6   +   10   =  

‘(I Remember) When She Loved Me’

After last week’s creepy introduction to Robert Kirkman’s Outcast, I was intrigued to see how the second episode would fare in comparison. Fortunately, it maintained all the things that made the pilot so compelling: tension, scares and a sense of familial duty. In answering one of the big questions raised in ‘A Darkness Surrounds Him’ – that being the mystery of what really happened to the now catatonic Sarah Barnesthis episode excellently juggles flashbacks with present day drama to build a clear picture of the evil that’s haunted Kyle his entire life.

‘(I Remember) When She Loved Me’ centres on Kyle questioning his family history, whilst the town Police Chief makes a grisly discovery and Reverend Anderson prepares his followers for the ensuing evil. Though the other plot-strands are intriguing, it’s Kyle that once again draws the main focus as the obligation he feels towards his mum resurfaces in light of last week’s events. During a visit to the hospital, Kyle recalls happier times, the days before demonic activity and horrifying possessions. This glimpse at a cheerier past is what makes Sarah’s current state, and Kyle’s turmoil about it, all the more distressing. They didn’t ask for this; it just happened upon them.

Kyle is distressed by the state of his mum’s hospital room – sheets hanging loose, a damp water stain on the ceiling – and after a frustrating encounter with a member of staff, he makes a split second decision to take his mum back home. It’s not a wise move, considering Sarah needs round the clock care, but in that moment Kyle can’t bear to leave his mum alone in a dark and dingy room. His moral and familial responsibility is stronger than his common sense and it’s only when he realises he can’t even feed his mum with pureed fruit, that reality hits.outcast-episode-2-3The past plays a very important part in Outcast, as Kyle’s constant flashbacks and painful memories attest to. It’s within this week’s recollections of when Kyle was a child that we begin to build a timeline and learn how his mum became catatonic. Kyle is tormented by what happened to Sarah but he’s also frustrated because Joshua, the possessed boy from last week, is seemingly cured. This leads Kyle to believe that the demon still resides in his mum, if only he can exorcize it the same way he did for Joshua. It’s a fool’s errand, as Reverend Anderson realises when Sarah remains unresponsive, but it doesn’t stop Kyle trying. His efforts are ultimately squashed and, on Anderson’s advice, Sarah is taken back to the hospital.

Meanwhile, Chief Giles investigates a series of disturbing happenings around town in which animals are being butchered and pinned to trees. Though the non-believers, such as his partner, might choose to deem this as just some big prank, Giles knows it’s something more, and not just because he’s good friends with the Reverend. This is reinforced by the desolate caravan that they find with scratch marks all over the inside walls. Who or what is residing in those woods? And why are they sacrificing animals?outcast-episode-2-1Throughout the episode, a strange man in a hat is lurking in the background. He’s sitting in the back of the Rev’s sermon and he’s keeping a watchful eye on Kyle, but it’s only when he visits Sarah at the hospital that we realise there’s something much bigger at play than one single demon playing havoc with the town. “You had so much fire in you. Sad too that your son will never know how much you fought back, how much you resisted.” he says to Sarah’s unresponsive body. However, it’s his final words that strike the biggest blow: “And, despite it all, we have him anyway.” Sarah might not be able to speak or move but the tear that rolls down her cheek says a thousand words; she’s not completely lost and she can hear the man’s threat against her son.

It’s an ominous end to an episode that builds tension and terror as we continue into next week. Evil is growing in the small town of Rome but will the Rev be able to assemble his followers in time to fight against it? And how does poor Kyle fit into the equation? If we’re to believe the man with the hat, his future doesn’t look very bright.

★★★★

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