Outcast 1.08: “What Lurks Within” Episode Review

This week, we get a better look at Evil Data/Sidney—and any lingering feelings of fondness we may have held onto thanks to actor Brent Spiner's turn as a beloved android in Star Trek: TNG goes straight out the window when we see that, unlike some of the others who have been possessed, Sidney has never been a nice guy. 

Child predators are absolutely the sort of people you'd expect to see hosting evil demonic entities. 

While Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey) is busy arresting Sidney, the Reverend (Philip Glenister) sees the very real toll caused by his public outburst when Sunday services are attended by exactly… 

No one.

When he finds out what his friend has done, Anderson rages against Giles's decision. He doesn't want Sidney to have a way to spin things around to where it looks like he's the victim. Giles, however, stands firm: “You know, this used to happen once or twice a year. But lately? It's been happening too often.”

Um, okay? So everyone in positions of power in Rome, West Virginia, already know that these possessions keep happening, but so long as it's only “once or twice a year,” they just look the other way or chalk it up as “the way things are”? 

Pardon me if I'm making a mountain out of a molehill here, but I'd think that having even one possession in town per year is a worrying sign that something needs to change in a drastic way. 

Kyle (Patrick Fugit) leaves daughter Amber with his sister Megan (Wrenn Schmidt) and goes to the jail to face down Sidney, when he discovers the creepy asshole has been visiting his comatose mother. 

After threatening to pull the demon out of him, Sidney counters with, “If you take this out of me, you'll leave behind a monster.”

Dude. Even a demon thinks his child-murdering host is a monster. Apparently, even hellspawn have limits.

Echoing his past conversation with Mildred, Sidney explains to Kyle that these evil entities don't get to choose who they inhabit. “The saints are as susceptible as the sinners. You land where you land. And I wound up in a real winner.”

If it's all random though, why do so many people around Kyle become afflicted? Our hero is apparently something of a beacon to whatever plane of existence these creatures crawl out of: “You're like a lit match,” Sidney clarifies. “You give us something to grope towards. We'd have found our way eventually, but you make it easier.” 

Lest we start thinking too kindly of the black tar creature looking through Sidney's eyes, he goes on to tell Kyle that he should have left his mother alone. He tries to spin things as if Kyle did her a disservice by exorcising the creature from her, suggesting that the entity would have cohabited in peace with Sarah Barnes; that if Kyle had just let things be, she wouldn't currently be in a vegetable-like state. 

Sorry, but no. Being a prisoner in your own body, turned into a glorified vehicle for some otherworldly creature, is not a glass half-full situation. That's not looking at the silver lining—that's just a shit situation all around.

(Note to all of my friends: if I'm ever possessed by a black tar demon, do everything you can to suck it out of me. I'd rather be a vegetable or dead than walking around possessed. Excuse me while I go add this clause to all of my legal documents.)

Patricia's jerk of a son, Aaron (C.J. Hoff), sees Anderson literally drag Kat Ogden (Debra Christofferson) into Kyle's house, and goes to the police station to report the situation. As Giles sets off to stop Anderson from doing anything that'll land him in jail, he picks up Ogden (Pete Burris), who finally confesses his role in everything.

The fire chief has always known something unnatural was inside his wife—he's known from the start. But, rather than be horrified or worried, Ogden has been grateful. This “new” Kat is more exciting than the old one. She's made him look at life with fresh eyes again, and he's fine with waking up to this possessed woman every morning.

“I don't want her back!” he blurts out, and man do I feel sorry for whatever's left of the real Kat Ogden, who has to stare at her husband, trapped behind her own eyes, and know he's 100% okay with her continued possession. 

More than that, he's been “helping” the other afflicted when they first go through the transition period, locking them up in the camper in the woods until they ride out the initial violence. So, not only is he complicit in all of this paranormal bullshit—he's actively contributing to the spread of this malevolence.

What a great guy.

Kyle gets home before Giles arrives, and in the ensuing argument, he and Anderson get into a knock-down fight in the front yard. After everything Sidney said in the jail, our hero's more hesitant than ever before to rip the entities out of their hosts—he's afraid he'll do to Kat Ogden what he's already done to his mother and that teenaged runaway. 

Giles splits up the fight and tells Anderson that he's essentially going to look the other way about all of this: Ogden still loves his wife, who seems to love him, and if they both want to maintain the status quo, he's not going to interfere. 

For the first time, Anderson is 100% alone on his side of the line drawn in the sand. Kyle doesn't want to use his unusual power for fear of hurting others, while Giles is unwilling to lose more friends or his position in the community to this madness. In a spitting fury, the good Reverend stands alone in his firm conviction that these beings must be challenged and thwarted at every opportunity.

Well, that—and there's also his driving need to fill the pews of his church every week, which he positively screams in Kyle's face. Yet, another reason for our hero to step back: his erstwhile partner in this fight against the forces of darkness seems far more motivated by his own personal, selfish reasons than by any altruistic ones.

But, the hits haven't stopped coming for Anderson. He returns home to find the mayor and two of his congregation waiting with bad news. They've voted to suspend his contract. He's no longer their Reverend, this is no longer his church, and he's expected to pack up his things and go.

Kyle goes to pick up Amber and ends up confessing the truth to Megan about the awful day when he found Allison on the verge of killing their daughter. He's worried that Allison has remembered everything, and that she might not be able to live with herself now. 

We share that worry, Kyle. I really, really hope someone doesn't find Allison's body in a ditch somewhere…

This week ends on a mixed note: Anderson has lost his parish and power, but at least he has Patricia (Melinda McGraw) to comfort him for the night; Megan and Mark (David Denman) seem to be on the road to recovering from all of the trouble Douchebag Donny brought into their lives, and the whole family has a peaceful meal for a change; Aaron wants to team up with Sidney in order to get Anderson out of Rome for good.

And, in a positive twist that's positively surprising given this show's love for despair and death, we see that Sidney's first act upon assuming control of his host was to free his last hostage. That kid's probably going to need therapy for the rest of his life, but at least he survived to tell his tale.

Something tells me that not all of our cast will be able to brag the same by the time the credits roll on the finale two weeks from now…

See also: Outcast 1.07: “The Damage Done” Episode Review

 

Angie Barry wrote her thesis on the socio-political commentary in zombie films. Meeting George Romero is high on her bucket list, and she has spent hours putting together her zombie apocalypse survival plan. She also writes horror and fantasy in her spare time, and watches far too much Doctor Who. Come find the angie bee at Tumblr.

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