‘Outsiders’ Season Finale Review: “Long Live the Bren’In”

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In the season finale of “Outsiders,” things finally came to a head both within the mountain dweller community and with those from outside that community, in “Long Live the Bren’In.” But who would emerge victorious? Could anyone, given the circumstances? Lord knows, there weren’t any easy answers, nor did we get any, really. But then, if we had, there wouldn’t have been much of a point going on, would there?

Thankfully, with a second season assured, we will eventually get some answers, but for now, things somewhat inevitably ended on a cliffhanger, as the outside forces clashed with those on the mountain to still-unknown results. Although, I think it’s safe to say that Wade’s mission likely failed, at the very least, from the looks of things.

We began with Big Foster (David Morse) rallying up his troops to find any and every one of the community that turned their back on his leadership and betrayed him by opting to follow Asa (Joe Anderson) and his lead to overthrow him. Meanwhile, back in the town proper, Wade (Thomas M. Wright) does the same, drafting as many police officers from both his area and neighboring ones as he can.

Unfortunately for Wade, his plans hit a snag when the nefarious Hayley (Francie Swift) is naturally bailed out of jail by a small army of lawyers, who promptly serve Wade with a wrongful arrest civil suit. Shortly thereafter, his support begins dropping like flies, much to his chagrin, putting the future of his gambit to peacefully resolve the situation, if possible, in doubt.

Little Foster (Ryan Hurst) pays a visit to G’win (Gillian Alexy), suspecting that she has slowly been poisoning his father, and she admits that she couldn’t quite bring herself to kill him as it goes against everything their people stand for. She asks him how he could have killed Asa, but he’s a bit cagey about it and she realizes that it might have been faked, which is what I think a lot of us were thinking as well.

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Big Foster confronts an imprisoned Krake (Mark Jeffrey Miller), wanting to know where Asa’s followers are, but he refuses to budge and Foster goes to kill him but is interrupted by Hasil (Kyle Gallner), who claims he knows and can lead Foster to them. Of course, we already know that it’s a trap meant to lead Foster to his doom.

Alas, so does Foster, who easily defeats the uprising and wants to have all concerned banished. Hasil confronts Foster about his role in killing his own mother, Lady Ray (Phyllis Sommerville), which he is taken aback by, but never really gets to address, as the woman whose son Foster got killed tries to kill herself using foxglove- which just so happens to be what G’win was using to try and kill him.

Recognizing this, he orders his men to keep a lid on the situation while he goes to confront her about it. As this is happening, G’win herself finally gets Little Foster to admit that Asa is still alive, but won’t say where he is. This done, he goes to Asa and tells him he needs to leave the mountain sooner than later, as the jig is up.

Wade is approached by Hayley outside of the precinct as he accompanies his son to the playground, his plans seriously in jeopardy. Though vaguely threatening and cagey as always, she says she can get him some help if he really aims to go through with his plan, which he agrees to.

That accomplished, he briefs everyone involved on how they are going to approach things, saying that a non-violent method is best, as they won’t have any back-up and don’t know exactly what they are walking into and he wants to avoid a massacre on either end. The goal is to arrest Asa for the murder of his brother-in-law, plain and simple, not to kill everyone in sight. Everyone seems to be onboard with this, at least for now.

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Big Foster confronts G’win about what she did to him, and she admits it, leading him to attempt to kill her. However, he can’t quite bring himself to, having genuinely been in love with her as long as he can remember. She uses this to her advantage and stabs him with some gardening shears and gets the heck out of there.

Finding Little Foster, she tells him he needs to get Asa to take out Big Foster, as neither of them can do it, but as someone who is still essentially an outsider, he can. Little Foster tells her where Asa is and she goes to him and asks him to do it herself, which he agrees to, after some initial resistance. It turns out to be a relatively easy endeavor, as Big Foster thinks he’s hallucinating, still believing Asa to be dead and doesn’t really even resist as Asa shoots him dead.

Sometime after their ascent up the mountain, after stopping for the night to rest, Wade and his team stumble upon a hiding Sally Ann (Christina Jackson), who tells them where everyone is and they head further up the mountain. Asa goes to leave once and for all, but G’win stops him and has him thrown in the box after learning that Big Foster is dead, taking over as Bren’In in his wake and saying that Asa must be put to the circle to determine his fate after killing one of his own.

G’win also declares that the rebel faction is free to return to the group and that all is forgiven, which seems a bit of a contradiction to having Asa arrested, but I suspect that she is only doing the former as a means to an end to ensure that Asa is forgiven properly and allowed to rejoin the group in earnest. I guess we’ll have to wait and see Asa’s ultimate fate, as we never get to the circle part on this episode.

A little girl has spotted Wade and his men and runs in to warn G’win and company and she assembles everyone from every clan to confront them. Wade and company arrive to the first house they find, in a clearing with cool animal sculptures and the like all about, in a beautiful, folksy set-up. They search the place, which looks to be a sanctuary or church of some kind, but it’s empty at the moment.

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Suddenly, G’win and her people arrive, surrounding the cops from all sides. Though decidedly skittish, Wade makes sure that no one opens fire on anyone, which would have clearly resulted in a bloodbath. He tells G’win why he’s here, but she tells him that Asa is no longer with them and has left the mountain and tosses his warrant into the air.

Meanwhile, the little girl we’ve spotted from time to time throughout the series gives Asa the keys to his freedom from the box, then goes to Big Foster, who has somehow managed to get himself to his mother’s grave, which explains why his body disappeared when G’win sent people to fetch it earlier. The little girl takes his necklace, which is the same one that Big Foster gave to Elon (Aidan Fiske) before his untimely death.

G’win and her people begin to chant and suddenly, the sky grows dark, as if a huge rainstorm is on the way. Wade and his men look scared out of their wits as they await their fate, and that is where we leave them for now. We end the show with the little girl approaching a boy, who looks to be Elon himself, who she gives the necklace back to. They join hands and walk away, and that’s all she wrote.

So, needless to say, this was all a bit cryptic, but then, so was a lot of what was going on in the mountains. I think this was obviously by design, and that we will learn more about the community and their ways next season. In the meantime, if I had to guess, I’d say that Wade and his team will likely be allowed to leave, on the condition that they never return, which they will.

But Hayley isn’t likely to take that lying down, so count on her assembling another team, this time one of the Federal variety to go back up the mountain and confront the people, this time likely with deadlier consequences. I don’t know to what degree Wade will be involved, but my guess is that it will be as little as possible after his current experiences!

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As for Asa, I’m sure he will be forgiven by the community and allowed to resume his life among them. After all, he was only doing what he was told, and it was indeed good for the community on the whole, given how divided they were under Big Foster’s rule. I think he will see the little girl’s chance of escape as a test, and know that, if he leaves, he will likely be banished forever, and so, will stay put to face his punishment, whatever that may be.

As for the little girl herself, I think that, like the visions Big Foster had of his mother, she is also a vision of sorts, likely of G’win’s lost child with Little Foster, which she mentioned on a previous episode. Perhaps she and Elon are sort of like the “spirits of the mountain,” as it were, or even its protectors.

Or maybe the little girl is, and Elon was just able to finally rest easy, now that the cause of his death, Big Foster, has been vanquished, which would make the little girl sort of his “spirit guide” to the other side, as it were. Or something like that.

So, yeah, lots of unanswered questions, and I can see where some might be disappointed by the overall open-endedness of the finale, but I think it was as good a way to go as any. I mean, you would have preferred a massacre?

I think there absolutely will be one eventually, as Hayley and her people are not going to take this lying down, but I don’t see them taking out Wade, as one of the only leads that somewhat “gets” the mountain people and wants to avoid violence with them, if possible.

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As to the more seemingly supernatural elements of the episode, that is certainly in keeping with all we’ve seen and have been told thus far. After all, Big Foster regularly saw his mother’s spirit all over the place, haunting him for what he’d done, and Wade spoke of how his father was killed by lightning that seemed to have been conjured up out of nowhere after a similar confrontation with the people of the mountain, so none of what we saw in the finale was unprecedented.

Also, I think it was important that Wade and his men see exactly what they were up against, in terms of how many people were living up there, which they obviously thought were a much smaller group that what they saw. Now that they know that there’s a virtual army of people living there, and that they are armed to the teeth, my guess is that Wade won’t be going up the mountain again anytime soon, nor will any of the others- at least not willingly.

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All in all, a solid enough first season, with some great moments throughout. I liked the sort of “Romeo & Juliet”-style love between Hasil and Mary Ann, and it will be interesting to see if that continues. I also liked Wade’s journey from pill-popping addict to a relatively together police officer thinking with his head instead of his emotions. Finally, I loved Asa’s journey from outcast to potential acceptance, as he went from banished to leader over the course of the season.

Big Foster made a worthy villain, as his insistence on modern contrivances only served to bring tragedy to the community and cause trouble, trouble which he was all too willing to lay at the feet of others instead of being willing to accept his role in them. He obviously paid the price for that in the end.

It will also be interesting to see what becomes of the community under G’win’s new leadership. Will they eschew the trappings of modern society that Big Foster was in favor of, or will they go back to their old ways? Can they, in light of the lingering threat against them from the real “outsiders” of the show, the outside world? Can’t wait to find out next season.

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For me, this played like a combination of a similar-minded subplot on “Justified”- which isn’t a coincidence, as several of the team behind “Outsiders” also worked on that show- and “Sons of Anarchy,” and not just because of the presence of Ryan Hurst.

As with that latter show, the community of the mountain dwellers were like an extended family, working together to defeat outside influences from ruining what they had worked so hard to achieve, even if they had to adopt some dubious methods to achieve it.

Also as with “SOA,” in doing so, some of their more dubious methods came back to haunt them, resulting in tragedy at times, including the death of poor Elon, who was caught in the crossfire of a war he didn’t even understand. Big Foster was like the “Clay” of the show, with Asa serving as the “Jax,” for those who know “SOA,” while the methods and madness of the mountain dwellers was similar to a subculture we saw represented in “Justified.”

Put them together and you had some riveting television, from the modern tweaking of jousting we saw early on in the season- shades of the cult classic “Knightriders”– to the jostling for control we saw in the infighting amongst the clan, which was pretty Shakespearian in scope. (See also the modern adaptation of “Cymbeline,” which, like “Knightriders,” coincidentally starred Ed Harris as well.)

I don’t know about you, but I’m in for another season. Can’t wait to see how this all plays out, and to learn more about the mythos of the community. Now, if I’d only had access to subtitles, lol. Bring on Season 2!

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What did you think of the first season of “Outsiders”? How about the finale? What was your interpretation of the little girl and Elon’s appearance? What do you think will become of Asa? How about Wade and his people? What do you think Hayley will do next? Were you sad to see Big Foster go? Is there hope for Hasil and Sally Ann? Sound off on this and more down below, and see you next season!