The Outsider: “Dark Uncle” Review

After an explosive and intense series premiere, The Outsider took a step back this week to get its bearings and set up what is to come.  By no means was this a bad thing, but there’s a lot to unpack, so let’s get started.

Wave of Mysteries
Following the discovery in the abandoned barn, the police department follow up, gathering further evidence and adding to this massive enigma of a case.

The case remains in the hands of the alcoholic/strip club frequenting Jack Hoskins, who really doesn’t seem to want to be there.  But following a strange encounter in the barn, he’s left with a gaping wound on the back of his neck that’s causing him to act strangely.

Parents of teen boys have also found disturbing socks like this!

Meanwhile, Ralph Anderson continues his own private investigation while on leave.  Along with Terry’s lawyer Howie, and Howie’s P.I. Alec, they recruit a name that should be familiar to any Stephen King fan.  They recruit Holly Gibney, a brilliant savant we’ve previously seen in “Mr. Mercedes” to dig into the Maitland’s trip to Dayton, Ohio, and find out just what happened.

During her trip there, she discovers that while Terry did visit is ailing father, there was more going on behind the scenes.  Reporters and police had already been there, and the staff are completely unaware of Terry’s death, so they clearly haven’t heard what happened.  Thus meaning that something else occurred there.

Terry’s daughter continues to be plagued by visions of the mysterious “straw man”, and she even tells Ralph that the figure told her to tell him to stop.  To which he responds that if this mystery man has a message, he should tell Ralph himself.

It’s fascinating to see Mrs. Maitland and Ralph going from seemingly enemies to almost allies.

The episode then ends with a prison subplot that we had seen woven throughout.  A new inmate is brought in, seemingly for child murder charges (as evidenced by hate mail he receives).  Another prisoner sneaks into his room to kill him, only for the inmate to slit his own throat in a grotesque scene.

Relishing in the Unknown
At first glance, “Dark Uncle” certainly seems like it has no idea where the series is going, and perhaps that’s a representation of Stephen King’s writing method.  Only book readers truly know what is to come (and we won’t spoil that here), and that’s very much the point.

The first two episodes successfully grabbed attention and pulled off several narrative twists and turns.  This episode took a much needed slower approach to set up the many answers that will come later.  We the audience are meant to feel lost and displaced, because that’s exactly how these characters feel right now!

Once again, Ben Mendelsohn’s performance remains a series highlight.  Last week, we saw a man whose convictions were torn over the conflicting evidence, and whose conscience was devastated by how badly it all went down.

But here, we’re starting to see the detective come out in him, as his determination continues to drive his own private investigation.  He’s well on his way to becoming the flawed hero he has the potential to be.  Speaking of heroic characters, King fans saw the return of Holly Gibney, albeit a very different version of her (not just in appearance).

Either way, Erivo is extremely talented, and has been nominated all over the award circuit for her leading role in Harriet.

To be fair we’ve only gotten one episode of Cynthia Erivo’s portrayal, against several season’s worth of Justine Lupe’s.  Both performances heavily implied that Holly is on the spectrum, but Lupe’s seemed a bit more grounded in reality.  But we’ll see how the rest of the season turns out before making any determinations.

What did you think of this week’s episode?  What are your predictions for next week?  Let us know in the comments below! And for more reviews, rankings, and other fun horror content, follow Halloween Year-Round on Facebook and Twitter!


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