The Outsider S1E6 felt like the end of the second act. The action hit a crescendo and the plot appears to be taking a turn, after several episodes of building up the backstory on the crimes committed before Terry Maitland’s arrest. We’re moving into the end game, whatever that may look like for this limited series—but one thing is for sure: scares, twists and turns are to be expected.
This week’s episode brought its A game, providing more genuine scares and a lot of suspense. The beginning of the episode saw Holly preparing to travel back to report her findings, which at this point are numerous. Over the past few episodes, she’s pieced together that at least two crimes similar to the Terry Maitland case occurred. All three situations are connected by the accused murderers having had physical altercations with each other, a scratch specifically, that seems to be passing along whatever it is that’s turning these normal people into something with the ability to create a double that will ultimately kill a child and destroy a family in the process.
Holly reaches out to Andy prior to her bus leaving for additional information on Tracey, the man we saw last week in the police standoff. Andy quickly discovers that Tracey was first cousins with Heath, who was arrested for murdering sisters and who also was the one to scratch Terry. Fingerprints revealed that the murdered sisters had been in the car of Tracey. On the bus, Holly had a nightmare vision of Tracey, which resulted in her screaming at the bus driver to stop and nearly causing a wreck. The high-strung emotions from this near accident would come back into play later in the episode.
The crux of the episode was Holly coming back to town to meet with everyone involved in the case. Jeannie Anderson, who after her visit last week is more invested in the case than ever, tells Ralph that everyone should be on hand to hear Holly’s findings, including Glory Maitland. Jeannie tries to get more conversation going with her husband on how similar her drawing is to the one that Merlin Cassidy drew previously, but Ralph doesn’t want to hear it.
Ralph is shaken up after his visit last week as well, from what appeared to be his son. Between those complicated feelings and his feelings of guilt over Terry’s murder, Ralph is doing his best to keep it together. The only way he knows how to keep his head above water is by doing police work at its most basic level. He’s on autopilot, trying to pull himself out of this predicament.
Prior to the meeting with Holly, Jack calls and asks Ralph if there’s anything he can do. Jack’s situation is escalating quickly as we would see all throughout the episode. Jack picks up Holly from the bus station and while in the bathroom, the words “Stop Her” appear to be written in blood on the wall, only visible to Jack. Later, after the meeting, the words would again appear to him, this time on his hands.
Towards the end of the episode, Jack would be visited by a dead woman (perhaps his mother?) in one of the more surreal and frightening moments of the series so far. She insults him, before flying across the room and beating him up really badly, leaving Jack’s blood smeared all throughout his home and his face a complete wreck.
What’s happening with Jack seems to be on a completely different track than everything else Holly has learned in her investigations. Jack appears to have been chosen as some kind of instrument to ensure that El Coco (or whatever this entity is) can have their plan carried out, with the plan being how the various victims scratch whomever is next, so the cycle of child murders and destruction of the entire families can continue.
Jack is being beaten into submission it seems so he can be “the man on the inside,” allowing the cycle of death to carry on. In an interesting line from the episode, Jack said to the older dead woman that came to see him “Why did he have to send you,” implying that Jack has some degree of familiarity with whomever is controlling him.
Holly’s meeting with everyone went about as horribly as expected. Only Detective Sablo, Jeannie Anderson and to a lesser extinct, Alec Pelley believed anything she said. As she laid out her findings on the previous murders and how they connected to the Maitland case, you could see how dismissive most people in the room were. When Glory finally erupted over the supernatural findings, everyone scattered, most frustrated and disappointed.
One of my favorite sequence of events in the episode was later that evening when Holly was back at the Anderson home, where she would be staying the night. Jeannie is fully aware at how closed off her husband is to the supernatural elements of this case, so she’s taking matters into her own hands. She walks Holly through what happened to her and Holly takes prints, after calling Ralph out for not doing so. Holly finds a similar residue as what was found in the barn, which leads her to believe that this entity is shedding like a snake. What happens when the shedding is complete?
Later that night, Holly finally gets to speak to Ralph alone and tells him that with everything she’s figured out about this entity, it would make sense for it to be going after Ralph the most. Ralph tells her about seeing his son and it’s obvious that she doesn’t believe that was his son (I don’t either) before she goes to bed. Is Ralph the main target, as we’ve been told numerous times now, because of all the emotion he’s carrying? Or because he could be the greatest weapon of all in El Coco’s plans for death and destruction?
We got to see Detective Sablo follow the owner of the strip club, Claude Bolton, further illustrating the point that Sablo is open to this case not being one that can be solved by normal detective means. Claude was scratched by Terry, so given the logic the show has laid out for us, he should be the next one to begin having a double that kills a child. Prediction: Sablo is killed by the strip club owner in the next episode or two, forcing Ralph to look into him as a suspect because he knew Sablo was onto him and finally forcing Ralph to acknowledge that this case is indeed supernatural.
The final sequence of events in this episode saw Jack call Holly and tell her that she needed to come to the barn with him to see something. We’ve seen Jack get the “Stop her” messages all episode long so the tension is real when she picks him up and insists on driving after her near bus wreck the day before. Holly is onto him, however, and drops a pack of wipes so she can see exactly how nasty the back of his neck has become. She tries to make up an excuse to turn the car around but Jack won’t let her.
Will The Outsider kill Holly off next week? It’s possible. I mean, did anyone expect Jason Bateman to die so quickly? Holly has laid out all of the evidence for the skeptic Ralph to see, so one could argue that her character has served her purpose and now it’s up to Ralph to come to terms with his emotional baggage and solve the case. It seems premature to have Jack die, although it’s possible.
The most likely outcome to this cliffhanger seems to me that Holly escapes Jack but is removed from the action. The resolution to this case is likely going to require both Holly’s abilities and Ralph overcoming his grief and skepticism but it’s anyone’s guess really. This series has kept all of us watching on our toes the whole time so far and there’s no reason to suspect that will change.