Outcast “A Wrath Unseen” Review (Season 1 Episode 4)

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On an atypical-but-still-compelling episode of “Outcast,” the show shifted gears from the supernatural to more human horrors, as we got to see some of the nasty ways people in Rome have acted and continue to act, possibly even without any help from demonic influences, in “A Wrath Unseen.”

I say “possibly,” because, well, you know, this is still a supernaturally-driven show, and as Kyle makes the point of near the end, who’s to say that certain bad behaviors aren’t attributable to whatever it is that’s plaguing Rome and surrounding areas? But that may not be the case in all of these scenarios, which added a new layer of suspense to the proceedings.

For instance, we had the case of new character Ogden (Pete Burris, “Halt & Catch Fire”), who may or may not be a serial killer, but might well be whatever he is without the help of any demons or what have you. At least not of the literal variety. The Chief certainly suspected as much, as evidenced by his inviting Ogden and his wife over for dinner.

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They say animals can often be excellent judges of character, and if that was one of the Chief’s intentions, then it’s clear that Ogden failed that test when the Chief’s dog made it clear that Ogden wasn’t welcome there.

Ogden also failed the “poker face” challenge when the Chief presented his watch to him as well, which explains why the Chief held off on having any of the evidence further explored in the previous episodes- but also why he told Mark to move forward on it once his theory was confirmed.

It’s clear that the Chief has a method to his lack-of-madness, and needed to test out his suspicions before acting on them, not in the least because it appears that he and Ogden were friendly once upon a time. But when Ogden almost immediately headed to that trailer and subsequently burned up any remaining evidence, it was obvious that the friendship had come to an end, as Ogden was clearly up to no good.

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The only thing that remains to be seen is whether Ogden was always bad, or if his behavior as of late is driven by demons or the like. Hard to say, but I suspect this might actually be a case of something else, which leads me to Donnie (Scott Porter, “Scorpion”), who just might be a terrible human being without any demonic influence whatsoever, even more so than Ogden, who seems a more likely candidate for demonic possession or what have you.

As we discovered through flashbacks, Donnie once lived with Kyle and Megan’s family, having been a Foster kid the Barnes decided to help out by giving him a place to stay and a shot at a new beginning. Alas, the move proved to be a bad decision, to say the least, as the bullying and intimidating kid repeatedly beat up Kyle and almost certainly raped and abused Megan.

Well, as we saw last week, Donnie is back in town, and he wasted no time in stirring the pot by engaging with Megan while she was out for dinner with husband Mark, and then Kyle at a bar. It was sort of interesting that Kyle got the crap kicked out of him by Donnie when, as we’ve seen, he can more than handle himself against even demons.

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I think that speaks volumes to the power that certain people from our pasts can hold over us in the present, even after a lot of time has passed and we’ve seemingly come to terms with it. I think Kyle was caught off-guard by Donnie’s re-emergence, but also that he might have wanted to be beaten up a bit over his more recent failures in the exorcising department, or even the guilt he feels over the successful one, which still found him beating down a kid, after all.

But that said, I wouldn’t count on Donnie getting a pass on that much longer, especially if his actions and general demeanor turn out to be not just of the ordinary human variety. As we saw, he already gets a beat-down from Mark once he discovers who Donnie really was, but that’s nothing compared to what he’ll get if he stays in town and keeps messing with the armed-and-ready-to-snap Megan, much less our titular “Outcast.”

I did like that Kyle and Mark bonded a bit over all this, as Mark has been hesitant to trust Kyle, for obvious reasons, but, as we saw, at least part of that had to do with his suspecting that Megan was laying it on thick when it came to the heretofore unnamed Donnie.

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Mark thought that maybe Megan was making it all up to justify her continued interactions with her brother, even after he was accused of attacking and abusing his wife and child, but it turns out she was not, and once Mark realized that, it was only a matter of time before things got ugly.

Unfortunately, he also forgot about that pesky little dash-cam when he took the law into his own hands and beat Donnie down, which is definitely going to have some repercussions. Be that as it may, it’s only going to hasten Donnie’s demise, IMHO. With not one, not two, but three people out for blood, it’s only a matter of time before someone takes him down for good, especially if he sticks around in town, which you just know he will.

That scene in the hotel with Megan was just a chilling as anything of the occult variety on the show in its own way, as we saw how insidious everyday evil can be, and how it justifies itself and even goes so far to try and make excuses for it. Donnie blamed the way he was “then” on the system and his hard-luck roots, and then even tried to blame the victim for her “role” in what came after to boot.

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Honestly, I halfway wanted Megan to shoot him then and there, if it wouldn’t have almost certainly landed her in jail in the process. But be that as it may, I’m glad she didn’t as I have a feeling his judgment day is coming soon enough, whether involving demons or not.

I did like the way the show portrayed the simmering after-effects of past trauma, as we saw Megan methodically buy a bunch of glassware and the like, knowing that, if she even made it through her hotel confrontation with Donnie without killing him, she was going to need to blow off steam somehow, which she did at the end of the episode when she smashed up everything.

Last but not least, we had a more mischievous kind of evil via Mildred (the always-welcome Grace Zabriskie), who came off as more of a wise-acre in her last appearance, but we now discovered there might be a reason for that, as she was one of the people the Reverend tried to exorcise sans Kyle’s help.

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Thinking that he’d gotten the job done, the Reverend had let Mildred’s more saucy behavior go, understandably chalking it up to “I’m old and have no f*cks left to give” syndrome, which has certainly been known to happen. After all, as he pointed out to Kyle, Mildred and he hung out and played games together, she regularly attended church, and, as we saw, she was even part of “Anderson’s Army.”

Well, in this episode, we saw the two play a different sort of game, as Mildred, knowing that the jig was up when the Reverend dropped in with Kyle in tow, messed with both in short order, playing the victim herself, much as with Donnie, with Kyle; and then subsequently messing with the Reverend later on when he came by for a follow-up. (That literal “Gotcha!” moment was priceless, and oh-so-Zabriskie.)

Obviously, despite the resistance of her daughter, the Reverend and Kyle are going to have to do a follow-up with Mildred sooner or later, as she’s clearly not out of the woods just yet. As with Megan, there was also a nice set-up and pay-off with the Reverend, as we saw his almost-celebratory shelf of success/memorial to his past run-ins with the “devil,” only to discover that Anderson might have been a bit premature in that area.

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With Mildred calling into doubt everything he’d achieved, or thought he had before Kyle came back into town, Anderson now realized his work may well have just gotten started. His leaving that Hummel-type figurine on Mildred’s lawn was an effective reminder that he still had unfinished business there, and he wouldn’t be accepting any “gifts” until he’d earned them.

All in all, despite the general lack of genuinely spooky goings-on, save the Mildred flashbacks, this was still a quietly powerful episode that showed that all evil need not be demonic in nature, save in a more metaphorical sense. That’s an important reminder to the viewer, especially moving forward, as it shows that Kyle and Anderson are hardly infallible- quite the opposite, in fact- and that their exorcisms may not always do the trick or even be warranted in the first place.

As such, I didn’t mind the quick bit of character development and indeed, I actually liked this one more than the second episode, which didn’t really move the plot forward in any significant way, beyond revealing that Kyle was known to the demons and might be being targeted intentionally, as were the people in his life. (To that end, we got a brief appearance by the still-mysterious-in-intent Sydney, who attended Norville’s funeral at the beginning of this episode.)

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Now that we know a bit more about the characters, their motivations make much more sense and what appeared to be potential writing flaws prove to be well-thought-out ones that we just needed to be patient about and trust in the show-runners to deal with in due time. Moving forward, I suspect these motivations will be of utmost importance, especially in terms of how they deal with the horrors inevitably to come.

What did you think of the latest episode of “Outcast”? Did you mind the largely non-supernatural events going on? Or do you think that they may be more occult-driven than we realize? What exactly is Ogden up to out there in the woods? Why did Donnie tempt fate by returning to Rome? Are he and Ogden possessed or just bad apples? How about Mildred? Let me know what you thought down below and I’ll see you next week!