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.

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Outcast – Season 2, Episode 8: “Mercy”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 2, Episode 8: “Mercy”
Directed by Daisy Von Scherler Mayer
Written by Jeff Vlaming

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Alone When It Comes” – click here
* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 2 episode, “This Is How It Starts” – click here
Pic 1For the first time in so long, we see Blake Morrow (Lee Tergesen) in his jail cell. He’s worried. “Its not supposed to be like this,” he laments after a fleeting vision of Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit), a.k.a “The one who ends it all.” He warns everything’s about to end. To others, the rantings of a crazy man.
And who’s there witnessing his death in the small audience? Dr. Park (Hoon Lee). Hmm. I’m continually interested in the doctor, and we keep getting more.
Pic 1AKyle worries about his sister Megan (Wrenn Schmidt). But he ain’t doin’ so hot, either. His wound isn’t altogether healed, not by a long shot. He goes back over to the hospital to try finding help under the radar. He finds one of the demon host doctors and strong arms her into stitching him closed. Not long after when he can’t find his mother Kyle winds up getting arrested.
At the same time, Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) wants to get his hands on Sidney (Brent Spiner). Although Dakota (Madelyn Deutch) wants to go for a softer approach. She wants to get all the information she can from him instead of letting the rev get too handsy. Anderson manages to get down in the cellar with Sidney, taunting and toying.
So Blake isn’t dead. Not anymore. Park’s brought him back, he has a purpose for the man surely. Hoping to figure things out before the Great Merge comes down. To find out how they can live in the world as they are without having to use humans as hosts.
At least Kyle wasn’t actually arrested. It’s a friend of former Chief Byron Giles (Reg E. Cathey) who picked him up as a favour. Now, these two are trying to figure out what to do next, and Kyle wants to follow the steps of his father before him, as well as see what the people from the Lighthouse know. Added to that Junkyard Bob (M.C. Gainey) is suiting the Giles’ up with ammunition and guns.
Kyle: “It wasnt you
Byron: “Fuck that excuse, it was me. I shouldve been stronger.”
Moreover, we now discover that the demons they have a “collective memory” which Blake is out around Rome trying to tap into so he can find Kyle.
Pic 2Soon enough Megan runs into Blake. He says he was saved by Anderson and Kyle. So now he’s going to find out exactly where one of them is for certain. Shiit. Meanwhile, Kyle looks through the van Bob buried, the corpse inside. Turns out that Helen Devere “needed their light” and stole it from the beacons, like Simon Barnes and his son Kyle, now little Amber. Then Simon mercy killed the damaged beacons. That’s a YIKES moment if I’ve ever seen one.
At the Lighthouse, Megan arrives with Blake in tow. He then ends up talking to young Holly, they bond briefly. Right as soon as Kyle himself shows up. Bigger things are happening at the moment, too. Nobody can coax Anderson out so Kyle finally gets the job done, and they find a butchered Sidney inside, bloody and weak. Alive, though.
When Megan goes to the doctor she’s sent to see, she starts feeling strange. The woman tells her: “We are the chosen ones.” Ugh, this isn’t sounding good at all.
At home, Byron and Rose have dinner by candlelight. Their lives are much more worrisome as of late. They’re posted up with lots of guns. Doesn’t stop Nunez from lurking around outside, threatening him. So he blows her foot off before putting a bullet through her neck. Hot damn, Byron!
Pic 3Before the supposed doctor can do something terrible to Megan, she’s interrupted by Blake. Who strangles the woman to death and saves the day. Is he going to use this AND Megan as leverage over Kyle?
Speaking of, Kyle’s figuring out what they ought to do with Sidney. The white-haired devil talks about the man he chose as a host, a serial killer apparently. Then says the outcast can help him and the others change the world. Yeah, that sounds great.
Over at the coffee shop, Dr. Park and the rest of the council meet once again. Talking of Sidney and his big talk/no action. The doc has his own design on what they need: “Fuck the merge. No, to finally crawl out of the shadows,” this is his plan. Not only that he’s poisoned the other council members. Mutiny is right.
And where’s Sarah Barnes? She’s lying in a bed. Cared for by a man (C. Thomas Howell). Is this the long lost Simon Barnes? If so, whoooooa.
Pic 4Another fine chapter in Season 2. Love that Howell is part of the cast, he’s an awesome character actor with lots of good television roles under his belt over the past decade. Can’t wait for “This Is How It Starts” – the penultimate episode of the season. And Cinemax, you best be ready with that renewal pen; or else!

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 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.

The Exorcist – Season 1, Chapter One: “And Let My Cry Come Unto Thee”

FOX’s The Exorcist
Season 1, Chapter One: “And Let My Cry Come Unto Thee”
Directed by Rupert Wyatt
Written by Jeremy Slater

* For a review of Chapter Two: “Lupus in Fabula” – click here
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Here we are at the premiere of The Exorcist, a new series based on the classic from William Friedkin and based on the novel by William Peter Blatty.
We start on a familiar image, one of a man in a long coat and a brimmed hat walking, bag in hand, to some destination; it is Father Marcus Keane (Ben Daniels). In the distance are strange and unsettling noises.
In a brighter, more sunny place, Father Tomas Ortega (Alfonso Herrera) gives a sermon to his congregation, which includes Angela and Henry Rance (Geena Davis & Alan Ruck), as well as their daughter Casey (Hannah Kasulka). Off near the street outside after the service, Father Tomas sees a man who he believes is speaking to him, mouthing words. But when he talks to Angela a moment, turning back, the man is no longer there. At the same time, something seems off about Henry. In church he’s aloof, heading home he is distracted and not altogether there. Is headed for demons, possession and the like?
Ortega has issues of faith going on. Maybe. His sister Olivia (Camille Guaty) believes he doesn’t want to be a priest anymore, that he’s in love with a woman named Jessica. Of course, he denies it. Looking forward to more of that.
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In Mexico City, Father Marcus sits disillusioned yet firm in that “the powers in the repetition.” Another priest, Father Bennett (Kurt Egyiawan), has come to try talking sense into him. Although he didn’t anticipate Marcus having a gun. There’s more to him, as we’re seeing a man of the church, a man of god whose path clearly strays from that of the Roman Catholic Church as an institution. And why? What drove someone to take the vows of priesthood but then divert to his own method? On his own again, he tries to help the boy that’s been possessed at the moment. He prays, flicking holy water at the beast inside the boy, the one that speaks to Marcus by name.
Back at Casa del Rance, Angela hears odd noises, whispers in the walls. She shakes it off quickly, though something clearly bothered her. Then we find the other sister Catherine (Brianne Howey) upstairs, depressed, in her own world. So is dad going to get demonic? Or is it going to be Charlotte? Hmm.
Love the digital organ system that plagues the organist – the ancient church and its customs meet the modern world. More importantly, this takes Father Tomas downstairs into the dark basement for a little jump scare when Angela turns up looking for him. She’s worried for Catherine, saying there are “things going on in the house.” Such as furniture moved, books thrown all over the floor, voices in the walls. Y’know, standard haunting madness. Angela straight up believes a demon is trying to take Catherine. Father Tomas explains demons are a construct of the church, as a way to rationalise through “metaphors” in regards to mental illness, et cetera. But Mrs. Rance can’t take those answers. She knows better. Particularly once a bad omen flies into the window: a raven gets stuck and bloodied smashed through a crack in the glass. Nasty.

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Ortega goes to see Catherine. She doesn’t put much stock into the thoughts of others. Not after losing someone close to her in a car accident. She’s merely in a depressed state after such an emotional trauma. Nevertheless, the family sits at the table eating along with Father Tomas, too. More and more we see the fact Henry is not who he was once. Catherine notices it, even if she’s the only one who says anything. I continue to believe he’s the one that’ll be possessed, one way or another. He gives Ortega an ominous sort of message about Father Marcus. This sets the young priest aflame wondering: who is this man? He has visions of Keane, the young boy’s possession, the exorcism. Until the boy jumps from his bonds, his neck twists around, and his spine breaks. Fuck, that’s vicious.
Father Tomas meets with a man called Brother Simon (Francis Guinan). He’s a little cryptic, offering up the supposed right question to be asking next: “What now, God?” Out of the corner of his eye, Tomas spies someone familiar. He follows the man to find it’s Father Marcus and tries to chat him up about demonic possession. However, the older man is pretty reluctant to say much. Finally though, Ortega gets more out of him and he reveals the circumstances of that possession Tomas dreamed. It seems that Father Marcus has become afraid of what lies beyond, as he’s seen it up close and personal, the damage it can do in the real world and not just in the spirit. His faith is quite broken.

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Eventually Father Tomas goes to see Angela once more. They have a heart to heart about God, their faith, family. He’s driven by the pure faith in his heart to help the Rances in their distress, no matter what it is truly. Then, upstairs comes a noise, a scream from one of the girls. In the attic, Ortega finds Casey lurking, killing rats without touching them, moving in an extremely weird way. Once Angela turns the lights on, nothing is as it seemed a moment ago. Casey is fine. Nothing looks out of the ordinary. But one thing’s for certain, Father Tomas is shaken; badly. Great throwback in this sequence to old school music from Friedkin’s classic with “Tubular Bells” by Mike Oldfield playing – we see Ortega walk off in the night, and simultaneously Father Marcus gears up, ready to take on this next possession.
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I personally loved this premiere episode. It doesn’t remake the original film, it’s merely an extension, inspired by Blatty’s work. I say give it a chance! Next up is “Chapter Two: Lupus in Fabula” and I think it’ll bring some great stuff. Ben Daniels is a favourite of mine, so I look forward to what he brings. And you can’t go wrong with Geena Davis, either. Plenty we can expect from this series. Let’s see if it holds up in the second episode.

FRIEND REQUEST Combines the Horror of Facebook with the Horror of Witchcraft

Friend Request. 2016. Directed by Simon Verhoeven. Screenplay by Verhoeven, Matthew Ballen, & Phillip Koch.
Starring Alycia Debnam-Carey, William Moseley, Connor Paolo, Brit Morgan, Brooke Markham, Sean Marquette, Liesl Ahlers, Shashawnee Hall, Susan Danford, Lee Raviv, & Nicholas Pauling. Wiedemann & Berg Filmproduktion/Seven Pictures/Two Oceans Production (TOP).
Not Rated. 92 minutes.
Horror/Thriller

★★★1/2
poster I was one of the few people who actually found Unfriended a lot of fun. Not perfect, or near it. Just plain old fashion fun. Also made good use of its gimmick, being told solely through webcams and the various computer screens of the characters. Friend Request doesn’t opt for the gimmick. Rather, director (and one of the script’s co-writers) Simon Verhoeven goes more for the story in order to use its whole online scenario to get at more complicated, sinister aspects. The story isn’t anything convoluted – a young, lonely outcast befriends a sweet, popular type, only eventually she gets too clingy and her new popular friend decides to cut the poor lonely girl out of her life; then the outcast commits suicide. What follows is similar to the other aforementioned horror movie.
But where Unfriended doesn’t particularly get into any origins of the entity controlling the forces swirling around its characters, Friend Request moves into the supernatural realm and allows the internet to become just as haunted as any decrepit old houses on a dark, isolated road.
With a few bits here or there that could’ve been better, I’d be kidding myself, and lying to you, if I didn’t admit this little flick is an effective, chilling bit of modern horror using its premise wisely. Makes you think twice about who you might have on your friends list, too.
pic2Personally, until Fear the Walking Dead I didn’t see Alycia Debnam-Carey in anything. She’s great on the show, hopefully her character won’t die anytime soon because she is good fun, a solid young actress whom I had no idea was Australian! Alycia’s able to provide a very genuine lady whose predicament is all too easy to relate to for many of us. She doesn’t come across like a horrible person the way another screenplay might portray her. The writing puts her in an impossible situation while she nails the character, dragging us into empathy (sympathy for those who’ve experienced similar yet far less extreme situations).
After the big incident and the unfriending on Facebook involving lonely Marina (Liesl Ahlers), her guilt is crushing. I love when someone’s acting comes purely from their face, their eyes; that’s the mark of a good actor. Alycia has that quality, which surprisingly not all actors do. She uses that to her advantage in many scenes. Instead of a shrieking, wailing Scream Queen wannabe, she offers a little better of an emotional connection.
I absolutely love the score. No two ways about it. There are a few throwback-type electronic pieces, as well as lots of other equally interesting piano compositions. Gary Go, whom I know nothing of, and Martin Todsharow (who scored the soul crushing and semi-controversial 3096 Days) help make the atmosphere eerie. Underneath each frame their sounds pulse and pump and the tension ratchets up fairly nicely most of the time. Alongside the dark, shadowy cinematography, the music helps incredibly with the film’s suspense, cultivating a mood so thick you could scrape it off.
pic4Love the story. For those who might insist this is the same thing as Unfriended, the main character of both these films are completely different, two wholly separate types. Laura (Debnam-Carey) is not a bad person, as I mentioned earlier. She’s simply caught between a rock and a hard place in terms of Marina and how they come together. Unfriended deals more with the concept of bullying, as well as the consequences in a horror-ish sense. This movie uses a falling out between acquaintances and a later act of suicide all to get into a more supernatural story. We dive into witchcraft, possession, these areas. And it works because the writers don’t go for all the same tricks. There are jump scares – boring. Still there’s a nice portion of scary moments that do better by working their way under our skin before pouncing.
One of my favourite moments is when Kobe (Connor Paolo in one of his better performances as of late; love this kid) is looking through various things to try getting to the bottom of Marina and the darkness surrounding her – he winds up in a room with the lights flickering, screens flashing a demonic-looking face. Very unnerving. Then right after that is another creepy moment, as we watch Tyler (William Moseley) succumb to a buzzing sound in his ear, only to pull a black wasp from deep inside; yuck, and awesome. From here the horror comes on full force. Before that, we got flashes and brief scenes of horror goodness. The rest of the film is pretty solid on the bloody bits.UnfriendSure, it’s not great. For me it’s good enough. I really enjoyed getting the chance to see Friend Request. I can only hope once it gets a wider release in early October that people will give it a chance. There’s nothing here to reinvent the horror wheel. Not sure why people hold each film to that standard. You don’t always have to create some new situation or plot device or anything of that nature to make a good movie. This one had solid blood and gore – the bits with Marina’s mother later on, though brief, are spectacularly gruesome – the actors, specifically Alycia Debnam-Carey and Connor Paolo, made the characters and their stories worthwhile. Best is the sense of doom, the dread sitting over the whole movie. You never ever feel like a happy ending is anywhere nearby. And to my mind that’s an atmosphere any horror can hope to have. It isn’t one of my favourites, nor is it one of the better modern horrors. It’s just enjoyable. So relax, have fun. Let the witchcrafty madness get under your skin a little.

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.”

Outcast – Season 1, Episode 5: “The Road Before Us”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 1, Episode 5: “The Road Before Us”
Directed by Craig Zobel
Written by Robin Veith

* For a review of the previous episode, “A Wrath Unseen” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “From the Shadows It Watches” – click here
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Allison Barnes (Kate Lyn Sheil), estranged wife of Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit), locks her door then starts to head for bed. She finds her daughter Amber playing, talking about drinking the “black poison.” She uses her dolls all to similar to what likely happened between her mother and father. Eerily reminiscent, for sure. Outside, Allison sees a car sitting in the darkness – inside sit Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) and Kyle. The torn up husband worries for his daughter, he worries about if whether a demon still resides in his wife. Anderson tries to talk Kyle out of anything foolish saying he can go and talk with Allison. The younger of the two worries about Mildred (Grace Zabriskie), and that Anderson can’t tell on his own anymore. They’re at odds.
So Kyle calls up his sister Megan (Wrenn Schmidt) asking her to help setup a meeting between him and Allison. Bad idea. The sisterly advice is he’ll only fuck his family up more. Megan offers to go see them herself, a good woman.
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Police Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey) goes to see his buddy Fire Chief Ogden (Pete Burris) about the blaze down at the little shack. Of course he doesn’t get much. Though, without being too heavy on the puns here, a fire is lit under Ogden. He knows there’s more to Giles than just a bit of talk.
Meanwhile, Kyle and Anderson head over to see Roy Marcus (Jason Davis), who’s had an experience close to that of the Barnes family. Roy’s daughter is out on the streets now, as things have taken a turn for the worse. He’s a broken man. Not hard to see. Although Kyle is still not sure about the Reverend’s abilities after Mildred, and after their experience with Blake Morrow previously; both of which make him wonder if the demons can’t be expelled completely all the time.
At Allison’s place Megan arrives, unexpected. She tries to talk closely with her sister-in-law. She expresses her worry for Allison, for Amber, their well being. The young mother seems off, though it’s tough to tell whether that’s demons. Because it could easily be the fact she’s just under a ton of stress. There’s still love on Allison’s part for Kyle, just no trust, as Anderson pointed out earlier. She knows he’s a good father, but he also has a danger in him. Or, well, that’s the way it’s perceived. She, and Megan and many others, still don’t know the truth behind what really went on between them. For her part, Allison knows something is “blocking the truth” after discovering there are pieces of her memory missing.

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On the road again Anderson takes Kyle to see another soul he’s… helped. The guy is another broken down sort. His pet store is shut down. The wife left, got the house. Something is not right with him immediately – Kyle notices he strays from his handshake. So the young exorcist grabs the guy by his shoulders and things set off. The former pet store owner grabs his gun, pointing it at the duo before they take off. Smart idea. Only there’s a demon left sitting inside that man. Now they’re both incredibly worried for what the rest of the people Anderson has ‘saved’ are doing, out there, maybe still possessed. Then Megan calls Kyle, letting him know something isn’t right with his estranged wife. He wants to go see her. Uh oh.
In the meantime, Sidney (Brent Spiner) makes his way out to the Barnes residence. He  looks around, in the closet, the kitchen. Everywhere. Even straightens up a picture before laying down in Mrs. Barnes’ old bed. Over at the station, Officer Mark Holter (David Denman) brings Chief Giles some results from his work down at the burned down trailer. An ID and everything. Well, turns out they’ve got the “DNA of a missing woman” that was present at whatever happened in that creepy little camper. Giles suggests before making a big deal to do some follow-up and figure out whether the woman is actually disappeared. But Giles, he worries more, as Ogden is clearly into some troubled shit.


Kyle foolishly goes to see Allison. He wants to talk and does his best to make her feel comfortable, going so far as to take steps away from her off the porch. When Amber shows up things are brutally awkward. She calls her mother a bitch and says she wants to go with her father. In the midst of it all Allison accuses him of trying to turn their daughter against her. Not the case at all. However, we see a moment when Kyle ends up touching her, just for a second, and she flinches. The flinch of an abused woman? Or of a woman possessed by a demon?
Flash back to Allison waking up, beaten, bruised in a women’s shelter. She can’t remember anything from the trauma. Kyle admitted to beating her, though nobody knows the truth, and it all upsets Allison.
In the present, Giles goes to see his old buddy Ogden; gun ready to draw and everything. He talks about their friendship: “I might go so far as to say best friends, maybe,” says Giles. He’s clearly been hurt by the lack of trust between them. Yet Holter calls with news about the missing woman: she isn’t missing. Hmm. The plot thickens, so literally. There’s still something going on with Ogden, obviously. We’ll just have to wait and see exactly what.
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The devious Sidney goes to see Mildred. Right away, she understands who he is, no introduction necessary. That’s creepy. They have their chat about physical possessions, how they keep busy as human lifeforms, so on. Sidney wants to know about Kyle Barnes, planning on taking care of him and the Reverend Anderson. Moments later Mildred tries to suck the life out of Sidney, just as the demons often do to Kyle. Does this mean he and Sidney are similar, or one in the same? Very intriguing, brief moment. Mildred mentions something about “the merge” which almost seems like an event the demons wait to see.
On the streets, Kyle and Anderson are out looking for the missing, possibly possessed daughter of Roy Marcus. They find her and she leads them down into the subway tunnels. And she is most certainly still afflicted with a demonic influence. She rambles some madness at Kyle before attacking him, trying to suck that black force out of his body. A battle begins that soon sees Kyle being wrapped up in the black, fog-like, oozing substance from within the possessed girl. Just like his mother, she’s left catatonic.


Sidney: “Humans are so desperate to express their individuality, to separate themselves from each other. Seems so short sighted.”
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Allison discovers a trail of blood in her house. Or she thinks so, until discovering it’s red paint Amber tracked in from the garage to throw around the walls. This prompts the little girl to hide in a closet, so painfully similar to the way her father once hid from his own mother. We can see the direct parallel. At the very same time, Kyle is tearing himself up over the Marcus girl, now lying in a hospital bed; again, exactly like his own mother. So many things are directly paralleling his own existence and his life that it’s like a weight bearing down on his chest. Reverend Anderson believes those souls are “in Gods hands now” while Kyle isn’t happy with any of it. None of it is holy or redemptive to him. No miracles. “Cause no ones fuckinlistening. If your God is out there, hes laughinat you,” Kyle berates Anderson.
Back home, Allison is waiting for Kyle. He can’t explain exactly what it is compelling him to protect her. She also wonders why he hasn’t apologised for what happened, seeing as how he’s a chronic apologist, even for the smallest things. This makes her curious and begs the question: did he really do it? Then she goes in to kiss him. She touches him. Nothing bad happens. They embrace. “Youre safe,” he tells her quietly. Allison doesn’t understand, but can’t remember on her own. She begs to know the truth. But he can’t. The truth is too unbelievable, no matter how true. A rift still exists between them and unless Allison witnesses a possession, or experiences it again herself, there’s no telling if it will ever close.
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An amazing episode. The best so far, in my opinion. What a great chapter to this first season. Can’t wait for “From the Shadows It Watches” next!

Outcast – Season 1, Episode 4: “A Wrath Unseen”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 1, Episode 4: “A Wrath Unseen”
Directed by Julius Ramsay
Written by Robert Kirkman

* For a review of the previous episode, “All Alone Now” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “The Road Before Us” – click here
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Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) presides over a very small funeral for poor Norville, after Kyle (Patrick Fugit) found him bloody and murdered at the end of last episode. And then Sidney (Brent Spiner) shows up, claiming himself as a “friend” and claiming Norville must have been distraught over the loss of his wife. Sidney says he’s in town to take care of Norville’s affairs, all that stuff. What a god damn liar. Although I can’t wait to see more of his character. He’s sinister, as we know it was him to have done the need. Or at least it’s highly likely, anyway. So I want to know his full deal. I suspect he’s a demon, but won’t jump to say anything. I’ve never read the source material, I wouldn’t know where this is headed. I can only judge by what we’re given. And I dig the slow burn nature of the plots coming together.
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Anderson is an interesting character, too. He has a bunch of keepsakes at home. Little trinkets he keeps from the exorcism work he performs. When he touches them the memories come flooding back, of the demonic possession he’s seen, the victims of said demons. Tragic life to live. In other parts of town, Mark and Megan Holter (David Denman/Wrenn Schmidt) are happy. At least they seem to be, even if she’s got other things happening in her life that he doesn’t know about – Donnie Hamel (Scott Porter) kicking around town and all. He actually shows up while they’re out at dinner. He brings up awkward conversation  and while Mark does his best to be polite, his wife is rocked by his presence. There’s a very aggressive element to his presence. More plot and character development/history to come out. I’m sure there’s something deep lying behind their relationship.
Then we get more of Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey), this time at home with his wife and friends, Mr and Mrs. Ogden (Peter Burris & Debra Christofferson). When they’re alone, Giles passes the gold watch over to his buddy. With that, this plot thickens.


At a bar, Kyle runs into Donnie. The whole family clearly has a connection to him. That comes up quick and violent after Kyle attacks him right off before they’re both tossed out of the bar. They fight some more outside. Mostly, Kyle gets his ass beat down. “Always playing the guardian angel,” Donnie smirks above him: “Havent you figured out they dont exist?” Next morning Kyle calls his sister. He’s not willing to “ignore” whatever it is that’s happening(/has happened) between them. For the time being he promises not to do anything too drastic. Something big is behind all this and I’m intrigued as hell.
Later on Kyle goes to see Anderson, who’s busy cleaning up the cemetery, picking up trash. The Rev lays it on his younger friend, saying that to get into this whole thing and help people, to fight those demons while using that gift of his there’s a need for people to trust him. They don’t right now. Lots of talk, then his dust up with Donnie. No matter what’s going on there is a good bond between these two. Because really, they’re the only two who know for sure that there’s something dark going on, that the devil is more real than many are willing to believe. And it’s no big religious thing, at least not to Kyle. It’s merely a stand between good and evil. Well the exorcist duo head over to another house, the door has a German “Willkommen” on the door. Inside Anderson sees a few ceramic boys on the window ledge and starts to have flashes of what he’d thought of earlier while touching the trinkets he keeps as souvenirs. Meanwhile, Kyle goes in to see Mildred (Grace Zabriskie). She knows all about Kyle. She alludes to him beating his wife, and in general having a problem with violence. Mildred has trouble sitting down, but when Kyle goes to help her it all but sears her skin. The whole thing is incredibly unsettling, which sends Kyle out fast. We discover more about Mildred, how she’d supposedly been exorcised. And Anderson says she’s been in church for the past couple years, singing, praising Jesus. Could he maybe be a bit too naive? Perhaps the fresh eyes of Kyle Barnes are really needed to figure out exactly how devious the devil can get in his work.
Out on his own, Giles is suited with rifle in tow for a trek in the woods. He’s back at that dirty old trailer trying to find out more about what’s going on out there.


Poor Megan is twisted up over the appearance of Donnie in her life again. Her husband’s worried, and their life is being affected. She can’t even think of anything related to Donnie without getting upset. Then we get a flashback from Megan, she peeks through a bathroom door before running to her room, towel on, and then who I can only assume is a young Donnie corners her, crushing the tail of her white stallion toy on the floor. In the present, Megan takes out a gun and holds it with a look of intent in her eyes.
On the street Mark picks up his brother-in-law Kyle, who reluctantly gets in the cruiser. They go for a beer. Mark wants to talk about Donnie. Right away you can see the look on Kyle’s face change, his entire body language and demeanour becomes more tense. “Is that him?” asks Mark. He obviously knows about whatever happened, just not who did it. We find out Donnie was a foster kid that their family took in and he abused Megan. Yowzah. Lots of explosive stuff about to happen. Disgusting that Mark had to figure it all out this way. Furthermore, Kyle tells Mark about how when he found out what Donnie was doing, he started sleeping on the floor of Megan’s room. So more and more he’s painted as less of a bad guy, and even Mark comes to see him a bit differently, even after all the stuff with Kyle, his wife, his child – something we still have yet to fully discover ourselves.
At the hotel, Megan confronts Donnie. She wants him to leave and he tries saying that he’s changed, that he was a “fucked up kid” and nothing like that anymore. Not sure how this will all play out. I’d like him to get shot, Megan definitely has her gun. Though I doubt she’ll do that.

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Anderson is back to visit with Mildred. After the incident with Kyle he wanted to be sure she was all right. Truthfully, he’s doubting his own work. He believes Kyle may be right, underneath it all. He questions Mildred about her grandchildren, the fact she doesn’t want to be around them these days. This is a truly eerie scene. I love it. “What if we like who we become?” Mildred ponders out loud to the Reverend. It becomes clearer by the second there is still something demonic, something evil lurking inside that woman, and it’s obviously gotten better at concealing itself beneath her skin. The Rev finally admits to Kyle he didn’t get the job done on Mildred. Off they go on their merry way, exorcism kit in hand and ready to fend off evil once more. Only Mildred’s daughter won’t allow them in, she knows what Anderson did to try and get the devil out of the old woman before – the demon tells lies, of course.
In the woods, Giles sees his old pal Ogden throw a load of gas over the trailer then proceed to burn it down. Ah, more developments.
Out on the highway Mark pulls Donnie over. He orders the man out of his car, and you can feel the tension fatten up, so thick you could cut it with a knife. And in this day and age you can be sure the dash cam catches Mark beating the hell out of Donnie, throwing him to the roadside, laying into him. At home later that night, Mark gets a call from the Chief to run all that evidence he collected previously down at the trailer. But now Mark has to deal with his own morality, he has to live with himself. No doubt Donnie deserves all he gets, though this whole thing has definitely damaged Mark’s moral core.
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The worry in Kyle for the mistakes Anderson has made mounts. He worries now for his own wife Allison (Kate Lyn Sheil), even if she’s got a restraining order on him. What if the Rev has failed to exorcise many demons, not just Mildred? Might mean a ton of dark souls are out there waiting to be saved, or trying hard not to be.
In the trees somewhere, Megan sets up a bunch of glass. She smashes it with a hammer taking out her rage in the privacy of the forest. The pain inside her has to come out, and luckily she isn’t doing anything nuts. I thought she’d have killed Donnie, or maybe she was heading down to do some target practice in preparation. However, I think what we’re seeing is that she is a good person, she’s been degraded and abused terribly yet she chooses to take out her aggression without hurting anyone, putting her in juxtaposition with her husband. Here, the person that was abused isn’t the one wanting the revenge, or at least she isn’t taking it herself. The man always has to step up and make it about his own feelings and his own rage. At the same time there’s a division between people willing to step over the line when necessary and those who will never step over it on principle. Mark is a good man, but this episode sets up a big duality between those who choose to take care of evil firsthand and those who would simply rather try to get past it, however they can.
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A great episode. Love this series so much already. Some think it’s too slow, I find the pace extraordinary. It sets things up well and gives us a chance to speculate, before the plots and the characters develop. Lots of surprises, lots of creepiness. Can’t wait for the next episode!

Outcast – Season 1, Episode 1: “A Darkness Surrounds Him”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 1, Episode 1: “A Darkness Surrounds Him”
Directed by Adam Wingard (A Horrible Way to Die, You’re Next, The Guest)
Written by Robert Kirkman

* For a review of the next episode, “(I Remember) When She Loved Me” – click here
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Cinemax has blessed us. Let us indulge in the Adam Wingard-directed pilot of Robert Kirkman’s Outcast, shall we?
Even the credits sequence here is awesome, a nice ambient and unsettling bit of music over eerie imagery. This first episode begins with a boy that’s definitely not quite right. When he smashes a bug to death with his head (/face?) this only confirms suspicions. Downstairs his family is arguing. When he pops down to see them, covered in blood, they’re too busy arguing to notice at first. The way the boy moves is so creepy, you can tell his head is messed up. Finally, his mother notices he’s not eating chips like he was at first. Now it’s his finger.
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Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey) is playing some cards with some colleagues from the local fire department and the local holy man Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister), too. They get interrupted by an urgent phone call from a Mrs. Betsy Austin (Lacy Camp). She owns the little boy, Joshua, whose body’s definitely being possessed by something.
At a rundown-looking house, Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit) is sleeping. He dreams of another time before the nasty dilapidation of his current situation. He sees a woman, himself with her. But a knock comes at his door, he snaps back. In a room nearby there looks to be some things belonged to a woman. Instead of answering the door Kyle wanders around his home ignoring it. Finally, he opens the door and it’s Megan Holter (Wrenn Schmidt). Clearly a friend, but he is at a distance. She thinks he’s “punishing” himself. He doesn’t want any of her shit, or her charitable friendship. The house is his childhood home, he doesn’t feel like leaving.
Yet it isn’t all roses in his memories. Living with his mother there did not always feel like family time. By the looks of it his mother was possessed, similar to young Joshua. She’d lock him in the closet and that’s where he’d stay, for who knows how long. A traumatized young man. Why does Kyle want to stick around, though? How is it healthy? Or might there be unfinished business, a reason to stay close?


We discover Kyle shouldn’t be calling somebody. The woman in his dream. For her part, Megan does her best to encourage him positively. While they’re out shopping Kyle runs into some people who knew him. They also suggest he head back to church for a good rip roarin’ sermon. They further tell him about Joshua, who’s “fallen prey to dark forces“, which starts intriguing Kyle.
At the Austin house, Father Anderson is calling out the dirty demon. It starts kicking the shit out of everybody. Brutally. One awesome exorcism scene that both calls on films we know, plus adds its own creepy stuff.
Furthermore, it seems as if Kyle was once under the influence of Anderson. Yet now we know Anderson ain’t full of shit. Megan wants to have him over for dinner, though he isn’t so keen. He’s her adopted brother. And apparently people have… ideas about him, particularly nowadays. She’s married to Mark (David Denman) and he definitely does not want Kyle around. This is obviously a point of contention between the married couple. Surely we’ll see that develop the more this season goes on, as Kyle’s being around will impact a lot going forward. His little niece reveals a possible clue: she says he hurt his little girl, now Kyle isn’t her daddy. This upsets him, then he leaves. If this is really the case, that’s a devastating, heavy thing, and certainly paints Kyle as a character in a wholly new light within this first episode.


Kyle calls the woman he isn’t supposed to. She knows it’s him without his saying a word, and it unnerves her. He borrows his neighbour’s car, a man named Norville (Willie C. Carpenter). He heads over to the Austin household, asking for Reverend Anderson. Then inside he goes. Evidently to help. Anderson believes Kyle stopped whatever was happening to his own mother, so apparently he’s got a gift. Possibly.
Within the room, Kyle comes face to face with evil: “I know you,” says the thing inside Joshua. The way Kyle approaches it is from a rational, adult perspective. He sees it as nothing more than a kid pretending to get out of school. But the demon in the boy talks more about things he shouldn’t know, about the pictures in the pantry on the door, all those things. It’s terrifying. He evens scratches like Mrs. Barnes. “So long have we tried to find you Outcast,” the demon explains. Then it jumps Kyle, sucking something out him as Kyle flashes back to when his mother seemed to have done the same. What a god damn unsettling moment.
Afterwards, Kyle only has one bit of advice: run. He doesn’t have any faith or belief in a higher power. Pretty much the very opposite. However, it was what happened in the Barnes house that turned Reverend Anderson into an exorcising machine. So they’re at two different places, which is an interesting juxtaposition between the characters. Look forward to more of their relationship.


The tortured childhood of Kyle is awful. We get more flashbacks, as he goes to visit his catatonic mother in the hospital. He remembers being locked in that closet, similar to how she’s now locked inside herself, imprisoned in her own body. Some justice, I suppose, for all that terror. Later, he and Norville chat together, eating some stew. We discover Norville knew something terrible was happening when Kyle was a boy. The crew of characters that we’re being introduced to is excellent. I’ve never read the comics, though I certainly will not. And I’m already intrigued to see where a lot of these plots and threads end up weaving.
Kyle goes back over to the Austin place with Anderson. He starts to figure out further similarities between Joshua and his mother. First it’s the light that burns their skin. Then they begin to torture the demon, trying to hurt it. But the thing is strong and it fights hard. Sucking more of the essence out of Kyle, at least until he gets the upper hand and starts beating Joshua a bit. Love that this show has a grown man beating a little kid, evne if there’s a demon inside him. He goes a bit too far, but then the demon bites him, and Kyle’s blood burns him badly. Ah, interesting. The Outcast has power. Because this sends projectile, black vomit spewing out of the kid before dissipating into smoke-like fog. Luckily, back to the real world comes the boy, a little worse for wear but alive.
Of course Kyle ends up in cuffs after the whole ordeal. Although, he’s let go and Mrs. Austin doesn’t want charges pressed. Thankfully. That’d open up tons more cans of worms in Kyle’s life. As if he needs anything tougher to push through.


At the end of the episode, Kyle goes back to his house alone.
Then we flash back to a time before. Something had been possessing his wife, hurting his child. Love that we’re only getting bits and pieces, so as to draw it out. Keeps me wanting more. “Come and get me,” Kyle speaks into the dark sky at whatever darkness is surrounding him, right before the credits roll. Gnarly. Dig that line so hard.
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Stay with me. When the series officially airs, as Cinemax has only given us a taste just yet, I’ll be continuing on following this series. Adam Wingard is a favourite director of mine, so I wish he were sticking around (at least he isn’t that I know of other than directing the first episode). Nevertheless, I have faith in Robert Kirkman, as well as Cinemax after The Knick and Banshee.
This one’s going to be a wild ride.