle of the night, a camera flash wakes Ralph. It’s Seale sitting on the couch across from him, documenting the first time he’s had a cop sleep on his couch. Next morning, Howie and Alec show up in Cecil to offer their help, feeling bad for abandoning Holly after roping her into the whole case in the first place. The team are all here.
So, what next? First of all, the local cops have come to speak with Claude. Ralph hears about the near kid snatching, vouching for Claude being there with them the entire time. Doesn’t change the fact there’s video showing fake Claude at the festival. Maybe Ralph’s really going to start believing after all.
Father Son Holy Gore - The Outsider - Yunis and Holly at ChurchA slower episode, but a good one nonetheless. Very unsettling, very creepy.
How will things shake out over the next couple episodes?

“Tigers and Bears” is next.

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