‘Outcast’ Season One Overview: Angels or Demons?

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With the first season of “Outcast” in the books, and a second season assured, I thought it would be a good time to take a look at the show’s first season as a whole and what we have learned, as well as what we don’t know yet, and perhaps speculate on what is to come, in this special bonus article!

So, arguably the biggest question of them all is: just how many possessed people are there out there- and what in the world are they possessed by? When we last left the show, main character Kyle (Patrick Fugit) and his daughter Amber (Madeleine McGraw), aka seemingly the only ones with the power to remove the “demons” from people, were hightailing it out of Rome to regroup and plan their next move, only to be confronted at a gas station by seemingly everyone in sight being one of the possessed.

Could it be that things are actually even worse outside of Rome’s town limits? While it’s unclear whether that final scene was actually set out of town, or if it was still within Rome, one thing’s for sure- things are definitely getting worse before they get better. But that scene also raises a lot of other questions as well. How many possessed people are out there? How widespread are things? Most importantly, who are these “demons” and what is their agenda?

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The thing is, we never quite got a definitive answer as to whether these possessed people are, in fact, possessed by demons…or something else entirely. On the one hand, while we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Reverend Anderson’s efforts to exorcise these “demons” was wholly unsuccessful, we also know that they weren’t entirely meaningless, either. The Reverend (Philip Glenister) might not have succeeded, but he also didn’t completely strike out, either.

So, what went wrong with his efforts? We see from his videos of the exorcisms on the possessed that his efforts definitely had an effect, even if they didn’t work in the end. That would seem to indicate that these “demons” are God-fearing, at least to some extent. At the same time, speaking the name of God and using the rites of exorcism and the various tools- holy water, crucifixes, etc.- on their own didn’t work, either. Perhaps his faith wasn’t as strong as it could have been?

As we saw, every last one of the people Anderson supposedly exorcised were ultimately still possessed after he was done with them, seeming to indicate that, while the rites had some effect, they weren’t enough on their own. No, to successfully finish the job, Anderson needed a valuable assist from Kyle, seemingly the only one with the power to actually get the “demons” out of people, at least until the finale, when it was revealed his daughter had the same abilities.

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Things got even more interesting when Sydney (Brent Spiner) revealed that his kind were not only well aware of Kyle, but that it was him that drew them here in the first place. Not only that, but Kyle was from the same place all of them were. Or so he says, at least. Obviously, as the main villain of the piece, we have to take everything he says with a grain of salt, but still- I don’t think he’s lying about the fact that Kyle is the one drawing them to Rome in particular.

After all, the proof is all there: the “demons” have possessed his mother, his wife and his sister to date, and regardless of where he and his daughter were at the end of the episode, there is clearly a lot of possession going on in Rome, as evidenced by all the ones we saw in the abandoned store in the final episode. It certainly seems as if things are getting worse before they get better, that’s for sure.

So, the next question is, obviously, just where are these “demons” from? Is it Hell, as Anderson is probably wont to believe? Or is it somewhere more tangible? Like for instance, perhaps a distant planet? Sure, it sounds far-fetched, but are demons from Hell any less hard to believe? Not really.

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Let’s run with that for a moment. Think about it: we don’t know for sure that there is life on other planets, but the commonly held belief amongst scientists is that there probably is. So, who’s to say that they aren’t in a different form, such as the liquid-like goo we see emerge from people when Kyle “exorcises” them?

Let’s say that’s the case, and, since they almost automatically dissipate after emerging from within people, that something about the atmosphere doesn’t agree with them. That means that the reason they “possess” people is a matter of survival, as was leaving their planet in the first place.

Sydney alludes to the fact that the place they’re from is swiftly becoming uninhabitable, which is why they came here. But, obviously, Earth isn’t much better, as they were forced to immediately inhabit others to survive here as well. We also know that, if the host body dies, so do the “demons.”

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So, with all of this considered, perhaps the better terminology isn’t “demon” at all, but “alien.” It makes perfect sense, given the information we have. Indeed, about the only thing it doesn’t explain is why the ritual of exorcism has any effect on them at all. As this is admittedly a problem, that leads me to theory #2: fallen angels.

We all know the story, at least those of us who grew up with religious backgrounds- or at least watched our fair share of occult-themed horror movies: Satan was actually one of God’s most favored angels, who fell from grace when he rebelled against God, leading an army against Him, which he naturally lost, resulting in his being cast down from Heaven altogether.

Left to his own devices on Earth, Satan sought to wreak havoc on the humans, eventually leading another battle against Jesus, this one commonly referred to as Armageddon- the ultimate battle between good and evil for control over the Earth. Once this happens, Satan will be defeated and supposedly evil will be vanquished from the Earth forevermore.

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In the parlance of the show, Sydney refers to the upcoming “Merge,” an event that seems as if it will change everything, one way or another. Seeing as it’s something the “demons”/”aliens”/whatever seem to be looking forward to, rather than dreading, one can only assume it’s a good thing- for them, at least.

Using the “fallen angel” theory then, perhaps the creatures we find are possessing everyone are former angels who, like Satan, were cast out of Heaven and down to Earth, where they have set about possessing others to survive. Sydney, who seems to be the ringleader at this point, could be Satan himself, as Anderson claims, or he could actually be one of Satan’s top soldiers, i.e. Moloch or Belial or the like, with Satan himself yet to come.

After all, even Sydney says himself that he was “sent” to set things straight and get everything in order, as well as take care of the whole Kyle/Anderson situation. Given this, a soldier of Satan seems much more likely than Lucifer himself. But here’s another proposition for you- if Kyle is from the same place as Sydney and the others, then what if Kyle himself is Satan and just doesn’t know it?

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Think about it: he doesn’t remember who he is at all, much less where he came from. Seems like the sort of thing that someone who went through an incredibly intense situation might suffer from. What if, after being cast out of Heaven by God, Kyle, aka Satan, was so traumatized by it, he forgot who he was altogether?

That would certainly explain why Sydney had ordered others to leave him alone, right? After all, if he were just some random guy with the power to exorcise demons from people, and they wanted to stop him, why not simply kill him?

We already know that the “demons” (or whatever) can potentially harm Kyle, as Sydney and Anderson have had to pull others off of Kyle when they tried to drain his “essence” or “lifeforce” or what have you. Why bother stopping him, if he was the enemy? But no, Sydney gave everyone the order to leave Kyle be, and let him take care of things.

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Why? Because he’s trying to keep Kyle out of trouble until the so-called “Merge,” aka the event that will set things straight for everyone, i.e. when Satan will finally realize who he really is and lead them to take over the Earth. So, why not tell everyone that? Because pretty much everyone is suffering from PTSD after leaving their home, aka Heaven- hence Sydney getting various people to “help ease the transition.”

As such, Sydney is faced with a plethora of loose cannons that could potentially ruin everything- and he can’t let that happen. Now, there is one interesting wrinkle to all this: if Sydney and all of those like him are evil, why aren’t they doing more damage? Partly because, they don’t remember who they really are, either, but also because maybe they aren’t so evil, really.

Oh, SOME of them are, for sure, but, much like us humans, there’s some who are worse than others. The evidence of this is Sydney himself- when he arrived, he found himself inhabiting the body of a human that was actually evil personified: a man who kidnapped, tortured and killed children.

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But instead of going with it, he let the child go and immediately suppressed the person he had taken over, though, he admits he can still “feel” him in there, something confirmed by others, notably Mildred (Grace Zabriskie), who took on some of the qualities and interests of her predecessor, such as her interest in Hummel figurines.

So, basically, these “fallen angels” aren’t all bad, they’re just confused and unsure of this strange new world they find themselves in. As such, they have a choice to make- to behave themselves and learn to fit in so they don’t stand out, and hope people accept them as they are, which we saw has indeed happened, as with Kat (Debra Christofferson) and Ogden (Pete Burris), who actually preferred his possessed wife to the original one! (Not sure what that says about her…)

The alternative is to go a little nuts, as we saw happen in a few cases, be it that one guy who raped and killed his best friend’s wife or Megan (Wrenn Schmidt), who killed her own husband- albeit technically she didn’t kill her husband, the “demon” did. (Shades of “Twin Peaks,” when you think about it, down to the whole “death by mirror” scenario.)

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However, even those who go a little nuts at first seem to settle down once they get their bearings, at least so far as we know at this point. But I suspect there are some outright baddies out there, we just haven’t come across them as of yet. Perhaps next season.

Either way, Sydney’s main mission does seem to be to keep the peace and protect Kyle until such time as the whole “Merge” thing goes down, so we’ll just have to wait and see what that is for sure until next season- assuming it even happens then.

So, what do you think of all this? Are they demons- or fallen angels? Aliens? What is their overall plan, moving forward? Is the “Merge” code for the coming Armageddon? Or is it something else? Why is Sydney protecting Kyle? If Kyle is Satan, does that make Amber the Antichrist? If not, what is Kyle’s significance to whatever’s coming?

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Let me know your crazy theories below, and see you next season!

  • Lynne Campbell

    The fallen Angel theory struck me during the episode where the Rev. is reviewing his plethora of videotaped Exorcisms. He can’t seem to understand why they failed. If people are being possessed by fallen Angels, it actually makes a lot of sense, since the rite of Exorcism is specific to Demons. It also makes sense that they would react to some of the religious actions taken, as they have fallen from God’s Grace, and certain words or prayers may cause them fear, pain, or both. Kyle, I believe, may also be fallen. Take the name Outcast, and flip it: Cast Out, right? Perhaps he is a fallen Angel as well, of higher ranking, like an Archangel, but doesn’t know it, or perhaps he’s part human, part Angel. He could be Satan, but somehow I don’t think the others would be attacking him and trying to steal some of his breath/essence/life force, and I think they’d be falling at his feet. Unless, they feel they can get away with it because Kyle doesn’t remember who he really is yet. Hmmmm… Still, pretty risky actions once he does remember; if he is Satan. As for what’s coming, I don’t think it’s to destroy mankind, but more so to control mankind. The word “merge” means ‘come together’ or ‘blend/combine’, so perhaps there was another revolt in Heaven and the Angels who chose to fall decided to take hosts on Earth, and live as humans would, amongst humans. If they wanted all other humans dead, then I think, given their own power, they’d be killing them already. However, as we’ve seen, it seems to be just the ‘newborns’ (Angels new to a human host for the first few days), that are violent, confused, and out of control. Think of the Rev. He has caused them a lot of trouble, but they never kill him. Sydney carving the Pentacle into his chest, I believe, was to shame him and cause others to question his credibility. I’m quite sure he could have killed him if he had wanted to. They don’t seem evil, per ce, but they do seem prepared to fight to stay here. Now here’s a twist…

    Kyle and his daughter, as far as we know, are the only ones who can exorcise whatever these beings are, right? Well, if Kyle is Satan, it doesn’t seem likely that this would just happen from touching a possessed person on the head; not without intent (now, remember that Kyle didn’t know he had this ability, he found out by accident). If this is all about fallen Angels, it could be that Kyle is an Angel of very high ranking who was sent to stop them. Or…Perhaps Kyle is Jesus. Jesus was an Exorcist, but I’m sure he could have exorcised both Angels and Demons if he wanted to. Maybe Sydney is protecting God’s son. Maybe that’s why they call him Outcast; because he’s not one of them. His essence would certainly have healing powers. Just because some Angels, if this is applicable, were not happy where they came from, doesn’t mean they want to harm God. It seems more like they wanted to be free (again, if we are dealing with fallen Angels).

    Whatever is possessing the people of Rome (and I do think the name of the town is a reference to the Holy Roman Empire in Revelations, where when it falls, the End Days are supposed to begin, leading to the 1000 days of Hell on Earth), I’m sure the twists and turns will continue; that’s the fun!

    Also, as a side note: Why isn’t the Sheriff the least bit afraid of Sydney? He gets right up in his face and threatens him. I have my suspicions that there is much more to the Sheriff than meets the eye as well.

    Aliens? Demons? Fallen Angels? Something else? Whatever the case, hold on tight, we’re in for a wild ride! Lots of fun, for sure.

    Dr. Lynne Campbell

  • Dino

    I’m torn between the entities being angels/demons or aliens. On the one hand we have this whole larger religious theme to the show. Now this could especially highlight the entities being of a biblical nature. But it would also expound upon the whole alien idea as well, what with religion being mankinds earliest explanation of all things unfamiliar which these entities are now discovering anew as a race as well. But I came upon the whole “Kyle being the devil” idea myself too, after all he is outcast. I.e. Lucifer cast out of heaven. And lucifer is referred to as the morning star. Another kind of play on the Kyle being a beacon or bright point, like the morning star, or brightest point in the sky before the sun emerges…. but who knows if the creators even have any of this set in stone.