Outcast “From the Shadows It Watches” Review (Season 1 Episode 6)

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The Lord Giveth, and the Lord Taketh Away- and so, it turns out, does the Devil. In the latest episode of “Outcast,” we saw examples of the way Satan can do just that, while at the same time, a way forward for our intrepid anti-heroes, whether they like it or not, in “From the Shadows It Watches.”

To be sure, this was a transitional episode in every way, but a necessary one- some might say a “necessary evil,” as it were. After all, when we last left Reverend Anderson and Kyle, they were completely at odds, with Kyle laughing off Anderson’s God and saying if He even did exist, He was laughing at him for the futility of his actions thus far.

Here, we saw Kyle trying to live a “normal” life, getting a construction job and going through the motions of doing what most people do. Sending pretty much everything he made to ex Ali- who eventually sent it all back via sister Megan, not wanting his “charity”- he went to work, came home, ate dinner and had a beer and fell asleep watching TV.

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Alas, life has a way of interrupting one’s well-laid plans, and this was no exception, as Kyle received an after hours visit from none other than Mildred, who once again tried that by-now typical demon go-to move of trying to suck out Kyle’s life-force (or soul, or energy, or whatever).

Unfortunately for her, Sydney was nearby, having been both taking stock of Norville’s life next-door and keeping an eye on Kyle. Intervening, he took her to task for her actions, telling Mildred she could have ruined things for everyone in her greed to live longer and get some of her power and life back.

Mildred being Mildred, she said she was just “having a little fun” and told Sydney it was the Reverend he should be worried about. Saying he’d take care of that, he told her to keep to herself and stay away from Kyle- or else.

But, as we later discovered, Sydney isn’t much for second chances. By the end of the episode, Mildred would be dead, left on her porch for Kyle to find. Bye, Grace Zabriskie- you will be missed, but at the very least, she certainly “had a little fun” with this role.

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Meanwhile, the Reverend wallowed in his own misery, going through all of the videotapes of his past exorcisms and wondering if they’d all been failures and a waste of his time. Patricia (Melinda McGraw), in a case of really bad timing, came by the church, wanting to know where they stood.

However, she was stunned to find that Anderson, when pressed, was all too willing to be up-front about what he was really up to behind closed doors, after she demanded he not keep secrets from her, like so many men she’s dated before. Showing Patricia the man he had locked up in the back, the two attempted an exorcism on their own, to no avail.

This ultimately proved to be too much for Patricia, who bolted when things got too “real” for her tastes- right around the time the good Reverend started cutting up his thumb with a large knife for Round Two. Ultimately, though, it would take Kyle’s return and assist to set things right again.

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This time around, though, a calmer Kyle was able to not only exorcise the demon from the man in the back, who turned out to be groundskeeper Caleb (Abraham Benrubi, “ER”)- who was likely also the one who painted the Satanic graffiti on the side of the church- but do so without doing much more than lay hands on the man.

What’s more, the demon that arose from Caleb’s mouth into the air was this time fended off by Kyle simply holding out his hands to keep it away. In other words, this was not only a relatively violence-free exorcism, save Caleb’s initial attack on Kyle and Anderson, but Kyle never threw a punch, the demon didn’t attack him after it left Caleb’s body, and once it was over, it was really over.

Instead of going into a coma, like Kyle’s mother or the woman last week, Caleb simply went back to “normal,” albeit with one caveat: though he thanked Anderson for freeing him, he said that the demon wasn’t a hostile host at all, as one might expect. Instead, it filled Caleb with a “warmth” that was actually inviting and soothing, not the interloping evil one would think.

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It would seem that these demons, while they do indeed take over their hosts, the hosts don’t suffer- quite the contrary. They thrive, feel alive. Of course, we also know the hosts aren’t immune to human illness, any more than they are to human passions and interests, as we saw with Mildred.

One also assumes if the human host dies, so does the demon, which Mildred’s lifeless body would seem to confirm, so the demons are hardly the force to be reckoned with that one might think. But they are certainly not going down without a fight, either, be it the more passive attack of a Mildred, who strikes when people are at their most vulnerable, or more aggressive, as we saw with Caleb.

By the end of the episode, Kyle and the Reverend had made their peace with one another, albeit with a caveat of their own- from here on out, it was Kyle’s show, and Anderson was merely a player. Either the Reverend did things Kyle’s way or…there was the door. Anderson agreed, albeit not without some resentment, having long since realized the limits of his own powers.

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But was it too little, too late? In the last scene, we saw Sydney pay Anderson a visit, telling him he knew that Anderson knew who he was the minute he saw him and that what he and Kyle were doing was going to have to stop. Carving an upside-down pentacle into Anderson’s chest with a knife, Sydney told him this would be his last warning.

So, this would seem to confirm a few things. First of all, these are indeed demons Kyle and Anderson are dealing with, not aliens, as I suspected previously, or else they wouldn’t be affected at all by the religious rites and the like, nor would they be using typical demon iconography, i.e. the pentagram.

Further, it was heavily implied that Sydney might well be the Devil himself, given the things he said to Anderson. Factor in the fact that he seems considerably more powerful than the “typical” demon and this might be Lucifer in the flesh, as it were. Although, you’d think he’d have picked a more intimidating name than “Sidney,” lol.

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On other fronts, Megan finally found out about what Mark did to Donnie, and as one might expect, he wasn’t too happy about it. Calling Megan to the hospital, he said there were two ways this could go- he could tell the police who really did this to him or he could lie and tell them he was jumped by locals after having one too many at a bar and getting belligerent.

However, there would be a price for the latter, and it would be that Donnie would get to have himself a little “fun” with Megan again. Again with the “fun”- maybe Donnie really is a demon. Either way, Megan wasn’t too happy with Mark when he got home, giving him some serious cold-shoulder and even going so far as to send him to the couch to sleep.

That said, I don’t forsee Megan letting Donnie have “fun” of any kind, as far as she’s concerned. Don’t count on this ending well- quite possibly for anyone concerned. The real question is: who will be left standing when all is said and done? If anyone.

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On other fronts, speaking of Mark, he finally interviewed Lisa (Alexandra Chando), the girl who allegedly went “missing” recently, and who Mark had initially suspected was dead and quite possibly the victim of a serial killer. Very much alive, she wasn’t exactly cooperative, either, only answering the deputy’s questions in the broadest strokes.

While it would have been possible to dismiss Mark’s suspicions as simply a wrong-headed assumption, her later visit to Ogden himself would seem to prove the lie to that, at least to a certain degree. Lisa warns Ogden that the police found her DNA on the trailer and though he said he took care of it, it was clear that the noose was tightening on whatever it was he was up to.

My theory: Coupled with the picture we see of a younger Mildred and Ogden at the very same trailer in better days, my guess is that Ogden is indeed a serial killer, but he’s not a lone gun. Instead, he prefers the “team” approach, recruiting women to aid him in luring in prey, with the two of them tormenting their victims in tandem after capture, likely for an extended period of time, until said victim dies, at which point they start all over again.

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Lisa is his current partner, Mildred is a former compatriot, thus showing that Mildred was always a bit of a bad apple, even before being demonized.

Although, I suppose it’s possible she might have gone bad only after being possessed. (Shades of the plotline on Zabriskie’s former gig on the much-beloved cult series “Twin Peaks,” which probably isn’t a coincidence.)

If I had to guess, Lisa is likely a prostitute who got tired of the way she was living and being treated, and teamed up with Ogden to vent some of that frustration. Or else, both of them are possessed by demons and simply recognized that in each other and teamed up from there to have a little “fun” on the side.

Whatever the case, it would seem that an awful lot of people are suspicious of Ogden right about now, and not just the Chief and Mark. As we saw in the scene in which Lisa paid Ogden a house call, his wife may be onto him as well, as she was observing from behind the curtains. That can’t be good…for her.

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I think that was about it for this week, save some place-setting for Aaron (C.J. Hoff, “Code Black”), Patricia’s son, who would seem to be being set up for a future plot of some kind. He was quite belligerent in a Mildred-esque sort of way to his mother, and then we saw him peeping in on the Reverend’s confrontation with Sydney and not doing anything…yet.

Is Aaron possessed, too? Or is he just a typically angst-ridden teen that is sick and tired of his mother’s dubious choices in men? Is he going to help the Reverend, or sit back and enjoy? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see next week.

As aforementioned, this wasn’t a bad episode, but more of a necessary one than an exciting, vital one. Yes, we had one possession, albeit highly muted, and lots of glimpses at others in a quick montage, but overall, it was more of a transitional thing than one that really moved the plot forward in any significant way, beyond the implication that Sydney might be Satan himself.

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Well, that, and the fact that Kyle and Anderson finally came to terms with the roles they have to play in each other’s lives. Or their lot in life in general, for that matter. Anderson now knows he’s destined to always be a bridesmaid and never a bride- forever a sidekick to Kyle’s superhero. That can’t be easy, but it is what it is.

Meanwhile, Kyle, in addition to accepting the fact that he’s going to have to stop this evil or it would never stop coming after him and his loved ones, realized that there’s a way forward that maybe isn’t as violent and vicious as the approach he was adopting before now. That’s good to know, even if it means we won’t be getting any more crazy scenes of him pummeling kids. (Not to imply I enjoyed that sort of thing…okay, maybe a little.)

Now that all of that is finally settled, we can move ahead and hopefully finally get somewhere in what’s really going on in Rome and elsewhere. What’s Sydney, aka the Devil up to, for real? What is the Merge? Why is Kyle so important to it? Why does Sydney need Kyle alive when it would be easier to simply kill him? Why don’t traditional exorcisms work on these demons?

Lots of questions, not a lot of answers thus far, but that’s okay. I get the feeling that everyone concerned knows exactly where this is headed and have confidence that they won’t blow it- hopefully. We shall see.

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What did you think of the latest episode of “Outcast”? Any predictions on what will happen next? Any ideas on what the master plan for the demons might be? What is Kyle’s role in it? What is up with that Aaron kid? Or Ogden and Lisa? Sad to see Grace Zabriskie go so soon? Sound off down below and let me know what you think, and I’ll see you next week!