Outcast, originally a comic published by Image Comics and created by Robert Kirkman and artist Paul Azaceta, is another Robert Kirkman TV creation that is slowly taking the world by storm. It may be a TV show that has a much smaller scale than Kirkman’s The Walking Dead series, but hey, even I remember watching the first season of that show and telling everyone else to give it a watch, they all laughed at me, “…it’s about Zombies?”, they smirked, “how good could it be?” Well, that was in 2010 and it’s now 2017, the show is still growing stronger despite a few bumps along the way.
My point here? Outcast is something I still must remind my friends and fans of The Walking Dead, not to overlook. You have to see this series for what it is: a superbly tight nit horror series full of drama, heartache and gore in all the right places and it starts from the very foundation and destruction of one thing, family!
Outcast’s first season premiere drew a record 26 million views internationally across its linear broadcast and unprecedented social media and online release. This is no small feat, and individual episodes after the initial premiere only grew every episode. Most shows decline per episode, so something was definitely done right here.
Warning: Minor spoilers from season one lay ahead…
Straight out of the bag, we get to see a side of horror that puts the fear of god into us when they show up in this genre: Children. A young boy moves and jitters, possessed by a demonic entity. We then see him throwing his head against a wall until it starts to bleed, licking the blood off the wall. Clearly, whatever has possessed this poor child is experiencing being in a human vessel for the first time and testing the boundaries of our brittle bodies. The entity continues to try new foreign flavours by making the boy eat his own fingers. If you’re still OK by the end of this and not the least bit phased, maybe you need to see someone.
Outcast’s first season follows Kyle Barnes played by the wonderful Patrick Fugit, a young man struggling with some dark issues from his past, including the possession of his mother (now in a mental hospital and in an almost comatose state) and the loss of his marriage to his wife Allison (Kate Lyn Sheil) and daughter Amber (Madeleine McGraw). The reasons and facts behind why they left grow clearer through to the seasons end. Allison was possessed by the same forces that possessed his mother and during an attempt to rid the demon from her, both the daughter and wife were hurt in the process, leaving the small gasbagging town of Rome to their own assumptions and rumours and hate towards Kyle Barnes himself.
We find out that Rome is growing and not in a good way, more and more of its citizens begin acting strange and something seems to be very astray. Local Chief of Police Byron Giles (Reg E. Cathey) begins to get an abundance of calls on strange occurrences throughout the town including animals being hung and skinned in a nearby forest, a burnt down caravan and missing people. A normally peaceful town being slowly ripped apart by a silent madness.
We then meet John Anderson (Philip Glenister), the local Reverend of Rome and a struggling, foul mouthed, chain smoking man of god. When Kyle returns to the town of Rome and meets up with John after a long absence, he is thrown back into the world of demons and exorcisms that he has tried so long avoiding due to what it has done to him and his family in the past. Not only does Anderson start to question his very belief, purpose and own existence as a man, but together they find out that Kyle may be the one person that can end the start of a demonic apocalypse all by the touch of his hands. Every person Kyle comes across that has been possessed, burns at Kyle’s touch or worse with his blood. They start to utter the words ‘Outcast’ when in pain or antagonizing Kyle.
Along the path, we meet Kyle’s sister Megan (Wrenn Schmidt) her police officer husband Mark (David Denman) and watch as they themselves, tear apart at the seams and leave us open to a jaw-dropping finale.
Brent Spiner makes a chilling entrance a few episodes in as Sidney, a mysterious figure that wears a suit and a fedora. We come to know him as the leader of this demonic occult, or so we think. The fact we get to see his background and even start to feel for his cause is a testament to how fantastic the writing is for Outcast.
Come season’s end, we have just enough questions answered but even more mystery is left for us to ponder. What is the ‘Outcast’? Was Kyle a demon once that was outcast into our world in some form or another? Are they just hinting at someone else that is related to Kyle? What is Reverend John Anderson’s place in all of this? In its second season, which begins to air next week, the mystery of what lies behind Rome’s supernatural manifestations continues.
As the possessions that have plagued Kyle Barnes grow in scope and number, Kyle struggles to protect those he holds most dear. But otherworldly threats prove greater than Kyle could ever have anticipated. His struggle will grow into a fight for all of Rome, as he discovers the haunting secrets of his own past.
In Kirkman’s own words “The Outcast story, although supernatural on the surface, explores how people cope with extreme circumstances while protecting the ones they love. It’s a theme with which audiences across the world can relate. I am thrilled that audiences in over 125 different countries will soon have the chance to see how Kyle, and the other residents of Rome, West Virginia, continue to deal with a town, and a world, that is rapidly becoming darker, sinister and more unpredictable in the show’s second season.”
I simply cannot wait, can you?
FX’s Outcast Season 2 premieres Monday, April 10th 2017 on Foxtel and Foxtel On Demand. Also playable on Foxtel Play and Foxtel Go.