Banshee – Season 3, Episode 8: “All the Wisdom I Got Left”

 

Cinemax’s Banshee
Season 3, Episode 8: “All the Wisdom I Got Left”
Directed by Greg Yaitanes
Written by Christopher Kelley

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “You Can’t Hide From the Dead” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Even God Doesn’t Know What to Make of You” – click here
Pic 1The boys are taking a trip down to Louisiana – Hood (Antony Starr) and his deputy, Brock Lotus (Matt Servitto). They’re tracking Chayton Littlestone (Geno Segers) to serve him up some Banshee justice. It’s fun seeing these two together, as Hood and Brock were at odds right from the beginning of the former’s appearance in town. Together, they make a solid ass kicking team.
They’ve found a man named Sani Crow (Raoul Max Trujillo), hoping to find information on their target. He isn’t particularly keen on helping, but Hood makes clear there’s a storm coming for him. But Sani didn’t harbour Chayton, and the big man is still on the move, to the French Quarter.
Hood and Brock find one of the underground fight clubs, where we last saw Chayton exerting his monstrous force for the entertainment of many howling fans. And out he comes – it must be devastating for Hood to see him in the flesh after so long. When the two men lock eyes across the room it’s as if the world stands still, and they collide, fist to fist. Chayton taunts him: “The lady cop. She was your woman? Good.” As usual, the not-sheriff takes a damn brutal beating, giving back as good as he gets.
Everything grinds to a halt once Brock pulls his gun. Shit goes sideways, though the fight manager shuts it all down, not wanting too much heat from local police. By the skin of their FUCKING TEETH they leave.
Pic 1AKai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) gets word about some discrepancies in the business’ profit from Clay (Matthew Rauch). The boss dismisses it for the most part. At the same time, his right-hand man isn’t overly thrilled about Emily Lotus (Tanya Clarke) spending so much time there. In other news, niece Rebecca (Lili Simmons) is stepping farther and farther past her boundaries. Now Clay’s figured her out, he doesn’t like what she’s been doing on her own.
One of the more frightening moments involving Mr. Burton comes when she grabs for his dick, then looks terrified when she feels what’s there; or rather, what is not. Not a good idea, though, the way Rebecca decides on pitting herself against him in her uncle’s eyes. Because there’s no telling what this motherfucker’s willing to do for his beloved boss Proctor.
Rebecca: “This woman is making him weak
There’s other trouble, too. Job (Hoon Lee) finds that Sugar (Frankie Faison) has taken a large chunk of money out of the team pool of cash. But why? He won’t say, telling Job to stay out of it. The old man goes out to the local gym, where he meets a guy named Oscar Cruz (Joey Auzenne); to whom he gives the bag of money. This is a slice of the past – Oscar’s father, Oscar Sr, got hurt badly in the ring during a match with Sugar, he’s trying to make amends the only way he can.
There’s more of the past to see in this episode, as well. Such as how Burton and Proctor came together. Kai’s thrown into a dark room, tied, where he finds a bloody, tortured Clay lying on the floor. He helps the injured man up from his broken state, killing their captors and taking him to freedom. It’s a rather intense backstory, a sort of old school Western-style tale of debt, a blood oath by Clay from then on to the man who pulled him out of that hole.
Meanwhile, Job found out Oscar’s been fleecing him for years since his father died. Taking money for a dead man. So our excellent, crossdressing friend takes it to the man, kicking his ass in the ring before taking the money back for Sugar. Mainly he wants to know that he can trust the old guy, that nothing else will fuck up because of him doing things behind their back. Turns out it was all over a woman, one who chose Oscar Sr over Sugar; in turn fuelling the anger which left the man a vegetable.
Job: “Float like a butterfly, motherfucker.”
Pic 2In New Orleans, Brock and Hood discuss morality. Deputy Lotus worries about who he’s becoming, why he’s running off for revenge, though Hood isn’t so worried; he’s long since dealt with any part of him that questioned his choices, whether he’s living a moral life. The poor guy is still, and forever will be, haunted by the death of Siobhan.
And now finally, he comes face-to-face with Chayton, who nearly kills him as he sleeps. They fight tooth and nail, cutting each other up with hunting knives and kicking ass, back and forth.
Chayton: “You cant kill me, cop. Youre just a man. No man can kill me.”
Then the big guy leaps over the balcony, running into the streets, as Hood eventually gives chase with a shotgun in hand. This is a BEAUTIFUL SEQUENCE, that’s got the action element, as well as this wonderful cinematography going through the French Quarter’s streets by the bars, then through a massive, old graveyard, passing tombs and graves and statues alike. A fitting location with death possibly around every corner for either one of these men.
When they come to a halt near the water, Chayton stops. He soon taunts his foe with the last moments of Siobhan’s life. Then Hood blows his fucking guts out, before pumping a shot through his face. Some wild effects work, a combination of practical effects and CGI; amazing, too! What an end to this chapter in Hood’s journey. Afterwards, he and Brock toss the corpse off the pier. Another body buried. But now the not-sheriff says he “cant go back.” After all this he’s done. Not if Brock has his way.
Pic 3Kai’s being accepted back into his Amish family, a sign of him changing his ways? Well, things don’t go as smooth as he might’ve hoped. Some associates come to collect him from his father’s land, as well as the former Mrs. Lotus. Yikes. Not good. In the distance, Rebecca watches, firing on their vehicle as they cart him away. Witnessed by all her people.
And what about Colonel Doug Stowe (Langley Kirkwood)? He’s sniffing around at the diner where Carrie (Ivana Milicevic) works. Asking about Rabbit, her old life. He’s investigating and trying to find out who’s robbed him. And he is very, very angry. He knows someone got close enough to him to get his fingerprints, et cetera. Oh, no. Not good. The military men are hunting the Banshee crew.
After the credits, we see Chayton’s body float down the river slowly.
Screen Shot 2017-06-09 at 10.30.55 PMWhat a wild episode, it had some intense yet subdued action that felt perfect for this series. Next episode, the penultimate chapter of Season 3  – “Even God Doesn’t Know What To Make Of You” – is next.

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Outcast – Season 2, Episode 10: “To The Sea”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 2, Episode 10: “To The Sea”
Directed by Loni Peristere
Written by Chris Black

* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 2 episode, “This Is How It Starts” – click here
Pic 1Again from the pulpit, Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) leads his flock and gives them hope once more. Or does he? He starts ripping pages from the Bible, calling them bullshit. He preaches finding the enemy, destroying them and their evil influence.
At the same time, those at the Lighthouse are preparing their own rituals, led by Simon Barnes (C. Thomas Howell) with his son Kyle (Patrick Fugit) watching on.
Anderson: “Devil or not, evil exists.”
There’s something heavy brewing in the air, though I’m not sure what exactly. A showdown’s coming, one way or another.
Pic 1AKyle catches up with his father after all these years, talking of how his mother, how he didn’t want to leave a stain on the family. He hoped leaving meant the demonic possession and all that mess would pass him, leave him be. There’s certainly no love lost, as there was never much in the beginning. Kyle feels abandoned, and rightfully so. Now cult leader daddy is back, a head full of plans.
What about Megan (Wrenn Schmidt)? Well, she’s being taken care of by Dr. Ken Park (Hoon Lee), held in a locked room. The demons are going to need that baby of hers, to help them with whatever’s meant to come with the Great Merge. But apparently no one like them has carried one to term. A new frontier.
Simon talks with Dakota (Madelyn Deutch) about the coming Merge. She’s under the impression that only the “pure” will remain afterwards. Although she isn’t struck with confidence in the way he speaks, not now. Either way, they’ve got weapons and other needed items stockpiled in preparation.
Poor Byron Giles (Reg E. Cathey) is still reeling from the loss of Rosie, trying to figure out where he’ll put her body. His old pal Anderson offers what comfort he can in such a harsh time. He’s ready to fight a war, and Giles suggests they start with the list Rosie compiled of the possessed in Rome.
Pic 2Under the watchful eye of Blake Morrow (Lee Tergesen), Megan and her daughter Holly exist in a prison. Mom does her best not to freak out or act suspicious. She ingratiates herself and her daughter to Blake, acting friendly, building trust. However, he knows this is all a ruse, threatening brutal violence if she tries doing it again. Yikes.
In the woods Dakota finds others from her cult cutting down trees. She says that Simon’s “lost his way.” Yet nobody else seems ready to believe her, still trusting in the power of their beacon prophet. At the same time, Simon and son go looking for Junkyard Bob (M.C. Gainey), who’s definitely surprised to see his former buddy. Then Kyle finds out Amber and Allison (Kate Lyn Shiel) were taken from their motel. Moreover, dad shows his son a few tricks about his own powers; the powers they share alike. He advises not rushing into anything, but to take the time, use his power, and he’ll locate his family.
Park goes to see a woman in a fancy house. She apparently has a power like Kyle and Simon and Amber, grabbing the doc by the hand as the black veins bulge and throb around his hands and his face. Sidney was actually protecting Kyle and his daughter, as they’re able to bring about the Merge. Now? It’s Park’s job.
Simon: “They hate what makes us human
With all the shit Helen caused back in the day, Simon remembers there were 9 beacons; only 8 were found. So, this means there’s someone left out there who may be capable of helping them in their latest journey. They go visit Bob’s sister Emma (Laura Gardner), her husband Martin Pruitt (Mark Jeffrey Miller) – he’s not in good shape, they did a number on him years before. Martin holds a key to helping them stop more demons, unfortunately he’s as close to a vegetable without being one as he can get.
At the police station, Byron picks up ammo and weapons. He and the Rev have picked up the people on that list, the demonically possessed. They’re all transported to the station – a “Holy War” has begun, Giles tells one of his former officers. The remainder of the congregation helps pull them together, like God’s army. Dakota turns up to speak with Anderson, who’s not particularly keen on working with her. But it seems she’s taking a turn.
Pic 3Like water drawn to the sea” the Barnes men are pulled back together. Later, they receive a visit from Emma and Martin, to hopefully aid in whatever’s headed for Rome. A group of them all head together into the forest.
Simultaneously, Blake is having flashes, visions of Kyle and people in that same forest, as he plans on taking Megan and her daughter elsewhere. Then Park turns up, finding Blake tearing the place apart – neither he nor Megan want to be part of his experiments. This puts the two possessed men against one another until the doc uses a Taser to drop Blake, and outside Megan manages to flee in the car.
In the woods, Kyle, Simon, and the others gather. A storm comes together overhead. Also returning, finally, are Amber and Allison; Kyle’s dad was holding them for safety. Together, all those beacons with their power align and concentrate their faith on the demons of Rome. Suddenly a light opens in the darkness, a bunch of the beacons cut their throats and Simon cuts Martin’s open wide. WHOA! Simon tells his boy their blood will help seal the darkness.
And now Kyle offers himself up for sacrifice. Grandpa says they also need his daughter, too. Interrupting the madness, Giles and Anderson show up with their people; even Dakota fights with them. A massive fight breaks out, as Simon tries putting the knife to his son’s throat. A wild sequence, perhaps the craziest of the whole Outcast series!
When Kyle comes to, his family is safe. But things aren’t going well, many are infected with the darkness again and going absolutely mad. This is the start of something even worse than before, something scarier.
Pic 4And guess who woke up?
Mama Barnes, after all these years.
Pic 4ACINEMAX, PLEASE DO NOT CANCEL THIS! We need a Season 3, we have to find out more about the Great Merge, about the plans of Dr. Park and Megan’s baby, about Sarah Barnes and what will happen now that she’s out of her decades-long coma. Give it to us, Cinemax! Don’t you dare fuck us. This is one of my favourite TV shows currently, I need more. WE need more.

Outcast – Season 2, Episode 9: “This Is How It Starts”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 2, Episode 9: “This Is How It Starts”
Directed by Howard Deutch
Written by Adam Targum

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Mercy” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 finale, “To the Sea” – click here
Pic 1Dr. Kenneth Park (Hoon Lee) notices a sore on his human suit, so he slices open the skin to take care of that pesky blemish, only a reminder that it’s either rot away as a human being, try to wait out until the Great Merge, or find another way. He’s definitely determined to figure out something else, though it’s obvious his time is numbered as a flesh and blood mortal. Poor demon.
Byron Giles (Reg E. Cathey) is busy taking care of his wonderful wife Rose (Charmin Lee) and their property. After having to do what was needed. But I wonder how long they can live like this, particularly when it comes to their consciences. Neither of them are happy with what’s happened; she takes it hardest after having to kill her best friend Kat Ogden.
Then there’s Allison Barnes (Kate Lyn Sheil) and her daughter Amber (Madeleine McGraw), sitting in a motel room and waiting for Junkyard Bob (M.C. Gainey) to show up. He assures her they need to stay put, occupy time, take care of themselves. All the while Kyle (Patrick Fugit) and Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) are up at the Lighthouse in that cellar, Sidney (Brent Spiner) strapped to a chair, bleeding, coughing. “Youre never gonna see your Merge,” the outcast taunts him. However, there are other things at play. That white-haired devil didn’t come to Rome to find Kyle.
So who exactly does he need to bring on the Great Merge? Might that be Simon Barnes. It’s likely who we saw at the end of last episode, the one who took Sarah Barnes (Julia Crockett) from the hospital. None other than C. Thomas Howell himself.
Pic 1APoor Megan Holter (Wrenn Schmidt). In all this it’s easy to forget she’s also a widow, the demon inside her having taken her husband brutally. Now she’s also got trouble at the Lighthouse, with Dakota (Madelyn Deutch), after the death of the woman trying to do some strange shit with her fetus. At the hands of Blake Morrow (Lee Tergesen). Doesn’t help that Anderson and Megan figure out that the Lighthouse is, essentially, a doomsday cult at its core, and Dakota’s leading them all in preparation for The Apocalypse.
Meanwhile, Byron’s worried for Rose. Might just be she’s only got a flu. Or is it that there’s a demon taking hold? He calls Kyle, in the meantime he cares for his wife. “This is how it starts, isnt it?” she asks. “This aint that,” he tries telling her. Oh, my. I hope something tragic won’t happen. Christ, I can’t handle losing Rosie! For now she asks to be tied up, just in case.
And on the road, after Bob’s truck gives out, an unsuspecting Kyle gets knocked unconscious by Blake Morrow.
Allison talks more with Amber about “the monsters” and how she can “push them” out of other people. The little girl talks about how it isn’t so much that she loves her father more, she loves them alike. Amber says being with her father is like “a pool” of strength, which is the only reason she prefers being with him more. Best part is mom comes to feel vindicated about the abuse in their family past, as her daughter explains she knew that her mother was still inside while the demon worked its terrible ways.
Taken hostage, Kyle is at the mercy of Blake. The demon is pissed, he feels there’s nothing good ahead for him or his buddies. He wants to know more from the outcast, and starts by strangling him a bit.
At the motel, Amber hears a knock at the door while her mom showers. Housekeeping, they say. Even if it isn’t, I’ll never bet against young Ms. Barnes. She is an ass kickin’, demon killin’, tough cookie.
The insanity goes up a notch with Blake stalking around the house, beating the young women at his side, with Kyle chained and sitting on the floor forced to listen to his ranting. “Ive been following the wrong Beacon,” he says. He’s looking for Amber, she is the one who will slam the door in the demons faces. Yet Kyle and the young women fight to escape Blake’s clutches. She helps free him and then the outcast wrestles in a savage brawl with their captor. But Blake winds up escaping him in the end.
Back at the Giles place, Rose’s fever is gone. She feels great, and Byron is beyond ecstatic. He tries to tell her they’ve got to do certain things while at war. And they’re certainly at war with those wretched devils. I’m not so sure I believe Rose, though. I’m afraid she’s fixing to do something; something I ain’t gonna like. Later Byron finds her in the yard having hung herself from a small tree. He tries saving her. No luck.
Pic 2Megan packs up her daughter Holly, looking to hit the road. Anderson doesn’t stop her. He encourages her to leave before things get too wild. A tough road ahead, no doubt. I keep wondering about the Rev, if he’ll find his faith again wholly or if he’ll be forever ruined by his experiences in Rome.
Bob gets back to check on Allison, finding the room open. The shower’s running. Nobody there he can find. Uh oh.
And Sidney, well, he’s got himself free from the Lighthouse cellar. Plus, he’s downed Anderson temporarily. Although he isn’t doing so hot, that cough only gets worse by the minute. He manages to stumble out into the woods once more. Until Anderson finds him again putting a bullet in his leg. Tough bastard. Kyle shows up and has to stop the Rev from killing Sidney, wanting to know why his daughter’s so special. All Sidney can say before he dies is “You lose, Kyle.”
Finally, Simon Barnes arrives to the Lighthouse. To greet his followers, his son, and expel Anderson for what he’s done. It’s not such a happy reunion for Kyle, he isn’t thrilled to see his long lost father show up from out of nowhere. Most of all, he’s unsure of what’s next more than ever before.
Pic 3At a gas station Megan is headed off by Dr. Park, he wants a chat. She’s got life growing inside her. A life that Blake told him of, now the one-man council is looking forward to the birth. They all are, in fact. This is fucking terrifying stuff, we’re standing on the precipice of a horrific prospect in this revelation.
Anderson wanders back to his church, to find somewhere safe to lay his head. Everyone there’s been rocked since the last town hall. They need hope. And now they want their old Rev to show them the way towards the light. Is this how he finds his way back? Can he?
Pic 4BAM!
This episode had such an impact, man. The character development across the two seasons of this series is fantastic writing at work. If Cinemax doesn’t renew this for at least another season, they are insane. The family connections appearing more and more with Amber, the reappearance of the previously in-hiding Simon Barnes, they’re so thrilling. Such an exciting, fresh look at demonic possession.
“To the Sea” is the Season 2 finale next week. We’re in for a real treat, too.

Banshee – Season 3, Episode 7: “You Can’t Hide From the Dead”

Cinemax’s Banshee
Season 3, Episode 7: “You Can’t Hide From the Dead”
Directed by Greg Yaitanes
Written by Christopher Kelley

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “We Were All Someone Else Yesterday” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “All the Wisdom I Got Left” – click here
Pic 1Poor Hood (Antony Starr) is plagued by memories of Siobhan (Trieste Kelly Dunn), neck snapped at the hands of Chayton Littlestone (Geno Segers). Looking through mounds of papers Hood only wants to track the man down and put an end to all the brutality.
At the same time, Chayton’s lying in a barn with bullets in him, bleeding, trying to stay alive after his recent brush with the law. He hallucinates a bit, too. Not exactly able to reconcile the life he’s recently taken with the scope of his mission.
Pic 1ABusy watching her new dude friend fist fight, Deva (Ryann Shane) is definitely not in a good place. Both figuratively and literally. She’s hanging with a nasty crowd, and enjoys it thoroughly. Not easy to deal with for Carrie (Ivana Milicevic) and Gordon (Rus Blackwell), that’s for sure.
Hood gets a visit from Aimee King (Meaghan Rath), who feels sorry for not stopping Chayton when she had the chance, though he assuages her guilt, knowing it isn’t easy to forget “all that history” in a single second with someone at the end of the gun’s barrel. Meanwhile, Job (Hoon Lee) and Sugar (Frankie Faison) are doing their thing, the former working on some voice recognition for their planned, upcoming military heist. He’s having a slight bit of trouble, but y’know, Job is slick.
At the funeral of his mother Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) arrives, surprising all. Instead of rejection, he receives opens arms from his father. They sit and listen to the priest speak over the body. Then there’s Rebecca (Lili Simmons), the resent trouble with her uncle. She’s not exactly playing nice, nor is he. She meets with Hector Morales (Wilson Jermaine Heredia), outside her uncle’s purview. Hmm, that’ll definitely mean trouble. One way or another. She makes a deal, using her own mental muscle to get things going for herself. Rebecca don’t play, she can hang with the gangsters.
While Hood is working out his issues, Job is keeping an eye on the military compound. “With all due respect we should all be a little worried,” Job tells his friend. He worries about the faux-sheriff’s state of mind, plus what that means for everyone around him. Hood wants to do their job tonight, and it doesn’t sit well with Job.
Pic 2When Lisa Marie (Susan Misner) checks on her barn she finds Chayton bleeding. He passes out while ordering her around, so she decides to help him in a time of physical trauma. She patches him up, as she would any other person. Despite that everything goes sideways when a neighbour turns up, getting stabbed with a pitchfork by Chayton for his trouble.
Carrie and Gordon find out where Deva’s been hanging with all those fighters and the rest of their wild crowd. The parents want their daughter to leave, but Deva’s new friends aren’t so keen on letting them go. This shows off Carrie and Gordon as a fighting team, both adept at kicking ass. The husband-wife team take on all comers. Best is Carrie – we get to see her kick the living shit out of three dudes, effortlessly. While Gordon gets to lay a beating on the greaser trying to bang his daughter. When dude pulls a gun dad dares him to use it, which he won’t. And the family walks away together.
Although they aren’t together, for real, Gordon and Carrie hook up after their crazy afternoon. But there’s still a flame for them, which is difficult. Carrie is hauled in two different directions, more than that really because of all the conflicts in her new life v. the old one.
Over at Sugar’s bar the crew are getting ready for the first steps of their latest robbery. No one, other than Hood, is too confident, though they’ve got the gusto. So they’re off, but will it go smoothly? Not everything goes entirely as planned. They get going well enough. A nice First Person Shooter view takes us through their respective cameras they wear. All Job’s gadgets work, allowing them entrance to the vault, and Sugar keeps an eye on the hacked cameras throughout the facility, as well as all the crew’s cameras. Hood, he starts having one of his Siobhan hallucinations, seeing her everywhere. Simultaneously, Job gets attacked by a soldier, going one on one, hand to fist. After too long Hood snaps out of it and goes running to help his old pal. His guilt laden brain nearly caused a lot of shit.
On their way out, the crew has to make sure Colonel Stowe (Langley Kirkwood) and his men don’t lock them down, after the military discovers someone’s got them under siege. This causes Hood and Co – mostly Hood – to make noise, leading to a gunfight.
Everyone makes it back to the vehicle. Not before Hood winds up in a close confrontation with Stowe who nearly takes him down. They blow the bomb set in the tunnel, and Hood uses the smoke to escape nearly getting himself killed in the process. Stowe gets up in the vehicle with them and almost gets the upper hand. But they manage to toss him outside, speeding away. Close fucking call.
Pic 3The memory of Siobhan is everywhere. Even Deputy Brock (Matt Servitto) mourns her loss with great grief. Wanting Chayton to pay badly. Worse is the fact her memory lingering with Hood almost got them all caught, or killed. After their mission’s complete Job is not happy with the way things went, and Hood.. well, he’s still having visions. They won’t likely stop any time soon. At least he now knows more from Aimee on Chayton, the big obstacle in his existential way; the big man’s also killed the woman who helped him in her barn. Nasty.
It’s Brock and Hood on a road trip to New Orleans. Should be fun.
Pic 4Love this episode, because it’s one of the first big divides between Job and Hood which actually comes with consequence. This leads into some serious action and ramifications for them all. Next episode is “All the Wisdom I Got Left” and there’s plenty of intensity left to reveal in this season. The scene after the credits shows Stowe’s unstable headspace in a frightening few moments. He’s insane.

Outcast – Season 2, Episode 7: “Alone When It Comes”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 2, Episode 7: “Alone When It Comes”
Directed by Josef Wladyka
Written by Helen Leigh

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Fireflies” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Mercy” – click here
Pic 1When in Rome… yeah, that’s not gonna work here. Or maybe it does work for Sidney (Brent Spiner).
At home, Kyle (Patrick Fugit) and Allison (Kate Lyn Sheil) and their daughter Amber (Madeleine McGraw) scramble to figure out what’s next in the wake of all his girls have learned. He knows the demons are coming after them now. “Theyre out in the open,” he tells Allison. He knows that likely “half the damn town” are on their way for him with Sidney and Dr. Park (Hoon Lee).
Speaking of the hacking, white-haired devil, he and Park are having a look at a boy, precious cargo he fucked up. The doc is clearly one of the other higher up demons, and they talk of The Council, which I’m sure we’ll discover more of later, too.
Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) and Megan (Wrenn Schmidt) rush to Kyle’s place, they worry for what’ll happen if Kyle isn’t around. But the Barnes family has to get away, at least for the time being until he can think up a plan.
Pic 1AWhat about Rosie (Charmin Lee)? She’s been up to a few things, without her husband Byron (Reg E. Cathey) in his weakened state. She’s been real busy getting shit done. But is she safe?
In Kyle’s absence, Megan and the Rev get closer. She tells Anderson once about hating him, because she didn’t believe what Kyle was going through as a boy, instead believing he was toying with Kyle. Now she knows, far too well, that the truth about demons is real. Then he mentions the Lighthouse.
Amber: “The monsters like us
On the road Kyle notices someone following them. Or believes he does, anyways. His behaviour starts scaring his wife, though his daughter’s well versed at this point in demonology and many of the nasty creatures’ tricks. Up at the junkyard, Kyle looks for Bob Caldwell (M.C. Gainey), hoping he’s got a car for him. Bob is a little worse for wear yet always fighting.
Anderson takes Megan out to the Lighthouse, to see Dakota (Madelyn Deutch) and her congregation of sorts. The Rev also tells her that Kyle isn’t actually dead. Everyone there recognises Megan instantly, as if they know her. It’s because they recognise her struggle. They’ve struggled, as well.
In other news, Evelyn Bailey’s turned up dead. Chief Nuñez (Briana Venskus) has sent for former Chief Giles to be brought in, warrant and all. Byron gets a cell to himself, though not all the officers are giving him the cold shoulder. Nuñez, of course, isn’t one of them. She’s one of THEM; if you know what I mean.
Pic 2Across town the big, bad boss Sidney goes to meet the Council for coffee. He tells them Helen Devere was “successful” in her work. That he’s trying to figure out how she nearly brought about the Merge. But the Council is waning in their support for his little experiments, they want action.
Dakota and Megan talk alone, they discuss the sins of those who’ve been touched by demonic presence. Dakota tells her she can’t remember most of what she did while under the evil influence. She was a junkie on the street, later chewing the face off her boyfriend/dealer in a fit. Whoooa.
Sidney’s slow breaking down, his coughs worse every day. He falls in the parking lot, mocked by Park who thinks the Merge isn’t their only hope. Well, he also has his own ideas about how the demons might learn to live on Earth. He just isn’t keen on telling. Heading off, Sidney winds up putting his car off the road from coughing up black liquid.
Along the road Kyle and his family find a blockade, construction work being completed. He’s too paranoid, so they turn around only to see the car that was following earlier waiting. He drives off into the trees, but they run the car into the bushes.
A face we’ve not seen in awhile, Kat Ogden (Debra Christofferson), meets with Rosie. She’s been lured. Rosie fires a shot at her, but they trade blows and the demon is strong in Kat. Can’t put Mrs. Giles down, though. She knocks Kat over a railing and puts a finish to another demon infested soul in Rome. Bad ass.
At the station, one of Giles’ former officers believes in the devils. He says he had troubles one time, that maybe this was the cause. Now he’s into “old school” Jesus, y’know. And this officer believes in second chances, letting Byron out from distrust of Nuñez. Hell yeah, baby!
Pic 3Sidney’s still kicking, walking along the road until someone picks him up. He heads back to town in rough shape. Over at the Lighthouse, Anderson follows Dakota into the woods as she goes on by herself. To a cellar a ways out. He finds what they call a dormitory, and he knows better. They’re going to be keeping somebody down there. Then he sees it’s Sidney himself.
In the forest Kyle, Allison, and Amber are surrounded by a large group of people. Nuñez at the helm, wondering where the Barnes family are headed. They don’t want anybody leaving Rome. No, no, no.
What about Byron? He gets home and Rose has finally come back. She’s injured, full of Kat’s blood. This worries her husband, obviously. But it worries him more that she’s been a busy bee, doing the work they need to do. However, the noose in their little town is tightening. Something Kyle knows all too well, as he and his girls are pursued by the group with Nuñez. That is until Junkyard Bob turns up to save them, ploughing through the roadblock and nearly running the new chief over.
But Kyle won’t go. He lets Bob take the girls and leave. He faces the crowd, taking Nuñez to the ground while Amber burns a demon off Bob to get them free. He puts a hand over Nuñez’s face until she’s nearly drained of life, and watches while his family gets out of that demonic place.


Such a killer episode and an emotional, intense finale. Also, we’re getting ready to see a great battle. Kyle is ready, as are others including those at the Lighthouse. You know he’s going to hook up with them soon enough, via Anderson. And what about Dakota & Co. holding Sidney in that cellar? What do they have planned?
Next episode is “Mercy” and we’re closing in on the latter moments of Season 2. Sincerely hope Cinemax is smart enough to renew this for Season 3. Or else!

Outcast – Season 2, Episode 6: “Fireflies”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 2, Episode 6: “Fireflies”
Directed by Fernando Coimbra
Written by Sarah Byrd

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Common Good” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Alone When It Comes” – click here
Pic 1Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit) is being worked on in the ER at the hospital, Dr. Park (Hoon Lee) and others work tirelessly to figure out where the bleeding’s coming from, how to stop it. They start losing him.
Then he wakes in an empty room. He’s okay. In a room he finds his mother Sarah (Julia Crockett), wondering if he’s dead. He apologises to his mother for not saving her. But she refuses to let him take responsibility. “You were given the power to stop this but you werent up for the job,” says his mother, scolding him for not beating the demon in Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey). She grabs him by the throat. A pillar of fire bursts out of his mouth.
This series keeps getting more interesting by the episode!
Pic 1AWhile her dad is in the hospital, Amber (Madeleine McGraw) eats junk from the vending machine with Rev. John Anderson (Philip Glenister). She’s an inquisitive little lady: “Sometimes I wish adults would talk to me like they talk to each other.” This gets the truth out of the Rev, admitting he’s scared. He also discovers that Amber has the same power as her father.
This whole situation is bringing everyone together who haven’t been together in a long time. Allison (Kate Lyn Sheil) and Megan (Wrenn Schmidt) wait to hear about Kyle, as Dr. Park delivers the news: he died. Everyone is rightfully devastated.
Byron and Rosie Giles (Charmin Lee) deal with the aftermath of his brief possession. He’s no longer the chief, at least for now. He worries worse than ever about his situation, about Rome; with Kyle gone it’s much harder. For her part, Rosie doesn’t believe they can give up.
In other news, Sidney (Brent Spiner) and Aaron (C.J. Hoff) use the home of Evelyn to hide out while they do their work. The young man isn’t particularly easy to control, even for a force like the white-haired devil. Although he has a few surprises for his time in that “deep fried shit bucket” of a town. We find that 30 years ago a woman named Helen Devere was waiting for “The Great Merge” in Rome. She might’ve found a shortcut to get there. Apparently involving a young kid Sidney has stuffed in his trunk.
What’s interesting is seeing the other characters while Kyle is, temporarily, dead. We know he’s coming back. So does his daughter Amber. She isn’t fretting like the others, not like mom or aunt Megan. The girl has intuition, she’s like her father. At the same time Allison blames herself for all that’s happened to her estranged husband, though Megan assures her she is nowhere near the one to blame.
Megan: “The biggest mistake we made was not believing him
Pic 2In another place, Kyle wakes from his hospital bed, still attached to an IV. Locked inside a recovery room. Unable to leave.
In the real world, Rev. Anderson goes to Giles about Mayor Owen’s death at the hands of Sidney and Aaron. He’s not willing to go silently and let demons overtake the town. He mentions the Lighthouse, someone with the same powers as Kyle being at that meeting the previous night. Sadly, Byron’s on the verge of giving up entirely.
Megan’s busy trying to convince Allison about the truth of Kyle, the demonic influence in Rome. She likewise reveals what happened to her husband Mark, what Kyle pulled out of Giles, so on. Not an easy pill to swallow, especially considering Allison’s been on the mental ward for so long receiving treatment when it’s, all along, been a devilish power.
Into the Lighthouse goes Anderson, looking for Dakota (Madelyn Deutch). He wants to know who was there with the other power. He wants to save their West Virginia town. She asks about Kyle, finding out of his death, which shakes her. When the Rev leaves she texts someone needing to talk about the Outcast.
Speaking of him, he’s looking for a way out of that room. Stuck in a limbo. He hears someone coming and gets back in bed. It’s none other than Sidney, who isn’t doing so hot himself with that nasty cough, spurting black liquid. He talks to Kyle about remaking the world, a time when they won’t require human bodies anymore. They end up wrestling, Kyle laying hands on him momentarily and nearly pulling that tar from him. But Sidney gets a few fingers in his wound and staves off more coughing, more fighting.
Aaron talks to the kid Sidney brought around. Taunting. He’s jealous, wanting to become a demon, assuming this is what’s planned for the boy. I see trouble coming.
Pic 4There’s still tough times with Allison ahead, she can’t accept what’s going on around there. Anderson tries convincing her more, then finds out Dr. Park worked on Kyle; he knows the doctor is one of them. And poor Kyle, he’s taken care of by some other doctor in that limbo hospital. He stabs the guy and gets free of the room finally, finding only a dark, dreary basement. Meanwhile, Amber senses something when she and the grownups go to the hospital; she walks through the halls alone as they argue with Dr. Park.
Through the building Amber goes, as if following a scent. She finds the old wing of the hospital, sealed behind a locked door. The girl tells them her dad’s behind it. From the other side Kyle hears his wife, his daughter. Then Amber grabs hold of Park by the arm, his skin singing under her touch. He gives up the keys and they unlock Kyle from that forced limbo. Dead no longer.
Amber: “Fireflies can see other fireflies
At Evelyn’s place, Sidney discovers Aaron bled the boy out on the floor like a pig. He’s not a demon, but a true psychopath, that’s for sure. His master isn’t impressed. The boy was supposed to help speed up Aaron’s transformation. Oh, my.
Pic 5Rosie goes to see Evelyn for a chat. About Byron and Evelyn’s husband. She wants to figure out how to have a fulfilling life with her husband, a true retirement. First step? Blowing Evelyn’s head off. WHOOOOOOOA, ROSIE! You bad.
With Aaron ready to crossover into demonhood, Sidney starts the process. The young man closes his eyes, reading himself, as the master readies something else for him altogether.
Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 3.12.25 PMMan, after most episodes of the shows I love I always say that they’re spectacular, even with a few flaws. This is one flawless piece of television. The writing is downright perfect, to me. Loved this whole chapter, with Kyle in that old wing of the hospital and you weren’t sure if he was actually dead, floating in a real limbo, or if locked away by the hand of the demons. AMAZING!
Next up is “Alone When It Comes” and I’m interested to see how Amber, Allison, and Kyle move forward as a family now that they’re all on the same page, Megan and Anderson included.

Outcast – Season 2, Episode 5: “The Common Good”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 2, Episode 5: “The Common Good”
Directed by Ti West
Written by Chris Black & Adam Targum

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The One I’d Be Waiting For” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Fireflies” – click here
Pic 1Flashback to Simon Barnes (Justin Randell Brooke) and the ‘work’ he was doing. We see that Simon has the same power as his son Kyle (Patrick Fugit) would later inherit. Although the father tried he couldn’t figure out how to stop “the Great Merge” as the woman calls it before biting off her own tongue. Demonic possession at its finest.
And years later, Kyle stands in the midst of that same room where his father and Junkyard Bob Caldwell (M.C. Gainey) tried to purge Rome of the coming infestation. Will he carry on the legacy, still? Or change his ways to save their little West Virginia town?
Pic 1AAllison (Kate Lyn Sheil) is still at the hospital, taking her medications and doing as she should to get better. She looks vacant, as if her entire soul is sucked out. But she does keep a picture under her pillow to remind herself of her daughter, life outside those crazy walls. Problem is there’s a whole other issue of the possessed going on at the hospital, a mini-infestation within the town. A microcosm of the horror going on  all over. A creepy patient at the hospital mentions Allison’s “little firefly” and then disappears in the darkness. Terrifying.
In other news, Megan Holter (Wrenn Schmidt) is suffering at home with her mother Jeanne (Kathleen York) with all her overbearing Christianity. Not just that. When Kyle comes to see her, Megan says she can’t be around him. Her daughter Holly believes in the demons, all the madness swirling around their family. And though it hurts, Kyle knows what’s best for those around him. Unfortunately that means distance.
Chief Byron Giles (Reg E. Cathey) has his hands full, too. The police station is overrun with people worried about devil worship, sacrifice, inexplicable violence. They want truth about what’s been happening after Patricia was murdered so viciously. Giles settles everyone down, but there’s a lot of unrest. Least he has a strong, good woman like Rosie (Charmin Lee) behind him. She’s willing to star investigating all the wildness, and he’s rightfully concerned. He wants to make sure they know who’s the problem, who’s infected with demonic presence, or else it might cause people to turn on one another.
Giles: “We have to get the right ones before we really start to get our hands dirty
Pic 2At the hospital, Allison worries about the strangeness she’s seen. The eerie patient with the beanie speaking of her daughter. A boy locked in a cell, even though they don’t treat children in that facility. She talks with the doctor, whose disposition doesn’t seem altogether friendly or helpful. There’s definitely trouble rising at that place.
Sidney (Brent Spiner) is doing his thing up in that barn, preparing for whatever comes next. He receives a visit from Mayor Owen Boyd (Toby Huss), asking about the coming plans, Patricia’s boy. What the mayor hears isn’t exactly comforting, either. More so chilling. Sidney is a fiery, yet cool customer. A dangerous entity.
And what about The Beacon? Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) goes back up to see what’s going on at their backwoods cathedral, met by Dakota (Madelyn Deutch) whom he last talked to when he showed up. She paints a different picture of their worship than what he previously imagined. She reveals a mark on her back; previously possessed and then saved by somebody. Could they be people healed by Simon?
With Jeanne and her father Doug (David Alexander), Megan finally reveals to them what Donnie did to her those years, raping her in the house as they did “nothinbut go to church” and ignore the problems going on under their nose. All the while, a fly buzzes near, and we can definitely tell more and more that Megan isn’t free of her demonic passenger.
Back in town, the Chief and Kyle finds Mayor Boyd calling a town meeting to discuss how things are being handled by the authorities. Ah, the influence of Sidney is seeping further into the people, the citizens of Rome. Boyd wants Giles to go get Sidney. Although we can be sure this is a trap of nasty proportions. Simultaneously, Sidney is helping peel the dead skin off Aaron’s (C.J. Hoff) back, training him to be worse, more evil by the minute. Like an apprenticeship in terror.
Sidney: “Power is meaningless if you cant apply it judiciously, when it has a purpose.”


That night Boyd leads Giles and Kyle to where the devil lurks up in that barn. They head inside only to find that the mayor is one of those demons. He isn’t like the others, at least he pretends he isn’t; he thinks Sidney is a psycho. Furthermore, he makes a deal with Kyle: take care of Sidney, the demons will leave him and his family alone. We find out more about the world of the demons, that it’s been “collapsing” for a long while. They’re trying to find a new home.
Bob runs into Aaron, and he isn’t afraid of the kid. Even with a gun in his hand: “Big gun for a little turd.” Suddenly, Sidney shows up and puts Bob in a predicament. He wants to know about the secrets Bob found out. With more pressure on him, he gives up that the demons were made more powerful by the beacons, people such as Kyle, and of course we know his father was one, as well.
The town meeting is called and everyone arrives at Rome Elementary. Now, Giles tells his wife they’ll have to get their hands dirty; no longer can they easily suss out who is a demon, who is not. Mayor Boyd gives his speech to the citizens trying to assure them things will work out fine. While Kyle sits in the audience he looks around and feels unease in the eyes of the people. Moreover, Boyd announces that Giles is stepping down, and Office Nunez is interim chief. Uh oh!
Pic 4Byron storms the mic to say his piece. While he does a cough overtakes him, he then hits the floor. Rose runs up and gets tossed aside by the mayor. People block Kyle from going up. The demons are loose! He and the Rev fight through using Kyle’s power and then Giles is gone. Whoa, this is not good. They locate him on a school bus out back. He isn’t well, becoming violent. Kyle goes to touch him and takes a stab in the gut.
We also come to know there is another, like Kyle. He was present in the meeting. But whom? Is it Kyle’s daughter Amber? Is someone else hiding amongst the townspeople?
Anderson comes to help Kyle. They wrestle with the possessed Giles. Soon, Kyle is ripped up into the air with the chief, suspended above the ground with Rose, Megan, Anderson watching. Kyle grips onto Giles tight, then the black tar spews out from inside and they drop down below.
Giles may be safe. However, our hero is bleeding out on top of a bus, the piece of metal still dug into his guts.
Pic 5AWHAT AN EPISODE! I constantly say this, I know. But it’s true. Outcast not only consistently deepens its character development, it likewise goes headlong into the series mythology with new strides each episode. Excited to see “Fireflies” next. I’m thinking there’ll be more Amber now, and that maybe, just maybe, she and her dad have a reluctant family business ahead of them. Plus, I’m glad Giles isn’t taken fully by the demons; he is awesome!

Outcast – Season 2, Episode 4: “The One I’d Be Waiting For”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 2, Episode 4: “The One I’d Be Waiting For”
Directed by Alrick Riley
Written by Rebecca Sonnenshine

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Not My Job to Judge” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Common Good” – click here
Pic 1Patricia (Melinda McGraw) still lives life expecting her boy to come home. She wonders where he is, laying a sandwich and cheesies out on the table in case he comes home. She reads the Holy Bible before bed. She doesn’t know the truth, about Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister), not about Sidney (Brent Spiner).
Then Aaron shows up in the shadows. All burned up. Pissed off. I’m concerned now for his mother. The closer he remains, the closer she is to the devil himself.
Kyle (Patrick) and Anderson are talking with Junkyard Bob about Kyle’s father. He was a man wrapped in mystery, it seems. At the same time Aaron calls the Rev with ominous warnings. When he rushes to her place he and Kyle find Patricia bled out on the carpet viciously. On the wall in blood is a pentagram. She dies before Kyle can finish calling 911.
Pic 1AMegan (Wrenn Schmidt) and her daughter Holly (Callie Brook McClincy) sit in a restaurant eating. Mother not sure of what she’ll do next. When she sees the young man bussing her table she remembers a quick piece of her possession, meeting him in her early demonic trance. Now that’s eerie. Megan and Holly head back to their motel room, throw on some television. Things are okay… for the time being.
Things for Anderson ain’t ever getting easy. He’s got Kyle, even Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey). But he’s falling further into a hole, farther away from his faith. If he isn’t careful he might fall and never be able to get up. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, he takes Kyle in the car and calls Aaron to tell him they’ll be waiting at the church.
Officer Nunez (Briana Venskus) goes to see Sidney about what Aaron’s done to his mother. She also found Evelyn Bailey (Claire Bronson), who escaped the junkyard cage she was put in. She likewise tells him that Kyle let her go, which interests Sidney a great deal. They’ve got lots of work to do, too. Big, big plans afoot.
At the church, Rev says the man he was is “useless” to him, to anybody. Kyle says they’ll lose themselves if they go too far, then what’s the point of it all? None. He wants to be a husband, a father. He wants a life. Then, they’re trapped as a molotov cocktail flies in the window lighting the place ablaze. Luckily they get out alive.
Kyle: “No matter what this fight looks like in the end, I wont let my family hate me for it.”
Pic 2Megan wakes in the motel: Holly’s not there. She is down a nearby hallway getting change from some stranger. Turns out the girl told him mom’s a murderer. Now that could be trouble. All the same, how long can Megan run from what she did to her husband? Yes, it was under possession. But still, to have it all go down like it has, his death the way it looks to others. A sad story.
Awhile later she and Holly end up at grandma’s house.
Meanwhile, Giles isn’t happy about the lack of trust between him and the Rev. He doesn’t want to lose him as a friend, and wouldn’t like to see him end up dead, or worse. Kyle is the only cool head to prevail. He knows they’re all in it together. If not, it doesn’t work.
The Mayor of Rome (Toby Huss) receives a little visit from Sidney after hours. They’re in league together after all. He’s supposed to be helping those demons, as part of the deal with the devil the previous mayor made. Looks like Giles is next on Sid’s chopping block.
Sidney: “I guess youll have to decide how much more blood on your hands you can live with
And what about ole Junkyard Bob? He knows the history of the place, probably more than that foolish mayor. Still, like Kyle he doesn’t know much more about the demons than what he’s seen. He also realises what he and Kyle’s father were doing did nothing whatsoever. All it did was lose him his life, essentially. He talks about a place Mr. Barnes owned over on Shadow Lane, too. Maybe this will unlock further clues, toward understanding himself, his family, the demonic predicament of Rome, West Virginia.


Jeanne (Kathleen York), Megan’s mother, gets her daughter and granddaughter ready for a night’s stay. They have troubled history, seeing as how Megan feels her parents loved their fosters more than their real children. Those are the least of her worries right now, though. Family trouble means shit when you’re up against the devil’s army, and one of those soldiers is right up in her head probably still kicking around somewhere.
After a call from Aaron on his mother’s phone, the Rev takes off from the station. Another dumb move. I can understand why, he loved Patricia. And the fact he went through so much guilt feeling he killed the kid, only to have the kid return and stab his mother, leaving her dying in her own blood. It’s rough to be Anderson at the moment.
Over at Shadow Lane, Kyle gets into the trailer his father kept. A whole ton of research lining the walls, in boxes. Books, papers, maps with INCIDENTS OF VIOLENT OUTBREAKS circle and lined off everywhere. He also finds a purse with an ID inside for one Helen Devere; the woman in the ground. He finds a door in back where there’s a chair, restraints on its arms, tarps surrounding the room and blood streaked on them.
And Anderson, he finally faces down Aaron as they meet where Sidney’s old lurking ground was burned to rubble. The Rev tries to pull the boy out of a “river of shit” by using faith rather than more violence. Only the young man has a different idea, pulling a gun. He promises something big and bad is coming. He also instructs Anderson to pour gasoline all over himself.


Before the Rev gets lit on fire Kyle makes it there in time, and Aaron takes off into the woods. He takes a tumble, but he’s far from them. He’s back in the devilishly loving grave of Sidney. To do more terrible things in the dark of night.
Downstairs at Jeanne’s place Megan says goodnight to her daughter. They have a little better of a conversation than they did before. Megan promises Holly that she is the most important thing in her life; Holly now believes in the power of prayer to keep “the monster” away.
Over at Patricia’s house, Anderson goes on, forging forward through the darkness. He starts by cleaning the bloody pentagram from the wall.
Pic 5What a great chapter. Man, this series is fascinating! Every episode is another surprise, a a genuine great progression of writing and character together. Dig it.
Next is “The Common Good” and I’m itching to see more of M.C. Gainey’s Junkyard Bob. I want to know more of the past, in Rome, of Bob’s relationship with Kyle’s father, and more on the father in general. Excited!

Outcast – Season 2, Episode 3: “Not My Job to Judge”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 2, Episode 3: “Not My Job to Judge”
Directed by Howard Deutch
Written by Jeff Vleming

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Day After That” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The One I’d Be Waiting For” – click here
Pic 1Sidney (Brent Spiner) is taking care of his burned, young friend, who asks about if what Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) says of him is true. And the mysterious man says that the rev’s book calls him a “dragon” and he’s been called many other things by humans of flesh and blood. He has big plans for the kid, that’s why he saved him from the fire.
Evelyn Bailey (Claire Bronson) shows up, always helping, along with Peter, who’s eager to be part of their nastiness. Only Sidney’s got no time for that shit, so he dispatches him. No more prying eyes. And the devilish man doesn’t have time for lingering attachment between humans, he doesn’t understand it; one of the most interesting traits of his character in the series, he’s dumbfounded by human beings and their emotion for one another. Exactly how you’d expect the devil to be were he personified in a body.
Pic 1ADealing with the consequences of her husband’s death, Megan (Wrenn Schmidt) has reached the lowest depths of herself. She’s dragged from the water by Rev. Anderson. He makes clear he wouldn’t judge her; not in the places he’s been himself.  Even quotes a bit of Dr. Seuss. Meanwhile, Kyle (Patrick Fugit) takes Amber to go see her mother, Allison (Kate Lyn Sheil), at the hospital. Things aren’t well between the estranged husband and wife. While Amber waits for her parents to chat, a man approaches her in a creepy manner, though a hospital attendant shows up. However, there’s something odd about her. She and the man corner Amber, and the little girl uses her own powers to fend them off; she’s just like her papa.
While she’s out on the town, Patricia (Melinda McGraw) is abducted suddenly by a man (M.C. Gainey) and taken away, to who knows where.
Anderson meets Kyle on the road to tell her Megan took off, after her near suicide attempt. She also took her daughter Holly. They’ve gone back home, apparently. Mom wants to make the house a nice place again, to live like before. Only her daughter’s sure that dad dying wasn’t “an accident” like she’s being told. I’m betting Megan is headed towards taking responsibility, in some way, which could change things irreparably for her, and maybe others, too.
And back with Sidney, Patricia’s son Aaron is being given the opportunity to “fuck this world and all the pathetic creatures in it” – first, by having to cut up a body with a pocket knife. He can’t do it, though. Yet. And Patricia, she’s not getting any answers from Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey), threatening to make waves in town if nothing more’s done, especially with Anderson let out after confessing to what he thought he’d done.


Poor little Holly, she can’t get over the trauma of her father dying. Worst of all, back in that bathroom where she stands, her mother comes in and starts having fragmentary flashbacks of when she killed her husband. Also, Holly’s got a bit of a premonition skill; is she experiencing any effects of possession? Kyle ends up finding Megan, trying to figure out her state of mind. She’s starting to believe in the demons. Not just that: she’s pregnant. Whoa.
At the hospital, Allison is befriended by Kirby, the man who approached her daughter. He talks and talks to her, as patients are making crafts. It’s clear there are more possessed inside the walls of the mental health ward. A terrifying consequence of people being seen as insane, rather than for their demonic sickness; they’re all being piled into these places. Kyle and Anderson are trying to figure out what Sidney’s plan is, and it doesn’t prove easy.
In the meantime, out on his own, the man who abducted Patricia looks to be digging a grave. Ohh, shit. And he seems crazy as hell, too.
Megan’s having more and more trouble. It isn’t a great idea that she’s back in that house, where the demon took hold of her and killed her husband. It’s bringing up darkness. Maybe more than she can handle. She finds her husband’s gun, then before she can do anything crazy with it she runs outside to try getting rid of it. Where a woman’s waiting to give her a flyer for the Beacon.


Anderson and Kyle go back to the Austin place. Great inverted shot as they walk in, as if the world is literally turning upside down and they’re entering some foul, hellish place; superb cinematography, and this lines up with the opening titles where the camera flips around and we see the upside down world in front of us. When the pair are inside, they find Joshua’s mother in distress, talking about the man from the junkyard; the one who took Patricia.
So the two track the man to the junkyard. They find Giles there, too. The man, Bob, is helping out with things. They’re trying to stop the demons by putting them into the ground, burying the problem. Now that’s a solution, I guess. They’re not all on the same page about it. Kyle finds out later that Bob and his mother were in league together, and that his “old man” was part of the trouble years ago; he isn’t the first to try stopping the demons.
Sidney goes to see someone, for help. Looks like young Joshua, though could be someone else, who pours more of that black essence into him, as the devilish dude breathes in deep.
Pic 4What a great episode! This series gets exponentially better, as well as the fact it has a great score and soundtrack alike. Lots of things to look forward to, particularly “The One I’d Be Waiting For” next week. More demons, more Sidney, more mystery.

Outcast – Season 2, Episode 2: “The Day After That”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 2, Episode 2: “The Day After That”
Directed by Loni Peristere
Written by Adam Targum

* For a recap & review of the Season 2 premiere, “Bad Penny” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Not My Job to Judge” – click here
Pic 1With a car in a ravine, a police officer checks the scene. Inside is the dead body of Megan Holter’s (Wrenn Schmidt) husband Mark (David Denman). Now begins an interesting strain of the story, where we have to wait and watch as Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit) and his sister Megan deal with the fallout of demonic possession in the rest of their lives.
Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey) and Kyle are off to do their work. They visit Evelyn Bailey (Claire Bronson), who’s been possessed awhile. They want to know where Sidney’s been prowling. We watch as Kyle breaks out the big guns, cutting himself to draw blood, threatening the demon with his essence. Turns out that Sidney has a “partner” in all this madness. Problem is Kyle’s had enough of all the viciousness, the heavy handed way they’ve had to go about their business. Takes a toll. All the while Sidney (Brent Spiner) is off recuperating somewhere.
Pic 1AIn jail, Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) sits in his bunk patiently. Watching the world around him. I wonder to what length he’ll go, or fall, in Season 2. Seems like he’s poised for something large. A little later Patricia (Melinda McGraw) goes to see him, and he confesses to burning down the trailer where her son was supposedly staying.
Then there’s poor Megan, having terrible visions of blood at her feet, her wrists cut. Traumatising stuff that she can’t stop herself from seeing. And little Amber (Madeleine McGraw) stays wary of her aunt, knowing what she’s seen of her mother’s possession.
Kyle picks up Mark’s things at the morgue, seeing his body for the last time. Also in the morgue is a severely mangled corpse, its mouth sewn shut, insides and out decomposed and soupy. To the floor drips a similar green substance that we saw Sidney cough up earlier. Uh oh.
At the station, Giles takes flack from the Mayor (Toby Huss), about his run-in with Evelyn, Sidney, Rev. Anderson sitting in jail. The Mayor wants Giles to take a rest, let someone else take charge. But the guy wants to do some good, and bureaucracy of any kind isn’t going to help anybody; especially not himself or Kyle.


Megan is devastated by what she’s done to her husband, that she stood there watching as he bled on the floor. When Kyle tries explaining her possession, something “controlling” her – like his mom, like Alison – it isn’t easy to hear. She doesn’t really want to hear that, though. It seems like a load of shit, a way to pass off guilt. She hasn’t yet seen, or understood, the things Kyle’s seen before. He’s likewise got to try shielding his daughter Amber from what she’s seen; the girl worries about whether the “monster” will go back inside of aunt Megan, her mother. This does nothing to quell her dad’s worries, either.
At the morgue, Sidney visits the nasty corpse. He finds the drippings on the floor, and it’s as if he’s got his own worries. Down in the cell block, the Rev tries helping the prisoner next to him who’s going through withdrawal; just another way for Anderson to try patching up his own soul. Then the guy flops around on the floor a bit. Is it a junkie’s last moments? Or is it a demon awakening? “Kyle Barnes isnt here to save you,” it tells the reverend before slamming itself into the bars to get at him, until dropping bloodied to the floor.
At the hospital, Kyle goes to visit his mother. He talks briefly with Dr. Park (Hoon Lee). His mom’s body is shutting down for good. Gradually slipping away with only months, probably days, left to live. The doc expresses concern for Kyle, though he starts wondering about what Dr. Park is up to; he watches him in the parking lot. Then gets a call that Amber’s run off, just as the good doc attacks his car with a tire iron. Christ, that was creepy!
As for the Rev, he didn’t kill Patricia’s son. The body from the morgue was under the trailer for three decades. A woman killed in ritualistic fashion. But you know it’s all connected. You know it.


In the morgue the old decomposing corpse is taken by someone under the cover of night. And though I want to know why, I don’t want to know, too.
Looking through her husband’s things Megan laments her tragic loss. Although something continues calling her, out into the darkness. Ultimately, will the darkness win? Can she overcome it, so as not to let the demons conquer her?
Dr. Park and Sidney are familiar with each other. The doc is all part of the plot, and Sidney – he’s sure that Kyle is going to suffer for what he’s done.
Oh, there is so much evil afoot.
Pic 4ASeason 2 is going so well. Very dark, lots to look forward to on the horror front and the drama, as well. Fugit, as always, is spectacular, and his Kyle Barnes is a character that reels me in.

Outcast – Season 2, Episode 1: “Bad Penny”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 2, Episode 1: “Bad Penny”
Directed by Tricia Brock
Written by Chris Black

* For a recap & review of the Season 1 finale, “This Little Light” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, click here.
Pic 1Can’t go wrong with starting on a Crowded House tune! And what about the demons left lurking in Rome, West Virginia?
Right now, we see a young Kyle Barnes (Asher Miles Fallica) at the diner with his mom. Inside, the woman at the cash stares at her with malicious intent. There’s a spirit possessing her. Is it the one that founds it way inside Kyle’s mom all those years ago?
In present day, Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey) heads to that very same diner, looking for someone. Noises in the back lead him to a poor, possessed soul who runs when confronted, tearing his arms apart on barbed wire to get away.
Kyle (Patrick Fugit) and his little girl Amber (Madeleine McGraw) are doing all right. Getting by, anyways. The world they live in is still a scary place, that’s not changed. Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) is kicking around, too. Filled with guilt. He burned down the trailer where Sidney (Brent Spiner) was hiding out, though the malevolent demon isn’t anywhere to be found. Anderson and Kyle aren’t on the same page anymore, as the rev doesn’t feel useful in the fight against evil nowadays.
Anderson: “You think the devil is local? Sticks to the tricounty area?”
Pic 1AMegan (Wrenn Schmidt) is being kept under close watch. She’s still not right, nor will she ever be, really. Her brother’s doing all he can to help, though between the possession and the tragedy she caused while under a demonic spell it’ll be a while before she can drag herself back from this dark, despair-filled pit. There’s also Patricia (Melinda McGraw), whose boy is gone, missing. The rev tries to assure her it wasn’t her fault, forces outside of her control took hold of the boy.
Out around town Chief Giles is trying to find the trespasser he’d been chasing earlier. The Mayor (Toby Huss) certainly doesn’t see whey he’s so bent out of shape, and nobody’s too willing to buy into much Giles is saying lately after the ordeal with Anderson and everything else that happened. Later, Kyle and Giles meet to talk about Sidney. There are still so many answers left to be uncovered, understood. Neither Kyle nor Giles understand it fully, definitely not the latter. “Makes you wonder how far this thing goes,” the chief says, wondering aloud. And that’s a good point. How far have these demons reached? I’m willing to bet a lot further than only Rome.
Anderson is trying to find a way to get past his own guilt, either by helping Patricia to find her son, or even helping himself along the road. He finds his way to a sort of backwoods-type church, where they say the darkness can be cast out if you’re seeking help. Could it be entirely the opposite? Are dark forces awaiting those who come in need at that makeshift chapel?


Kyle is out demon hunting, where he runs into Ogden (Pete Burris). He says Sidney’s gone, to the “beacon” that’s been calling him. Possibly the same place where Anderson ended up in the woods. Either way, Ogden is in bad shape – “He took my wife, he took my truck. Devil took my life, who gives a fuck?” – and dangerous, as well. After doing the bidding of his possessed wife and Sidney, he’s a ruined man. Rightfully so, for all the harm and horror he’s been a part of so long. Before the man can be of any help he blows a hole through his face.
Up with her aunt Megan, Amber tries to explain she did nothing wrong to her husband; it was the “black thing” her own father knows so well and told her about before. Smart little lady. I worry, though. She’s surrounded by so much darkness, there’s always a fear she might get sucked up in it like she came so close to in Season 1. She goes on exploring the old place where her dad and aunt used to spend time as kids, a place they didn’t associate with good memories. In the attic, she finds cousin Holly by herself. She says she’s hiding from Amber, believing her cousin made her mother sick. That’s so sad, breaks my heart.
Kyle does manage to get names from Ogden before he dies, and he gets in contact with the reverend for help. They go forward to find the remaining name left on the list: Joshua Austin (Gabriel Bateman). The boy is in the dark by himself. He tells the two Sidney and his mother told him what Kyle did was wrong, that he ought to be in trouble with the law. Kyle soon gets answers from him, then he and Anderson are no their way once more.


With a burned down house and a body inside, Chief Giles is butting heads with Officer Nunez (Briana Venskus). I can see her causing him problems sooner than later.
But the real story is that Joshua’s mother returns, and Kyle lays hands on her. The reaction of the demon is clear, though Anderson believes something isn’t right. The demon has taken her over, “too far gone” to help. This sends Kyle into a rage, wanting to end this once and for all before the demons ruin another young child’s life like they did his and his mother.
So he goes to find Sidney, finding only Joshua’s father. The man isn’t well. “You just delayed the inevitable,” he tells Kyle before attacking him viciously. When the demon starts sucking the essence from him, Anderson gets there in time with Giles to pop a few shots in the guy. We discover there’s no releasing the demonic spirit after it’s integrated itself deep enough into the human host; then, dead is dead.
At the hospital, Kyle goes to see his mother. He meets with Dr. Park (Hoon Lee) about what’s going on with her; she’s actually dying now after decades of inactivity in a coma-like state. He has to face her death, alongside everything else. Simultaneously, Anderson demands Giles put him in jail for killing Patricia’s son when he burned down the trailer, trying any way he can to rid himself of the guilt he feels crushing his soul.
Pic 4There are a lot of things happening in Rome, West Virginia! Very interesting opener to Season 2. I’m looking forward to more. This series has been great since the first episode, and I feel like they’re hitting a beautiful, disturbing, fresh stride with every subsequent chapter.

Quarry – Season 1, Episode 8: “nước chảy đá mòn”

Cinemax’s Quarry
Season 1, Episode 8: “nước chảy đá mòn”
Directed by Greg Yaitanes
Written by Graham Gordy & Michael D. Fuller

* For a review of the penultimate episode, “Carnival of Souls” – click here
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From what I can tell, the English translation of the Vietnamese title for this episode means “flowing water wears away stone” roughly. An interesting thing to think about in terms of all the water imagery, Mac Conway’s (Logan Marshall-Green) love of swimming, and so on.
We start ten months before the current season’s timeline. The choppers fly overhead of the Vietnamese jungle. Troops are at base camp, relaxed for the moment. Mac and Arthur (Jamie Hector) get a few orders from their platoon captain. Mac watches the river carefully as a boat floats by; always suspicious, never off his guard.
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But in his present predicament Mac’s definitely off guard. Detective Tommy Olsen (Josh Randall) has him dead to rights, hoping to get more out of ole Quarry about Cliff’s death. That’s not long for this world; neither the conversation, nor Tommy. He gets his face shot off horrifically, as the carnival grounds around them come alive and bullets ring into the night. It’s Credence Mason (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson), of course. He gets his, too. Then Buddy (Damon Herriman) and Mac are left in a gunfight with some of Mason’s Dixie crew. They’re a pretty handy pair, though.
They make it back in one piece, appeasing The Broker (Peter Mullan), as well as leaving Karl (Edoardo Ballerini) with a new game of Pong to play. Things are looking pretty good for The Broker now, poised to take over the local scene. Only problem is that now Mac has walked himself into something far bigger than just killing bad dudes for money. Again, that’s the call of the wild animal in him, unleashed by the United States Army overseas.
Mac’s dad Lloyd (Skip Sudduth) has him and Joni (Jodi Balfour) over to his place. Seems Lloyd got a cash offer for the house. A small family wants to buy the place, especially excited over the pool. Out of the blue, Joni doesn’t want to sell. Not after her husband put the pool in himself, they made a home for themselves. Things don’t get any better when Lloyd’s wife drops two dirty words on Mac: “war criminal.” She thinks Mac and Joni only want money from them. A truly insulting moment. Moreover, people always assume they know exactly what happened, all because of how the media tells them and frames it for the people back home. They don’t consider how it really was for soldiers, they don’t take in all the factors. In a dirty war like Vietnam that was particularly true.
At least now Mac has the money, paid off by his stepmother to never come back, and he can pay The Broker off. Or is it that simple now? Oh, I don’t know about that. In the meantime, we flashback to Vietnam those ten months ago. Mac, Arthur, and the rest of their platoon wade through water to a spot further inland. They’re headed for Quan Thang, which we already understand is where the massacre went down, the one in which Mac and Arthur were heavily implicated to have done terrible things. Supposedly.

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Poor Mac, he’s trying to find himself a job that doesn’t involve killing anybody, or guns in any way. He applies for a job selling pools. Luckily, the guy interviewing him doesn’t really pay attention to the news. I wonder how long it’ll last before discovering who Mac is, or at least who the media implies. He’s got the job, but I can’t help feeling there’s a gut punch coming down the line.
Ruth (Nikki Amuka-Bird) has Moses (Mustafa Shakir) over for dinner. Although she still doesn’t know that’s his name. And she also doesn’t realise why he’s there in the first place. He starts sniffing around after Marcus has been fixing the TV, buying things, suspicious little clues that Moses definitely suspects has to do with Arthur’s missing cash.
When Joni and Mac go out to celebrate the new job, the former soldier has a PTSD episode where he sees that Asian mask standing in the background, staring at him. He interrupts a band playing, terrifying everybody a bit. Outside he falls to the ground nearly weeping: “Im sorry,” he repeats, over and over.
So we go back those ten months again. In an abandoned building the soldiers come across that Asian mask hung on a wall, sitting in the dark. Mac stares at it for a while, fixated on the face. Something that’s obviously stuck with him, buried in the recesses of his mind and bubbling to the front in the worst of times.
Finally we see Moses confront Marcus. He asks plainly – “Dont fuckinlie to me, son” – where the money’s stashed. He takes the cash, and makes sure to tell the kid he better keep his mouth shut. Moses threatens his family with death. That’s a bad dude.

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Later on we see Mac at the voting booth, choosing between either Nixon or McGovern. At the same time Joni’s trying to find a doctor to talk with about Mac and his PTSD. Of course back then it wasn’t known as that, or at least not treated with the appropriate respect and gravity deserved. A guy at the VA hospital hands her a pamphlet, as if that’s meant to help. He also implies that seeing as how Mac has “both his arms” and “both his legs” then there’s nothing actually wrong with him. Sickening display of what we’re seeing now as the result of all that neglect. Tons of mental illness, death by murder or suicide or whatever else, too many problems.
Buddy’s having a tough time. Sitting with his mother Naomi (Ann Dowd), he talks about survival, from the time of dinosaurs right to the Black Plague spreading across Europe. He feels like he’s done nothing with his life: “What am I doinwith it, mama?”
In ‘Nam, we see Mac and the platoon heading further to their destination. Once there they take all precautions, although Arthur notes there’s a Catholic cross at the front of their village. Either way, the platoon’s captain sends them in making clear to “fire then you ask questions.” Inside the village all hell breaks loose. Civilians are killed. Napalm lights the forest on fire and burns villagers alive. Gunfire gets exchanged between the Americans and some Viet Cong. At one point Mac throws a grenade in a hidden tunnel, where women and children scream. He sees the bloody bits of a child next to him, still moving slightly. This all but melts his brain and his psyche. We can easily see, from this POV, that Mac and Arthur, most of those guys, did not realise what they were doing, led astray by orders followed blindly. Still, they then had to go on living with what they’d done.
At home, Mac goes to meet The Broker. Instead he runs into an old face from the army, someone he isn’t so happy to see – his old captain, Thurston (Matt Nable). They catch up on things, rather contentiously. We get the impression that Thurston hasn’t repented whatsoever, in any shape, for what they did in Vietnam. He seems to want to go back, not able to adjust at all to civilian life anymore. In Thurston, Mac sees everything he hates; about himself. He reminds Mac of what they did in that fishing village. On top of it all we get another flashback to Thurston commanding his officers to execute remaining villagers, under threat of death if they won’t comply. Close by, Mac looks into the distance with heavy sorrow. Well, in the series’ current moments Mac attacks Thurston outside of the bar. They tangle a bit before he takes off after the former captain into the woods.

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Do you recognise this scene?
It’s the very first one, from the beginning of the season. This is where it all started. We witness Thurston beating Mac, holding him below the water. After he thinks Mac is dead Thurston walks off. Only to take a bullet. And here, we see Mac pump more lead into the man making sure he’s good and dead. He pushes Thurston’s corpse out into the water to float out and far away from him.
In other news, Buddy goes out cruising but ends up getting attacked by a couple men. They viciously beat him, taking his money and leaving him unconscious, or worse.
When Mac finally goes to meet The Broker he’s beaten and fucked up. That whole meeting with Thurston was, naturally, the old fella’s doing. More than that The Broker tries to keep Quarry on for another job. However, our soldier doesn’t want anything to do with him after all they’ve been through together. “Whos a fella like you vote for?” Mac asks The Broker. He also says he “wrote someone in” on the ballot: Otis Redding. We discover The Broker hasn’t voted “since Truman.” Kind of fitting. Likewise, we discover Mac misses war. Not hard to tell.
Flashback to the war. Thurston receives a visit from none other than The Broker. He’s walked through Quan Thang. This is where Conway’s name first comes up for the old gentleman. The Broker takes a stroll in through the trees, to where a field is full of the ripe, beautiful plants needed for processing heroin. Ah, and it all comes together. Very interesting political twist on the Quan Thang.

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Buddy – or Sebastian, as we find out – makes it home to his mother, beaten into bloody pulp. Detective Verne Ratliff (Happy Anderson) has one last look at Cliff Williams’ book of lyrics. President Nixon is announced to have won on live television. And Ruth, she finds that Moses is no longer waiting for her at the diner, but sitting home with the found money, contemplating his next move.
On the shoreline Mac sits with his next kit – gun, money, name. He got himself out, yet allows himself to be sucked back in. The carnage of war has crept into his veins, important as the blood flowing through them. Meanwhile, The Broker plays him like a fiddle.
Then we see Mac strip down for a swim out into the river, perhaps doing the only thing he can to not think about everything other dark thing swirling around his entire existence.


What a beautiful, gritty, importantly relevant series! Man, this first season was a blast. With the finale episode and its flashbacks, the revelations, Quarry cements itself as one of the greats, up there with any of the best HBO has had to offer over the past 20 years. Truly amazing writing, lots of fine acting, as well as solid directing.
Cinemax: do what’s right. Give this show a second, third, fourth season. C’mon. Do not pass this up. There’s a lot of other important stories to tell in the world of Mac Conway.

Quarry – Season 1, Episode 7: “Carnival of Souls”

Cinemax’s Quarry
Season 1, Episode 7: “Carnival of Souls”
Directed by Greg Yaitanes
Written by Michael D. Fuller & Graham Gordy

* For a review of the previous episode, “His Deeds Were Scattered” – click here
* For a review of the finale, “nước chảy đá mòn” – click here
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Nixon and McGovern are going head to head in the news. Mac (Logan Marshall-Green) hears about Eugene Linwood on the news, too. Then Joni (Jodi Balfour) brings up talking to his father Lloyd (Skip Sudduth) about selling the house. It’s listed now, so too late to have a real discussion. He’s not overly thrilled. Not at all. On top of PTSD and being seen as a war criminal after coming home from Vietnam, Mac’s home is slipping away. But Joni only wants to help. She doesn’t want him drowning under the weight of what The Broker (Peter Mullan) has him do for money. Mostly Mac hates that Joni takes the responsibility on as her own. That’s how it works, though. When two people are together, for better or worse, they both take on each other’s pain.
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So where does business take ole Quarry next?
Well, Karl (Edoardo Ballerini), he’s keeping an eye on the fat man, Credence Mason (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson), a veritable maniac of a Southern gentleman. And The Broker, he waits out by the pool for Mac at the Conway place. At least Mac’s down to $12K now. Whittling away at the debt. The next job is indeed Mr. Mason.
Down at the station, Detectives Tommy Olsen (Josh Randall) and Verne Ratliff (Happy Anderson) are mulling some of the former’s obsession over the Cliff Williams murder. Verne doesn’t think there’s anything worth looking at, but Tommy can’t let go of believing Mac is up to something nasty. And we know he’s right. Tommy talks about Quan Thang, believing Mac brought all that horror back home to Memphis with him. “Unless youve been to war you cant judge a man who has,” Ratliff explains. That is a very good point, even when we’re talking about murder for hire.

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On the topic of murders, Karl is a bit of a nasty bastard himself. He’s killing like a champion marksman, picking up errant packages of heroin to take home for The Broker and Oldcastle (Tom Noonan). A proper happy family. And The Broker’s making moves in the Memphis scene. Perhaps a bit of hubris? Karl doesn’t think it’s exactly a smart idea, which falls on deaf ears.
In his bathroom, Marcus finds a bag full of money: the cash his dad stashed away. Oh, shit. He puts it away for the time being and says nothing to his mother Ruth (Nikki Amuka-Bird).
More Buddy (Damon Herriman) and his mother Naomi (Ann Dowd). She helps him trying on clothes for a big day. They argue over the word “twat.” He shows up over at the dealership to talk with The Broker about their gun racket. Buddy wants to take their enterprise to the next level, he doesn’t want to be the middle man anymore. But his boss doesn’t like the sound of that plan, much to Buddy’s dismay. More than that The Broker sort of digs in with a remark about his “artwork” that explains his cutting out of pictures, et cetera, last episode. Now Buddy and Mac are on the road together, no matter if Buddy just had his dreams crushed.
They’ve got to go look after Mason. He’s a big deal in Dixie. So getting at him requires going through a few others. While they wait and watch, Buddy winds up asking Mac about his service, a little direct. Essentially, he levels about committing murder. He used to “keep count” on the number. “Until one dad I didnt,” he explains. They get lost in talk to the point Mason creeps up on them. They use the excuse of being gay, looking for a spot to be together alone, so as not to blow their cover. Except Mason ain’t dumb. He knows there’s trouble. The boys done fucked up, what will they do now?

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The Broker shows up like a greasy bastard at the Conway house, while Mac is gone. He pretends to be from down the road, looking at the place. Curious as a cat. Then he gets the story of Mac supposedly having a “new job” and that they’re relocating. God damn, this isn’t good.
In the world of Mr. Mason there’s heroin missing, naturally. Him and his boys try to figure out what happened, if somebody’s trying to make moves on them. Credence proves himself a smart man, he understands already what’s gone on right under his nose. He laments it more than gets angry.
It’s nice to see Ruth connecting with Moses a.k.a Felix (Mustafa Shakir). Although she’s busy working and later that night it’s Halloween, so that means she’s too busy to go with Felix for dinner. Rain check for next week, though. I hope the business side of Moses doesn’t encroach too hard on this burgeoning relationship. Ruth deserves better.
And then there’s Tommy, fucking up his relationship with Sandy (Kaley Ronayne) because he used her brother’s death to get into her bed. Now the whole thing is gone sour. She wants to let go of things, he wants to hang on, and that adds up to nothing easy for them.
One of Mason’s boys sits back watching Herk Harvey’s Carnival of Souls on Halloween night. He gives out candy at his door to trick or treating kids. One of the next knocks happens to be Buddy and Mac, and things get tricky, indeed. Toes get blown off, a foot gets put in the hot oven. Only the guy passes out from Buddy being too “results oriented” for his own good. Poor ole Mac, he sees that Asian mask lurking outside the door with trick or treaters, as Buddy covers his face and gives out more candy. Fittin that Harvey’s film is on television – a movie about a woman seeing dead people all around her, much like Mac. He’s riding in his own personal carnival of souls. After Buddy gets the information needed, he kills their man, then he and Mac can head out.

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But there’s problems at home. Joni calls and he rushes back. Nothing’s happening, just a little freak out on her part. Despite it all, Mac is a good man. He comforts his wife when she needs it, he does whatever he can. What’s the latest problem? Tommy is following him. Right back to meet Buddy, and on to the next stop. Shit. Straight to Dixieville.
Mason’s gang are loading a pinball machine up with drugs to ship out. Outside, Buddy and Mac prepare to drop the hammer; the former popping a bunch of pills and downing some booze beforehand. ‘Cause that helps, right?! A point of contention between the pair. When they go in there are surprises, more men showing up. Nothing ever goes as planned.
Just like when Dt. Olsen pulls his gun, standing behind Mac as our anti-hero mutters: “What the fuck?”

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Great cap to another fine tuned episode! I love this god damn series. I need several seasons, more and more. Please, give it to me now Cinemax. We’re already at the Season 1 finale next episode. Wow. Renewal is imminent, if not the network is certifiably nuts.

Quarry – Season 1, Episode 6: “His Deeds Were Scattered”

Cinemax’s Quarry
Season 1, Episode 6: “His Deeds Were Scattered”
Directed by Greg Yaitanes
Written by Max Allan Collins

* For a review of the previous episode, “Coffee Blues” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Carnival of Souls” – click here
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Mac (Logan Marshall-Green) is naked with a shotgun protecting the house, sending Joni (Jodi Balfour) into a craze. He’s out into the streets, hunkered down behind a parked car. Is it a real threat, or is it PTSD? Hard to tell with his life.
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Eugene Linwood (Christopher James Baker) is locked up because of what he did on the bus last episode. Trusty ole Karl (Edoardo Ballerini) listens to him talking to his racist buddies on the outside. Sounds like deals are being made. Linwood and Credence Mason (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson) are making greasy moves behind the scene.
Oh and we get back to Buddy (Damon Herriman), one of my favourite characters! He’s got personal troubles though, and he nearly gets into a big mess at a gay bar. He definitely has an addiction, to a few things. His mother Naomi (Ann Dowd) tries her best to help him even if he doesn’t take it.
At home Mac is trying to smooth things over after his crazy episode. He can’t even remember any of it. That’s rough. I feel bad for both of them because a) he can’t help doing something he does not remember, and b) a shotgun could’ve killed her. So, yeah, it’s a double-edged sword that war veteran trauma. In other news, Mac does what he can to look after Marcus (Joshua J. Williams) in light of all the racial violence lately. They actually bond a bit. The kid brings up “Quan Thang” wondering whether it was a mission. He roundabout wonders if his dad was a hero, or something else. He doesn’t yet understand being a hero and being something else aren’t inherently separate; sometimes heroes are stained.


Another character I couldn’t wait to see again: Oldcastle (Tom Noonan). He fields some calls in his backroom plastered with various photographs. He’s got himself work. Looks like Eugene Linwood is marked as a target by The Broker (Peter Mullan) because Oldcastle’s got a little kit ready, gloves, gun, map of the Greater Memphis Area. Y’know, tools of the trade.
At the police station, Detectives Tommy Olsen (Josh Randall) and Verne Ratliff (Happy Anderson) get a little information on Suggs, the man with one leg, like an old Western plot. Although Verne’s more excited about it than Tommy.
Moses (Mustafa Shakir), as it turns out, is a bassist, jamming in the studio with a band. Laying down a nice groove, horns, piano, the whole bit. Only it’s a bit of a misunderstanding, he gets tossed for some white guy. Just another example of guys like him who try to do honest work and get kicked in the ass for it.
Lots of music now, as Mac flicks through vinyls in a record store. He picks up a Spirit of Memphis album. At the same time The Broker calls. That’s kind of creepy, and impressive. Job time. They meet at Tom Lee Memorial Park. The Broker goes on a bit about his story, but they’re meeting for business. The kit Oldcastle put together goes to Mac: Linwood needs to die. Certainly when Joni finds out she isn’t happy. And who would be? The ball’s rolling with The Broker, so it can’t stop now all of a sudden. Still it can’t be easy for her to sit by and let him get in deeper.

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Dt. Olsen is drinking and chatting it up with Sandy Williams (Kaley Ronayne), which gets closer and closer to becoming more than just a friendship. Until they fall into each others arms. And so what does that serve? Well, I feel like Tommy only gets more determined to try and figure out what really happened to her brother Cliff.
Other people getting closer includes Ruth (Nikki Amuka-Bird) and Felix, a.k.a Moses. Even if it’s under false pretence. This gets a little tricky, too. Particularly when Linwood’s been released and racial violence threatens the streets. A curfew’s enacted. Meaning Moses can’t go home and has to stay over at Ruth’s place. He does prove himself worthy by helping Marcus out when the police come around talking a lot of “boy” shit. Excellent, if not very tense scene. Great acting. Also a really nice lesson on racial politics, as Marcus wonders why things are the way they are, and Moses relates that it’s something, unfortunately, they have to get used to; sad how things haven’t changed, barely a bit outside certain laws. That doesn’t stop the same type of sentiments from thriving.
Oh, Mac. He’s off to do the latest bidding of The Broker, picking himself up a vehicle from Oldcastle’s car lot. This time a pickup truck. And then off he goes. Simultaneously, Lloyd (Skipp Sudduth) is looking over Mac and Joni’s place, checking things out to see how it might sell, what needs to be done, so on. This leads to Joni realising Mac actually went to Lloyd, to try and get out of debt without having to kill again. So she knows he’s at least trying in that sense. And Mac doesn’t know Joni is trying to sell the house.
Back to Buddy, yay! Naomi and Buddy are like their own show, love it. She goes on and on about Linwood, saying what we all feel. Instead of playing Bingo with his mother, Buddy cuts out a “proposal” that looks like a ransom note.


Listening in on Linwood we find Karl hears him say he’s going to Cesar’s, a redneck bar. Mac follows him in waiting for the right time. He follows Linwood away from the bar. He shadows the man’s ever move. Soon enough he finds Eugene doing some sneaky things at the school bus terminal. Mac gets the drop on him as he plants a bomb under one of the seats. He beats the life out of Linwood, leaving him on the bus, then shoots the bomb triggering a huge explosion. Massive. It throws Mac to the ground, luckily not killing him. He manages to get out, watched at a distance by another of The Broker’s insurance agents, Mary (Aoibhinn McGinnity).
Another job done. The Broker’s informed and another stack of cash taken off ole Quarry for his debts. Closer to the finish line, and further than neck deep in shit. Again quoting President Calvin Coolidge from the monument to Tom Lee: “His good deeds were scattered everywhere that day and into eternity.” A fitting testament to the actions of Mac Conway in this episode. And all episodes.
Yes, he’s killing. But sometimes, can the killing be good?

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Another beautiful chapter. This one written by original novelist of the series upon which the show is based, Max Allan Collins. Next episode is titled “Carnival of Souls” and I love that they named it after one of my favourite films of all time, the Herk Harvey classic.

Quarry – Season 1, Episode 3: “A Mouthful of Splinters”

Cinemax’s Quarry
Season 1, Episode 3: “A Mouthful of Splinters”
Directed by Greg Yaitanes
Written by Michael D. Fuller & Graham Gordy

* For a review of the previous episode, “Figure Four” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Seldom Realized” – click here
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A man shows up at Joni’s (Jodi Balfour) door in the middle of the night, looking for Mac (Logan Marshall-Green). He says he served with him and Arthur over in the Vietnam War. He seems fairly genuine, at face value. But there’s something not quite right. He’s been following Mac, casing the place. Still, Joni doesn’t know that. And she lets him inside. It’s Suggs (Kurt Yaeger), the one from the night Arthur died.
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Off doing his thing since discovering his wife’s betrayal, Mac has no idea about what’s going on at home. He’s all twisted up. At least he’s not putting a gun to his lips, as too many Vietnam War veterans did after coming home, as many veterans still do today, sadly. For now he has a beer, a couple Little Debbies. Just to try and feel normal for a while. Arriving home he discovers the place deserted. On the bed are the tapes he and Joni sent one another.
But in the bathroom is scrawled a terrifying message: I HAVE YOUR WIFE. Mac gets a call from Suggs. He wants explanations. More than that he wants money; a cold $20k. “A nice figure,” as he puts it. Like poor Mac isn’t already on the hook for close to $30K with the Broker (Peter Mullan).
The wonderful Ann Dowd plays Naomi, mama to Buddy (Damon Herriman). A good woman, taking care of her boy’s stitches. She’s a plain speaking type of lady. I dig it. They’re hilarious together. “Oh honey, our people dont die of gunshot wounds. Our people die of alcoholism and heart disease,” Naomi explains to her son. Not only does she stitch him up, she fixes a nice meal to go with his painkillers. Bless her heart.
As if Dowd wasn’t enough, fucking Tom Noonan graces us with his presence, playing Oldcastle, a dude with one righteous beard going on. By the looks of it, he keeps book of some sort, as well as does a few other things like take calls for the Broker. In fact, he gets such a call from Mac. This connects the chain to Karl (Edoardo Ballerini) in a nice blues club, where the Broker’s hanging with some ladies and jamming to the music. But he’s got to step off, there’s a “man in need.”
So Mac is understandably frantic. He wants to find his wife, although the Broker isn’t exactly helpful making Mac essentially beg for it. That’s how he does it, he sucks people in.
Over at the police station, Detective Tommy Olsen (Josh Randall) meets Sandy Williams (Kaley Ronayne). Their deceased lover, Cliff Williams, brother to Sandy, was high when he’d been working on the car, Olsen’s partner Dt. Verne Ratliff (Happy Anderson) thinks they ought to leave the whole thing alone now. No big deal. Good for Mac. Not so good for actual justice, I guess. Olsen seems like a straight arrow, he doesn’t want to let it go so easily. He actually calls Mac asking if he can come in to talk about Arthur’s murder. This sets him off trying to wipe down the creepy message in his bathroom.

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Tucked away somewhere, Suggs has Joni tied against the wall to a bed frame. He rages a bit before apologising: “I get low blood sugar, I get irritable.” Moreover, he tells Joni about her husband cheating. On and on he goes, telling her more about his missing legs (diabetes) and the night Arthur got killed. As well as the fact Mac killed a man, stuffing a sock down his throat until he choked to death. “You dont know shit about shit,” Suggs taunts with menacing carelessness.
Recovering from his little ruckus, Buddy laughs it up and drinks with Mama Naomi, whose humour just does not stop. They have a great time together. You can tell there’s some deep sadness in Buddy, though. He doesn’t like the work he’s into, not sure if he can do it anymore. I wonder does Naomi know the extent of his work? “I just feel like the inside of me is worn away,” Buddy says.
Suggs calls Mac asking for the money, threatening sexual violence against Joni. They set a meet for 11 PM.
The Broker meets with Moses (Mustafa Shakir) on a rooftop in the city. They chat about Ruth (Nikki Amuka-Bird), whom Moses had been checking out recently. Trying to find out what Arthur did with his money. It’s clear Ruth doesn’t have it, by the looks of things. This leads to Moses needing to “keep an eye on” Mac in the foreseeable future. The Broker has a relationship previous to all this with Moses; sounds like there was trouble at one time, to some degree, and Moses fucked up. He’s working his way back into the man’s good graces.
Well, at least Mac gets $20K to retrieve his wife. Karl helps out with that, or helps by bringing the money. He doesn’t help with the way he talks and Mac isn’t pleased with his nonchalant bullshit. Regardless, the plan’s going ahead. All depends now on whether Suggs lives through the whole experience, or if Karl will end up killing him. No matter what he does now, Mac is linked to murder for a long while in an escalating number of ways.
Joni makes a go of it and tries getting the upper hand on Suggs. Resulting in a nasty little fight between the two. She manages to get into his boat, speeding away. God damn right, Joni!

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In an underground gay club Buddy mixes pills with booze, reaching behind the bar and generally acting like a mess. He thinks he spots a guy named Gary (Phillip Daniel) with whom he previously had some sort of relationship, that definitely ended badly: “Glitter dont lie, bitch,” Buddy spouts off before leaving in a pissy, drugged up mood.
Joni’s far from the little cabin on the water and looking for help, some shelter. She winds up breaking and entering, technically, ending up in a country store somewhere. Meanwhile, Mac waits with a gun, all the money counted – and Joni gets a call through to him. Off he goes to collect his wife and get her out of harm’s way.
Getting away, Mac tries to assure Joni he’s taking care of things. But she’s finding life a lot more difficult now, more than when he was away in Vietnam. Because there are so many new things going on, from betrayal to crime to so much more underneath it all. Still, Mac will do whatever it takes to protect his wife, despite her cheating and his own cheating. Except tell her the truth.
And maybe, just maybe, that is the best thing. For the time being.
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Continually, each episode, I love the series more. The actors, the cinematography, the gritty story and its themes. Lots to love!
Next up is “Seldom Realized” and I’m sure there’ll be a good doses of action, intrigue, humour to hook us in further.

Quarry – Season 1, Episode 1: “You Don’t Miss Your Water”

Cinemax’s Quarry
Season 1, Episode 1: “You Don’t Miss Your Water”
Directed by Greg Yaitanes
Written by Michael D. Fuller & Graham Gordy

* For a review of the next episode, “Figure Four” – click here
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A man lies face down in the water at the edge of the shore. This is Mac Conway (Logan Marshall-Green). He’s seen better days. At least he’s alive. Stubmling down the shore further Mac sees a man and shoots him from behind, putting another bullet in him after he’s down. Then into the river he goes.
But time hasn’t gotten there yet. This is Mac’s future.
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In ’72, Mac’s returning from Vietnam with his buddy Arthur (Jamie Hector). At the airport they’re greeted by Arthur’s wife Ruth (Nikki Amuka-Bird). Coming home is a surprise for Mac’s wife. That’s pretty nice. What’s not so nice is that Mac and Arthur were “implicated” in a massacre that happened in Vietnam. They were cleared, but obviously the sentiments back home feel differently. I dig the story within the first ten minutes because it’s a side of American military history we don’t often get to see, other than a few choice movies. Quarry sets up a unique look into the lives of men who were in the army during a dirty, especially underhanded (at times) military conflict.
So Mac gets back to his place. Inside he finds “Tupelo Honey” playing, his wife Joni (Jodi Balfour) cleaning the pool. A better reception than at the airport.
Outside, a familiar face from the airport, Buddy (Damon Herriman), is lurking strangely and taking pictures of the house. He’s also got an arsenal of weapons in his trunk. All the while the happy couple relax inside with a joint, swim in the pool. Except Mac has strange visions after diving below the water, nearly choking before pushing above the surface. Of course he pretends it’s nothing. Yet the strange image of an Asian-looking mask in the pool lingers in my mind.
Later that night Mac gets a hang-up call. This almost immediately creates paranoia. You can tell just by the look in his eyes.
Back in his neighbourhood, Arthur plays some ball with his boy Marcus (Joshua J. Williams), as Ruth is busy making a nice breakfast. They’re a sweet little family, glad to have papa home once more. Arthur’s busy heading out to try and find work; another struggle for many of the men coming home from Vietnam, sadly. A problem that still persists to this day, too. He has an interview where the white man who sees him in won’t even shake his hand. From there it doesn’t look so hot. No management position like Arthur imagined. He fought for his country, now they’ll have him doing whatever grunt work they can find.
A welcome home party sees Mac and his father Lloyd (Skipp Sudduth) sit together awhile. Every relationship has changed, except for Joni it seems. The wives are the most understanding of everybody. Lloyd lets his son know he’s not welcome around the house, his wife doesn’t approve of all that stuff Mac got involved with over in Vietnam. I assume they’re talking about something similar to what we now know as the Mỹ Lai Massacre. Only wonder exactly how involved both Mac and Arthur were.
Looks as if Buddy is working for the Broker (god amongst men Peter Mullan), keeping an eye on Mac for some reason. Perhaps they’re preying on newly returned veterans.

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Out looking for work, Mac finds further resistance to him being home. Nobody seems to want to have anything to do with him. It becomes more clear by the minute Mac will have to figure something else out. “Two tours, one hundred and fiftysix dollars, sixtyeight cents. Your thank you for your service card mustve got lost in the mail,” he laments looking at a cheque from the government. Terrible to see how veterans were being treated, and in some cases still are; Mac’s situation is a microcosm. Judging by the episode opener, he’s been left with no other choices. Nobody wants to help him, employ him.
Until the Broker shows up on the deck of Mac’s pool. He has a bit of an offer. Including if Mac makes any trouble, a man named Karl (Edoardo Ballerini) inside with a gun. The “opportunity” is refused. The Broker has a line on how desperate Mac is beginning to get, how badly he needs income. “All you gotta do is pull the trigger,” he explains to Mac. They chat a bit about why Mac went back to Vietnam. Things end abruptly before Joni gets home. Not before Mac straps a shotgun underneath the bed.
At a garage, Mac finds the mechanic there as greasy as any criminal, doing anything he can to fleece customers. So what’s the difference, really? Meanwhile, poor Arthur’s breaking his back in a mill for shit pay, wondering exactly why there’s nothing better for him either. The two of them discover they’ve been approached by the Broker. Arthur is totally fine with doing contract killings, although Mac is understandably reserved. After Vietnam a man’s morals have been degraded. “If you do this, you are who they say you are, man,” Mac pleads with his friend. To which he replies: “We already are what they say we are, where you been?”

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The damage to Mac’s psyche is clear. He almost wants to kill a man who tries to assuage his guilt about the Quan Thang Massacre. Instead, he hugs the man. Tightly.
It isn’t long before Mac has changed his mind. He and Arthur have a look at the job they’re up for currently. The Broker gives them guns, plus a file full of information on the target. Arthur and Mac scope the guy out, start doing some recon. When the time is right Arthur sneaks into the man’s apartment. Problem is he’s shot by someone waiting in the dark. Across the way Mac watches through binoculars, horrified by the turn of events. He heads in blasting on his own. The two men wrestle with him awhile, but Mac gets the upper hand on one, as the other runs. So sad to see Mac and Arthur survive Vietnam, only for the latter to die on the floor of some dirty apartment. Then having to see his friend be buried, feeling alone in the midst of all those people with the knowledge of what happened; this is excellently visualised showing Mac literally alone, the people around him disappearing momentarily.
The Broker calls Mac up to let him know he’s now officially on the hook for $30K. They’re also meeting up at the quarry to discuss everything further. Oh, I can see the sinister way all this is headed. Things are already deteriorating between Joni and Mac, a little. They start arguing over a misplaced Otis Redding record; not exactly fair on his part. But the divide is beginning. I only hope he doesn’t manage to push her away because she’s about the single person on Earth who seems to understand him on any kind of level.
Out at the quarry, Mac meets the Broker. Certainly the veteran has himself covered, shotgun and all. The Broker’s smart, though, and has a sniper on a nearby ridge covering them, as well. Quarry becomes Mac’s new nickname. Also, the veteran will have to do a few things for the Broker. Surely to make life more complicated than any easier.

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Over in that lonely room, Mac goes to see Buddy about what’s next; another file. At the same time, Buddy makes himself a spiked bat while they talk. Next target is Cliff Williams (Daniel Brunnemer Hall). A lot of great dialogue from Buddy in particular here. Love this scene. His bit about the “unexamined life” is a perfect work-in of philosophical thought into an unexpected scene.
When Mac follows Cliff he arrives at his own house. So, he heads up along the side, crying, hearing his wife inside with that man. They get naked together, Mac trying not to reveal himself just yet. An awful situation to experience. All a setup by the Broker to show him what’s happening in his own life. Afterwards, Mac goes to see Cliff in his garage; that’s where his Otis record went. Yikes. Fucking harsh, Joni. Death comes harsh for Cliff, too. The transformation of Mac into Quarry is happening fast, the descent into nothingness egged on by this brutal betrayal. And job done for the Broker.
Back at his house, Mac puts on Otis, so that Joni can hear. He swims laps in the pool. Without words they understand one another. Just no telling where they go from here.

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This is one of the BEST opening episodes of a series I’ve seen in awhile. Great story, great characters. Plenty of intrigue. And it’s timeless, the subject matter, the themes. Can’t wait to see the follow-up episode titled “Figure Four” – guaranteed it’ll be another intriguing chapter. The acting is phenomenal from Logan Marshall-Green. I’m beyond pumped for more.

Outcast – Season 1, Episode 10: “This Little Light”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 1, Episode 10: “This Little Light”
Directed by Loni Peristere
Written by Chris Black

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Close to Home” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 premiere, click here.
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The Holter place is no longer safe. Megan (Wrenn Schmidt) has been fully taken possession of by a demon. It’s infiltrated her to the core, now her husband Mark (David Denman) is dead. Her daughter and niece are still in the house, which is terrifying. Luckily, or unfortunately, Amber’s seen this type of thing before. So she knows that calling her father, Kyle (Patrick Fugit), is likely the best possible option.
Because aunt Megan is sick. Very, very sick.
When Kyle does get there along with Rev. John Anderson (Philip Glenister), they find the absolute carnage strewn about the house. Kyle discovers Mark’s corpse, bled out on the bathroom floor. All the signs of an awful scene having gone down. In the upstairs closet, he finds the girls: “It was just like mommy,” Amber cries to her dad.
Now, the search is on for Megan. She’s out in the night, possessed, headed who knows where. For the time being it’s out onto the football field, as she wanders barefoot in the grass before going insane when the sprinklers turn on.


Kyle: “I shouldve never come out of my house


Kyle and the Rev go get Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey), so he might provide a bit of help. As if anybody could help right now. They let him in on what’s happening, as well as the fact it isn’t Megan doing the killing. However, Giles isn’t so keen. Yet he’s being pressured to make sure everyone perceives the death of Mark how they wish it to be seen.
Meanwhile, Sidney (Brent Spiner) is still lurking, waiting. Whatever’s coming for Rome is definitely not going to be pleasant. Oh, and the Ogdens – Lenny and Kat (Pete Burris & Debra Christofferson) are doing his bidding, taking care of more tortured souls in the eerie basement filled with mannequins. I’m sure it’s easy to sleep down there.
Outside a restaurant Megan’s mistaken for a homeless woman. After which she runs off into the darkness again when headlights flash at her; like “some of them” being kept by the Ogdens, light is not their friend. The Rev and Kyle cruise to try finding Megan, just barely missing her on the streets. Kyle wants to get to her before the police, to pull that demon inside her out. At the same time, Giles calls Mark’s death in as an accident.
Giles wife winds up calling Kat, asking what’s going on in their town. Kat’s busy, though. She has another soul from Sidney: Megan Holter. Oh no.
Patricia’s boy Aaron goes to the Chief’s place. He plays innocent, talking about the “devil coming to town” and all sorts of things. But you know that is a mere con. He pushes his way inside the house, and all bets are off.
The search for Megan is still on. Kyle and Anderson hear from Giles: Amber is with Aaron now, surely soon to be with Sidney, too. Things are getting quite scary now. Anderson tries to make Kyle realise that Sidney is the devil in the flesh: “If this battle is to be won, it cant be won alone.” All the younger of the two cares about is his own flesh and blood, the daughter who’s been through so much already.
Kyle and Sidney find themselves on a dark road, meeting in only the headlights of a car. The devilish man in black requires Kyle to get into the trunk of his car blindfolded. Looks like we, and Kyle, might get some answers to what it all means. When he arrives at the destination, Amber’s there. Although they’re locked in a room. Sidney speaks cryptically of the demons, where they’re from, and why he’s keeping Kyle locked away; for when they “need” him. “For what?” Kyle yells after him, getting no answer. Simultaneously, Megan’s being ushered over to the other side of humanity, dropping further into the abyss of demonhood.
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Anderson’s laying in wait and comes across the little basement where Sidney has Kat and Lenny tucked away, taking care of those tortured people. The Rev helps bust Kyle out, or at least until Lenny has it out with Anderson. Securing Amber safely in the room, Kyle hulks out and finishes the door off, getting to the Reverend and pulling him out of trouble. Lenny lets some of the specimens loose, one of whom tries sucking a bit of essence from Kyle. Another of whom is Kyle’s poor sister, lost in the daze of demonic possession. She finds her way to Amber. Then her brother confronts the demon within. Megan is still in there, but the evil has taken hold. She attacks him. Trying to suck more of that essence from his body.
Once Amber puts her hands on aunt Megan, she reveals a power like her father’s, astonishing them all. It releases the black liquid from out of her possessed soul. Everybody is safe. For the moment.
Except now Megan must face the reality of Mark being dead. Kyle does his best to pass it off as an accident, trying hard to make sure she doesn’t shoulder all the blame. Anderson can’t take the weight and has to leave. But Kyle stays with his sister and hopes to help her through it, every step of the way.
The Rev has other things to do. He douses the trailer where Sidney stays in gasoline, lighting the place ablaze. Is Aaron inside? Is Sidney even home? Well, let’s hope the former isn’t the case. Because that could put Johnny in one hell of a tight spot.
Will a new day bring anything better?


Turns out Aaron’s missing, Patricia is worried sick. We can see where that’s headed. Particularly once the Rev notices Sidney driving down the street, alive and in his glory. Uh oh, to the power of a thousand. Just the look in the Rev’s eyes spell a troubled conscience.
At the gas station, Kyle and Amber gear up for a road trip. He wants to find a quiet place, where nobody knows about his and daughter’s “super power” like they take to calling it. Smart idea. Only I wonder how long that might last, either way. Not like they’re getting far. People are already staring at them; a half dozen or more standing silent around Kyle and Amber, their eyes focused solely on the pair.
The demons can sense them. They’re not going anywhere.
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What a perfect, creepy, exciting end to Season 1! Loved this finale wholeheartedly.
I hope for many seasons on this series. It’s been a great ride the whole way through, often getting exponentially better with every episode. Let’s all comb through the episodes again between now and whenever Cinemax graces us with the next bunch of episodes.

Outcast – Season 1, Episode 9: “Close to Home”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 1, Episode 9: “Close to Home”
Directed by Howard Deutch
Written by Adam Targum

* For a review of the previous episode, “What Lurks Within” – click here
* For a review of the Season 1 finale, “This Little Light” – click here
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Megan Holter (Wrenn Schmidt) is out in the woods. She crushes a piece of glass in her hand, crying. Remembering all the pain of Donnie Hamel (Scott Porter), what he did to her as a girl, what he’s caused her husband Mark (David Denman) to do, everything.
Then there’s a strange look in her eye. Are those demons? Is she headed for a possession? That would be an awful thing for Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit) to have to deal with, especially considering the state of Rev. John Anderson (Philip Glenister) and whatever’s going on with the ever terrifying Sidney (Brent Spiner).
Who knows what’s around the next dark corners.
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Lenny Ogden (Pete Burris) and his wife Kat (Debra Christofferson) are leaving town. Although he’s not exactly happy with that. He chastises Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey) for not understanding what’s happening, or being able to have the clarity to see what’s soon going to happen. Very ominous stuff, as it seems Len’s got a bit more knowledge than we an tell.
Taking care of his daughter while trying to take care of other things, Kyle ends up at Megan’s place. She is on the couch, not wanting to talk to anybody. He’s hoping to get his daughter back into a normal life, back to school. Even if her mother is off who knows where. But Kyle’s planning to go get her. Wherever that is.
Anderson and Patricia (Melinda McGraw) become closer now. He gives up more about his son, his former life. He’s a little embarrassed by his recent behaviour, wondering how his son might react if he were around. For her part, Patricia reminds him he is not a bad man. Furthermore, she wants them to move in together. Probably good for the ole Rev. Later, he tries to figure out a way not be replaced at the church, although there’s no guarantee that’s going to pan out well at all.
Before they can get out on the road, Kat encounters Sidney in a gas station bathroom. He’s sad she didn’t say goodbye. Well, he has a “new job” for her to complete. Uh oh.


Amber: “Youre lyin‘”
Kyle: “Why do you say that?”
Amber: “Cause thats what grownups do


Kyle’s genuinely worried for Allison (Kate Lyn Sheil), so much that he recruits his brother-in-law to help him, who gladly agrees. Particularly because his mind is changing concerning Kyle, and y’know, his days as an officer have come further to a close.
Over at the church, Rev. Anderson tries to say his piece to the board. He makes clear that he loves Rome, the people of his congregation. Then, out from the shadows, Sidney presents himself. They’re all very impressed with him, forthcoming donation included. He fronts as somebody, something else. Rather than play nice, John starts beating the shit out of Sidney, which only serves to aid the Reverend’s downfall. Giles gets called in, of course, though doesn’t see that it’s all a part of the plan Sidney has for John. Ends up with Giles slapping the cuffs on the Rev and taking him over to jail. Hmm.
Over at Allison’s, Mark helps Kyle break in: “One of the perks of not beina cop anymore,” he says while smashing a window to get the door open. Inside they have a look for anything suspicious, any sign of her or what may have happened, where she’s gone. Kyle hears a noise upstairs, but no Allison. Just an open window and wind blowing through. We get to see a bit of bonding between the brothers-in-law after Mark admits he may have been too tough on Kyle. Then he gets a call – Megan’s gone home sick. Are we seeing a demon possess her gradually? I wonder. That’ll be the final test and revelation for many people around Kyle, as well as it could mean terrifying things for Megan. Let’s hope that isn’t the case.
And then Allison’s mother Lauren shows up, finding Kyle there amongst broken glass where he’s not supposed to be. She laments the change in her daughter after the events of her marriage to Kyle. What’s most clear is that the possession of Allison altered everything in her world, from relationships to everyday life.
Giles lets Anderson go, which is not a surprise. But what is the Man of God’s next move?
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Speaking of moves, the Ogdens are on to their next job for Sidney – for the dark lord. “There is something wonderful coming,” Kat tells her husband when he isn’t sure of what they’re doing, stuffed away in some basement with a ton of mannequins. Curious. They haven’t left town, they’re tucked into their little spot. Doing what, exactly? Should be intriguing to see what they’re up to. A step up from looking after specimens in the woods.
Poor Megan threw up in front of everyone at school. Now she’s home, resting. There’s more than just worry, guilt, apprehension about the situation with Mark’s charges at work. Oh, and she’s pregnant. “Its like some kinda sick joke,” she complains to him. She doesn’t want to keep it, but Mark feels differently. He sees it as a sign. However, is morning sickness the only thing plaguing her right now?
Off Kyle goes on his own to a hospital; a psychiatric ward. He manages to find Allison, who checked herself in recently. She’s not well. Kyle tells her about his mother, about the thing “inside of her” that made her do those horrible things. He reveals his connection to whatever darkness lurked inside of his mom. He tells her as much as possible, all to make her understand it’s not some psychiatric issue, not a mental illness. It’s evil. Nothing human. Yet she tells him: “You cant protect me anymore.” And she all but relinquishes her parental rights, believing herself unfit to raise their daughter. What a heavy scene. Devastation.


Anderson finds out Patricia’s boy Aaron has been spending time with Sidney. He confronts the kid, trying to help. Only to make things worse. Sadly, the Rev is one of the only people who can actually see what’s destroying Rome from the inside out. More than that a sort of warning comes from Sidney through the boy.
Meanwhile, Megan is experiencing a strange event. She first taps her face against the bathroom mirror then slams her husband’s face into it when he checks on her. Yes, she is absolutely possessed. Now, Mark lies bleeding out on the floor, as Megan literally plays around in his blood. A process she helps along. Oh. My. God.
Over at Kyle’s place the Rev and he have a chat. John even references Sisyphus and his eternal struggle in relation to his own. He admits jealousy, of Kyle and his power. Although the younger of the two assures him: “You shouldnt be.” Because all the people around him are succumbing to madness, the possession of demons and evil forces. We now know this is only getting worse.
When Kyle gets a call from his daughter weeping, saying that Aunt Megan is sick “like mommy” his whole life gets turned further on its axis.
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What a wild, devastating, emotional, twisted ride! This episode is a candidate for best of the first season, no doubt. The finale is titled “This Little Light” and I am beyond pumped to figure out what will happen. Plus, we already have known a while that there’ll be a Season 2, so no grinding our teeth in anticipation. Let’s take the last leg of this ride before our wait!

Outcast – Season 1, Episode 8: “What Lurks Within”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 1, Episode 8: “What Lurks Within”
Directed by Scott Winant
Written by Tony Basgallop

* For a review of the previous episode, “The Damage Done” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Close to Home” – click here
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Working at an arcade counter, Sidney (Brent Spiner) has to deal with snotty little kids. “Rules are rules,” he advises. Funny, coming from the devil. Or whatever he is under that human suit. At home, he listens to jazz and lives a decidedly bachelor life. Well, that is until you see what he’s got hiding in a padded room: one of the snotty boys from the arcade. Terrifying.
This opener gives us a glimpse into the horror of Sidney. And though we’re not given much to go on there is an absolutely unsettling aspect to what we’ve seen just now.
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Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey) goes to arrest Sidney for assault on Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister). Watching from his place, Kyle (Patrick Fugit) is troubled. He’s not only contending with the demons floating around Rome, he also has his daughter Amber now that estrange wife Allison (Kate Lyn Sheil) has taken off. Too much to handle.
Then there’s Megan Holter (Wrenn Schmidt) and her husband Mark (David Denman). Their marriage is not doing well. Although for his part Mark believes that Donnie is “a piece of shit rapist” and got what was coming to him. Can’t say I totally disagree. But Mark IS supposed to be a man of the law.
Anderson turns up at Kyle’s house. Happy to see things are moving along for Kyle and Allison; he doesn’t know the whole story. The bigger problem is that Anderson is looking loony to everyone around him. He knows what Sidney is, that there’s an evil force within him, and now he’s worried for his friend the Chief, who may be playing right into the hands of evil. The Rev goes down to the station. He and Giles talk about what’s best to do next. They’re certainly not on the same page. Giles doesn’t want to play too far into Anderson’s delusions, he worries for the Rev, his mental state.
Over at the hospital, Kyle brings his daughter to see his mother. Morbid, though sweet. Just to see them together as a family unit, albeit still a broken one, is nice. Kyle does the right thing and tells Amber about what happened with him and his mother all those years ago. Exactly like Amber’s own mom did to her, as well. A lot to take in for such a young lady. She’s afraid that Allison might end up in a hospital bed, like grandma. All Kyle can do is keep on keepin’ on. When Kyle notices fresh flowers already in his mother’s room, he learns about a man visiting her with candy and flowers awhile ago. A man in a hat. You know who.
We’re still seeing a bit of Patricia (Melinda McGraw) and her son Aaron. He’s intent on hating his mother, calling her awful names. Later, he goes to a trailer to do his own investigating. Don’t forget, he’s seen some things; nasty things.
Kyle goes to see his sister Megan. She’s clearly surprised about the situation with Allison and Amber, but agrees to look after her niece. Off Kyle goes to try taking care of the other parts of his life calling. And probably a good thing. Because as righteous a duty as Anderson tries to uphold, casting out demons and such, he isn’t exactly helping himself. Out on the town, he picks up Kat Ogden (Debra Christofferson). She reluctantly gets in, thinking it’s just a ride. You can be sure there’s something more.


Kyle wants to talk with Sidney in his cell. They get to have a little one-on-one time, hash things out. “How do you know my mother?” is the first question Kyle asks the man. Turns out Sidney only knows her by reputation. “Turns out she put up one hell of a fight,” Sidney tells him. When things get a bit touchy, Kyle lays hands on Sidney, whose skin starts to sizzle, straining under the power of the Outcast. There’s a bit of explanation concerning why Kyle seems to be a magnet for all these possessions around him. Essentially, he’s a light in the dark for all the demons, like moths, fluttering towards his flame. So is Sidney all demon, or is he a human host that accepted its possession?
We flash back quickly to Sidney, preparing knives, and the lock on his door. Where he’s got a boy hidden away. He starts to cough wildly, falling over. The eyes open wide like we’ve seen before. After getting up he seems different, changed. He goes to the locked door, he can’t remember any combination. Very, very curious. Maybe the demon is making him do horrific things and the other side of him can’t even remember. Quite a predicament.


Anderson brings Kat to the Barnes place, as next door in the other trailer Patricia’s son watches. This looks terrible after Kat tries to get away, clearly the demon inside her doesn’t want any part of going into the Outcast’s house. Don’t blame her/it. At the same time, Lenny Ogden (Pete Burris) looks for his wife and wonders where she might have ended up. Yikes. Over in the Barnes residence, the Rev preaches a bit at Kat, the parasite inside her. It comes out to play a little. “The End of Days means that the real deal is returning, right?” the demonic presence taunts. “Unless you dont believe its true,” she prods him not long later.
At the station, Patricia’s son lies about seeing Rev. Anderson carve the pentagram into his own chest. He’s trying to get Sidney out. Then he lets slip that the Rev is over at Kyle’s place, “probably raping” poor Mrs. Ogden. Jesus. There is going to be some trouble now. Especially with Lenny pissed off, too. He’d rather take care of his wife’s… issues, without any outside interference. He levels with Giles, so that’s something. Yet he thinks their new life is “exciting” and has become warped by the demonic possession himself. An odd, tragic situation.
After Kyle arrives home he isn’t happy to see what’s going on. He knows that Kat, the human, is still there beneath everything. He’s starting to understand more about these demons. Or, he is falling prey to Sidney’s game. I can’t be sure. Not yet. I’ve never read the comics, so it’s all new to me. I like figuring it out in a slow burning mystery. The writing here is great for that. And so Kyle gets Kat away from the Rev, until Anderson throws a swing at him. Then it’s an all out shit kicker between the two former exorcist buddies. Giles breaks it up when he gets there, but the relationship they once had is totally damaged now. “Fuck thy neighbour,” Anderson yells at them all once Giles explains the strange marriage the Ogdens hope to continue having.
Mark and Megan aren’t exactly climbing any mountains. But he’s decided Donnie isn’t worth their marriage. He sold his truck and downgraded to something much less. He admits his mistakes. Mark will always fight for his wife. He made a bad, bad move with Donnie. At least he’s trying to make amends with Megan for how he’s handled everything. Mark of a true man.
With Sidney strolling out of jail, Giles lets him know there’s no length too far for his friends. A slight warning. At the church and his residence, Anderson finds the Mayor (Toby Huss) and a couple colleagues. Seems that they’re going to want him to leave. He’s terminated, immediately. Plus he has no home anymore. Unfortunately, they’ve got no idea about the evil lurking around Rome.
Over with Megan we find Kyle explaining himself, his supposed beating of his wife, and what exactly happened back then. “I was trying to protect them,” he tells his sister. He talks about how Allison was attacking their daughter. He hit her to stop what was happening. Only he’s worried now about where his estranged wife has gone. So many issues to unravel.


Sidney discovers Patricia’s boy at the trailer waiting for his return. He wants to help, foolish as that may appear. He’s revealed himself to this walking evil. From what we’ve seen, Sidney and young boys don’t exactly mix well: “Go home, while youre still safe,” he ominously confides in the boy. But Aaron wants something done about the Reverend. This interests Sidney.
The Holters and part of the Barnes family eat together. They even hold hands and say Grace together. At Patricia’s place, Anderson falls into her arms. The Ogdens happily live together normally as husband and demon. Aaron is safe, for now, with Sidney. But how long is that going to last?
We flash back to Sidney and his hidden boy in the room for another quick moment. Enough to see him let the boy loose telling him to “run” – obviously showing that, somewhere, deep down, a human still resides in that demonic shell.
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What an episode! I always say that because the series only seems to get better with every chapter. Honestly. This one was great, though. However you want to cut it. Great episode that lets us in on more of the backstories of characters, adds further plot development, and we also start to see more about the overall mythos of Outcast. Can’t wait for “Close to Home” next week.

Outcast – Season 1, Episode 7: “The Damage Done”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 1, Episode 7: “The Damage Done”
Directed by Leigh Janiak
Written by Nathaniel Halpern

* For a review of the previous episode, “From the Shadows It Watches” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “What Lurks Within” – click here
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Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) is trying to heal up the wound Sidney (Brent Spiner) left in his chest, the pentagram. Takes quite a few cotton balls, bit of alcohol, some Q-Tips. Even then the blood still seeps out of the cuts. A little while later Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey) arrives, obviously none the wiser. They’ve got a card game apparently. And Anderson hasn’t missed one in well over a decade. So Giles is curious when the Rev doesn’t want to play. He knows there’s something else going on. Rather than talk, though, he wants to play. It’s clear, even when the Mayor (Toby Huss), Ogden (Pete Burris), and the Chief are sitting around with him that the Rev is not himself. He is completely out of sorts. Meanwhile, Giles keeps pushing at Ogden about his whereabouts when the fire started out at the trailer. Then the man gets upset, as they nearly come to blows. Anderson even gets thrown to the floor.
This all leads to Giles figuring out what happened to Anderson at the hands of Sidney. The Rev, for his part (bless his foolish heart), wants to expose his assaulter. He knows who Sidney is, he wants to fight the evil with the good.
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Megan Holter (Wrenn Schmidt) is off early in the morning. She’s still troubled by what she’s discovered about her husband Mark (David Denman). Is she going somewhere to deal with Donnie? In other news, Allison Barnes (Kate Lyn Sheil) is having some strange flashbacks. To when her daughter was screaming, in the closet. Like her father, Kyle (Patrick Fugit). You can see the heaviness of the memory in Allison’s eyes, all over her face.
Speaking of Kyle, he’s having a bit of trouble. In Rome, it’s Remembrance Day. Seems 29 people were lost in some type of accident. Now Kyle flashes back to his buddy Russ, as the two get off work one day. They chat about family life, going for a beer. When Kyle goes to shake his hand before heading home, there’s a brief moment where Russ hauls back, almost singed by Kyle’s touch. You can see that Russ was shaken. After the flashback, Kyle receives a visit from Giles. He’s wondering why the guy even bothered sticking around in Rome. Moreover, he wants to know what Kyle knows. About what’s happening in their quaint town. Especially after Mildred.
The big Remembrance Day celebration is poised to get going. While Anderson is preparing to give a little speech, he also sees the mysterious Sidney strolling about the town square, smiling like a creep.


Giles winds up out at the burned trailer with Kyle. He’s starting to get curious about Ogden. He wonders if Ogden is like Mildred, and if it can even be fixed. The Chief levels with the man. He feels Kyle has “a stain” that he wants to “wipe off” himself. “That says something about who are, truly,” Giles tells him.
After his recent brush with true evil, the Rev is starting to loosen up with his semi-girlfriend Patricia (Melinda McGraw). Even further he finds Sidney in a barbershop. They talk quite cryptic. Or at least cryptic to the barber in the background. Until Anderson goes ahead and invites Sidney to his regular poker game. Yeah, that won’t be awkward. Having a demon, or the devil, or whatever/whoever he is at the table, playing with his old buddies. Actually, please, I want to see that.
In an drawing by her daughter Amber, Allison notices she has no face; Amber does, Kyle does, not her. We start seeing that the little girl is apprehensive of her mother when she says: “I dont know what face to draw.” God damn that was creepy.
Over at the town square, Kyle tries to get a handshake from Ogden without drawing too much attention. No demon. Just an asshole. Ogden makes it clear there’s lots of love lost when it comes to how people feel about Kyle. Not only is there the situation with his wife, he didn’t go to work that day when the big accident happened. So a guy like Ogden isn’t letting that go. Regardless, there’s something a bit horrifying about the man.
And Megan, she goes to pay Donnie every last cent she has to get him to leave their family alone.
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Allison continues trying to figure out the hazy bits of that time she can’t recall. It comes back over her in waves. She strangled her daughter, or tried to, anyway. Side note, can I? Kate Lyn Sheil is amazing. I love her acting, a revelation as the episodes pass. In this scene she does a fantastic job selling the fear that wracks her instantly after remembering what she’d done.
Well, Ogden tells Giles to “look the other way” and now it’s far more than obvious he’s done something bad. Something worth the cover up. At the big celebration, Anderson then gets up to say his piece. In the crowd Kyle touches hands with Kat Ogden (Debra Christofferson); is this what her husband’s been trying to keep secret, that his wife is possessed by a demon?
Afterwards when a monument to the 29 fallen is unveiled, a red pentagram is spray painted on its chest. What this does is start to make the Rev seem crazy to the townspeople. It begins alienating him. He talks about the demons, the exorcisms he and Kyle have performed, and this just makes everyone look at him like a madman. He even points out Sidney – to anyone else, a seemingly normal man with a nice hat. “That man, he is the devil, and he left his mark,” Anderson screams before revealing his own pentagram, just like the statue. Ah, the devil’s plan is working perfectly. Kyle takes the Rev away, but Sidney’s little game has worked out nicely for him.

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When Mark goes to see the Chief, we see the walls start crumbling. That money Megan gave Donnie? Didn’t do shit. Lawyers are involved now, the dash-cam footage revealed. Uh oh. Big time uh oh. When Mark tells Megan what’s going down, she nearly has a heart attack. She’s been played for an absolute fool. “This is never gonna end,” she weeps. It all makes them fight. Before Megan bursts out telling her husband exactly what Donnie did to her all those years ago, finally.
Over at his place, Kyle finds Allison and Amber waiting for him. That’s interesting. We know that Allison is wising up to her whole situation, what likely happened. At least in part. Putting his daughter to bed, Kyle hears Amber talk about the “cold” and “black” stuff that left her mother. Unlike her father, Amber was spared. We get to watch a loving scene, if not spooky for a moment, between a father and his little girl. Following that, mom and dad reconnect, both emotionally and physically.
Only when Kyle wakes up, he finds Allison gone, a short note. She realised that something terrifying happened to her, some forced made her do a bad thing to her daughter. Which in turn prompted her own husband to have to do a bad thing to her, too. But now Allison has decided to leave. I wonder how this will work out, particularly when people in town discover he’s suddenly got custody. Yet also, what’s going on with Allison? She reconnects with her husband suddenly, then takes off. To who knows where.
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What a solid episode, a surprise all around. Really dig this one, as I’ve said plenty throughout this first season. A great, solid series full of good writing and smart choices. Can’t wait for the next episode titled “What Lurks Within.”